If you are looking to learn more about what phonological awareness is… then you came to the right place. I cannot emphasize the importance of practicing these skills DAILY with your students! You may be wondering… how in the world do I fit in one more thing into my already packed day?!? Well, that's why I'm here to help!
What is the difference between Phonemic Awareness, Phonological Awareness, and Phonics?
These three skillsets are all related and build on each other. You need to incorporate all three to build strong, fluent readers.
Phonological Awareness is like an umbrella for all the phonics-related skills we teach. It involves hearing, manipulating, and repeating sounds, words, rhymes, syllables, etc. Typically, kids as early as 3 years old start developing phonological awareness skills, through nursery rhymes and rhythm.
EXAMPLES: Counting syllables in words, identifying rhyming words, repeating words or sentences.
Phonemic Awareness can be defined as the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate phonemes (aka sounds) in words. It is a more narrow skillset that focuses on the sounds in a single word. These skills are best taught orally, and through listening, with an “I say, you repeat, think, and solve” type of sequence.
EXAMPLES: Changing one sound in a word to make a new word, taking a sound out to create a new word.
Phonics is how kids learn to connect letters with sounds, break apart words into sounds, and blend sounds to read words. Kids will learn how to decoding unfamiliar words, which results in being able to read.
EXAMPLES: Reading CVC words fluently, using the sounds in a word to spell a word phonetically.
Phonological Skills Progression
These ages are just suggestions of where your kids/students should be at. Depending on your students, they may not be able to rhyme or count syllables, even though they are in Kindergarten. If that's where they are at, then that is the skill you start with.
•Awareness of Rhyme/Alliteration/Words: Listening to rhyming words and tongue twisters, repeating rhymes (ie: Reading rhyming books like Sheep in the Jeep, singing songs, memorizing parts of nursery rhymes)
•Awareness of Syllables: clapping out a word and counting how many syllables
•Identify/Produce Words that Rhyme: Does cat/hat rhyme? Name a word that rhymes with pot.
•Counting words in a sentence
•Blending Onset and Rime: say “c” then “-at”, and the students blend together to say “cat”
•Sound isolation: identifying the beginning, middle, or ending sound of a word
•Phoneme blending: say 3 or more sounds that make up a word, students blend together to say the whole word. (they use this skill when learning how to read a word)
•Phoneme segmentation: say a word, students break it up into each single sound (they use this skill when learning how to spell)
•Phoneme manipulation: changing ONE sound in a word. This can be substitution, addition, or deletion.
•Phoneme substitution: say a word, have students change one sound to another to create another word.
•Phoneme addition: adding a sound to a word to say a new word
•Phoneme deletion (taking away a sound from a word and saying what's left).
Notice that the MAJORITY of these skills are learned between the ages of 5-7. That is exactly why as teachers we should be practicing these skills every single day!
When teaching phonological awareness, you need to remember that these skills build on each other. If your students cannot count syllables in a word, they will probably not be able to manipulate a single phoneme from a word. It's best to start easy until they show mastery and then move on to trickier skills.
Grab your FREE Phonological Awareness Quick Reference Guide with all the definitions and examples here! This will make planning your phonological awareness lesson quick and easy. You can just check off each skill as you cover it!
If you are interested in starting to incorporate this in your classroom tomorrow, you can try a FREE week of Phonemic Awareness Warm-Ups here.
For more information about Phonemic Awareness, you can read more about the daily warm-ups and how I use them in my classroom here!