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Ideal Reading Paper for First Grade“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” This inspiring quote was written by Theodor Seuss Geisel in his book, I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!Dr. Seuss was on point with his assessment of reading. Without the ability to read, students will become severely limited in the process of learning. Students must not only have the ability to read, but they must be inspired to read! Teachers have the opportunity to foster this inspiration and love for reading from the very beginning. The programor curriculum a teacher implements in her classroom must certainly focus on the technical aspects of reading, but it must also involve the students in the learning process allowing them to become enthusiastic readers!Phonemic AwarenessPhonemic awareness is, perhaps, the most important technical aspect of teaching reading. Phonemic awareness is defined as “the ability to notice, think about, and work with the individual sounds in spoken words” (Ambruster, Lehr, & Osborn, 2001). Althoughthe terms phonicsand phonemic awarenessare used interchangeably in the classroom today, they do not have the same definition. In contrast to phonics, phonemic awareness focuses only on the sounds of words and has nothing to do with written symbols. Teaching phonemic awareness means teaching children that the sounds of each individual letter work together to form words (Ambruster et al., 2001). A common way to teach phonemic awareness is teach children how to manipulate one sound in a word to give that word a new meaning. Other common ways of teaching this pre-reading strategy include: looking at a picture and finding an isolated sound such as
/d/ in dog, building words by connecting sounds such as /d/ /o/ /g/, and matching the sounds in a series of multiple spoken words.In my research, I have come to the conclusion that phonemic awareness is the first step to a solid foundation in any exceptional reading program. When students are taught the formation of letters first and required to write them with no knowledge of their meaning, they merely become useless symbols. By teaching phonemic awareness first, teachers are providing their students with knowledge that can be built upon in the following processes of a reading program. Although there are many ways to teach phonemic awareness, there are a few ways that seem to stand out from the rest. An excellent reading program engages students of all abilities and beginning to learn phonemic awareness through the manipulation of sounds (Ambruster et al., 2001) allows all learners to be involved and to feel valued. Students love to learn new sounds and make up non-sense words and most of the time they do not even realize they are learning! The next step would be to use finger plays, poems, or short children’s books with rhyming words to increase the students’ ability to discriminate sounds (Tompkins, 2014). Finally, students should learn to break apart the sounds in