Working with Sounds (Phonological Awareness)
Why This is Important
Phonological awareness primes children’s ears for working with words and sounds. It includes identifying and saying 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
- Isolate, identify, and categorize sounds in the beginning, middle and end of a word.
- Blend and break up sounds.
- Manipulate, (delete, add, and substitute) sounds
Have your child think of silly names for themselves, family, and friends. The new names must be at least three words long, and all the words in the name must begin with the same sound as the person’s regular name. Examples:
- hairy helpful Henry
- picky pal Parker
- audible Audrey Octopus
More Activities and Games
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
Model how to play the game by saying a two-syllable word (examples: pencil, purple, protest, duckling, sleepy, safety, liquid, orbit, season, proving, flower, trainer, funnel, baseball, minus, unit, current, dozen, retreat). Use the steps below.
- Open your right hand when you say the first syllable.
- Open your left hand when you said the second syllable.
- Cross one arm over another as you say the syllables in reverse order, showing how you are “jumping” the syllables to make a new, silly word. Example: pen/cil becomes cil/pen