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How to Develop Phonological Awareness

How to Develop Phonological AwarenessWhat is phonological awareness?

Phonological awareness is the ability to understand how sounds work in spoken language. Because it can be explicitly taught, we as teachers should strive to develop this skill in our students. The child with phonological awareness will have a much easier time learning to read and spell.

 

Activities for developing phonological awareness

Teach Rhyming

Help your student recognize rhymes. Younger children love to listen to a rhyming book, so try some of these fun suggestions:

Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo by Kevin Lewis and Daniel Kirk
In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming
Whiskers and Rhymes by Arnold Lobel
Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young by Jack Prelutsky
There's a Wocket in My Pocket by Dr. Seuss
Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
Moose on the Loose by C. P. Ochs
Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino

Older children often prefer poetry, so look for engaging books of poetry for young people, such as Never Take A Pig to Lunch by Nadine Bernard Westcott. As you read, point out some of the words that rhyme. Stop at the end of a line and see if your student can guess what word is coming next.

Can your student recognize rhyming words? Check by dictating pairs of words and asking him if they rhyme: Cold-bold. Twin-win. Pen-hen. Buzz-was. Wiggle-giggle. Fish-dish. Zoo-flew. Sound-pound. Throw in some that do NOT rhyme: Picture-carpet. Man-cat. Grass-ball.

Explain to your student that words rhyme when they have the same ending sounds. For example, pig and jig both end in the sound /ig/, and so they rhyme.

Teach Segmenting

When we speak, we blend sounds together to make a word. To say the word ham, we blend the sounds /h/-/ă/-/m/ together quickly. To learn to spell, we need to take those individual sounds apart. This is called segmenting. There are several steps involved in segmenting.

First, determine whether your student can identify the first sound in a word. Can he answer the question, "What is the first sound you hear in the word moon?"  If not, here is a short lesson:

You will be asking your student to tell you the first sound in a word. We are not asking for the letter name—we are asking for the sound. For example, the first sound in the word map is /m/; your student should not answer with the letter name of m.

Turn toward your student so he can see your mouth as you speak. "The first sound we hear in the word floor is /f/. What is the first sound you hear in the word sun?" Student answers /s/. "What is the first sound you hear in the word ball?" Student answers /b/.

Using the following words, repeat this exercise as many times as necessary until it becomes easy for your student.

   fan           lamp        map         stamp    
   van          rug          book         shirt         
   paint        grass       wall          beach  
   camp       desk        jump         hose   
   moss       tree         run           paper   
   dig          girl         lemon        maze

If your student needs some extra help, try holding or exaggerating the first sound of the word. Make sure your student watches your mouth. Your student should say the word s-l-o-w-l-y, and then go back and repeat the first sound he said.


 
Next, determine whether your student can identify the last sound in a word. Can he answer the question, "What is the last sound you hear in the word grass?" If not, here is a short lesson: 

After your student can identify the first sound in a word, he is ready to learn how to identify the last sound in a word. Again, we are looking for the sound, not the letter name.

"Now we are going to say the last sound in a word. The last sound in the word jam is /m/. What is the last sound you hear in the word glass?" Student answers /s/. "What is the last sound in the word dig?" Student answers /g/.

Using the following words, repeat this exercise as many times as necessary until it becomes easy for your student.

tree     run        egg      pop      feet     home     class    red
book    snow     bee      road     sleep    seat      wall      hot
pan     moon     pink     May      city      horse    robe      seat

If your student is having difficulty identifying the last sound in the word, make sure that he watches your mouth. Your student should say the word s-l-o-w-l-y, and then go back and repeat the last sound he said. You can exaggerate the last sound of the word, or say the last sound with more emphasis, until he catches on.

 

When these two phonological awareness activities become easy for your student, he is ready to do this next activity:

Lay two coins on the table. Give your student a word that has two sounds. He repeats it back, and then says the individual sounds. As he says the sounds, he pulls a coin toward himself, like this:

 segmenting-tokens.jpg

Using the following words, repeat this exercise as many times as necessary until it becomes easy for your student.

it       bee     pay     row      key     zoo     two     see
may   pie      hoe     say      row     is       do      in