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Research has proven that phonemic awareness is the most potent predictor of success in learning to read.  Exposing children to explicit and systematic teaching of these skills will help to ensure a solid literacy foundation. 

            Phonemic awareness refers to an awareness of sounds in spoken, (not written), language.  It is the ability to attend to those sounds, differentiate between them, and manipulate them.  Learning to read and write requires these critical readiness skills!


            The authors of this site have carefully aligned the phonemic awareness skills with teaching activities that will provide children with many exposures to each skill.  The organization and utilization of the First Grade bi-weekly Lesson Plans play a critical role in the positive learning outcomes of our students.   Let’s take a look at the key components of Phonemic Awareness in First Grade.


Phonemic Awareness Lesson Calendar

            This 2005/2006 calendar gives the following information:  The lesson date, (which is usually a 2 week segment); the Lesson number, (which is hyper-linked directly to that lesson); and the phonemic awareness content of each lesson.  The content was carefully planned to ensure that each phonemic awareness skill is taught very thoroughly to the students. 


Bi-Weekly Lesson Planning Guides

            These lesson-planning guides have been carefully prepared, using a variety of excellent resources.  The phonemic awareness skills are aligned so that teachers may explicitly and systematically teach them in the first grade.  We suggest teachers print each Lesson Guide, and use it as a checklist, to ensure that their first grade students are being provided with adequate exposure to each phonemic awareness skill.

            Notice that each Lesson Guide includes several phonemic awareness skills, which are briefly defined, each followed by a list of referenced activities, which focus on that particular skill.

            At the end of each lesson, (beginning in Lesson 4), there is a section entitled, Shared Reading.  Shared reading is an interactive reading session involving the whole class.  The teacher introduces a story or poem written in “Big Book” format, so that everyone can view the text together.  After introducing the story, the teacher reads it and discusses it with the children.  On subsequent readings, children join in on key words and phrases they know.  The children read more and more of the text, until they are able to read the story or poem independently.  Shared reading gives every child the opportunity to feel success as a reader.  Shared reading also provides wonderful opportunities to teach phonemic awareness skills, phonics skills, and reading strategies through mini-lessons. 


            The shared reading materials referenced include controlled-vocabulary books and poetry, (Dr. Maggie), as well as fun, engaging songs and rhymes, (Fall, Winter, & Spring Phonemic Awareness Songs and Rhymes).  This portion of each lesson was also carefully planned to explicitly and systematically teach our students phonemic awareness (and phonetic) skills. 

It is important to notice the Instructional Configuration portion of each lesson-planning guide.  Whole group activities include the shared reading experiences of “Big Books”, poetry, and songs, as well as simple games.  Small group activities will work better within a learning center, or as a guided reading activity.  Independent activities can be planned as a follow-up to a lesson, or even as an evaluation piece.


Phonemic Awareness Assessments

            These assessments provide data; which is in turn used for follow-up instruction and/or early intervention with children needing more in-depth phonemic awareness instruction.  The assessments are designated as MLPP Assessments, which are Michigan Literacy Progress Profile assessments, and are a part of a larger literacy endeavor in the state of Michigan. 



            The 1st Grade Phonemic Awareness Resource page provides an annotated list of the resources found valuable in phonemic awareness instruction.  The resources are referenced in the Lesson Guides, with the following abbreviations.



Fitzpatrick, Jo, Phonemic Awareness:  Playing with Sounds to Strengthen Beginning Reading Skills, Cypress, CA:  Creative Teaching Press, Inc.  1997.



Blevens, Wiley, Phonemic Awareness Activities, New York, NY:  Scholastic.  1997.



Adams, Marilyn Jager., Barbara R. Foorman., Ingvar Lundberg., Terri Beeler., Phonemic Awareness in Young Children:  A Classroom Curriculum, Baltimore, MD:  Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.  1998.



Jordano, Kimberly., Trisha Callella-Jones, Fall Phonemic Awareness Songs & Rhymes, Cypress, CA:  Creative Teaching Press, Inc.  1998.



Jordano, Kimberly., Trisha Callella-Jones, Winter Phonemic Awareness Songs & Rhymes, Cypress, CA:  Creative Teaching Press, Inc.  1998.


Jordano, Kimberly., Trisha Callella-Jones, Spring Phonemic Awareness Songs & Rhymes, Cypress, CA:  Creative Teaching Press, Inc.  1998.


Dr Maggie

Allen, Margaret, Phonics Resource Guide, and Phonics Readers, Huntington Beach, CA:  Creative Teaching Press, Inc. 1999.



Early Emergent Skills Guide – First Grade, the Wright Group