Phonemic awareness is vital for your child to develop language and reading skills. Here’s everything mums need to know about phonemic awareness and how you can help your child become more phonemically aware.
What is phonemic awareness?
Phonemic awareness concerns the structure of words rather than their meaning. To understand the construction of our written code, words, readers need to be able to reflect upon the spelling-to the ability to distinguish the sounds, or phonemes, and then break them down into the smallest parts. For example, the phonemes in the word "shot" are "sh," "o", "t." Good phonemic awareness is vital for developing reading and writing skills.
How is phonemic awareness different to phonics?
Phonemic awareness is not the same thing as phonics, but rather a precursor to understanding phonics, which is like a code for learning to sound out written words. As children develop their literacy skills, their phonemic awareness rises.
Why it’s important
Phonemic awareness is important for your child to develop because it requires early readers to become aware of the sounds that letters represent and to identify these in written form which helps them to learn to read and write.
How is phonemic awareness taught?
In kindergarten and early primary grades, phonemic awareness is both taught and assessed. To teach phonemic awareness, kids are introduced to the individual sounds of many different words before they are introduced to syllables. For example, even though the word “hat” has only one syllable, it has three different sounds: /h/ /a/ (short a) /t/. Little kids who are taught to listen for the different sounds early on have proved to become stronger readers.
How to help your child gain phonemic awareness
There are many different exercises that can be done to help raise phonemic awareness in your child these include:
Read stories that are rich in rhymes and alliteration.
Nursery rhymes and books such as the Dr. Suess series are rich in rhyming words.Sing rhyming songs and read rhyming poems with your kids.
Make games out of sounds.
For instance, "How many words can you make that start with the "b" sound?" Help your child identify auditory differences and similarities in words by pointing these out. For example, “’cat’ is similar to ‘car’”
Play Itty Bitty Bit where you break down words into their little bits.
For instance ‘pencil’ when broken down is p-e-n-c-i-l. Ask your kids to take turns choosing words and saying them sound-by-sound and dividing the word by syllables and phonemes.
Find more about kids speech and language development:
- Speech and language development for pre-kinder children
- Speech and language development for 5-6 year olds
- Speech and language development for 7-8 year olds
- Speech and language development for 9-10 year olds
- Speech and language development for 11-12 year olds
- What is phonetics
- What is phonics
- What is phonemics
- How tongue twisters aid speech and language
- The importance of nursery rhymes
- Simple songs to boost speech and language
- Learning a second language
- All about syllables