A phoneme is the smallest phonetic unit in a language that is capable of conveying a distinction in meaning, like the /m/ in mat and the /b/ in bat. Phonemic awareness is a critical component of reading instruction. Research has found that rhyming, identifying beginning and ending sounds in words, and blending and segmenting phonemes are critical skills that must be taught and practiced. Phonemic awareness is auditory and does not involve words in print, so it is different than phonic activities which match the sound to the symbol. Both are important for reading.
Phonemic Awareness Homework Ideas
Read books with rhymes (Dr. Seuss, nursery rhymes, etc.)
Print picture cards and play rhyming matching games.
Print and use the rhyming picture cards (or use any pictures or objects in the house). Show your child a picture and have them say the word. “What is the first sound (not letter) in the word?”
Scavenger Hunt: send your child to find things in the house that begin with a certain sound. “Go find something that begin with the /b/ sound.”
Car game: “I spy something that begins with the sound /g/” (you can substitute letter name for sound to make it a phonics activity, but until they can do it with sounds, just do it as a phonemic awareness activity)
Ask. “What is the first sound you hear in these words?” Bus, Car, Gate, Heart, Tire, Run, Fan, House, Apple, Van, etc.