game · phonemic awareness

Syllables Counting Game

Syllable counting board game

Recognizing and breaking down words into syllables is one of the important phonemic awareness skills that children need to develop in the process of learning to read.

Syllables are the “beats” you hear in words. We typically teach this to students by having them clap as they hear the syllables. For example the word head only has one syllable and the word alligator has 4 al-li-ga-tor.

Today I posted in my Teachers Pay Teachers store a board game to practice this skill. In the kit, you will find: a game board, picture cards and the rules. The children pick a picture card. They say the word that corresponds with the picture, then determine how many syllables in the word. The child then moves forward that many spaces on the board.

This can be used at home as easily as in a classroom setting!

game · phonemic awareness

Phonemic Awareness Thursday- I spy

To continue with our get out into the backyard theme this week, I will show you a few ways to play with words while you are outside. When we play with words, it helps children develop their phonemic awareness skills. These activities are totally oral, so you do not need anything but the ability to speak and hear.

Play I-spy (pick one of these skills to work on at a time. If you mix them up, you will confuse your child. When his/her phonemic skills are strong (ready to read) then you can mix them up a bit more)

I spy something that begins with the sound /g/- grass, green, groundhog (beginning sound practice)

I spy something that ends with the sound /d/- bird, seed (ending sound practice)

I spy something that rhymes with tie- fly, sky (rhyming words)

I spy a /c/ /a/ /t/ (blending phonemes)

I spy a /c/ /at/ (blending onset and rime)

game · phonemic awareness

Phonemic Awareness Thursday- Rhyming

I have found over the years that rhyming is a lot harder for children to understand than you would expect. I can give you a few theories I have, but remember they are just my thoughts!

First, often times children listen to the first sound of a word and then make assumptions of the word based on context or background knowledge. This is very evident when children begin reading. They will look at the first letter and then just guess a word with that beginning sound.

Also, children are typically better at picking out two words that rhyme than coming up with words on their own. Again… children see/hear words based on the first sound and with rhymes you need to hear the rime of the word not the onset. They also have to have the word sense and vocabulary to pull words out of their memory.

There are lots of ways to play with rhymes and they are all important! When working with rhyme, I usually start with poems, song and stories that have many rhymes. Songs and poems can be memorized and then adapted. This is why children enjoy nursery rhymes and songs such as Down by the Bay by Raffi.

There are many online rhyming games, such as these games on PBS Kids. But you can also make your own rhyming games at home.

Play I spy with rhymes. I spy something that rhymes with head– bed, red. something that rhymes with hair– chair, pear. etc…

Sing head shoulders knees and toes, but put in words that rhyme with the body parts instead

red, boulders, trees and rose

bed, folders, please and grows

skies and years and south and does

bread, holders, sneeze and hose

keys and snows

Make it fun! Play games with rhymes all the time. They will get it… it will click. Have fun

game · phonemic awareness

Phonemic Awareness Thursday– stretching sounds/ The Talking Ghost

Many children struggle with combining sounds they hear out loud, but this is a key skill in sounding them out on their own. Here is another fun way to practice what they need to do to stretch and blend phonemes!

Have your child draw and cut out a ghost!

Practice talking like a ghost first. Hhhhheelllloooo mmmmyyyyy ffffrrrriiiieeennnddd! Remember to just stretch it out the way you say it out loud. Once your child gets good at ghost talk, you can begin a fun game.

This is an I say, you say game. You will say a word with the sounds in isolation (/d/ /o/ /g/) and then your child will say the same word like a ghost ddddoooogggg. Have them move their ghost from left to right as they say the sounds aloud, so the ghost moves with the sounds. After they stretch out the word, have your child say the word fast.

Here’s another example

  • you: /h/ /ou/ /s/
  • child: hhhhhoooouuuuusssssseeeee — HOUSE!

Continue with familiar words. Want to switch it up? you stretch out the word and have your child say the individual phomemes they hear (switch roles)

you: ssssshhhhhiiiiirrrrrrtttttt

child: /sh/ /ir/ /t/ –SHIRT!

game · phonemic awareness

Phonemic Awareness Thursday- name chant

Today’s activity is a blending of onset (first sound in a word) and rime (the remainder of the word).—— If you are saying the sounds and having your child put them together they are working on pre-reading skills. If you provide the word and have your child break it apart they are working on pre-writing skills.

Here is a simple chant to try:

  • It begins with a /w/
  • And ends with /eb/
  • Put it together
  • And they say _____ (your child should say web)

I suggest that you start this with simple CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words. Another way to do this is to pick words your child is familiar with such as names, animals, colors, or other favorite topics.

When your child gets good at hearing the combination, have your child do the chant and see if you can hear the word they are breaking apart.

I feel like I’m pushing the importance of phonemic awareness each Thursday. Phonemic awareness is the understanding how phonemes, the sounds letters make, work in the spoken word. When children are able to manipulate phonemes aloud, without the visual clues, it will aid in their ability to read and write.

When a child begins to read they need to decode the printed words. The start of this is being able to manipulate phonemes. They need to know the sound each letter makes AND be able to put those sounds together in words. Children who develop a strong phonemic awareness already know what it sounds like when you push phonemes together.

When children begin to write the are encoding words. This is the ability to break apart a word into its phonemes and then write them down. Again, when children learn to break apart words orally they are already confident in breaking apart words on their own and then only have to make the connection to the phoneme and the printed letters.

game · phonemic awareness · STEAM

phonemic awareness Thursday- compound words

Today we are going to work on breaking down longer words. The easiest way to begin this orally is to start with compound words. A compound word is a word made up of two smaller words. These typically are words that children are familiar with, yet they may not always see that they are two words in one.

Here is a fun on-line game to practice this skill.

This skill can be worked in both directions… tell the compound word and see if your child can break it into smaller words: basketball = basket + ball, jellyfish = jelly+fish. Or you can give the two smaller words and see if your child can come up with the compound word basket + ball= basketball.

After you have practiced the skill orally a few times you can provide your child with picture cues of the broken apart word and see if your child can put the pictures together as a whole word. This game can be played as a cross the room game, memory or just toss the pictures down and see if they can match up pairs.

Here are some other compound words to try

  • applesauce
  • basketball
  • bathroom
  • bedroom
  • birthday
  • blueberry
  • cupcake
  • downstairs
  • earring
  • firefly
  • fireman
  • goldfish
  • grasshopper
  • haircut
  • inside
  • jellyfish
  • mailbox
  • outside
  • pancake
  • playground
  • rainbow
  • snowflake
  • snowman
  • toothbrush
  • treehouse
  • upstairs
  • underwear
  • watermelon

When your child gets good, play silly compound words. Take and mix up the parts of compound word to make your own word. Have your child illustrate what the new word would look like… what would a upmellon or an applehouse look like? Get creative and most important… have fun!

game · phonemic awareness

Phonemic Awareness Thursday- Blending Onset and Rime

Yesterday I had an opportunity to have a zoom meeting with my class. I really miss seeing and working with my class every day. I try to do a combination of fun activities for the children and activities that the parents can do with the children at home.

Here is another activity that can easily be done at home, in the car, or on the fly, blending onset and rime. The onset, which consists of the initial consonant or consonant blend, and the rime which consists of the vowel and any final consonants.

Choose simple words that your child is familiar with such as animal names, colors or even the names of the people in your house.

Sit facing your child. Put out your right hand palm up and say the onset /c/. Put out your left hand and say the rime /ow/. Clap your hands together and say the word “cow”. When your child does it they should do it left to right, you are doing it backwards so that it is left to right for your child to see.

Another version if you have items or picture cards to use

Cute frog clipart | Frog art, Cute frogs, Clip art

Show your child a picture of the word you want to break apart. Again have your child use his/her hands while doing this activity. His/her left hand says the onset /fr/ and the right hand says the rime /og/. Then clap the hands together to say the whole word. “frog”

You could also do it so that your child says the onset /fr/ and you say the rime /og/ and you high five and say the word “frog”

Often times, you will have to help the children see the connection by saying the sounds faster and faster together until they can hear the connection between the onset and rime. They will get it… just keep playing the game.

If your child can blend these sound easily without support, you then can move to substituting the onset. If I change the /fr/ to /l/ what word do you have now? /l/ /og/–> log. Now change the /l/ to /h/ what word do you have? /h/ /og/ –> hog.

You also can substitute the rime. If you start with hog and change the /og/ to /at/ what word do you have? /h/ /at/–> hat

art · phonemic awareness

Phonemic Awareness Thursday- Friend Sounds

Many of my students are missing their peers, I know my own sons (11 and 13) miss this connection more than anything else. I also miss my students and hope they know that I miss them. So, I decided this would be a fun activity to get your child to think about his/her peers and be creative at the same time.

Last Thursday, we completed an activity on matching beginning sounds. This is a tricky skill for some children, but so important when starting to write. When children are able to isolate the beginning sound of a word it helps them in the encoding process of writing.

directions from book

Today’s activity has your child isolating the beginning sound of one word and then using that beginning sound to describe their friend. They will only need paper, crayons and a pencil. You can use scissors and cut out the people if you’d like, but it isn’t necessary.

Have your child draw pictures of his/her friends. I would have him/her draw him/herself and 3-5 peers. If they want to do more, tell them they can after you finish the first set. (They can draw the whole child or just the head… whatever works for your child)

Ask your child to tell you the name of each person in the picture. Now isolate the beginning sound in the child’s name (Sally starts with /s/, Blake starts with /b/). Now your child needs to think of something that the child might like that begins with the same sound as the name (Sally likes sunshine, Blake likes bikes etc).

Quick reminder…. this is an auditory activity and the sounds should match even if the letter does not. You do not have to do any writing for this activity, but you can after, or on the back, if your child wants to remember what they said. You could have your child label the picture with the child’s name, but not with the attribute. I know many names have sounds combinations which makes it harder when you put the printed word and your child hears /sh/ but only sees the first “s”. In the pictures above Shane and Sally both start with S, but Shane likes shells and Sally likes sunshine would be possible answers.

game · phonemic awareness

Phonemic Awareness Thursday- No Zoo for You!

As I mentioned in my last post on phonemic awareness, phonemic awareness is the understanding of how sounds work. These skills are auditory and should not be taught with the visuals of words, until the skill is mastered auditorily.

Today we will work on listening to words that begin with the same beginning sounds. Here is a link to a Jack Hartmann video on beginning sounds… my class loves Jack Hartmann. I hope you do too.

No Zoo For You

For the activity you will need animal pictures or toys. (you could do this same activity with types of foods or other categories of items, just change the title)

no zoo for you

I decided to group my animals by typical location (forest, zoo, pond and farm).

Have your child tell you the name of all three animals. The then have to determine which of the three animals does not start with the same beginning sound. They remove that animal and say “No zoo for you!” Continue doing this until you have determined which animals can and cannot fit in each zoo.

If this is too hard, then say each animal word for your child putting emphasis on the beginning sound (/b/-bear, /ch/chipmunk, /b/bird) which two start with /b/?

If this is really easy? Then have your child think of other animals that could fit in the same zoo. bear, bird, butterfly, buck, etc…

game · phonemic awareness

Hink Pink

Phonemic awareness is the understanding of how sounds work in words. These skills are auditory and use visual clues, but not written words. When children develop and strengthen their phonemic awareness it assist them in moving forward as readers and writers.

The first phrase of phonemic awareness typically is rhyming and syllables. Today we will work on rhyming, which I feel often is more challenging for children than syllables.

Hink Pink is pairs of rhyming words that either answer a riddle or match a silly definition.

Here are some riddles:

  • What do you call a chubby kitty? (a fat cat)
  • What do you call a crying father? (a sad dad)
  • What do you call a table that doesn’t fall down? (a stable table)
  • What do you call a rabbit who tells jokes? (a funny bunny)

Here are some silly definitions:

  • lengthy tune (long song)
  • small annoying insect that is not wet (dry fly)
  • large group of people who make a lot of noise (loud crowd)
  • stinging insect who doesn’t cost money (free bee)
  • closet to keep sweeping tool (broom room)

Invite your child to try and create their own pair of rhyming words and then create their own hink pink to go with the rhyming pair.

Have your child illustrate pictures to match their hink pink.

Share your rhyming results with me. Could your child solve the riddles? Could they create their own? Did you draw pictures to match your hink pink?