What is phonological awareness? What is phonemic awareness? Learn how to help your students develop these important skills – and download a free cheat sheet!
If you teach children ages 3-6, you’ve heard the terms phonological awareness and phonemic awareness. Whether or not children have them is a strong predictor of reading success.
But what are they, exactly? And what activities will help your students develop them?
Today I’ll be sharing definitions of these important terms. I’ll also provide links to free activities to help develop them.
And if you scroll to the end of the post, you can print a free cheat sheet with even more ways to teach phonological and phonemic awareness – no printer ink necessary!
What is phonological awareness?
When children have phonological awareness, they know that language is made of words, syllables, rhymes, and sounds.
Are phonological awareness and phonics the same thing?
Phonological awareness is different than phonics because it’s about sounds and not letters. Children can develop phonological awareness with their eyes closed.
Phonological awareness includes:
- understanding of word
- rhyming ability
- understanding syllables
- phonemic awareness
Let’s break each of these down.
1. Children understand concept of word when they can recognize how many words are in a sentence.
Develop concept of word by inviting students to clap for each each word they hear.
2. Children understand rhyming when they can identify rhyming words and generate their own rhymes.
Free printables to teach rhyming
- Rhyming clip cards
- Rhyming letter books
- Rhyming pack
- Rhyming matching game
- Rhyming bingo
- Rhyming bingo (easier version)
- Dot the rhyming word
- Folding rhyming books
3. Children understand syllables when they can clap or count the syllables in a word and blend syllables together to make a word.
Develop the understanding of syllables by teaching children to clap the parts of a word. Ba-na-na. Also challenge your students by saying a word slowly, by syllable. Ask them to put the syllables together to make the word.
What is phonemic awareness?
Phonemic awareness and phonological awareness are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Phonemic awareness is one component of phonological awareness, and a very important one. When children have phonemic awareness, they know how to segment, blend, or manipulate individual sounds in words.
Children have phonemic awareness when they can identifying beginning sounds in words, blend sounds together to make a word, and count the individual sounds within a word.
Develop phonemic awareness by playing games with words and teaching children to identify individual sounds in words.
Get more activities !
Want simple, no-ink-required activities to develop phonemic and phonological awareness? Grab the free download below!
This post is part of a new series. Stay tuned for the other essential components of reading instruction!
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