Phonemic awareness is critical to reading. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds – phonemes – in spoken words. A phoneme is a unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another, for example, /b/, /c/, and /s/ in the words bat, cat, and sat. When we hear or read words, we don’t often think of the different sounds that are combined to construct the word. It becomes automatic. Phonemic awareness is the first of the five principles of reading.
What are the components of phonemic awareness?
- Phoneme Blending
Phoneme blending is the ability to listen to a sequence of phonemes (sounds) and to be able to combine them to form a word. /c/ /a/ /t/ is cat. This is the process used in decoding words.
- Phoneme Segmentation
Phoneme segmentation is the ability to break a spoken word into its separate phonemes. This can be seen as the process of spelling words phonetically. In the word step, there are four sounds: /s/ /t/ /e/ /p/.
- Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence
A grapheme is how a phoneme is represented as a letter, punctuation, or other symbols. Phoneme-grapheme correspondence is the sound-symbol relationship.
What does research say about phonemic awareness and reading?
G. Reid Lyon (1995) found that “the best predictor of reading difficulty in kindergarten or first grade is the inability to segment words and syllables into constituent sound units (phonemic awareness).”
Dr. Sally Shaywitz (2003) finds that “reading and phonemic awareness are mutually reinforcing: Phonemic awareness is necessary for reading, and reading, in turn, improves phonemic awareness still further.” Shaywitz is the co-director of the Yale Center for the Study of Learning and Attention and a leader in the new research into how the brain works.
Dr. Penny Chiappe (2002) states that programs focusing on phonological awareness, coupled with systematic, explicit phonics instruction, structural analysis of words, spelling, and comprehension strategies have higher success rates.
How does phonemic awareness fit into the other components of reading?
Phonemic awareness is the first principle of reading and is the foundation of developing reading skills.
The Five Principles of Reading
- Phonemic Awareness
Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds – phonemes – in spoken words.
Phonics uses the awareness of sounds and matches the sounds to letter symbols.
Reading fluency is the ability to read easily, fluidly, accurately, and articulately. It is the ability to accurately decode words and automatically process words. When reading aloud, it is also the ability to add appropriate intonation (the rise and fall, pattern and pitch of voice while speaking) to words.
Vocabulary is the knowledge and understanding of words. It is the ability to use words effectively and understand them in different contexts.
Comprehension is the ability to understand, analyze, integrate, and use what you have read, whether it be words, sentences, paragraphs, articles, or books.
Scholar Within’s After-School Reading Program integrates the five principles of reading with curriculum to improve overall reading skills.
When you bridge phonemic awareness with phonics, you create a strong foundation of the building blocks of language, reading, and spelling. By taking this a step further and learning the spelling patterns, you can learn to spell thousands of words by following the patterns.
In Scholar Within’s After-School Reading Program, we incorporate phonemic awareness with phonics in auditory and visual spelling video lessons. The program teaches spelling by spelling patterns and breaks down the complexity of the English language into bite-sized chunks.
Who is Scholar Within?
Scholar Within was founded by learning expert Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET. Bonnie began designing and developing her own custom educational tools when she started her private learning center in the 1990s. Teachers kept asking what she was using with the kids who saw her because of the dramatic improvements that the kids made in school. From there, Bonnie decided to make her materials available to teachers and families worldwide.
Now, Bonnie Terry has turned her materials into a full-service online program that you can follow step-by-step at home, on your schedule. School alone is not enough anymore. Bonnie’s programs boost your kid’s overall learning skills by focusing on improving the auditory, visual, and tactile processing areas of your brain to make it work more efficiently.
Learn more about Scholar Within.