Phonological and phonemic awareness are not the same, yet I’ve heard many teachers use the terms interchangeably. It can be confusing because they sound very similar and after all, we’re talking about sounds, right? Yes and no. Both terms are referring to the ability to identify sounds, but phonemic awareness is a lot more specific than that.
Phonological awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate sounds in words. Think of phonological awareness as if it were an umbrella. Underneath that umbrella are categories that include word awareness, syllable awareness, onset & rime and lastly, phonemic awareness.
Phonological refers to sounds as a whole (hearing syllables, rhymes, alliteration).
Phonemic awareness is a category that falls under the phonological awareness umbrella. Phonemic refers to individual sounds (the short vowel sounds, the sound made by digraphs, etc..). So if we were to only focus on segmenting sounds in a word, we are not truly practicing phonological awareness, we are just focusing on a branch of it, which is phonemic awareness.
So, phonological and phonemic awareness? Not one and the same. One is an extension of the other.
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