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Phonemic Awareness: 6 Activities

Research has shown that phonemic awareness is the single strongest indicator of a child’s success at learning to read an alphabetic script. Strong phonemic awareness, when used to segment and blend sounds, helps children decode and understand what they are reading.

Phonemic awareness allows readers to build another important element of reading: phonics. Phonics (the relationship between letters and sounds) builds upon phonemic awareness.

Here are 6 activities listed according to difficulty. These activities can be used for ten or fifteen minutes, but with youngsters be aware of the students’ concentration. Abilities will differ depending on the age, the L1, natural ability, and other things teachers are most likely aware of. When a letter appears between slash marks, you should say the letter sound, and not the letter name.

1. Recognizing sounds

         Say three words that begin with the same sound, such as: m-m-man, m-m-mouse,

         m-m-moon. Ask students to tell you what sound the words begins with.

2. Phoneme matching

      This is the ability to identify words that begin with the same sound.

            Which words start with the same sound? man, sat, mommy (Correct response: man,      


3. Phoneme isolation

      This is the ability to isolate a single sound from within a word. Start with initial sounds  

       because they are the easiest.

            What’s the first sound in “sit?” (Correct response: /s/)

            What’s the last sound in “sit?” (Correct response: /t/)

           What’s the middle sound in “sit?” (Correct response: /i/)

4. Phoneme blending

        This is the ability to blend individual sounds into a word.

             What word do these sounds make? /h/ – /o/ – /t/ (Correct response: hot)

5. Phoneme segmentation

          This is the opposite of blending. It is to break a word into individual sounds.

               What sounds do you hear in “hot?” (Correct response: /h/ – /o/ – /t/)

6. Phoneme manipulation

         This is the ability to modify, change, or move the individual sounds in a word.

              Say “pig.” (Correct response: pig)

             Now change the /p/ in “pig” to /f/. (Correct response: fig)


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