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Heggerty Phonemic Awareness

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A program for various grade levels, Heggerty has been helping young students learn and understand phonemes for over 20 years. Here’s what to know about it.

Ever since Dr. Michael Heggerty witnessed his whole class having issues with reading during his teaching days, it was his lifelong goal to develop a systematic solution to help them. That was the moment of birth for the Heggerty Phonemic Awareness Curriculum.

At first, this was a small in-house experiment that would later go on to become the world’s number one curriculum. As such, it’s currently helping more than 50% of all American school districts up their students’ early literacy and phonological awareness skills.

Nowadays, the team at Heggerty is continuing Dr. Heggerty’s work and is helping children with various science of reading lesson plans to deliver reading success at an early age. In the following, we’ll introduce you to the Heggerty program as well as offer alternatives to it.

What is the Heggerty Phonemic Awareness program

The Heggerty Phonemic Awareness program is a curriculum of daily phonemic awareness lessons that last less than 12 minutes. Therefore, they are considered fast and effective, and some would argue even fun for young students. For over 20 years, the Heggerty Phonemic Awareness lessons have been helping teachers out, and it’s looking to stay that way for years to come.

What makes these phonemic awareness instructions so great is that they are rather easy to conduct. This means that they don’t require any preparation since they can easily connect with online resources from which they can show children videos and lessons. And besides lasting between 8 and 12 minutes, they cover various grade levels and work in both English and Spanish.

The English language awareness program covers early pre-K, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten (blue book), first grade and second grade (yellow book), and the intervention curriculum. On the other hand, there are three Spanish programs, similar to the ones mentioned for English. Each of these plans can be paid for individually, with prices that range from around $50 to over $300.  Of course, the price will depend on your personal needs, so you can negotiate it with the Heggerty team.

Benefits of using Heggerty’s programs for improving early childhood learning

So, what are the benefits of Heggerty’s programs? Well, the first and most important is definitely phonemic awareness, which is essential for students if they wish to be decoders of written language. To achieve this, the program conducts consistent and repeated instructions, increasing their decoding and encoding abilities.

Other benefits of participating in Heggerty’s daily lessons include blending, segmenting, substituting, and deleting phonemes. All of these pros are acquired through preschool, kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade plans. The benefits of this program have been recognized even by the National Reading Panel, which suggests its benefits for both spelling and reading skills.

How the 5 levels of phonemic awareness lessons help improve reading success

The Heggerty program shows us that if we break a word into letters, we’ll see that each of them consists of a first sound, medial sound, and final sound, which we call phonemes. Our ability to manipulate them is what we know as phonemic awareness skills. To understand and utilize this, the learner must comprehend the five levels of phonemic cognition.

  1. The first level is phoneme segmentation and it’s mainly concerned with segmenting syllables, then with words, and finally sentences.
  2. The second level is phoneme blending and splitting to create a new word. This is possible after understanding the sounds of each phoneme.
  3. Thirdly, there is phoneme rhyming and alliteration. The rhyming part is concerned with the commonality of ending sounds, while the alliteration part is focused on new words that share the same sounds, such as bed, red, and fed.
  4. Next up, there’s phoneme comparing and contrasting that focuses on how words change when their phonemes change.
  5. Lastly, the fifth level of phonemic cognition is phoneme manipulation. This is the ability to change or move single phonemes while constituting a word’s sound.

Speechify — an alternative to Heggerty Phonemic Awareness program

Sure enough, comprehending long and short vowels, rimes, and other literacy terms isn’t as hard as it might seem with the Heggerty program. Still, it’s not the only way. Nowadays, we can rely on assistive technology to do that for us and, more importantly, with us. We’re of course talking about text-to-speech tech, and its finest example, Speechify — the most popular TTS app across all reliable web stores.

Since it’s an assistive app, Speechify is mainly focused on helping dyslexics. The idea is simple — they paste a piece of text into the app, and Speechify reads it aloud with one of its 30+ natural-sounding voices. Moreover, it can do that in over 15 different languages, including English, Spanish, French, and many others.

When it comes to phonics and phonemes, Speechify can be quite handy due to the pitch-perfect pronunciation of its AI narrators. Regardless of the language or voice character you choose, all of them will talk with fluency and clearness. But that’s not all. You can use Speechify to snap photos of text and then turn it into audio too, thanks to its OCR technology.

Speechify is available across different platforms, including iOS and Android. You can also add it to your browser as a plug-in or download it as a standalone app for Mac computers. Either way, it will work great for both large and small groups of students or individuals with reading issues. All that without demanding skill tutorial videos to understand how the app works.


Is Heggerty a good program?

Heggerty is one of the leading programs that allow young students to bridge the gap to fluency. It’s currently helping out more than half of school areas across the United States of America.

Is Fundations better than Heggerty?

Some results suggest that Fundations is better than both Heggerty and Words Their Way programs when it comes to phonological awareness, decoding, and letter and sound fluency.

What is the cost of Heggerty?

Depending on which webinar, sample lesson, or service you’re looking to acquire from Heggerty, you’ll be looking at a cost between $50 to a few hundred dollars. The best way to inform yourself of the cost is to visit

What is the difference between Heggerty and Fundations?

Fundations concentrates on phonics, spelling, and handwriting, whereas Heggerty offers phonemic or spoken language exercises. This is the main distinction between Fundations and Heggerty.

What is a phoneme?

The smallest unit of speech is what we know as a phoneme. Children are taught which letters correspond to certain sounds when reading is taught to them. For instance, the word “pet” has three phonemes: “p,” “e,” and “t.”

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.