Phonemic Awareness

The importance of phonemic awareness for reading an alphabetic script is well established and has been researched far more than it has for listening. This might seem odd given that phonemes are sounds so directly related to hearing. This situation exists because phonemic awareness has been investigated in the first language (L1) context. Children in an L1 learning context have developed their listening ability by the time they start school. They start phonics, then, with the ability to hear the sounds. In school, these children transfer their listening ability to a new skill – reading. Phonemic awareness instruction in the L1 context comes into play in the process of helping L1 children develop their reading ability by connecting sounds to letters.


That is not the case with L2 learners. L2 learners cannot hear all the sounds!


They literally cannot hear all the sounds.


Some researchers at the National University in Seoul did a meta-analysis of previous studies to investigate the effectiveness of phonemic awareness instruction on L2 English listening skills. The results are not surprising. They found improving phonemic awareness improves listening. That would be an obvious though, right?


They also claim it is more effective with young learners, which is not surprising.


How to do it? That is what b4 does. And we do it at


Mentioned article:

The Effects of Phonemic Awareness Instructions on L2 Listening Comprehension: A Meta-Analysis

The Journal of Asia TEFL, Choe,  Lee & So,  Vol. 17, No. 4, Winter 2020,

LTP300 space 2

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