What is phonological awareness?

Phonological awareness revers to the ability to hear and manipulate sounds. It may refer to phonemes (as in phonemic awareness), syllables, words, and sentences. If this is confusing to you, Dyslexia Help provides an example of what phonological awareness looks like at each level: phoneme, syllable, word, and sentence. As you can tell when working with phonological awareness skills, activities are not restricted to sounds (phonemes) only, which is what distinguishes it from phonemic awareness.  

Phonological Awareness vs. Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic awareness, however, is defined as the ability to hear, recognize, and manipulate individual sounds within words. These sounds are known as phonemes. Hence, the term "phonemic awareness."


If you notice, that definition is based upon, first, hearing sounds and words. It has nothing to do with print or associating those sounds with letters. In fact, that is where phonics comes in. See how this works?

Most important to understanding this skill is remembering that it is auditory; it's focused on hearing. 

Visual References

Check out the images below! Click to access the original pages, where you can gain a wealth of additional resources and information about phonological awareness and phonemic awareness.

Materials for phonological awareness: 

Additional resources...