Getting Started

Unfortunately, many of us are not aware of the science that exists and even if we are, find it too difficult to understand.  I have spent countless hours researching what the science says and internalizing it to be able to share it in a way that makes sense for everyone.

I started phonological awareness with my son when he was 3 (almost 4).  He is currently in preschool and is reading books. Was the goal to have him reading early?  Not at all.  The magical (or scientific) thing is that now reading almost just comes naturally to him since he has phonological & phonemic awareness.

What is Phonological Awareness

So what is phonological and phonemic awareness?

Well, here is the order of skills from simple to complex.  You can & should work on more than one skill at a time.  It depends on the age & ability of your child/students of when you will introduce the next skill. So, if you are working on Syllables and Rhyming, you are not going to throw Phoneme Addition in there, as that is a more advanced skill.  But you can work on Word Awareness, Syllables, Rhyming, and Onset & Rime at the same time if it is not too much for the child.

Phonological Awareness:

  • Word Awareness or Concept of Word
  • Syllables*
  • Rhyming*
  • Onset & Rime

(the goal of the above skills is to get to the skills below)

Phonemic Awareness (the next part of phonological awareness):

  • Phoneme** Isolation
  • Phoneme Blending
  • Phoneme Segmentation
  • Phoneme Addition
  • Phoneme Deletion
  • Phoneme Substitution

*Some sources say rhyme before syllables, and some say syllables before rhyme.  I have done both at the same time and have not found any research that shows doing one before the other is crucial.

**Phoneme simply means SOUND.  There are 44 phonemes in the English language.  /SH/ is a phoneme even though it has 2 letters because it only makes one sound.

Here is a video showing all the skills in just 60 seconds!

Cheat Sheet

Check out the cheat sheet made for parents and teachers to better understand phonological and phonemic awareness.


Starter Pack

Check out this starter pack that explains all of these skills in an easy-to-understand format with tips and tricks for each skill!



One of my favorite games for working on these skills is I Spy.  You can work on almost all of these skills with a simple I Spy game! Use the environment around you or grab these I Spy mats!



Solve the mystery words is another fun way to practice both phonemic awareness (beginning sounds) AND incorporate letter sound skills!  Kids look at the picture, say the word, then identify and spell the beginning sound. Once they have all 3 letters, they blend the sounds together to read the CVC word.  This one activity hits so many foundational skills!



Knowing how sounds are spelled is another important foundational skill. We love using multisensory methods to practice this skill!

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What People Are Saying

Addie S


BUY IT! My students love this  game! I use it whole group, we spread out around the room, and they color pictures that go with my directions. You can use this resource for ending sounds, beginning sounds, middle sounds, and rhyming words! I am very happy with this resource! (I Spy Games)

Bonnie B


So excited that I found this! This helps my lower readers with phonemic awareness. I laminated them so that I can continue to use them year after year! They love to guess the mystery word! (Mystery Word CVC)



Another amazing and original Heidi resource. If you are looking for Science of Reading activities that are able to be used across many types of lessons – you’ve found your store. Click that follow button and check out all of her resources!!! You will not be disappointed. My class loves word ladders, but this fun take allowed us to really explore how words chain together. We LOVED this resource! (Word Chains)

Tamara T


I love using this resource to learn more about how to help my own child at home. I even had my husband read it and use it so that he can help with our daughter at home. This was easy for him to understand and be able to help at home with him not being a teacher. I highly recommend this for anyone! (PA Cheat Sheet)

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