Phonemic Awareness and Children Literacy

Phonemic awareness is the predisposition to the sound configuration of language. Phonemic awareness requires the capacity to spin the concentration of an individual to sounds in verbal language whilst shortly moving away from its implication. For instance, if some children are asked which one is longer between a train and a caterpillar, any kid who replies that a caterpillar is longer illustrates the capacity to distinguish words from their implications. A kid who replies that a train is longer fails to distinguish the two words. In reality though, a train is longer when compared to a caterpillar. Kids that can distinguish and maneuver speech can be said to be phonologically aware.

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Phonemic awareness has two aspects and advancements from holistic and plain types of awareness to more intricate types. The first aspect of phonological awareness is the magnitude of the sound entity being focused on and maneuvered (Phillips, Clancy-Menchetti, & Lonigan, 2008). From superior to minor, the sound entities encompass linguistic units and phonemes. The second aspect is a kind of exploitation to the sound entities and the capacity of the kid not only to distinguish the exploitation, but as well to carry it out. Exploitations could entail surrogating one sound for a different one in a word, as well as the addition or elimination of sounds from words, mixing sounds to come up with words, and splitting words to lesser sound entities.

Some significant educational strategy programs have contributed to the literacy of children in the modern times. These programs have emerged due to the vast number of children who presently illustrate hardships with the knowledge of reading. Crucial conclusion from studies anchored in these programs is that early methodical instruction in phonological awareness boosts early comprehension skills. In spite of the present augments for studies concerning phonological awareness, the practice of converting this understanding into teacher performance has been moderately sluggish. Phonological awareness demands the capability to tackle a given sound in the perspective of different sounds in the expression (Wood, Mustian, & Lo, 2013).

The aforementioned aspect could be a difficult undertaking to teach to children since speech sounds are not distinct but moderately expressed in different sounds. Even if educators and educator preparation plans are both vital features, researches constantly reveal that educators have restricted information concerning the formation of language. Particularly, educators do not have the skills required to teach phonemic awareness successfully. Even if the chief educational groups agree on the character of reading lessons, just a few researches have evaluated the knowledge of teachers concerning these significant constituents of early reading programs. There exists a rising accord that phonological awareness carries a noteworthy correlation to accomplishment in the reading.

Phonemic awareness has been revealed to be amid the key forecaster of the manner in which kids will be able to read, particularly in the course of the initial years of education. The development of language takes place at the time when the children learn to deal with and assess the internal phonemic construction of uttered words. Phonemic awareness encompasses the capacities of recognize, segregate, maneuver, mix or subdivide entities of words in the progression of speech. Phonemic awareness encompasses the understanding of syllables, onsets, sounds and rhymes. This awareness is vital to comprehend and spell since in most languages letters signify different sounds. Moreover, this awareness must engage the comprehension that expressions are constituted of a series of utterances and the utterances are signified by letters (Ehri et al., 2001).

Given that phonemic awareness necessitates learners to maneuver personal phonemes in words, it is deemed a more intricate undertaking as compared to the operation of syllables. The least entities of uttered language (referred to as phonemes) vary from the least of entities in written language (referred to as graphemes). The considerable proof in the evaluation of phonemic awareness illustrates that timely evaluation of phonemic awareness is greatly foretelling of the later literacy of the child. Evaluations in phonemic awareness have turned out to be efficient in shaping the present phonemic awareness potentials of the learners.

The Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) evaluation is a kind of evaluation that has been extensively employed to evaluate the phonemic awareness and timely literacy proficiencies of the children. Four Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills are employed at grades K, 1, and 2 to evaluate starting literacy proficiencies of the learners (Goldstein, Fabiano, & Washington, 2005). These four DIBELS are as follows.

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  1. First Sound Eloquence that evaluates the capacity of the learner to identify and create the first sounds in a spoken word.
  2. Letter Identification Eloquence that offers a means of assessing the expertise of the learner in identifying capital letters and small letters.
  3. Nonsense Word Eloquence that measures the proficiency of learners with regard to letter-sound connection and their capacity to mix letters into words (assessment of the alphabetic standard).
  4. Phoneme Segmentation Eloquence that assesses the capacity of a learner to subdivide multiple-phoneme words into their separate words.

Numerous other actions have been reported to be efficient tools to evaluate the phonemic awareness capabilities of the children. Phoneme segregation necessitates the recognition of sounds in words by the learners, for instance, learners require the ability to articulate the initial sound in “vase”. Phoneme segregation teaches learners to identify individual sounds in words. Phoneme recognition necessitates learners to identify similar sounds in dissimilar words, for instance, learners require the ability to make out the same sound present in “bike” and “mike” (Wood, 2000).

Phoneme classification necessitates learners to identify the odd sound in a series of three words, for instance, learners require the ability to identify the word that does not match with the others in mouse, timer and mouth. Phoneme unification necessitates the listening of a series of disjointedly broken sounds by students and uniting them in a word, for instance, learners must have the ability to coalesce the sounds in /k/ /a/ /m/ (come). Phoneme segmentation necessitates learners to split a word into its respective sounds by thumping out or making a count up of the sounds, for instance, learners must have the capacity to decode the quantity of phonemes in ship. Removal of phoneme necessitates learners to identify the word that is left when a particular phoneme is removed from a word, for instance, removal of /h/ from ‘hair’.

Phoneme addition obliges the children to create a different word by the addition of a phoneme to an already present word, for instance, the addition of /p/ at the starting of the word ‘lane’ (McGee & Ukrainetz, 2009). Phoneme substitutions necessitate the learners to replace one phoneme with a different one to produce a new word, for instance, replacing the phoneme /c/ with /w/ in the word ‘cord’. The aforementioned activities could be employed to evaluate the capacity of a student to maneuver the articulated sounds of words. Intellectuals have established that timely evaluation of the phonemic awareness proficiencies of students bring about applicable and suitable literacy instruction.

Teaching of Phonemic Awareness

The capacity to decode sounds in the arrangement of uttered language could be an intricate and demanding undertaking. The failure to comprehend the sound configuration of language could hinder the children’s capacity to achieve worthy chances to grasp the content. The aim of any phonemic awareness action must be to enhance the capacity of the child to comprehend that speech is composed of sounds that can as well be termed as phonemes. There is significance in the phonemic awareness undertaking being developmentally suitable. Moreover, phonemic awareness undertaking must involve the student in a jokey but educational task. In a research conducted by Brice and Brice (2009), children obtained particular edification in phonemic awareness were capable of understanding to read within a short period as compared to similar children of comparable settings that failed to obtain such edification.

This research reveals that early understanding of the material taught is boosted by the capacity to maneuver different sounds. A slight fraction of children is capable of obtaining phonemic awareness proficiencies via oral language and print experience (Brice & Brice, 2009). Nevertheless, the majority of students encounters a hard time obtaining phonemic awareness and requires direct methodical instruction. For the majority of students, knowledge of the phonemic configuration of words comes about naturally during the days of preschool. Successful instruction for training phonemic instruction must be in line with efficient teaching directives. Educators must initially shape the action prior to allocating time for instructed progression with cautious structuring of actions from minor to major. Phonemic awareness instruction must be edified by initiating major entities prior to the minor entities. Phonemic awareness is a section of the order of metalinguistic proficiencies that start with word stage awareness and thereafter progresses to phoneme stage awareness.

Even though it is not vital, children characteristically yield a comprehension of operation of sound at the words, rhymes and syllables stage prior to attaining phoneme stage proficiencies. Many undertakings have been initiated to boost the improvement of phonemic awareness of children. Educators can employ sound harmonizing, sound separation and sound adding tasks to boost the proficiencies of students in phonemic awareness. These undertakings demand children to recognize or offer dissimilar phonemes within words (Walter, 2010). Subdividing and blending undertakings are as well efficient policies to boost the phonemic awareness capacities of children. Multisensory undertakings (for instance, Elkonin boxes) could be integrated with subdividing and segmenting to boost the phonemic awareness of children. Elkonin boxes denote image cards that have boxes below every image symbolizing the amount of phonemes in each word.

Children can manipulate a fragment every instance they utter a phoneme in the word. Children can finally substitute the fragments that symbolize the sound. The majority phonemic edifying actions as well encompass segmentation processes. Segmentation processes can consist of phoneme removal or combinations of words that start of conclude with identical sounds (Ehri & Roberts, 2006). Even if the significance of phonemic awareness has been extensively studied, the impression is not yet clearly comprehended by classroom educators. Current reading programs sustain the anticipation that commencing reading instruction will encompass instruction in phonemic awareness, but just a few researches have assessed what educators fathom concerning these significant constituents of phonemic awareness.

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Teacher understanding and proficiencies in Phonemic Awareness

Even if studies have illustrated that timely methodical instruction in phonemic awareness boosts the proficiencies of children in starting to read and spell, educators maintain the lack of comprehension of phonemic awareness (Ehri, & Roberts, 2006). This paper discloses three classifications of understanding of the educators. These include the following:

  1. Preservice as well as inservice understanding and views concerning phonemic awareness of educators.
  2. The association amid the understanding, convictions and instructional process of teachers in addition to the phonemic awareness results of children.
  3. Professional advancement undertakings as an involvement to boost the understanding of educators concerning phonemic awareness.

Understanding of Phonemic Awareness and Student comprehension

The understanding of educators concerning phonemic awareness is a significant feature of the capacity of students to comprehend how to read. Different studies reveal professional advancement actions as an involvement to boost the understanding of educators concerning phonemic awareness. Many intellectuals have associated the understanding of educators concerning phonemic awareness with the reading progress of children. This association illustrates the significance of educators to have a comprehension of the constituents of language progress. In this regard, Chapman (2003) carried out a research to assess the association between the educators understanding of phonology and the literacy of children.

The researcher assessed the link involving the understanding of phonemic awareness by educators of grades K, 1 and 2. To investigate the understanding of educators on literature, the researcher conducted a sequence of tests (Chapman, 2003). In order to investigate the understanding of educators concerning the construction of language, the researcher employed casual examination of language understanding. The researcher associated the understanding of educators on theoretical course, classroom progression, and knowledge of children. They established that the understanding of content on phonemic awareness by teachers was associated with the examination results of the children at the said grades.

No associations were disclosed between the understanding of content on phonemic awareness by educators and the literacy of the children at the grades 1 and 2. This observation verifies the significance of the instructions on phonemic awareness at the early involvement level (Brice & Brice, 2009). The research as well established that the general phonemic awareness understanding by educators was low. However, the research encountered a number of limitations. To start with, there existed numerous setbacks with the overall scores of the educators particularly for the system was generated over two decades ago and adjustments in the hypothetical courses could have varied since then. Additionally, there existed minimal internal dependability of the system owing to restricted amount of items to carry out the evaluations for educators in grades 1 and 2.

Phonemic awareness and literacy development

Phonemic awareness requires comprehension as a minute feature of phonological awareness that is a section of a larger perception of metalinguistic knowledge. Even if the expressions phonemic awareness and phonological awareness at times considered exchangeable, the in reality bear different connotations. While phonological awareness denotes a bigger perception and is the awareness of the different sound features of language (as diverse from its implications), phonemic awareness is a bit definite. It signifies the capacity to identify every phoneme (the most minor entity in a speech). Metalinguistic awareness is a collective expression that encompasses a complete set of perceptions associated with language and literacy. Metalinguistic awareness builds up in grades K, 1 and 2, and progresses further. Everyone of the main metalinguistic awareness could be segregated into distinct constituents (Brice & Brice, 2009). Two major features of phonological awareness constitute phonemic awareness and include the following:

  1. The capacity to subdivide sounds into phonemes
  2. The capacity to merge phonemes into sounds

Subdividing and merging of phonemes have obtained numerous significances in this paper since they are the features of phonemic awareness most strictly associated with comprehension of how to read and spell. Students that have excellent phonemic awareness have the ability to subdivide a sound into phonemes in a bid to put the word in writing and to merge phonemes in a bid to ensure literacy development (Brice & Brice, 2009). Students that bear phonemic awareness and that as well bear ample understanding of the association between letters and sounds, are capable of developing an accurate reading of words, which have to be assessed with perspective and implication in a bid to grasp what is read.

Even if both phonemic and phonological awareness are significant in the attainment of literacy, phonemic awareness has a tendency of obtaining greater focus since it is deemed by a number of individuals as being of vital significance in the attainment of literacy. Even if mentally oriented intellectuals affirm that phonemic awareness is a requirement to reading, there exists proof that it starts due to literacy (Ehri & Roberts, 2006). When assessing the entire study literature (employing varying criteria), the union of proof positions to a mutual association linking phonemic awareness and literacy. In short, phonemic awareness assists students to build up literacy, and literacy assists students build up phonemic awareness. At a point where extensive understanding base is considered in the ability to read and write, it is evident that whereas phonemic awareness has a critical function in the ability to read and write different aspects have a significant function and they must be taken seriously.

In conclusion, phonemic awareness has been discussed as a predisposition to the sound arrangement of language. Phonemic awareness obliges the aptitude to spin the deliberation of a person to sounds in verbal language whilst abruptly moving away from its insinuation.

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Some considerable educational tactic programs have brought about the literacy of children in the contemporary times. These programs have materialized due to the immense quantity of children who now demonstrate hardships with the comprehension of reading. Essential conclusion from studies founded on these programs is that early orderly instruction in phonological awareness increases early comprehension expertise. Several other actions have been accounted to be professional tools to appraise the phonemic awareness potential of the children. Even if the phrases phonemic awareness and phonological awareness are occasionally considered exchangeable, they in certainty bear diverse connotations. Even if both phonemic and phonological awareness are central in the realization of literacy, phonemic awareness has an inclination of obtaining bigger focus since it is supposed by a number of persons as being of vital impact in the realization of literacy.

Reference List

Brice, G., & Brice, E. (2009). Investigation of phonemic awareness and phonic skills in Spanish-English bilingual and English-speaking kindergarten students. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 30(4), 208-225.

Chapman, M. (2003). Phonemic awareness: Clarifying what we know. Literacy Teaching and Learning: An International Journal of Early Reading and Writing, 7(1), 91-114.

Ehri, C., & Roberts, T. (2006). The roots of learning to read and write: Acquisition of letters and phonemic awareness. Handbook of early literacy research, 2, 113-131.

Ehri, C., Nunes, R., Willows, M., Schuster, V., Yaghoub‐Zadeh, Z., & Shanahan, T. (2001). Phonemic awareness instruction helps children learn to read: Evidence from the National Reading Panel’s meta‐analysis. Reading research quarterly, 36(3), 250-287.

Goldstein, B., Fabiano, L., & Washington, S. (2005). Phonological skills in predominantly English-speaking, predominantly Spanish-speaking, and Spanish-English bilingual children. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 36(3), 201.

McGee, M., & Ukrainetz, A. (2009). Using scaffolding to teach phonemic awareness in preschool and kindergarten. The Reading Teacher, 62(7), 599-603.

Phillips, M., Clancy-Menchetti, J., & Lonigan, C. J. (2008). Successful phonological awareness instruction with preschool children lessons from the classroom. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 28(1), 3-17

Walter, N. (2010). The Effects of Intervention in Phonemic Awareness on the Reading Achievement of English Language Learners in Kindergarten. Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest LLC.

Wood, C. (2000). Rhyme awareness, orthographic analogy use, phonemic awareness and reading: An examination of relationships. Educational Psychology, 20(1), 5-15.

Wood, C. L., Mustian, A. L., & Lo, Y. Y. (2013). Effects of Supplemental Computer-Assisted Reciprocal Peer Tutoring on Kindergarteners’ Phoneme Segmentation Fluency. Education and Treatment of Children, 36(1), 33-48.

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