Phonemic Awareness: What It Is & Why It's Important



So here's something you already know: If you teach young children, then you are a reading teacher.

Here's something you may not know: If you are teaching children how to read, then not only should you be knowledgable about phonemic awareness, but you should be doing activities daily with your students to help support their development in that area.


Here's the reality: Very few teachers can clearly articulate what phonemic awareness is and why it is important for young readers.


Having been a teacher of children with dyslexic tendencies, I utilized phonemic awareness exercises daily with my students, because this is typically an area of weakness for individuals with dyslexia. Having transitioned back into a "mainstream" classroom, I continue to prioritize phonemic awareness exercises daily with my students, because I know how vital it is for students in the foundational years of reading instruction.


Phonemic awareness is important crucial for all readers. So if phonemic awareness is a murky concept for you, then this post may be a good starting point for you. I am sharing an overview of important concepts in my own words, and at the end of this post, I am listing other resources, made available by people who are far more knowledgable than I am. In all, I hope to provide you with multiple perspectives from which to glean a better understanding of phonemic awareness and how it impacts your reading instruction.


This information also holds true for parents as well. Phonemic awareness skills can easily be developed at home! Use this information not only to shape your classroom instruction, but also to better inform parents about new ways they can work with their children.

Okay, let's clear up a big misunderstanding: phonemic awareness and phonics ARE NOT the same thing. Pho