Section 3: Phonological Awareness3-1PurposeCompetence in early language literacy provides a strong foundation forsuccessful reading. A necessary component of this process is the development ofphonemic awareness skills. Dr. Reid Lyon, National Institutes of Health, has statedthat reading deficits in many children can be prevented if diagnosed early and aresearch based intervention is implemented.According to Dr. Jager-Adams, the second best predictor of early readingachievement is an awareness of the sound bites (phonemes) in a spoken word.Researchers have found that phonemic awareness is the one area of instruction thathas been missing, or that may have been inadequately addressed with strugglingkindergarten and first grade students.Phonemic awareness isnot phonics. Phonics is the relationships betweensounds and their symbols (letters), and the methods of instruction used to teachthose relationships. Phonemic awareness is the ability to identify and manipulatespeech sounds. It is also the understanding that speech is composed of a sequenceof sounds (phonemes) that are combined and can be recombined to form otherwords. This ability must be present if a child is to successfully map the soundsonto print to decode words.Thepurposeof this resource book is to help school personnel betterunderstand how phonemic awareness links oral language with emerging readingand writing skills and toprovide teachers with activities and materials that canbe used to teach phonemic awareness skills. The majority of the activities arecontained in Section 3: Phonological Awareness. The other sections serve as aframework to show the relationship and sequence of phonological awareness tothe process of learning to read.The anticipated benefits from early intervention include:!An improved primary reading programs and improved reading skills forVirginia’s children.!A higher percentage of children passing the third grade Virginia Standards of Learning Reading Test.!A reduction in the number of referrals for special education services.!A higher percentage of children being promoted in the primary grades.!A reduction in the number of children requiring remediation in latergrades.