We are three Speech-Language Pathologists from Ontario, Canada with a passion for emergent literacy.
Speech-Language Pathologists have an extensive knowledge of the fundamental components of the reading circuit, such as vocabulary knowledge, oral language comprehension, phonemic awareness, and phonics. This deep understanding of the process of reading acquisition makes us uniquely qualified to assess and treat reading difficulties, as well as support and educate others on the reading brain. Together, we have over four decades of experience in assessing and treating speech, language, and literacy disorders.
Through our Facebook page, The Reading Brain: Thinking Critically About Reading Instruction, we are digging deep into the reading circuit so that educators understand why explicit, systematic, and sequential instruction in phonemic awareness and phonics is essential for many, and beneficial for all. Our mission is twofold and has remained consistent: educating teachers and other professionals on how the brain learns to read, and equally important, empowering them to think critically about their reading instruction to ensure it aligns with the reading brain.
Focus on Phonemic Awareness is not a program, not a recipe to follow. It is a comprehensive, research-aligned resource to be used by educators to help their students build a strong reading circuit. For many years, our message has been simple when it comes to phonemic awareness: understand its importance, determine your students’ areas of need, know the hierarchy of skills, and have a great wordlist in hand. We have designed Focus on Phonemic Awareness to support that message. Our Facebook page provides you with knowledge to help you understand the reading brain, and now our resource provides with you with a comprehensive screening tool (areas of need), tracking sheets (hierarchy), and an extensive bank of phonetically-sound words (wordlists). Focus of Phonemic Awareness should be used alongside, and when possible integrated with, strong phonics teaching that also follows an explicit, systematic, and sequential instruction.
“Students with good phonological awareness are in a great position to become good readers, while students with poor phonological awareness almost always struggle in reading” (Kilpatrick, 2016, p. 13). We hope you use Focus on Phonemic Awareness to screen, teach, and remediate phonemic awareness with whole classrooms, small groups, and individual students.