Reading Recipe: Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic Awareness

The once was a historian trying to understand an lost city’s writing. At least that was her hypothesis when she came across several symbols and didn’t know the meaning. There were several books that held the symbols. The first book she held showed the symbols ◊&”, ‹&”, and ›&”. The historian took out her reading guide for assistance and this is what she found about phonemic awareness:

Phonemic Awareness

Gayle Gregory and Lin Kuzmich (2005) define phonemic awareness as, “…the process of translating sounds into symbols and learning to recognize those symbols and their combinations in words as a beginning step to reading and writing. The stages of phonemic awareness include rhymes, rhythms, symbols, and patterns” (p. 64). When students are using rhymes such as dog, bog, and fog they are demonstrating phonemic awareness. Gregory and Kuzmich (2005) go on to say, “Using stories, chants, and rhyme gives children the opportunity to recognize rhyming words and create other scenarios and verses of their own once the pattern has been established” (p. 65). By using basic rhythms students start to develop their phonemic awareness. Students start out using symbols and start placing sound with these symbols. Finally, students become phonemically aware when they can recognize patterns in stories; such as “There once was…” (Gregory and Kuzmich (2005).

Part of being phonemically aware is the knowledge that printed words are made up of individual sounds and these can become new words (Sousa, 2006). David Sousa Ed.D (2006) writes that phonemic awareness, “includes the ability to isolate a phoneme (first, middle, or last) from the rest of the word, to segment words into their components phonemes, and to delete a specific phoneme from a word” (p. 186). For example, students with phonemic awareness are able to distinguish between hat and cat and between hat and hot.

Gregory, G., Kuzmich, L. (2005). Differentiated literacy strategies for student growth and achievement in grades 7-12. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Sousa, D. (2006). How the brain learns: Third edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

The historian started to crack the code and was able to distinguish the difference between the symbols.


Mrs. Berry

6 Million Dollar Reading Make over: Recipe for Reading

Parts of Reading


Gentlemen and ladies, we can rewrite it. We have the technology. We have the capability to write the world’s finest recipe for reading. Mrs. Berry will be that writer. Better than before. Better, longer, more in-depth.

Ok, it might not be the finest recipe; however, this is what I have discovered over the last three months. I started this series earlier in the semester and received feedback.  Let us just say, I needed to give it a bit more depth.  I will start to define what is reading, and then define each of the eight sections.  I am always learning, so if you have any feedback, please let me know.

Reading is a complex process that involves many different parts. These parts are: print concepts, background knowledge, vocabulary, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension, and motivation. Print concepts are knowing the front of book, that print not pictures tell a story, what are letters and words, where first letters in a word are found, upper and lower case letters, and some punctuation marks (Clay 1998). Background knowledge is something in which new meaning are built upon Wilhelm (2004). Fountas and Pinnell (2006) describe vocabulary as, “Every language has a collection of words, a lexicon, that has particular meanings” (p. 21). Hall and Moats (2006) define phonemic awareness, “This term means that the child must be aware of the separate speech sounds in a word, not just be able to recognize letters” (p. 38). Phonics is a system of correspondence between grapheme-phoneme and linking the spelling of words to their pronunciations (Ehri 2001). Fountas and Pinnell (2006) describe fluent reading as, “…using smoothly integrated operations to process the meaning, language, and print” (p. 62). Comprehension is a process which starts with word identification and using background knowledge and ending with making the text make sense (Sousa, 2006, p. 187). Last in the list is motivation. Jensen (2005), discusses motivation, “Another way to think about motivation is that it consist of the willingness to be active (volition) combined with the actual behavior (meaningful participation)” (p. 102). A teacher needs to know which parts a student has or does not have mastery over through assessments. McGill-Franzen (2006) states, “To know where to start instruction you must know what the child can do. Effective teachers build on what children know” (p. 7).


Clay, M. (1989). The Reading Teacher. Research Library, 42(4), 268.

Ehri, C., Nunes, S., Stahl, S., Willows, D. (2001). Systematic phonics instruction helps students learn to read: Evidence from the national reading panel’s meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 71(3), 393-447.

Fountas, I., Pinnell, G. (2006). Teaching comprehending and fluency: Thinking, talking,and writing about reading, k-8. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Hall, S., Moats, L. (2006). Straight talk about reading: How parents can make a difference during the early years. New York, NY: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Jenson, E. (2005). Teaching with the brain in mind: 2nd edition revised and updated. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

McGill-Franzen, A. (2006). Kindergarten literacy: Matching assessment and instruction in kindergarten. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc.

Wilhelm, J. (2004). Reading is seeing: Learning to visualize scenes, characters, ideas, and text worlds to improve comprehension and reflective reading. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc.


Mrs. Berry

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