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Phonological Awareness, Phonemic Awareness and Phonics: What You Need to Know.

Phonics is one method of teaching children to read and write through matching sounds with symbols in an alphabetic writing system.  It’s the relationship between  (phonemes) individual sounds and (graphemes), the letters that represent them.

Phonological awareness is is the awareness of what sounds are and how they come together to make words. This includes the ability to rhyme, segment words into syllables, blend sounds together, identify and manipulate sounds in different positions within words and sounds within words. These are pre-literacy skills so if children have difficulties here they will most often struggle with reading in the future.

Phonemic awareness is a part of phonological awareness and specifically refers to the child’s ability to hear and identify the individual sounds in spoken words. Children need to understand that spoken words are made up of individual sounds.

Each of the skills are essential and build on each other. Most struggling readers  do not develop these  reading/decoding strategies as explicit systematic phonics instruction is not a focus in current classrooms. These skills are the foundations of reading  and without these skills many children struggle in the early stages of reading. Most teachers and schools are unable to teach this successfully due to the lack of training of teachers and insufficient resources..