What is Phonological Awareness?
Phonological awareness refers to the bigger “chunks” or “parts” of language. When we ask students to rhyme, blend small words to make a compound word, break words apart into syllables or onset-rime, we are working at the phonological awareness level. Phonemic awareness is a part of Phonological Awareness. Phonemic awareness is the ability to recognize and manipulate each sound in a word. Phonological/phonemic awareness focuses on sounds and does not include written letters or words.
Instruction in phonemic awareness typically targets students in kindergarten and first grade. In instances where fourth and fifth grade readers have challenges noticing, thinking about, and manipulating the sounds in spoken language, then providing interventions may be necessary. A collection of practice activities are inserted below to guide support. Phonemic awareness skills are critical skills in reading development.