These tools will help you decide what modules and activities to focus on with children of different ages, determine a child’s level of mastery of different curriculum skills, and help speed up teaching the curriculum.
Children will learn to hear the syllables within words, divide words into syllables (analysis), and put separated syllables together into a word (synthesis). Understanding this word structure is vital to learning phonemic awareness.
Digraph sounds (a.k.a. “special sounds”) are single sounds written with two letters (such as sh and ch). In this module children will learn to hear and identify these sounds, as well as learning how they are written.
Practice working with individual sounds (phonemes), including vowels, adding and removing them from the beginning and end of short words. Learn to count the number of sounds in words and pay attention to the order of the sounds.
Phonemic awareness is the ability to think about, analyze, and manipulate the sound structure of individual words. This pre-reading skill, also called phonological awareness, will make phonics that much easier for your child. It is the foundation of a child’s reading ability — if a child can’t hear the individual sounds in a word, he will always struggle to figure out the letters in that word.
Phonemic awareness is the skill of hearing the difference between bat and mat and understanding that changing the /b/ sound in bat to an /mmm/ sound can create a different word.
We at SightWords.com have created a comprehensive curriculum for phonemic awareness instruction. It is intended for parents to use with one child in the home as well as for preschool teachers to use in the classroom. The curriculum is divided into eleven sections, each containing about ten activities and games. All the activities are designed to be short and engaging.
Just go through the curriculum in order, as later exercises will build upon the skills learned in earlier exercises. Refer to our Teaching Tips for suggestions on planning lessons and tailoring activities to your child.
How long will this take? For typically developing four-year-olds, it takes about ten months, or one school year, to go through the entire Phonemic Awareness Curriculum.
3. Benefits of Phonemic Awareness
Phonemic awareness makes learning to read easier. A child with phonemic awareness can already blend sounds into words, and so she finds phonics more intuitive. When a child can separate words into sounds, spelling (breaking words into letters) becomes easier.
“Teach[ing] phonemic awareness…accelerates reading and writing growth of the entire classroom…”
Ingvar Lundberg, “Phonemic Awareness in Young Children”
A typical child entering elementary school with high phonemic awareness is almost certain to become a skilled and confident reader. A child with low phonemic awareness is likely to struggle with phonics and reading.