— Phonemic Foundation
Phonics Games — The Difference between Phonics and Phonemics
"Phonics games" help children understand that written letters and groups of letters represent sounds. Many educators view "phonics" as the critical starting point for early reading. However, according to the latest clinical studies in the area of cognitive processing, researchers now understand that phonics isn't the crucial starting point for successful reading.
Phonemics takes reading to an even earlier, more foundational level. Whereas phonics teaches the sounds represented by the letters and letter combinations, phonemics helps a child speak and manipulate the individual sounds themselves. Phonemic awareness is a purely auditory process, which does not require a child to read the actual words.
Phonemic awareness typically occurs at the pre-reading stage of development. While most children are competent with the spoken language by kindergarten, they do not understand that speech is derived from discrete words. Additionally, young children have no mental concept that words are made up of syllables, which are broken into even smaller units called "phonemes." Phonemic awareness is the fundamental cognitive skill that allows these children to hear and process discreet sounds in the English language.
Phonics Games — The Importance of Phonemic Awareness at the Cognitive Level
Phonics games have their place in reading skills development, but without first establishing strong phonemic awareness, young readers will eventually struggle with reading fluency and comprehension. Ultimate reading success requires a strong foundation at the core level of auditory processing. This means a young reader must be able to:
- Recognize the individual sounds of speech;
- Properly blend and segment those sounds; and
- Associate those sounds with the corresponding letter codes or symbols.
Phonics Games — The Power of Cognitive Skills Training
Unlike phonics games, phonemic awareness exercises help children process (at the cognitive level) the hearing and blending of individual sounds (phonemes) into full words and phrases. As illustrated earlier, without strong phonemic awareness, it's nearly impossible to identify discreet sounds in the English language.
At LearningRx, we understand the role of phonics games in reading skills development. However, we also understand that phonemic awareness is a more critical and foundational component of overall reading success. We've dedicated nearly 20 years to studying the importance of cognitive skills like phonemic awareness. During that time, we've also developed and tested cognitive skills assessment and training programs, which have produced tremendous results (an average of 4.96 years of reading gains in less than six months of cognitive skills training).
When you're ready to discover the power of phonemic awareness and other cognitive skills for your developing or struggling reader, please contact a LearningRx Center in your local community.