The renowned researchers at the National Institutes of Health say the following:
“Phonemic awareness is more highly related to learning to read… than tests of general intelligence, reading readiness, and listening comprehension.”
Children without phonemic awareness are incapable of distinguishing between or manipulating the different sounds that make up syllables or spoken words. They are therefore unable to perform the following exercises:
If a child lacks phonemic awareness, he or she will have trouble understanding the relationships between the letters of a word and the sounds these letters make. It will also be difficult for him or her to use the relationships between letters and sounds to pronounce the sounds that make up a new word.
As such, kindergarten students who have poor results in the course of activities aiming to develop phonetic awareness will very likely show difficulties acquiring the skills necessary for early word reading. These skills are the basis of learning to read in elementary school.
The skills related to phonemic awareness can and must be taught to children with learning difficulties in this area in a direct and explicit manner.
Research by Sally Shaywitz, co-director of the Yale Center for the Study of Learning and Attention, has demonstrated that to learn to read, all children must develop phonemic awareness, that is, they must discover that the words of spoken language can be broken down into smaller units of sounds called phonemes, and that the words of written language are made up of letters that represent those sounds.
Among dyslexic people, the part of the brain that processes phonemes is affected. Since this represents the most basic step in the reading process, all subsequent steps are affected even if the parts of the brain that control them are intact.
In other words, using a computer analogy, how can we expect the information to be processed if the circuit responsible for data entry works differently or not at all?