If you teach young children, you have most likely heard about phonemic awareness. You may have even heard of phonological awareness. Many people get these two things confused, or use them in the same way. I thought that I would explain the difference between them so you can have a better understanding of the two.
What is Phonological Awareness?
Phonological awareness is very broad. It includes being able to recognize and manipulate the parts of oral language. Try to think of phonological awareness as a cookie, and the rhyming, syllables, phonemic awareness, etc as the chocolate chips in the cookie. You need all of them to make a good cookie (a.k.a reader). The chart below shows the main skills that are included in this phonological awareness cookie.
People often confuse phonological awareness and phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness is a component (or chocolate chip) of phonological awareness. It is the ability to blend, segment and change sounds within a word. Phonemic awareness is a a very important part of phonological awareness.
Why Is Phonological Awareness Important?
According to Griffith and Olson (1992), phonemic awareness has been shown to be a powerful predictor of reading achievement. It is often a better indicator than IQ tests or other language measures. Phonological awareness activities help build the foundation needed for phonics instruction.
Phonological Routine Cards and Assessments
In my first grade classroom, I spend a couple of minutes a day working on various phonological awareness activities. First, I assess my students to get an idea if there are any students with deficits in any of the phonological awareness skills. These assessments are quick and easy.
Next, I spend a couple of minutes a day running through a few phonological awareness activities. I store these routine cards on a binder ring, so it is easy for me to flip through and pick two or three a day. Finally, if I pull any students who have a deficit in a specific routine. I work with them on that routine a bit more intensely.