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Tool 3: Phonemes – Paving the Way to Print and Meaning


  • Define the importance of phoneme awareness
  • Deepen an appreciation for the phoneme’s role in word meaning, reading, and spelling
  • Learn the correct articulation of the consonant and vowel phonemes
  • Define the terms associated with phonological awareness
  • Apply many brief phonological and phoneme awareness activities throughout the day

  • Part 1 - Introduction: Phoneme Awareness in Spelling and Reading

    Topic 1: Phoneme Awareness is Important

    • This topic lays the groundwork for understanding why the phoneme is so important for meaning and for reading.

    Topic 2: Articulate Consonant Phonemes Correctly

    • Teachers learn what consonant phonemes are and how to articulate them correctly, and why correct articulation is important.

    Topic 2: Articulate Vowel Phonemes Correctly

    • Teachers learn what vowel phonemes are and how to articulate them correctly

  • Part 2 - Research: Phoneme Awareness and Decoding, Spelling, and Vocabulary

    This section delves into critical findings from the research on phoneme awareness.

    Topic 1: Phoneme Awareness and Reading Skills

    • This Topic explains why it is important for students to develop awareness of phonemes.

    Topic 2: Phonological Awareness—Key Terms

    • Key terms that are often used when talking about phonological awareness are often confused. The terms are defined and explained for teachers.

  • Part 3 - Practice: Creating Phoneme Awareness

    The classroom videos show a developmental progression of phonological awareness lessons beginning with basic phonological skills, syllables and onset-rime, and working up to more advanced phoneme awareness segmentation and blending tasks.

    Topic 1: Syllable Segmenting

    Topic 2: Onset-rime

    Topic 3: Articulation with Mirrors

    Topic 4: Initial Continuant Sounds

    Topic 5: Phoneme Segmentation using Head-Waist-Toes

    Topic 6: Auditory Phoneme Blending using Secret Code with Hand Drop and Kid Sounds

    Topic 7: Vowel Phoneme Associations using Short Vowel Motions

    Topic 8: Daily Routines 1 – Phoneme Segmentation with Story Daily Routines 2 – Warm-up for Phonics Lesson Daily Routines 3 – Spelling with Sounds Beads

  • Part 4 - Planning: Add Phoneme Awareness to Daily Routines

    Teachers are guided to revisit the Tool content and then to plan for incorporating what they learned into their lessons.

    Topic 1: Plan Daily Lessons

    • Teachers consider their student needs and plan phoneme awareness into their whole group activities and then reinforce and provide more attention to phonemes during small group and with individuals who need extra attention to this critical skill.

    Topic 2: How to Correct Your Articulation and Your Students’ Articulation

    • A stand-alone video is provided that teachers can refer to when they need reminders of the correct articulation of English phonemes.

  • Part 5 - Wrap Up

    Topic 1: Summary

    • The content of Tool 3 is summarized to remind teachers of the importance of teaching phoneme awareness.

    Topic 2: Conversation with an Expert