Phonemic Awareness is often confused with Phonics. They are not the same. Phonemic Awareness involves oral activities while Phonics involves both print and sound activities.
Phonemic Awareness is considered a meta-cognitive skills. Once the concept is learned, it can be generalized to other words. In English, Phonics requires the memorization of 26 letters and approximately 98 letter sound combinations. This takes memorizing and practicing until all combinations are quick and automatic.
Why is Phonemic Awareness so Important?
Phonemic Awareness is a foundational skill that is critical for learning to read. In English (phonemes, which are tiny speech sounds) are mapped onto letters that we use for reading and spelling.
Reading involves mapping a spatial sequence of letters, from left to right, onto a temporal sequence of phonemes, organized from first to last.
Spelling involves a similar process but in the other direction. In order to spell, the child must be able to go from sound to print.
The above mentioned reasons are what makes Phonemic Awareness so important.
We often get new clients that have been receiving tutoring but are not making progress. Once we complete testing we often find that they are lacking the crucial skills for reading and spelling. These skills include, rhyming, isolating sounds, blending, segmenting and manipulating sounds.