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Phonics, Phonological and Phonemic Awareness?

Phonological Awareness

Understanding the sound structure of language.

  • Identifying and generating rhyming words i.e. cat, mat, rat
  • Segmenting words, syllables, and sentences i.e. ‘cat-er-pill-ar’ has 4 syllables

Phonemic Awareness

Processing sounds in spoken language.

  • Segmenting sounds i.e. ‘grow’ has 3 phonemes or sounds e.g. g-r-ow
  • Isolating sounds in words i.e. the word ‘bat’ begins with a /b/, ends with a /t/ and has an /a/ sound in the middle.
  • Deleting words and sounds i.e. rainbow without ‘rain’ is ‘bow’. The word fox without the /f/ sound is ‘ox’.
  • Blending words, syllables and sounds i.e. hot+dog = ‘hotdog’ and com + pu + ter = ‘computer’. The sounds b-a-g, make the word ‘bag’.
  • Substituting sounds in words i.e. bat with a /r/ is rat.


Understanding the link between letters (graphemes) and sounds (phonemes).

  • The letter 'o' can make a short /o/ sound as in frog or a long /o/ sound as in nose.

Research indicates that children, who have good phonological awareness skills, will develop better literacy skills. A good reader is a confident learner.