Phonemic awareness is a cornerstone of reading. These free phonemic awareness worksheets make this tricky skill manageable for parents.
If you want your child to be a strong reader, they need phonemic awareness skills. It’s that simple.
But sometimes, learning those skills is tricky for parents and teachers. These free phonemic awareness worksheets make learning these skills more tangible for adults and kids.
But what is phonemic awareness anyway?
Phoneme simply means sound. So anywhere you see the word phoneme or phonemic, just remember we are talking about speech sounds.
Reading is a code of speech sounds represented by letters. Cognitive scientists have demonstrated with their research on the brain and reading the importance of phonemic awareness. It shows that strong readers connect the sounds to the written word. Then they connect a blended word to meaning.
So parents can help their children learn to read by playing around with speech sounds. These free phonemic awareness worksheets help you do just that!
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Phonemic Awareness Worksheets
There are 12 free phonemic awareness worksheets in this post! You will find two worksheets on each of these topics in the pdf download:
- Rhyming Words Worksheets
- Syllable Worksheets for Kindergarten
- Sorting Sounds Worksheets
- Phoneme Manipulation Worksheets
- Counting Phonemes Worksheets
- Phoneme Isolation Worksheets
Looking for more than 2 phonemic awareness worksheets for each skiil? There’s a bundle coming soon!
Free Phonemic Awareness Worksheets
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Please share the link to this blog post freely, but the worksheets are for your personal use only. You may use them with your child or in your classroom, but they may not be posted anywhere online.
Using Phonemic Awareness Worksheets
It is important to note your child or student should not do these worksheets independently!
Phonemic awareness is meant to be done out loud. Otherwise, your child will not get the benefit.
Plus some of the pictures can have multiple names – you need the answer key I included for this. Does the picture represent “dog” or “pup?” When rhyming or listening to the first sound, this matters!
The key to teaching your child or a student any new skill is modeling. And remember as mentioned above, these are not sit-and-go work independently worksheets. You need to do these with your child or student.
With these phonemic awareness worksheets, I suggest you follow these steps:
- Print two copies of the worksheet.
- Explain the purpose to your child like “you’re listening for rhyming words.”
- On your copy, demonstrate how to complete the task.
- Tell your child what you’re doing like “I’m looking for the word that rhymes with frog.”
- Your child can copy your work.
- Then give your child a chance to practice, too.
- Give your child clear feedback like “yes frog and hog rhyme!” or calmly say, “frog and tree don’t rhyme. They end in different sounds ‘og’ and ‘ee.'”
- Keep the session short and positive.
It’s also important to move from easiest to hardest skills as you work on these worksheets:
- Initial Sounds
- Counting Phonemes
- Phoneme Manipulation
- Phoneme Isolation
Phonemic Awareness Worksheets for Kindergarten
While I used most of these worksheets with my kindergarten son and in my kindergarten reading groups, they are also useful for older children working on important Phonemic Awareness Skills.
Some might be too advanced for your kindergarten child, so you need to use your best judgment. The complex skills of counting phonemes, manipulating phonemes, and isolating phonemes will be too challenging for many kindergarteners.
Supplies for Phonemic Awareness Worksheets
The great news about these worksheets is you don’t need to buy anything. You probably already have all the supplies at home.
You just need basic supplies like:
Rhyming Words Worksheet
One important phonological awareness skill is rhyming.
Learning to rhyme has a few skills. These rhyming worksheets develop these two skills:
- rhyme recognition
- rhyme production
Rhyme recognition is when a child can recognize which words rhyme in a set. Rhyme production is when a child can come up with a rhyming word.
Rhyme Time Worksheet
Your learner simply colors in the two words that rhyme with the keyword picture.
In each row, there is one keyword picture. Then there are three lightbulbs that have pictures inside.
Your child just says the keyword aloud and then the other picture names aloud. They color the two of three pictures that rhyme.
This sample has all short a words, but you can find more rhyming words worksheets here with more sounds.
Rhyme Matching Worksheet
The Rhyme Matching worksheet is a bit more challenging. Your learner has to produce a rhyme.
They do have the benefit of a bank of rhyming word pictures to choose from. This makes rhyme production a little easier.
Your child just says the picture name out loud and then cuts and pastes the correct rhyme for each picture.
Syllable Worksheets for Kindergarten
With my kindergarten reading students, I have noticed before we can get to the phoneme level, they need practice with larger units of sounds.
So these Syllable Worksheets for Kindergarten are helpful. They’re also great for older learners still working on syllable skills.
On the Syllable Sort worksheet, your child simply decides if each word has 2 or 3 syllables. They are all animals and hopefully, your child can identify them without much difficulty.
This is a cut and paste worksheet. Students simply say the picture name, count the syllables, and glue under the correct heading.
Count the Claps Worksheet
On the Count the Claps Worksheet, your learner will decide if a word has 2, 3, or 4 syllables. Your child will say the word, clap the syllables, and color in the correct number of claps.
For many children, hearing syllables with clapping can be a challenge. If your learner has a hard time with claps, ask them to count chin drops. The number of chin drops will correspond to the correct number of claps.
Other fun and effective ways for hearing syllables include humming words or speaking like a robot. Try humming the word “butterfly.” Now try speaking like a robot. Do you hear the 3 syllables?
Sorting Sounds Worksheets
The sorting sounds worksheets develop the skill of hearing and identifying the initial, or first, sound in a word.
Sounds Cut and Paste
The Sounds Cut and Paste worksheet asks your child to sort based on the sounds /a/ like apple and /b/ like ball. Your child simply says each picture name and decides if it starts with /a/ or /b/.
Then they glue the pictures into the correct columns. This worksheet has clear spaces to glue each picture. Organizing objects in a defined space is a skill many children need.
The phonemic awareness worksheet helps your child learn to decide if a word begins with a certain sound. Your child will practice listening for the /a/ sound.
On the Sounds Coloring Worksheet, you child will color based on the initial sound /a/ like apple. If it starts with /a/, your child will color it red. If it doesn’t start with /a/, your child will color it green.
Counting Phonemes Worksheets
Counting individual phonemes can be a really challenging task. A learner needs to hear each individual sound within a word.
Up until this point, your child has just thought of words as single units that carry meaning.
They don’t think /b/ /oo/ /k/. They just say “book.” Breaking words apart will take some time for most children.
Color by Sounds
This is a type of color by code worksheet. Your learner says the word aloud and decides if it is two or three sounds.
This is a type of scaffold for your learner. It means it’s a learning support like a ladder than makes a concept more manageable. They understand it’s either a 2 or 3 sound word so that makes it a bit less complicated.
Count the Sounds
Your child says the word aloud and then circles whether it has 2, 3, or 4 sounds. This type of worksheet is best after your child has had some practice with counting sounds out loud.
Phoneme Manipulation Worksheets
In these phonemic awareness worksheets, your learner can manipulate sounds. This is a sophisticated phonemic awareness skill so don’t be surprised if your child needs support to do this.
Manipulation can include:
- Adding sounds
- Deletion sounds
- Substituting sounds
The two free phoneme manipulation worksheets I have included use phoneme deletion.
Syllable Deletion Worksheets
For a lot of learners, deleting a syllable in a compound word is the easiest way to start. So in these worksheets, the child says the compound word aloud. Then they delete one part.
- say cupcake.
- now say it without cup.
- The word is cake
These worksheets are cut and paste so your child was a type of word bank to choose from.
Phoneme Deletion Worksheets
Similar to syllable deletion, your learner will just leave off a sound. In these worksheets, they are leaving off the first sound.
- say clock.
- Remove the /c/ sound.
- The work is lock.
These are also cut and paste worksheets.
Phoneme Isolation Worksheets
These phonemic awareness worksheets are hard. Even as an adult, you will likely need to give it your full concentration at the beginning.
Do the Sounds Match? Worksheets
Your child will say two words and isolate a particular sound in each word – either middle (medial) or last (final) sounds. They will have to hold those sounds in their working memory and then decide if they are the same or different.
If the sounds are the same, they circle yes. If they are different, they circle no.
Handing Mistakes on Phonemic Awareness Worksheets
Your child will make mistakes on these worksheets. This a new and hard skill.
But they need corrective feedback to make progress. So you need to thank proactively about how you’ll handle mistakes.
With my kindergarten students, I thank them when they make mistakes. I say, “I love getting to teach you. Thanks for letting me!”
There have been times with my dyslexic and autistic child that I’ve had to make a sticker chart to ENCOURAGE mistakes. We had to flip the script on mistakes to characterize them as desirable things.
Which they are. Mistakes are necessary for learning. I don’t say, “Oh it’s okay.” Instead, I say, “this is great.”
Mistakes in phonemic awareness are a critical part of the process. So decide how you’ll give feedback to your child.
Recapping Phonemic Awareness Worksheets
- Phonemic awareness is a critical reading skill – and often the missing piece for struggling readers.
- A phoneme is simply a sound. So phonemic awareness is just an understanding of sounds in words.
- There are 12 free phonemic awareness worksheets in this free printable!
- They cover rhyming, syllables, phoneme isolation, sorting by initial phonemes, phoneme manipulation, and phoneme deletion.
- It is important an adult does the worksheet with a child. Each picture needs to be correctly said aloud.
- Parents and teachers need to give corrective feedback. This mean tell your child how to do something properly when they made a mistake. Think about how you can do this in a low-pressure way.