Phonemic awareness involves distinguishing the smallest sound-components of words. It draws on some specific skills, like segmenting and blending. Segmenting makes distinctions among the sounds that make up words; blending reassembles sounds to make words. These skills are fundamentally auditory and not visual, though visual cues can help. Phonemic awareness is different from phonics, but it serves as a gateway to phonics by enabling students to notice sounds and relationships among sounds so they can begin mapping sounds to letters.
Phonemic awareness is an important step on the journey to becoming a good reader. Parapros who are attentive to students’ strengths and needs can help those students develop phonemic awareness. Providing help is especially important for some students for whom phonemic awareness is particularly challenging.
Revisit the Scenario
Our Kindergartener, Herman, could recognize phonemic differences in words that contrasted with his own name (like Sherman) but had trouble coming up with simple sets of rhyming words. He was on the way to developing phonemic awareness, but not quite there. By working with a parapro on syllable and rhyming exercises, like the ones in this unit, Herman should be able to build his skills and achieve phonemic awareness soon. Even though his classmate Xi could not write English characters, he already has developed greater skill with phonemic awareness. He can auditorily distinguish phonemic sounds in his own name and can readily name rhyming words he recognizes as different: “cat,” “mat,” and “bat” and even more complicated ones like “spider,” “rider,” and “glider.”
TAKE NOTES :
What are some things that you might do to help a student like Herman improve his phonemic awareness skills?