How I Teach Phonological and Phonemic Awareness To My 2 Year Old Toddler

The ability to hear, identify and use the smallest units of sound or phonemes is the basic definition of phonemic awareness. Some mistake phonological awareness as the general category that phonemic awareness falls under. Having phonological awareness means that you are already proficient at phonemic or individual sounds and now can understand sounds at which onsets and rimes or bigger segments of a word.

A great thing about phonemic awareness is that it is a skill that can be learned early on in child’s life and if developed appropriately will ensure that your child will be reading and spelling at or above grade level. A good sign of when your child is ready to begin the phonemic awareness development is right about the time they start to talk. This is an indication from their brain development that they are ready to learn. Children as young two years have been able to develop basic reading fluency that you might not see in an average child until they begin formal schooling.  Check out this video below and see how what seems like something that is completely amazing is really quite achievable for every child, if given the appropriate education.

Listed below are many common phonemic awareness skills that young children and students practice to become fluent readers.

  • Phonemic identity – seeing connections between a letter “b” and its common sound /b/ in different words. Example: “bat”, “buck”, and “blend”.

phonemic identity



  • Phonemic isolation – identifying single letter sounds at the beginning and end of a word. Example /b/ and /t/ in the word “bat”.

phonemic isolation


  • Phoneme substitution – switching out one letter sound for another. Example: change the “h” in “hat” to the “c” and making the word “cat”.

phoneme substitution


  • Word Segmenting – You say the word “top” and your child says each letter /t/ /o/ /p/
  • Oral blending – the opposite of word segmenting, you say each letter sound /t/ /a/ /p/ and the child forms and says the word “tip”.

Researchers have shown that the best forecaster of reading fluency in young children is phonemic awareness. Also, high levels of phonemic awareness have translated into academic success in reading and spelling. Children in the study who lack phonemic awareness skills performed poorly spelling and reading. This is why it is of the utmost importance to have your child develop a phonemic awareness skill set as soon as they are ready.

Word segmenting and oral blending are two keys to developing reading and spelling skills. The National Reading Panel determined that the use of oral blending develops reading fluency where letters printed are used to made to form words. In addition, word segments help a child chunk words into each letter sound (phonemes) and gives them a tool to when spelling unfamiliar words.

teach phonicsThe discovery of a whole new world awaits your child once they develop the skill set and master phonemic awareness. Imagine how your child will feel when they do something all on their own without needing your support. They will increase confidence and develop a sense of pride for who they are and what they can do. They will also develop a better understanding of printed materials and have fun coming up with nonsense words by using phonemic substitutions.

A good example of this is our daughter; she began to read the age of two and half years. She was so excited running around our home speaking all types of silly words using phonemic substitutions One of her favorites was a play on the sound of the letter /d/ in the word “daddy”. She would circle around saying “nanny, nanny come do this” knowing full well that the play on the word was silly and was a way to give us all a good laugh. She would not have been able to make these connections without any learning the phonemic awareness skills at such a young age.

Study programs like Children Learning Reading provides structured steps for developing phonemic awareness skills for young children. Some parents have successes on their growing toddlers. Read our review or visit their site, see if it works for you too.