- children are more likely to have trouble reading in the later grades if they lack phonemic awareness (as early as in kindergarten)
- simple tests of children's skill at working with phonemes could predict later reading problems and failure; and
- children's reading can be improved using simple techniques to show them how to identify the phonemes in words.
Research has also demonstrated that phonemic awareness and phonics, while necessary to learn to read, are not sufficient, especially when we think about reading as a way to extract meaning from printed text. Good readers must also be able to apply these skills quickly, understand the words they read, and to relate what they read to their own lives and experiences.
Much More Than Sounding Out
Even when children can break spoken words into smaller units (called phonemes) and are able to blend sounds together to form words (phonics), there are at least three other skills that are important to master to be able to extract meaning from written text. Skilled readers, in order to understand what they read, must also: