Phonemic Awareness


University of Oregon - Big Ideas In Reading - Source for the following:  Note:  Use the right mouse button and open this link in a new tab or new window.  If you do not and then click on links within the site, you will lose the link to My Breakfast Reading Program.

Phonemic Awareness: The ability to hear and manipulate sounds in words.

Examples of Phonemic Awareness Skills


Phonemic awareness is one of the most important skills indicating early success in reading progress.


My Breakfast Reading Program focuses on audio components.  An audio component is the sound you hear when you segment a word for phonemic awareness.  Each of the 53 lessons provides worksheets #3 and #4 (examples from Lesson #1) that can be used for the four phonemic awareness exercises discussed above. 

When possible, the exercise should be totally verbal without any printed materials.  However, if the student is struggling with the concept, use the domino manipulative materials to leverage the visual, tactile and kinesthetic modalities.


Table 1 provides examples of words and the number of audio components.  Since "sm" and "ck" are consonant blends, blends and digraphs are treated as one component in My Breakfast Reading Program.  However, you can use phonemic awareness exercises to break down the blends into their isolated sounds, such as "bl" = "b" and "l". 

As Table 2 illustrates, 88% of single syllable words have three audio components. 

My Breakfast Reading Program encourages the use of color coding for initial/start (green), medial (yellow - vowels) and ending/stop (red) sounds.  In place of the dominoes, you could use colored chips and have the student manipulate the chips while doing the four exercises.

Table 3 illustrates that the combination of short vowels (43%) and long vowels (25%) comprise 68% of the vowel sounds, regardless the number of audio components.  It is very important that the student be able to first categorize the vowel sound as long or short, then be able to name/write the letter(s) (spelling) or say the sound (reading).  The categorization skill can be taught first as splinter skills ( Precision Teaching).

Table 1:
Examples of Audio Components in Single Syllable Words

Number of Audio Components

1 2 3
I at cat
eye my side
aye is smack

Table 2:
Number of Audio Components in Single Syllable Words

Audio Components

Auditory Components 

1 2 3 Grand Total
Total 5 292 2080 2377
  0% 12% 88%  


Table 3:
Number of Audio Components in Single Syllable Words
By Vowel Category

Audio Components by Vowel Category  Total

Auditory Components 

Vowel Category 1 2 3



short   16 1017 1033 43%
long   39 556 595 25%
diphthong   58 229 287 12%
Irregular 2 78 180 260 11%
R controlled 3 101 98 202 8%


5 292 2080 2377