One of the first steps your child will take on their reading journey is learning to recognize letters. Before your young learner can start to sound out words, blend syllables together, or master other early reading foundations, they’ll need letter recognition skills.
What Is Phonemic Awareness?
Phonemic awareness is a concept that deals with identifying and manipulating single sounds in words, known as “phonemes”.
A phoneme is the smallest possible unit of sound in a language. Phonemes blend together to form words, and every word we use is made up of a combination of them.
Letter sounds are one of the very first things your child will encounter when they begin to explore reading.
By recognizing the phonetic sounds that alphabetic letters make, your child will take their first big step toward associating words with their individual sounds, an essential tool for, when the time is right, sounding out words.
Research shows that for children to become enthusiastic, fluent readers, they need a firm grasp of phonics and the alphabetic code. That’s where phonological and phonemic awareness — the ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds in words — come into play.
Reading is not a task that comes naturally for most children. Instead, they need to be taught to read. They won’t learn simply by looking at books or listening to adults read (even though few things are more valuable in raising a lifelong reader than reading to them from birth on!).
Recognizing words easily is one of the first steps on the path to a love of reading and learning. And using phonics can help you get the ball rolling for your child!