3 Fan Favoriate Phonemic Awareness Ideas (that are free)


What is Phonemic Awareness?

Phonemic Awareness (PA) is:

  • the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds in spoken words and the understanding that spoken words and syllables are made up of sequences of speech sounds
  • essential to learning to read in an alphabetic writing system, because letters represent sounds or phonemes. Without phonemic awareness, phonics makes little sense
  • fundamental to mapping speech to print. If a child cannot hear that "man" and "moon" begin with the same sound or cannot blend the sounds /rrrrrruuuuuunnnnn/ into the word "run", he or she may have great difficulty connecting sounds with their written symbols or blending sounds to make a word
  • essential to learning to read in an alphabetic writing system
  • a strong predictor of children who experience early reading success

Why is it important?

  • It requires readers to notice how letters represent sounds. It primes readers for print
  • It gives readers a way to approach sounding out and reading new words
  • It helps readers understand the alphabetic principle (that the letters in words are systematically represented by sounds)

...but difficult:

  • Although there are 26 letters in the English language, there are approximately 40 phonemes, or sound units, in the English language
  • Sounds are represented in 250 different spellings (e.g., /f/ as in ph, f, gh, ff)
  • The sound units (phonemes) are not inherently obvious and must be taught. The sounds that make up words are "coarticulated;" that is, they are not distinctly separate from each other

What Does the Lack of Phonemic Awareness Look Like?

Children lacking phonemic awareness skills cannot:

  • group words with similar and dissimilar sounds (mat, mug, sun)
  • blend and split syllables (f oot)
  • blend sounds into words (m_a_n)
  • segment a word as a sequence of sounds (e.g., fish is made up of three phonemes, /f/ , /i/, /sh/)
  • detect and manipulate sounds within words (change r in run to s)

My students love everything I bring them from Make, Take and Teach, these are great to add to your guided reading toolbox.


This cheat sheet from Clever Classroom is a great help when planning what direction I need to move in or if I'll looking for an idea on how to make a PA just a little bit more challanging.

This year I can't seem to find enough rhyming tasks. Be it for my second graders or my kindergartens who just need more, these have been a great addition to my toolbox and a great jumping-off to change it up a bit.

I hope your students find these as Fan Favorites as mine do!!!

Chat Soon-


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Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I empower busy elementary special education teachers to use best practice strategies to achieve a data and evidence driven classroom community by sharing easy to use, engaging, unique approaches to small group reading and math. Thanks for Hopping By.
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