Best Practices. Having Fun with Phonemic Awareness. Play with Rhymes

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1 Having Fun with Phnemic Awareness Best Practices Phnemic awareness is the ability t understand that spken wrds are made up f separate sunds, called phnemes the smallest units f sund, and t differentiate thse sunds. Beginning reading skills are based n phnemic awareness, phnlgical awareness (recgnizing that wrds are made up f a variety f sund units), and finally phnics (lettersund assciatins). One way t think abut phnemic awareness is that it culd be taught in the dark; in phnemic awareness children listen fr sunds, while in phnics, children lk at letters. There is a sequence t teaching phnemic awareness skills. Rhyming and clapping syllables is ften taught first children learn t listen fr, recgnize, and then generate rhyming wrds. Then they identify beginning sunds, final sunds, and medial sunds. The ability t understand and manipulate sunds in wrds is essential t becming a reader. It is a first step tward understanding the alphabetic writing system. Phnemic awareness is present in gd readers and usually absent in pr readers. It must be taught cnsistently and systematically. But it can als be taught in fun and engaging ways. Play with Rhymes Rhyming is a helpful first step tward phnemic awareness. When children play with rhymes, they listen t the sunds within wrds and identify wrd parts. Fr example, the /at/ sund in the wrd mat is the same /at/ sund in cat, rat, sat, and splat. Children typically learn t recgnize rhyming wrds first and generate their wn rhymes later. It is imprtant t recgnize that these skills are nt always learned n a schedule. Fr sme children, recgnizing rhyme can be difficult. Educatrs can use different methds t help develp children s skills. Have children listen t and identify rhymes in bks. Befre reading, ask children t listen fr rhyming wrds and raise their hands when they hear them. Or, stp befre yu get t the rhyming wrd and have children supply it. Prmpt children t prduce wrds that rhyme. Bth real wrds and nnsense wrds are useful, such as Peggy and leggy; turtle and Yertle. Prvide pprtunities t recite rhymes in sng. Music is a natural part f a child s wrld. They can be active participants, clapping, snapping, and adding their wn mtins t sngs. Fr example, I m a little lizard, my h my! My skin has scales, it s nice and dry.

2 Page 2 What is phnemic awareness and why is it imprtant? Phnemic awareness is the ability t recgnize that wrds are made up f separate sunds. Phnemic awareness als includes the ability t manipulate sunds in speech. Phnemic awareness lays the fundatins fr learning t read and write. Research shws that children with gd phnemic awareness skills are mre successful in learning t read and write. Phnemic awareness can be integrated int ther learning areas. In the vide, children learned abut reptiles in Rhyming Reptiles, while als learning phnemic awareness by suggesting rhyming wrds (snake, take; lizard, blizzard). Why is rhyming an imprtant skill fr children t learn? Recgnizing rhyming wrds is a basic level f phnemic awareness. Rhyming requires that children listen clsely fr sunds within wrds. Children wh recgnize rhyme learn that wrds are made up f separate parts. An early gal is t have children listen t a pair f wrds and decide whether r nt the wrds rhyme. Eventually, the gal is t have children generate wrds that rhyme. Hw can educatrs teach rhyming skills t children? Use music and sngs t teach rhyme. Sing active sngs that invite children t use mvement. Fingerplays such as Itsy Bitsy Spider invite active participatin in a rhyming game. Use bks and read-alud stries t teach rhyme. Rhyming texts, bth fictin and nnfictin, supprt literacy in general and help children learn phnemic awareness skills. Befre reading, ask children t listen fr wrds that rhyme. Encurage children t raise their hands when they recgnize a rhyming wrd. Stp and have children supply a rhyming wrd in the text. After yu have read a pem r stry alud, ask fr rhyming wrds. (What wrd rhymes with mittens?)

3 Page 3 Use games t teach rhyme. Tss a beanbag nt a picture grid. Have children think f a wrd that rhymes with the picture (fish, wish; gat, bat). Play I Say Night. Teach children t respnd with a rhyming wrd: I say night. Yu say (right.) Or I say bread. Yu say. Play rhyming partners. As children buddy up fr an activity, give ne child a randm wrd, fr example, mitten. The first child t suggest a rhyming wrd becmes that child s buddy. Use nursery rhymes t teach rhyme. Traditinal nursery rhymes are fun t teach. Children can learn them quickly and enjy repeating them. Make a chart f rhyming wrds. (If pssible, cnnect the wrds t cncepts being taught in the curriculum, such as clrs, plants, weather, etc.) Add a wrd each day (pink, clink, wink, sink, blink). Once yu have a bank f wrds, have children create their wn silly rhymes. (Wink, wink, wink. Watch me blink.) Have fun with rhymes. Children enjy saying rhymes in different vices. Whisper them, shut them, sing them, and chant them. Children need nt suggest real wrds when supplying rhymes. Nnsense wrds (alligatr, shmalligatr) enable children t fcus n the sund rather than the meaning. In time, children will develp the ability t generate real wrds that begin with the same sund, cntain the same sund, r end with the same sund. Play with Sunds and Wrds When teaching phnemic awareness skills, educatrs shuld als fcus n helping children learn the sunds f language. These imprtant skills shuld be taught sequentially, frm easiest t mst difficult, but can still be shared in infrmal, fun ways. Children ften begin with clapping syllables, first in their wn names and then in ther wrds. Next, children begin t recgnize and match like sunds at the beginning f wrds. Finally, when children learn t recgnize letter frms and letter sunds, they match sunds t make wrds. At this pint, children are mving int phnics. The sequence f skills lks like this: Clap syllables. Help children recgnize that wrds are made up f parts, and the parts make a whle wrd. Clap names. Have children clap the syllables in their wn names. As the game prgresses, have children determine wh has the lngest name, e.g., Victria (the mst claps), r the shrtest name, e.g., Sean (nly ne clap). Play a

4 Page 4 guessing game: I am ging t clap a name. (clap twice) Whse name has tw claps? Clap wrds. Children can prgress t clapping wrds. It s especially fun t clap unusual and interesting wrds. Challenge children t think f a lng wrd they wuld like t clap: hippptamus, elephant, chalkbard, r callipe. Match sunds. Sn after they understand hw t clap syllables, children will begin t recgnize wrds that start with the same sund (sund matching). At this stage, children are nt asked t name r identify beginning letters. They are recgnizing the sund f the letter with which the wrd begins. Fr example, encurage children t recgnize that sand and sun bth begin with /s/ r that bell and ball begin with /b/. Ask, What d yu ntice abut these tw wrds: rhyming, reptiles? Praise children fr hearing the sund itself. Identify and islate initial sunds. Children learn t hear and identify the sund that cmes at the beginning f wrds. Ask, Wh knws anther wrd that begins with the sund /h/? Match sunds t letters. Once children learn letter sunds, they begin t mve int phnics and match thse sunds within wrds. Fr example, say, Tell me the sund yu hear first in mat, muse, and mail? What letter stands fr that sund? Or, Wh can tell me the letter yu hear at the beginning f sail, Sam, and sit? Or, If I want t write Bella's name, what letter will I write first? Hw can educatrs use sngs and games t help children learn phnemic awareness skills? Singing sngs is fun fr children, and they can learn frm each ther as they sing. What d children learn by clapping syllables in names r ther wrds? Children learn t listen fr sunds in wrds. Children begin t understand that wrds are made up f separate sunds. Why is sund matching an imprtant skill? Sund matching activities prmpt children t listen t the beginning sunds in wrds. As children identify the beginning sunds f wrds, they can grup wrds that begin with the same sund. Fr example, /h/: head, hair, hummingbird.

5 Page 5 Once children master the skill f identifying beginning sunds, they will be able t match the sunds t letters in the alphabet. Glssary phnemic awareness: the ability t recgnize that spken wrds are made up f separate sunds (phnemes, the smallest units f sund), and t manipulate thse sunds in speech phnics: the understanding that letters represent the sunds in wrds phnemes: the smallest units f sund phnlgical awareness: the ability t recgnize that wrds are made up f a variety f sund units nnsense wrds: made-up wrds, used fr the phnemic principle being taught sund matching: the ability t match wrds that begin r end with the same sund View the self-paced vide wrkshp at

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