Phonemic Awareness


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Programs and Materials

Phonemic Awareness materials should:

  1. Progress from easier phonemic awareness activities to more difficult (rhyming, sound matching to blending, segmentation, and manipulation).
  2. Focus on segmentation or the combination of blending and segmenting.
  3. Start with larger linguistic units (i.e., words and syllables) and proceed to smaller linguistic units (i.e., phonemes).
  4. Begin instruction that focuses on the phonemic level of phonological units with short words (2-3 phonemes: at, mud, run).
  5. Focus first on initial (/s/ /at/), then final (/sa/ /t/), and lastly the medial sound (/s/ /a/ /t/) in word).
  6. Introduce continuous sounds (e.g., /m/, /r/, /s/) before stop sounds (/t/, /b/, /k/), as stop sounds are more difficult to elongate and isolate.
  7. Add letter-sound correspondence instruction to phonological awareness interventions after children demonstrate early phonemic awareness.
  8. Provide brief instructional sessions. Significant gains in phonemic awareness are often made in 15-20 minutes of daily instruction and practice over a period of 9-12 weeks.

(Smith, Simmons, & Kame'enui, 1998; see References)

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For more information about evaluating and selecting reading programs and materials, visit the Curricula section of this website.