Phonemic Awareness is the capability to hear, identify, and manipulate the person sounds which make up words. In recent decades, large levels of research have improved our understanding of phonemic awareness and its importance in aiding children learn how to read. There are a huge selection of research studies conducted on all areas of phonemic awareness, and how it affects and benefits reading and spelling abilities of young children. The National Reading Panel of the US have stated that phonemic awareness improves children’s reading and reading comprehension, and so it also helps children to learn to spell. On the basis of the research and reviews done by the National Reading Panel, they have concluded that teaching phonics and phonemic awareness produces better reading results than whole language programs.
When teaching phonemic awareness, students are taught the smallest units of sound, or phonemes. Throughout the teaching process, children are taught to focus on the phonemes, and learn to control the phonemes in words. Studies have identified phonemic awareness and letter knowledge as the 2 best school-entry predictors of how well children will learn to read during the very first 2 years of instruction. In analysis phonemic awareness research, the National Reading Panel (NRP) identified 1,962 citations, and the outcome of the meta-analysis were impressive as previously mentioned in the NRP publication:
Overall, the findings showed that teaching children to control phonemes in words was highly effective under a variety of teaching conditions with a number of learners across a selection of grade and age levels and that teaching phonemic awareness to children significantly improves their reading a lot more than instruction that lacks any attention to phonemic awareness (PA).
Specifically, the results of the experimental studies led the Panel to conclude that PA training was the reason for improvement in students’phonemic awareness, reading, and spelling following training. The findings were replicated repeatedly across multiple experiments and thus provide converging evidence for causal claims. 
As may be clearly seen, teaching children phonemic awareness early on significantly improves their reading and spelling abilities. Furthermore, the NRP research stated that these beneficial aftereffects of phonemic awareness teaching goes well beyond the end of training period. The NRP phonemic awareness research also discovered that the very best teaching method was to systematically teach children to manipulate phonemes with letters, and teaching children in small groups.
Phonemic awareness (PA) teaching provides children having an essential foundation of the alphabet system, and a base in reading and spelling. The NRP has stated that PA instructions is a necessary instructional component inside a complete reading program.
Guidelines two other studies done on phonemic awareness, and its effects on reading abilities. In a study involving children aged 6 to 7 years old, researchers discovered that the few readers in the beginning of grade one exhibited high phonemic awareness scored at the least close to master in the vowel substitution task, compared to none in children of the same generation who couldn’t read once they entered school. The research also stated that phonemic awareness differences before instruction predicted the accuracy of alphabetic reading and spelling by the end of grade one independent from IQ. Children with high phonemic awareness at the start of grade one had high reading and spelling achievements by the end of grade one; however, some of the children with low phonemic awareness had difficulties learning to read and spell. The research suggested that phonemic awareness could be the critical variable for the progress in understanding how to read. 
Another study looked over phonemic awareness and emergent literacy skills of 42 children having an average age of 5 years and 7 months. The researchers indicated that relations between phonemic awareness and spelling skills are bidirectional where phonemic awareness improved spelling skills, and spelling influenced the growth in phonemic skills. 
It’s clear that with the conclusions created by the National Reading Panel and other research studies on the advantages of phonemic awareness, children should really be taught PA at a early age before entering school. This helps them build a strong foundation for learning to read and spell.
1. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction (NIH Publication No. 00-4769). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
2. Cognition. 1991 Sep;40(3):219-49.
The relationship of phonemic awareness to reading acquisition: more consequence than precondition but still important.
Wimmer H, Landerl K, Linortner R, Hummer P.
University of Salzburg, Austria.
3. Exp Child Psychol. 2002 Jun;82(2):93-115.
Emergent literacy skills and training time uniquely predict variability in responses to phonemic awareness training in disadvantaged kindergartners.
Hecht SA, Close L.