• Katrina Wascher

Phonemic Awareness


Playing with sound is a great way for children to practice phonemic awareness!

Key Developmental Indicator (KDI) D24’s goal is that children identify distinct sounds in spoken language. This spans all the way from recognizing the small sounds that each individual letter makes, to identifying rhymes and alliteration. It also includes recognizing separate syllables in words. This knowledge is important for understanding the way language works and success in future reading and writing ventures.


Children generally first are able to identify the sounds at the beginning of words better than the sound at the end. The ability to differentiated sounds in the middle of words comes last. This is one of the reasons we use letter linked symbols with each child’s name to label all of their school belongings (cubbies, journals, art clips, etc.). A child’s name becomes the foundational way for them to study and make sense of phonemic awareness, because their name is important to them.


You can help your child extend their school learning at home with the following methods:

1. Explore different sound making materials (blocks, shakers, pianos, etc.) and talk about the different sounds they make.

2. Identify sounds in your environment. Simply walking outside and focusing on the different sounds of cars, birds, or people help you little one to practice identifying individual sounds.

3. Read rhymes! A simple internet or library search will help you find a whole world of different rhymes to read and enjoy.

4. Make up rhymes! Children love making up silly rhyming words, and they’ll love it even more when they get to do it with you.

5. Point out objects that start with certain letter sounds. Play a game where your child runs and finds something in the house that starts with a certain sound! Example: You might ask them to find something that starts with the sound /b/ and they would go and find a bowl.

6. Build syllable recognition by singing each syllable of their name on a different pitch, or clapping the syllables of their name along with the names of members of your family.