Phonological and Phonemic Awareness

Hearing and manipulating the sounds in language are important skills for learning to read. Phonemic awareness and letter knowledge have been identified in several research studies as the two key indicators of how well children will master beginning reading skills during the first two years in school. (The Threads of Reading by Karen Tankersly at

Understanding Phonological and Phonemic Awareness

Both are about the ability to hear & manipulate the sounds in language…

  • Phonological Awareness – in words & syllables
  • Phonemic Awareness – at the phoneme (individual sounds within words) level

WATCH Phonemic Awareness video (4:27) from Red Apple Reading. Also see a helpful explanation of Phonological Awareness at Dyslexia Help.

Phonological Interventions for Struggling Readers from Learning at the Primary Pond has this illustration of the progression of skills, and lots of ideas for activities for developing them.

Printable Charts:


Phonological and Phonemic Awareness from The DailyPlanit at the Teachers Pay Teachers Super Tutor store (free)

Phonological and Phonemic Awareness Skills from Clever Classroom

Developmental Sequence from Make, Take, Teach

ACTIVITIES has great resources for phonological and phonemic awareness. Activities for phonemic awareness from Reading Rockets. The activities below can also be added to a Phonics Kit.



Found these crayon boxes at Walmart!

Syllable Counting: clap or tap, or feel your mouth drop.

Identify initial sounds

Phoneme blending

Phoneme segmenting

Phoneme segmenting and manipulation


PLAY Online games:

At Literactive: Rhyminginitial sounds, Beginning sounds, Nine Squares,  middle soundsfinal sounds and garden leaves. Literactive Symbaloo.

Rhyming and Middle and Ending Sounds at cleverlearner. More at, Silly Bulls at, Words that Rhyme at Roy the Zebra, Phonics Fighter beginning sounds from ictgames, and beginning sounds at roomrecess. Middle sounds and from,  initial sounds at funfonix (click on Game, then Collect the Stars).  Syllable counting at BBC and at (requires sign-up).

Note that many online games require Flash and may not work well on some tablets and smartphones. It can be helpful to download the Puffin browser.

Teach reading skills using hands-on, fun activities: memorable introductions to patterns with fun rhymes, 16 games,  24 worksheets, 11 word sorts and more. Learn more about the Phonics Toolkit and get your copy today!

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