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What is Phonemic Awareness and why is it important?

If you Google the phrase "phonemic awareness" you will find thousands of different definitions. My definition is basically that "phonemic awareness" is the auditory ability to understand, identify, discriminate, and manipulate sounds (in isolation, syllables, and words). Children who are successful "pre-readers" usually have good phonemic awareness skills. Generally, if you can increase a child's phonemic awareness skills, reading and spelling abilities also increase.

So what kinds of activities increase phonemic awareness skills?

  • Rhyming Reading rhyming books to your child and playing rhyming games in the car are excellent ways to introduce and reinforce rhymes.
  • Blending "What word am I saying? mmm aaahhh mmm (mom)"
  • Segmentation "How many sounds do we hear in the word 'it'?" "How many syllables do we hear?"
  • Deletion "Say 'clap' without the 'l' sound."
  • Substitution "Get the word 'can' in your head. Now take the 'n' away and put a 't' in its place. What word do you have?"
  • Reversal "Take the first sound and make it the last sound and take the last sound and make it the first sound: 'tip' becomes 'pit'."

Speech Language Pathology Services

Vicki Smidt is a speech language pathologist who works with many of our students. Children who exhibit speech (articulation or phonological) problems, or who have difficulty with expressive or receptive language, auditory processing, phonemic awareness, and reading or writing can benefit from intervention by a speech language pathologist. She consults directly with our classroom teachers regarding students who are struggling. If your child is having difficulties with any of these areas, Vicki provides low cost evaluations, including a written report with recommendations. You may contact her directly:

Victoria S. Smidt, M.S., CCC-SLP
Enchantment Speech Language Pathology Services, LLC
4811 A Hardware Drive NE, Suite 4
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87109
(505) 263-6004 or (505) 830-2220

or by email

1114 Seventh St. NW   Albuquerque, NM 87102   505.242.3033   email us
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