Phonemic awareness refers to the understanding and ability to manipulate the sounds or letters in a word. This is an important skill for readers to develop fluency in their reading because they are able to correspond letters with a sound to help them sound out the word, or blend letters together to create a sound. Students benefit from explicit instruction or opportunity to develop phonological awareness with activities including rhymes or fill-in-the-blank morning messages.
In PRF, phonemic awareness is described as the ability to hear identify and manipulate individual sounds- phonemes- in spoken language (pg. 9). Phonemic awareness supports students with spelling, reading vocabulary and comprehension. This resource will support educators in determining how they will support students as they begin to read, with specific strategies and recommendations.
According to CTW, phonemic awareness is "the ability to recognize that words are made up of a discrete set of sounds and to manipulate those sounds" (2016). Students phonemic awareness supports their reading development as they learn the individual sounds that correspond to the letters in words (Cunningham, & Allington, p. 31, 2016). This is important for educators to understand as they determine their program, such as Jolly Phonics, that they will use to support phonemic awareness.
This video models the integration of phonemic awareness by manipulating the starting letter of each student's name in morning attendance with the letter of the day. For example, if the letter of the day is "B" the name "Katie" becomes "Batie". Then students sing their morning song with the letter "B" for each student's name as she goes around the circle. This activity engages students in a fun and meaningful way, as they use their own names to practice letter sounds while singing.
According to Reading Rockets, phonemic awareness assessments should be done one-on-one, three times throughout the school year in Kindergarten and Grade 1. Examples of the assessment questions are given, such as phonemic matching, which asks a child to identify which words sound alike. It is important teachers know their students progress throughout the school year, so they can support them in continuing to develop their understanding.
Teachers can participate in this phonemic awareness pre-test, from the Reading Rockets website, as a diagnostic assessment tool to determine their current level of understanding of phonemic awareness. It is important for educators to have a strong foundation in phonemic awareness to teach the concepts to their students. Every teacher should know the correct answer to each question to be fully prepared to teach their students phonemic awareness.
In the article, Making Friends with Phonemes, three important focuses of phonemes are explained. Students must learn the individual letter-sound of the phoneme, they must also make meaning of the sound, and they must have a context for the sound in a word. These focuses will be important to consider in planning phonemic instruction in the classroom.
Reading Rockets provides an overview of phonemic awareness with an introductory article on the topic. It is important for educators to understand what phonemic awareness is, if they are to explicitly teach it to students. Reading Rockets describes it as "the ability to identify, hear, and manipulate the individual sounds in spoken words. Manipulating the sounds in words includes blending, stretching, or otherwise changing words."
In this activity, the teacher demonstrates building phonemic awareness with the students who are "name detectives". The teacher models by giving the clue of the starting sound of the name, and claps out the beats/syllables of their name to support children in guessing the name. This is an engaging and meaningful way for students to practice learning individual sounds in relevant words to them.
In this YouTube video, How Many Beats: Clapping Out Students' Names, students clap out the number of beats/syllables in their name to develop phonemic awareness. After they clap the beats, the teacher asks them how many they have heard and they place their name in the corresponding circle that indicates the number of beats in their name. This is an engaging and meaningful way for students to practice learning individual sounds in relevant words to them.