Excerpt from: About.com (click for full article)
Phonemic awareness is the ability of a child to recognize the relationship of letters and letter sounds. Phonemic awareness is a prerequisite skills for children to begin to use "phonics," which is the ability to apply rules to letters and the sounds that they make.
Phonemic awareness is clearly a developmentally determined task. Children need first to be able to:
Hear and imitate letter sounds.
Articulate word sounds.
Component Skills of Phonemic Awareness
Phonemic Awareness proceeds from the least to the most difficult skills:
- The ability to identify words that begin with the same sound, : i.e. "Which of these words start with the same, /p/ sound? Pig, bed, pin, got. ")
- Segmenting and identifying the first or last sound of a word: "What sound does the word "ten" begin with? /t/? Very good!"
- Blending the sounds of a word together. Given "b," "e," and "d," a child can put the sounds together and make "bed."
- Segmenting or separating out the sounds in a word: can the child say that "bed" is "b," "e," and "d?"
Tips for Building Phonemic Awareness