Working with Sounds (Phonological Awareness)
Why This is Important
Phonological awareness prepares children’s ears for manipulating words and sounds. It includes identifying and making oral rhymes, clapping out the number of syllables in a word, and recognizing words with the same initial sounds like mom and make.
Goals for Strong Readers
- Recognize rhyming words and create rhyming word pairs (top/pop).
- Tell the first and last sound they hear in a word.
- Show how many sounds are in a word using their fingers (cat = c-a-t = 3 sounds).
- Tell the number of words they hear in a sentence.
Use magazine pictures, online images, or everyday household items (furniture, kitchen items, foods in refrigerator, toys, etc.) to play “I Spy” with your child, but instead of naming a color, say, I spy something that rhymes with _. Take turns with your child playing the game. Encourage the use of nonsense words as rhyming clues.
More Activities and Games
Say a sentence aloud to your child with no more than 7 words. Ask your child to count and determine how many words are in the sentence. Check your child’s answer by having him or her clap the number of words in the sentence.
Create a list of 5-10 words before the activity (child should not view the list of words; this is for parent’s reference). Give your child clues one at a time, describing the initial sound in the word (onset) and the vowel and final sounds (rime), like r-ug. Once your child understands how to play, take turns giving the clues. Examples:
- It begins with the /r/ sound and rhymes with bug. (rug)
- It begins like bed and ends like rest. (best)
- It ends with /op/ and begins like tool. (top)
- Gather some small items such as pennies, pom-poms, or different colored blocks.
- Think of a simple word such as chat and push one item toward your child while making each sound in the word: ch – a – t
- Ask your child to put the sounds together and tell you what word you just said. Example: What word am I saying, ch – a – t? Answer: chat
- After your child can successfully blend the sounds together, ask your child to break words apart into their separate sound. Example: What are the sounds in chat? Answer: ch – a – t
- Sample words for this activity: chat, mit, truck, shut, cat, met