Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic Awareness is the key pre-reading skill that children need to develop before they can learn to read. By the end of kindergarten, children should be able to differentiate the sounds of the English language and identify or manipulate them. This includes, for example, identifying first and last sounds or adding and removing sounds from common words. Can your child: 

  • Identify the first sound in words? (e.g., what is the first sound in “bat”?) 

  • Recognize common sounds in different words? (e.g., tell me the sound that is the same in boy, bike, bat”) 

  • Turn one word into another by changing one phoneme? (e.g., bat into hat) 

Weaknesses in phonemic awareness may lead to difficulties in developing more advanced reading skills such as letter-sound association, decoding, reading fluency, and reading comprehension. Without a solid foundation of these pre-reading skills, children may encounter frustrating challenges when they try to make connections between letters and sounds and decode unfamiliar words.

Handout for parents of struggling students: Phonemic Awareness Handout