This study examined the relations among perceived and actual knowledge of phonemic awareness (PA), exposure to PA instruction during practicum, and self-efficacy for teaching PA in a sample of 54 teacher candidates (TCs) enrolled in a 1-year Bachelor of Education program in a Canadian university. It also assessed the effects of a brief multimedia-enhanced lecture on TCs’ actual knowledge of PA and efficacy ratings. Prior to the lecture, teacher candidates’ scores on the PA assessment were relatively low with a mean percentage correct of 56.3 %. Actual knowledge was not significantly correlated with perceived knowledge or self-efficacy ratings. Perceived knowledge was significantly and positively correlated with efficacy ratings and students’ rating of their exposure to PA instruction during their practicum experience. A path analysis revealed that the relationship between exposure to PA instruction and self-efficacy beliefs was mediated by perceived knowledge controlling for actual knowledge and general prior experience working with young children. Analyses also revealed that TCs made significant gains in self-efficacy as well as actual knowledge when re-assessed after the lecture with a mean post-lecture score of 71.4 %. Written feedback from the TCs indicated that the digital video clips included in the lecture provided clarity regarding the type of instructional practices that teachers could use to support phonemic awareness development in children. Implications for practice and future research on teacher preparation are discussed.