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 initial, final, and medial sounds
- Blend and segment sounds
- Manipulate, (delete, add, and substitute) sounds
Brainstorm simple words and ask your child to tell you what middle sound is heard. Examples:
- What is the middle sound in the word sun? Answer: Child should make the “u” sound heard in the word sun
- What is the middle sound in the word hatch? Answer: Child should make the “a” sound heard in the word hatch
More Activities and Games
You will need this list below of the 37 most common word families in English for the parent’s reference:
A: ack, ain, ake, ale, all, ame, an, ank, ap, ash, at, ate, aw, ay
E: eat, ell, est
I: ice, ick, ide, ight, ill, in, ine, ing, ink, ip, it
O: ock, oke, op, ore, ot
U: uck, ug, ump, unk
You and your child take turns thinking of rhyming words in each word family. Whoever comes up with the most words in each word family wins. Example:
- What words can you think of that rhyme with – at?
- Cat! Hat! Rat! Fat! Gnat!
- 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
See how many words you and your child can make by adding sounds to the beginning or end of a word. Once your child can successfully add sounds, change the sounds to make new words.
- Say top. What word do you have if you add /s/ to the beginning? Answer: Stop
- Say stop. What word do you have if you add /t/ to the end? Answer: Stopped
- Say dog. Change the /d/ to /f/. What is your new word? Answer: Fog
- Say fog. Change the /g/ to /l/. What is your new word? Answer: Fall