What is phonemic awareness?

Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds — phonemes — in spoken words. Phonemes are the smallest part of sound in a spoken word that make a difference in the word’s meaning. Phonemic awareness and phonological awareness are many times used interchangeably, but they are different. Phonological awareness is a broad term that includes phonemic awareness, but is more encompassing. It refers to the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds at the word, syllable, and phoneme level.

Why teach phonemic awareness?

Phonemic awareness is important to reading because it improves children’s word reading, comprehension, and spelling. Children who have phonemic awareness skills are likely to have an easier time learning to read and spell than children who have few or none of these skills (Put Reading First, 2000)