6 Best Phonemic Awareness Books and Tools [2022]

Published:  June 7, 2020 Updated: December 17, 2021

By  Cheryl Jerabek

Early literacy skills, such as phonemic awareness, are essential for a child’s academic success. We’ve put together this list of the best phonemic awareness books to provide an ideal place to start, whether you’re a parent, an educator, or both.

If you aren’t familiar with the term, phonemic awareness is the ability to identify and manipulate the smallest individual sounds known as phonemes. This process includes sound discrimination, rhyming, matching sounds, blending, and manipulation.

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Best Sound Discrimination: Miss Spider's ABC (Little Miss Spider)

Sound discrimination is the ability to recognize different sounds in words and tell the differences between them. This skill is essential for children learning phonemic awareness. Storybooks such as "Miss Spider's ABC" by David Kirk are a fun and entertaining way to reinforce sound discrimination.

You might remember Miss Spider from your own childhood. Twenty-five years later, this classic is still recommended by Scholastic. The anniversary edition board book is intended for ages 1 to 4 and grade levels from preschool up.

“Miss Spider’s ABC” is both beautifully illustrated and engaging. Not only does Miss Spider introduce the alphabet, but children will also learn about numbers, colors, and insects. A nostalgic favorite, “Miss Spider’s ABC” is a book that will stay on your bookshelf for generations to come.

Miss Spider's ABC (Little Miss Spider)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Kirk, David (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 11/01/2006 (Publication Date) - Callaway Arts & Entertainment (Publisher)

Last update on 2024-05-22.

Best Rhyming: Say & Glue Phonological Awareness Fun Sheets

It's no coincidence that so many children's books are written in rhymes. Rhymes are fun to say and easy to recognize. In fact, rhyming is one of the first and easiest phonemic concepts children learn, according to Scholastic.

“Say & Glue Phonological Awareness Fun Sheets” introduces a variety of rhyming concepts including rhyming nonsense words, rhyming sentences, determining which rhyming word belongs, and completing rhyming words in sentences.

Kinesthetic learners—children who learn best by engaging in physical activity rather than watching or listening—will benefit from the wide variety of color, cut, and paste activities “Say & Glue” provides.

In addition to 44 different rhyming activities, “Say & Glue” also features activities focused on other phonemic awareness skills such as letter sounds and syllable counting. The 124-page book is intended for ages 4 to 11, grade level pre-k through fifth.

Say & Glue Phonological Awareness Fun Sheets
  • Alyson D. Price, M.S.P., CCC-SLP (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 124 Pages - 05/24/2024 (Publication Date) - Super Duper Publications (Publisher)

Last update on 2024-05-22.

Best Matching Sounds: Alligators All Around: An Alphabet

Award-winning author Maurice Sendak might be famous for “Where the Wild Things Are,” but his board book, “Alligators All Around,” is a classic. Sendak’s signature art style has enchanted children and their parents for over 50 years, all while teaching both the alphabet and alliteration.

Alliteration, also known as matching sounds, is when words start with the same beginning sound. For example, the words doing dishes start with the same sound, but the words eating dinner do not. While enjoying Sendak’s whimsical way with words, children can listen for the matching beginning sounds.

“Alligators All Around” is part of the Nutshell Library series, which includes other works by Sendak that teach children about numbers, months, and seasons.

Alligators All Around Board Book: An Alphabet
  • Sendak, Maurice (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 01/10/2017 (Publication Date) - HarperCollins (Publisher)

Last update on 2024-05-22.

Best Syllables/Blending Sounds to Make Words: Silly Sally

While a phoneme is the smallest individual sound, such as /c/a/t/ for cat, a syllable is a unit of pronunciation usually made of more than one phoneme and often includes a vowel. For example, the word cat has three phonemes but only one syllable.

Blending sounds is a skill that requires putting phonemes together to makes words, such as /t/op/ to make the word top. Recognizing syllables is more about distinguishing how many “beats” a word has. The word dog has one beat or syllable, while apple has two.

Audrey Wood’s “Silly Sally” combines these concepts in an appealing, rhyming style. While the recommended grade level is preschool through third grade, and the recommended age range is 4 to 7, parents and caregivers have noted that children as young as 18 months have asked for this book by name.

Silly Sally
  • Hardcover Book
  • Wood, Audrey (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 03/15/1992 (Publication Date) - Clarion Books (Publisher)

Last update on 2024-05-22.

Best Phoneme Manipulation: There's a Wocket in My Pocket

No list of best phonemic awareness books would be complete without at least one book by Dr. Seuss. When it comes to wordplay, Dr. Seuss is in a class by himself. “There’s a Wocket in My Pocket” is part of the Bright and Early Books series.

Phoneme manipulation is the ability to switch or remove sounds in words and is considered the most difficult phonemic awareness skill. "Wocket in My Pocket" introduces this concept with wacky word switches such as, "wasket" and "basket," and "certain," "jertain," and "curtain."

The nonsensical nature of these rhyming words makes this challenging skill much easier and certainly much more entertaining to learn. Phoneme manipulation also helps children distinguish between similar words and, in turn, strengthens their overall reading skills.

There's a Wocket in My Pocket! (Dr. Seuss's Book of Ridiculous Rhymes)
7,969 Reviews
There's a Wocket in My Pocket! (Dr. Seuss's Book of Ridiculous Rhymes)
  • Dr. Seuss (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 24 Pages - 11/26/1996 (Publication Date) - Random House Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

Last update on 2024-05-22.

Make Learning Fun with Phonemic Awareness Books

The wonderful thing about phonemic awareness concepts is they reinforce one another and dovetail seamlessly. Often several concepts are introduced in a single book, such as sound discrimination, rhyming, and phoneme manipulation. These skills work together to help your child learn to read.

It's never too early to begin reading to your child, and children as young as two can start learning phonemic awareness. The fun stories and exercises in the books above make learning seem like play—and learning is always a lot easier when it’s fun!

Whether it’s more structured material or bedtime stories, having the best phonemic awareness books close at hand will help ensure your child gets an early start and develops a lifelong love of reading.

Cheryl Jerabek

Cheryl Jerabek lives in a tiny remote town in Southwestern Colorado. She writes full-time from her cabin nestled in the mountains. She often expresses how lucky she feels to be able to do what she loves from a setting that looks like a postcard. When she’s not writing, Cheryl loves hanging out with her husband and two grown children, her dog, Joe, and adores spending time with her three grandchildren.

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