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Phonemic Awareness Assessment

By: Reading Rockets
An informal assessment of phonemic awareness, including what the assessment measures, when is should be assessed, examples of questions, and the age or grade at which the assessment should be mastered.

All assessments should be given one-on-one.

What it measures

  1. Phoneme matching is the ability to identify words that begin with the same sound.
  2. Phoneme isolation is the ability to isolate a single sound from within a word.
  3. Phoneme blending is the ability to blend individual sounds into a word.
  4. Phoneme segmentation is the ability to break a word into individual sounds.
  5. Phoneme manipulation is the ability to modify, change, or move the individual sounds in a word.

When should it be assessed?

Phonemic awareness assessments should be done three times during the kindergarten and first grade years to help guide instruction.

Examples of assessment questions

* Remember, when a letter appears between slash marks, you should say the letter sound, and not the letter name.

Phoneme matching

  • Which words sound alike? man, sat, sip (Correct response: sat, sip)

Phoneme isolation – Initial (first) sound:

  • What's the first sound in "sat?" (Correct response: /s/)

Phoneme isolation – Final (last) sound:

  • What's the last sound in "sat?" (Correct response: /t/)

Phoneme isolation – Medial (middle) sound:

  • What's the middle sound in "sat?" (Correct response: /a/)

Phoneme blending:

  • What word do these sounds make? /h/ – /o/ – /t/ (Correct response: hot)

Phoneme segmentation:

  • What sounds do you hear in "hot?" (Correct response: /h/ – /o/ – /t/)

Phoneme manipulation – Initial (first) sound:

  • Say "mat" without the /m/ sound. (Correct response: at)

Phoneme manipulation – Final (last) sound:

  • Say "mat" without the /t/ sound. (Correct response: ma)

Phoneme manipulation – Substitution:

  • Say "pig." (Correct response: pig)
  • Now change the /p/ in "pig" to /f/. (Correct response: fig)

Age or grade typically mastered

  • Phoneme matching: The middle of kindergarten
  • Phoneme isolation – Initial (first) sound: The middle of kindergarten
  • Phoneme isolation – Final (last) sound: Late kindergarten or early first grade
  • Phoneme isolation – Medial (middle) sound: Late kindergarten or early first grade
  • Phoneme blending: Late kindergarten or early first grade
  • Phoneme segmentation: First grade
  • Phoneme manipulation – Initial (first) sound: First grade
  • Phoneme manipulation – Final (last) sound: First grade
  • Phoneme manipulation – Substitution: Middle to end of first grade or early second grade
Reading Rockets (2004)

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