Wednesday, March 11, 2020

3 Simple Phonemic Awareness Activities to Use Everyday!

Those rhyming Dr. Seuss books aren't just silly and fun. Hearing and creating those words with rhyme and alliteration is one key component of phonemic awareness, an essential pre-reading skill.

In fact, research has repeatedly shown that a child's phonemic awareness is the primary predictor of reading success in kindergarten through second grade.

Phonemic awareness is the ability to:

  • hear
  • identify
  • manipulate
the phonemes (sounds) in spoken words.

If a child is struggling to read, it may be due to a lack of phonemic awareness. The child first needs to understand how words work: that there are separate phonemes within words and how they work together to make a word.

This is why in pre-K through 1st grade, we spend time with alliteration, rhyming, segmenting, blending and manipulating sounds orally with students before they learn to read print. 

Phonemic awareness activities are all oral. There's no text to read or paper or pencil involved.

1. Phoneme Boxes
Here's a simple phonemic awareness activity that I used for 2 minutes daily at the guided reading table with my struggling and beginning readers.
Simply tape 3-4 small sticky-notes to the center of your guided reading table. I started the year with 3 and added another when students were ready for blends. These are visuals for the students to "see" the phonemes in a word that you dictate. A lesson might go like this:

Teacher: Say crab. (since students are on the opposite side of the table, slide your finger across boxes from right to left)
Students: crab
Teacher: Sound. (This is a prompt for students to say the separate phonemes in the word. A one-word prompt is best. Point to boxes as students say the sounds, again from right to left since students are on the opposite side.)
Students: c-r-a-b (If students miss a sound or if they put the cr blend together, give the prompt again.)
Teacher: (point to first box) First sound.
Students: /c/

Continue this with 2-3 different words taken from the weekly phonics lesson or from the decodable text for the day. 

Once the first sound is mastered, move on to having students identify the last sound (or end sound) then move to middle sound.

2. Phoneme Fingers
Here's another quick daily activity to build phonemic awareness skills:
This is a great 2-minute daily carpet activity to start your whole group phonics lessons. Soon you will be building up to last sound, middle sound, blends, and so on. 

3. Phonemic Awareness Quick Activity Cards

  • Keep a set at the carpet.
  • Keep a set at the guided reading table.
  • Keep one near the door for a quick review as students line up.
These Phonemic Awareness Activity Cards take out the guesswork for you!

There are 160 cards to put on a ring and pull out for a quick 1-2 minute practice each day! The set includes activities at 5 different levels:
  1. Rhythm and Rhyme
  2. Sounds Within Words
  3. Sequence of Sounds
  4. Separation of Sounds
  5. Manipulation of Sounds
Get them HERE.

Remember...Phonemic Awareness Skills should be practiced with sounds, without reading words or looking at letters.

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