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

A helpful explanation of Phonological Awareness is 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.

Phonological Awareness at LearningCommotion has more ideas and a helpful graphic.

Printable Charts:

Phonological and Phonemic Awareness Skills from Clever Classroom

Developmental Sequence from Make, Take, Teach


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


The following activities are great resources to add 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

  • Word Slider Cards from deceptivelyeducational. (put these in an envelope w/end cut off or a pencil box & slide out one sound at a time)

Phoneme segmenting

PLAY Online games: at Readingresource.netWords that Rhyme at Roy the Zebra, Rhyming and initial sounds at literactive,  initial sounds at funfonix (click on Game, then Collect the Stars). Beginning sounds, Nine Squares,  middle soundsfinal sounds and garden leaves at literactive.

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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