The average person has probably never heard of phonemic awareness, but researchers claim that this critical element of reading may be the single most powerful predictor of reading success. A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in our language. A child learns to use phonemes to speak, long before he learns the alphabet. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear the sounds of the language, manipulate them in your mind, and reproduce them appropriately with your mouth. For example, a child might be asked to tell you the first sound s/he hears in the word cat. Not the letter, but the sound. They might also be asked to tell the last sound they hear, or the middle sound. Again, this has nothing to do with knowing the alphabet or being able to tell the letter that is used to represent the sound. There are approximately 30 discrete phonemic awareness skills that a child should master by the end of second grade. The phonemic awareness test offered by The Struggling Reader is a user-friendly, but powerful tool that will allow you to evaluate your child’s abilities on 21 of the most important phonemic awareness skills.
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