The Science of Reading: The importance of Phonological and Phonemic Awareness

This week on The Morning Meeting, we continue our conversation about The Science of Reading by looking at two core pillars--Phonemic Awareness and talking about Phonics.

Before our young learners can fully grasp these principles, educators must understand the differences between Phonological Awareness, Phonemic Awareness, and Phonics. Understanding each pillar is crucial for teaching them. I revealed, on the podcast, that I did not know the differences between these principles when I began my career. So I want to explain them quickly here.

Phonological Awareness

Phonological awareness is the key to reading! It's recognizing and manipulating spoken parts of words, like rhyming or grouping words into sounds.

Phonemic Awareness

The ability to recognize, think about, and work with individual sounds in words.


Phonics helps unlock word recognition for children by understanding how letters combined make sounds. Phonics awareness also helps learners fully grasp the alphabetic principle --by understanding that each letter has its function in creating sounds.

These activities can be challenging for educators to grasp, but they aren't too challenging to teach once you understand the principles. On the