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Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic Awareness is:
  1. the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds in spoken words and the understanding that spoken words and syllables are made up of sequences of speech sounds (Yopp, 1992; see References).
  2. essential to learning to read in an alphabetic writing system, because letters represent sounds or phonemes. Without phonemic awareness, phonics makes little sense.
  3. fundamental to mapping speech to print. If a child cannot hear that "man" and "moon" begin with the same sound or cannot blend the sounds /rrrrrruuuuuunnnnn/ into the word "run", he or she may have great difficulty connecting sounds with their written symbols or blending sounds to make a word.
  4. essential to learning to read in an alphabetic writing system.
  5. a strong predictor of children who experience early reading success.
Definitions of key Phonemic Awareness terminology:
  • Phoneme: A phoneme is a speech sound. It is the smallest unit of language and has no inherent meaning.
  • Phonemic Awareness: The ability to hear and manipulate the sounds in spoken words, and the understanding that spoken words and syllables are made up of sequences of speech sounds (Yopp, 1992; see References). Phonemic awareness involves hearing language at the phoneme level.
  • Phonological Awareness: The ability to hear and manipulate the sound structure of language. This is an encompassing term that involves working with the sounds of language at the word, syllable, and phoneme level.
  • Continuous Sound: A sound that can be prolonged (stretched out) without distortion (e.g., r, s, a, m).
  • Onset-Rime: The onset is the part of the word before the vowel; not all words have onsets. The rime is the part of the word including the vowel and what follows it.
  • Segmentation: The separation of words into phonemes.
Students Should Demonstrate These Skills by the Middle of First Grade:
  1. Sound Isolation
    • Identifies initial sounds in one-syllable words.
    • Identifies final sounds in one-syllable words.
    • Identifies medial sounds in one-syllable words.
  2. Sound Blending
    • Blends 3-4 phonemes into a whole word (e.g., /m/ /a/ /n/: man; /s/ /k/ /i/ /p/: skip).
  3. Sound Segmentation
    • Segments 3- and 4-phoneme, one-syllable words (e.g., man: /m/ a/ /n/; skip: /s/ /k/ /i/ /p/).

Information taken from https://dibels.uoregon.edu/