Ms. Susan Von Rembow
Welcome Parents!

On this page, I will be sharing information with you about reading topics that affect your young readers. Please check this page for the latest reading research and ways to support your child at home.

Phonemic Awareness...What is it?

Have you heard your child's teacher talking about "phonemic awareness? and wondered what this is and how it is developed? Phonemic awareness describes one aspect of language development that all children must acquire during the process of learning to read. It actually refers to something quite simple: the ability to hear sounds in language and do different things with the sounds, like break them apart and blend them back together again.

Much research has been done over the past 30 years to examine every possible influence on the process of learning to read. Some children, even with intensive phonics instruction still have great difficulty learning to decode words as they read. Sometimes these children are having difficulty with the skills associated with phonemic awareness, an ability that works purely on an auditory level.

For example, knowing that "dog" and "daddy" have the same beginning sound means that one sound can be isolated and heard even if the letter "d" can't be identified. Similarly, if a child can tell which words in a set of several rhyme, he or she can identify parts of words that sound the same. Finally, sounds can be changed around or manipulated as in the example, "Tommy" becomes "Nommy."

These skills are critical because they are the beginning stages of learning to decode words and also how to spell. If a child cannot hear or manipulate sounds, than he or she will have difficulty later identifying them and connecting them to specific letters in phonics activities.

It is fun to encourage the development of phonemic awareness in your child! Here are a few ideas for you to try at home:

*Sing songs together! Songs are filled with rhymes and patterns that when heard and sung over and over, become part of your child's repertoire.

*Play language games with your child. Say a word and see who can make the most rhymes with it. Nonsense words are great for this, for example, "cake, hake, make, pake..." Make up sentences that begin with the same beginning sound like, "Six silly snakes sat slowly on a sandbox."

*Read aloud to your child. Include poetry and nursery rhymes as well as stories.