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6 Phonemic Awareness Activities

For tiny children, learning to read can be a daunting endeavor. When you think about it, it’s amazing that youngsters can learn to read in such a short period. Phonemic awareness activities are the major and essential steps in preparing children and youngsters to learn fast.

However before infants can read print, they must first have a solid understanding of how sounds in words function. This is where phonemic awareness activities come in.

1. What Exactly Is Phonemic Awareness?

Phonemic awareness is the ability to identify and manipulate single sounds in words known as “phonemes”. A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound that can exist in a language. Phonemes combine to make words, and every word we use is a combination of them.

Despite having only 26 letters in the alphabet, English has 44 distinct phonemes (and 250 different ways to spell them!). Fortunately, most of the sounds in words that beginners must read are tied to one main letter.

However, if you alter any letter in a word, you change everything! Take, for example, the term “rag.” If you alter the first sound, or phoneme, of the word to a “b,” you get a new word (bag) with its separate meaning.

When you think about it, developing phonemic awareness is really about your child experimenting with sounds and then switching sounds in words. It’s like something out of a Dr. Seuss novel.

Phonemic awareness is the most complex phonological awareness capability (and the last to develop), the ability to hear, understand, and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words. As children play with word sounds, they learn to:

  • Make a word, and combine individual sounds.
  • Separate a word into its component sounds.
  • Create a new word, and add a different sound to the beginning, middle, or end of an existing one.

One of the most powerful indicators of later reading success is good phonemic awareness. Children who have issues with reading, particularly those with dyslexia, frequently struggle with phonemic awareness; nevertheless, with the appropriate kind of training, they can improve. They require particular teaching in phonemic awareness.

2. What Is the Importance of Phonemic Awareness?

It’s difficult to learn to read if you can’t link sounds to letters. This is when phonemic awareness comes into play. Children are frequently taught to “sound out” words that they do not know or understand. The foundation of this strategy is a solid understanding of phonemic awareness!

Understanding how to break new words down into individual phonemes can be a wonderful and effective tool for your child to use on their learning journey.

Phonemic awareness abilities can also help your child gain confidence and familiarity with the sounds and letters he or she is learning to read. The more at ease, they are with letter sounds, the better prepared they will be for a lifetime of learning.

3. Why Are Phonemic Awareness Activities Skills So Important?

Children who are unable to hear and manipulate the phonemes of spoken words will struggle to learn how to match phonemes to letters when they encounter them in written sentences, a process known as phonics. As a result, Phonological Awareness skills are essential for learning Phonics.

4. What Exactly Is Phonics?

Phonemic awareness, on the other hand, is not the same as phonics.

The development of phonics skills focuses on assisting youngsters in understanding the relationship between the sounds of printed letters, letter combinations, and words.

Phonemic Awareness Activities
Image by picjumbo_com from Pixabay

Phonics contains written language, so we must utilize both our ears and our eyes, but Phonological Awareness (and phonemic awareness) involves NO print, only listening and uttering sounds and words.

To keep things straight in my head, I consider phonological awareness exercises to be ones that can be completed with the eyes closed, but phonics activities require us to see the printed letters and words, thus the eyes must be open.

Phonemic awareness activities and phonics are interconnected, foundational skills that are required for reading.

The Advantages of Phonemic and Phonological Awareness Activities Prek is the moment to start laying the groundwork for excellent reading skills, and it is critical to start focusing on phonological awareness skill development. 

Furthermore, phonics (assigning a letter to a sound, writing, and reading) will make little sense until we assist youngsters to establish the underlying understanding of sounds that phonemic awareness activities provide and science backs this up.

However, it is important to understand the foundation of all phonological awareness skills before moving your focus to phonics.

5. What Are the 6 Phonemic Awareness Activities?

Here are five quick, easy, and enjoyable phonemic awareness activities for any early childhood classroom at the start of the school year. 

I understand that at many schools today, having fun is frowned upon. But I can tell you that these activities will be enjoyable and that your pupils will learn a lot about language as a subject. 

5.1 Listening

A fundamental component of phonemic awareness is the capacity to listen carefully. This is the most frequently omitted component of instruction because teachers presume that young children know how to listen. 

Image by Irfan RInaldie from Pixabay

They might not! Furthermore, if they don’t, it’s not because they’re ignoring you. It’s just that they don’t know what “listen carefully” implies. They must be instructed.

5.2 Segmentation of Syllables

Most individuals, in my experience, do not grasp syllables. My students constantly clap or place their hands under their chin to count the syllables, and they always get it incorrect  They have no idea what to count. 

Explicit syllable instruction is critical, yet many pupils do not receive it. Assure that they understand that a syllable is part of a word with a spoken vowel sound. 

We count the vowels we hear rather than the ones we see. The term was then divided according to a set of guidelines.

I concentrate on one rule at a time and spend a lot of time practicing it. 

First, I focus on separating words after identifying vowels, consonants, and patterns. To visualize the syllables, I have pupils cut the word written on a flashcard.  I also split the syllables and have them read them separately before reassembling them.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

5.3 Sentence Segmentation

It is the process of segmenting a sentence. This is unlikely to be common, although many students require it.

How frequently do you observe kids leaving one or more words when copying or reading? 

Dictation drills can be beneficial in this regard. Say a short sentence. Students should listen and count the words they hear. Then students can write the sentence and repeat the process. You may also use phrase strips cut up to change things up a little.

5.4 Drawing A Phonetic Alphabet

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya from Pexels

I think a phonetic alphabet if you think your child needs to focus on the sounds as alphabets create, this practice could be better to try once. 

You and your child can collaborate to draw creatures that produce the same sounds as alphabetic letters.

Draw a large, looping serpent in the shape of an “s,” for example. Because snakes hiss, they are an excellent representation of the sound.
A buzzing bee is another possibility. Bees emit a loud “buzz-zzz” sound as they fly close to your ear.

You might assist your youngster in drawing a bee moving over the pattern, with a dashed line in the shape of a “z” indicating their path!

5.5 Mat for Stretching

This method of word stretching is ideal for children who enjoy movement! 

Photo by Valeria Ushakova from Pexels

Use a yoga mat and begin by emphasizing the importance of stretching your body before the importance of your thoughts. 

Give your child instructions on how to extend their body. Tell them, for example, to slowly touch their toes, reach high in the air, place their arms out to the side, and slowly roll their heads. 

They are now ready to stretch their words after stretching their bodies! This is an excellent multi-sensory phonemic awareness activity.

5.6 Awareness of Words

The ability to recognize separate words. Sometimes children have difficulty differentiating words in a sentence, or they may confuse syllables for words.

Students should repeat words one at a time. Use both monosyllable and multi-syllable words. Count the number of words present in a sentence. After each word in a phrase, make a motion (stomp, clap, sit, and more) 

6. Conclusion 

As phonological awareness activities and plenty of practice are some of the best indicators of reading achievement, it is critical to have a strategy in place for explicit instruction as well as plenty of practice.

Using games to involve your students in exercising these abilities makes learning more enjoyable for them and easier for you to teach. I hope this has given you some ideas for incorporating phonological awareness games into your classroom!

7. FAQs

7.1 When Should Students First Engage in Phonemic Awareness Exercises?

Depending on the child’s readiness, phonemic awareness exercises must be taught as early as preschool or kindergarten. It is advised to start with easier exercises, such as rhyming and sound isolation, then work your way up to more difficult ones.

7.2 Can You Do Phonemic Awareness Activities Alone or in Small Groups?

A caregiver or instructor can provide direction or feedback while allowing a child to work independently on some activities, such as sound blending or sound substitution. However, other exercises, such as rhyming or sound isolation, can be done in small groups to stimulate peer interaction and learning from one another.

7.3 Are There Any Resources for Phonemic Awareness Activities?

Yes, there are many websites, books, apps, and instructional materials accessible for tasks using phonemic awareness. Speech-language pathologists, literacy specialists, and teachers can advise on the best materials. It’s crucial to choose resources that correspond with the child’s developmental stage and educational requirements.


Apeksha Soni

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