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Why Develop Phonemic Awareness in Emergent Readers?

Phonemic Awareness: A Prerequisite for Reading Success

Phonemic Awareness Pin

What is phonemic awareness?

Phonemic Awareness is an oral language skill that includes a number of discrete skills:

  • rhyming
  • isolating beginning, middle, and ending sounds
  • segmenting and blending phonemes
  • manipulating phonemes

Click here for more details on phonemic awareness.

Why is phonemic awareness important?

Phonemic Awareness is a critical building block, necessary for reading success.  Phonemic awareness relates exclusively to sound.  Phonics is the application of sound to print.  Therefore, before children are able to read, they must understand that words are made up of discrete sounds.  Many emergent readers require support to reach that understanding.

Students who are able to blend sounds orally will be able to transfer that knowledge to print.  Similarly, the ability to segment sounds will positively impact spelling.

How can I identify which skills my students need to develop?

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A phonological awareness screen can help teachers identify areas of need.  Our easy-to-administer Phonological Skills Assessment helps teachers screen for each discrete skill.

How can I support my emerging readers and help them increase their phonemic awareness?

The great part about phonemic awareness is that it can be developed in a playful manner through songs and games.

Slide1Our ‘Little Monster’ game targets seven key areas of phonemic awareness that correlate directly with our Phonological Skills Assessment.  These games engage students and helps them increase proficiency in a developmentally appropriate manner.

Which students will benefit from phonemic awareness activities?

Students arrive in our classrooms with varying degrees of ability.  While all children benefit from opportunities to play with language, it is essential for those who come from language deprived homes, English Language Learners, or children with language deficits.


Phonemic Awareness lays the foundation for reading success.  As teachers, we may feel pressure to move ahead and keep pace with the curricular calendars.  However, phonemic awareness is a critical building block of reading.  Students must have ample exposure to and a solid understanding of such skills.  As we’ve mentioned before, we can’t build on a shaky foundation!



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