loader image

Phonemic Awareness

Most people know or have heard of phonics, but not everyone knows what phonemic awareness (PA) is, and PA is one of the most important skills to develop in the process of learning to read.

So what is phonemic awareness (PA)?

Photo 70


Phonemic Awareness is the ability to identify, hear, and work with the smallest units of sound known as phonemes.

PA deals with phonemes and manipulating the individual sounds of words

– such as /c/, /a/, and /t/ are the individual sounds that make up to form the word “cat”.

(slashes denote the sound of the letter.)

What does the research show?

PA is the best predictor of reading success in young children.
Children with a high level of PA progress with high reading and spelling achievements.

So how do you help a young child develop phonemic awareness?

  • One of the best ways to improve phonemic awareness is to practise “blending”.
  • Blending words helps children to read and spell.
  • Blending helps children turn printed letters into sounds that combine to form words.

Practice makes perfect...

Start blending practice with some ear training with your child. Simply take words from your everyday speaking to your child and include blending sounds into your sentences.

For example, if you wanted to ask your child to climb in the car, you could say: “Ben, c-l-i-m-b into the caaarrr.”

The words climb and car are sounded out slow and “stretchy“. The level of sound separation can be set by you to increase or lower the difficulty.

Thus, if Ben has a tough time figuring out that c-l-i-m-b means climb, you can lower the difficulty by blending the word as cl-imb instead.

Photo 83

Below are some sample words which you can use to play blending sounds activities with your child.

J-u-m-p / J-ump / Juuuuummmmp

R-u-n / R-un / Rrrrruuuuunnn

S-i-t / S-it / Sssssit

S-t-a-n-d / St-and /  Ssssstaaaannnd

M-i-l-k / M-ilk /  Mmmmmillllk

S-t-o-p / St-op / Ssssstooooop

Teach final consonant blends first. Teaching words such as "at" and "and" can lead your child directly to learning words that rhyme with these. For example:













owl round