AUSD Elementary Literacy

Student with Book

Student with work

What is Phonological Awareness?

“Phonological awareness is the understanding of different ways that oral language can be divided into smaller components and manipulated.” (Chard and Dickson, 1999) Phonological awareness refers to the bigger “chunks” or “parts” of language.  When we ask students to rhyme, blend small words to make a compound word, break words apart into syllables or onset-rime, we are working at the phonological awareness level.  Phonological awareness can be thought of as a big umbrella with the bigger “chunks” of language being the top of the umbrella.


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Heggerty Spanish

What is Phonemic Awareness?

Phonemic awareness is the understanding that spoken words are made of individual sounds called phonemes. A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound we hear in a word. Phonemic awareness falls underneath the umbrella as a sub-category of phonological awareness. Rather than working with larger units of spoken language, we ask students to listen for the individual sounds or phonemes in a spoken word. When we ask students to blend or segment words into the smallest unit of sound they hear, we are working at the phonemic awareness level. For example, the four sounds /p//l//a//n/ can be blended to make the whole word plan.

Heggerty: Parent Newsletter with ideas to work on Phonemic Awareness at home:

Phonemic Awareness Assessments & Lesson Plans | Heggerty