Neshaminy Title I

Spotlight on Literacy: Phonemic Awareness

Dear Neshaminy Families,

Neshaminy Title I Spotlight on Literacy is a series of on demand mini workshops that provide families with background knowledge, strategies and resources to support learners at home with reading and related areas. Each issue will focus on a specific area of literacy. You will learn a definition for the given skill and learn how or why it is important to reading. Additionally, one of our NSD reading specialists will model a skill related activity that you can try at home with your reader.

In this issue, Ferderbar ES Title I Reading Specialist, Pam Haggerty, shares her expertise in phonemic awareness, a reading related skill. Happy reading!


Kim Maurizi

Title I Reading Specialist

Phonemic Awareness: What is it?

Phonemic awareness is the ability to recognize and manipulate individual speech sounds in spoken words. Skills include being able to blend sounds into words, segment sounds from whole words, and insert and delete sounds in words.

Phonemic awareness differs from phonological awareness and phonics. Phonological awareness is a broad category of awareness of all levels of the speech sound system that not only includes phonemic awareness but also counting words in sentences, rhyming, syllables, onset-rime, and alliteration. Phonics has to do with written language. It is concerned with letters and letter patterns that represent the sounds of the English language.

Phonemic awareness sounds like:

  • recognizing which words in a set of words begin with the same sound

    ("Bell, bike, and boy all have /b/ at the beginning.")

  • isolating and saying the first or last sound in a word

    ("The beginning sound of dog is /d/." "The ending sound of sit is /t/.")

  • combining, or blending the separate sounds in a word to say the word

    ("/m/, /a/, /p/ – map.")

  • breaking, or segmenting a word into its separate sounds

    ("up – /u/, /p/.")

Reading Rockets

Phonemic Awareness: Why is it Important?

Phonemic awareness is important for automatic word recognition. Most children learn phonemic awareness easily. Children who struggle with phonemic awareness struggle with reading. They do not recognize the relationship between the sounds in words and the strings of letters representing that pronunciation in print (Kilpatrick, Equipped for Reading Success). Phonemic awareness is typically taught to the whole class in kindergarten - first grade. It is taught second grade and up to struggling readers if they have demonstrated a need.
Spotlight on Literacy: Phonemic Awareness

**You may print the activities from the below links. Included in the description is the number of pages for print in each activity. If you do not have access to a printer, please email your Title I Reading Specialist for a print copy of the activity. Reading specialist contacts can be found at the end of the newsletter. In the email, be sure to provide the name of the activity, your child’s name and grade.

Phoneme Fish Game

(For K-1) Played like the card game Go Fish. Children have to find pairs of picture cards with matching 1st sounds. 2 or more players. 29 pp.

Phoneme Feud

(For K-2) Played like the card game War. Children have to turn over a card and count the number of phonemes in the picture. The one with more phonemes takes the cards. Game is played until no cards are left. The child with the most cards wins. 29 pp.

Sound Chaining

(For K-2) A sound manipulation exercise where one sound is changed to make each new word in a series of words. Example: sip to tip. This activity is for grades K and up. Materials needed are markers to represent the sounds in words. 1p.

Parental & Family Engagement Support

We have a Title I Reading Specialist available at each building to assist parents with supporting their child’s academic progress between home and school. One of the roles of the Title I Reading Specialist is that of a coordinator who provides opportunities for parents to participate in workshops and activities that will greatly benefit students. Also, the Title I Reading Specialist organizes and conducts, planning meetings with parents and volunteering opportunities that will help influence academic success. For more information, please contact the Title I Reading Specialist at your student's school:

NSD Title I Parent Handbook

Title I A. of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act provides financial assistance to school districts and schools with high percentages of children from families that may have various disadvantages. Read to find out more about Title I at NSD.

Neshaminy School District Title I

Please feel free to contact Michelle Burkholder, Director of Elementary Education, at any time with questions, concerns or suggestions regarding Neshaminy School District Title I.