Step One to Reading - Phonemic Awareness

Reading Begins with Phonemic Awareness

phonemic awareness

Building a strong foundation in phonemic awareness is the very first skill your children need to master when launching them on the path to reading. This training gives them the knowledge that words are made up of individual sounds (or what are also known as "phonemes").

The importance of mastering this skill when beginning to learn how to read cannot be understated. In their ground-breaking book, "What Reading Research Tells Us About Children With Diverse Learning Needs", Deborah Simmons and Edward Kameenui tell us there's an important relationship between phonemic awareness and reading acquisition.

Be sure to use our checklist to find exactly where your child is at in reading, where any gaps may be and the right materials to use.

Additionally, there have been several published reports showing how important it is for children to develop phonemic awareness in order to become excellent readers. Chief among these, The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development studied nearly 10,000 children over a 15 year period. They found this ability vital to the development of solid phonics aptitude as well as fluent and spontaneous word reading. These early childhood experts conclude that a young child's ability to say letter sounds, or deficiency thereof, is the most reliable and consistent predictor of future reading success.

Initial (or beginning) sound phonemic awareness is acquired in small children by helping them focus on the individual sound of the first letter at the beginning of words. We're not referring to the name of the character but the actual sound it makes. An example would be explaining to your youngster that the word 'dog' starts out by using the /d/ sound, and the word 'cat' starts having a /c/ sound.

Rhyming is another important phonemic awareness skill. Rhyming can be learned through various rhyming games that train children to focus their attention on the ending sounds of words. Finding rhyming pairs and deciding if two words rhyme or do not rhyme are fundamentals in helping children acquire rhyming aptitude.

A wonderful way for youngsters to master recognizing the beginning sounds of words, as well as rhyming words, is through hearing modeling done by their parents or teachers. The more schoolteachers know about and use these phonemic awareness principles, the better their students become at reading.

Initial sound awareness and rhyming aptitude can be developed in children as young as 2-5 years old using a variety of properly constructed stimulating language activities. See our phonemic awareness game apps below.

Phonemic awareness is developed through auditory stimulation. Our products train your child's brain to focus on the individual component sounds that are used in spoken words. Children do not need to have any printed letter knowledge to become competent in phonemic awareness.

Children must have the capacity to memorize and detect the beginning sounds of words and focus on the letter sounds not remembered. An indication of adeptness of this foundational ability is your child being able to tell you that the word 'balloon' has the /b/ sound at the start of it, not because they simply memorized the word, but because they were able to analyze the word and then determine the starting sound of it.

Our phonemic awareness training products ensure your young children is learning to examine the words and also declare the opening sounds.

Letter Free Phonics app

Letter Free Phonics

Letter Free Phonics helps children learn to recognize and identify sounds at the beginning of words. This is a very key principle and is direct preparation for learning the alphabetic principle. Children match images to sound tiles based on beginning sounds of words.

Full version download

Partners in Rhyme phonemic awareness app

Partners in Rhyme

Phoneme Isolation with Rhyming - a Great Way to Start Your Child on the Path to Reading

This is a fun app game to begin helping your children develop phonemic awareness. Once they become familiar with the rhymes in this app, they can start to make up their own rhymes, which reinforces knowledge of the sounds in English language.

Free trial version download from Mac App Store (plays on Macintosh computers)

Full version download from Mac App Store (plays on Macintosh computers)

Free trial version download

Full version download