Playing With Sounds
Watch the coaching session above to gain ideas for planning and implementing high-quality, literacy activities in phonemic awareness.
The "onset" is the initial phonological unit of any word (e.g., c in cat).
The term "rime" refers to the string of letters that follow, usually a vowel and final consonants (e.g. at in cat).
Phonological awareness describes a broad skill that includes the ability to recognize and manipulate parts of spoken language, such as words, syllables, onsets and rimes. Phonemic awareness refers to the specific ability to focus on and manipulate individual sounds, or phonemes in spoken words.
Phonemes are the smallest units of sound in spoken language. There are 44 of them in English. For example, the word pat has three phonemes: /p/ /a/ /t/, as does the word thin: /th/ /i/ /n/.
Phonemic awareness is the foundation for spelling and recognizing words. It is one of the best predictors of how well young children will acquire reading skills during kindergarten and first grade. You can promote phonemic awareness through games and word play.
Here are some easy ways to incorporate word play into your 21st CCLC Program:
Rhyming and Word Families:
You can increase phonological awareness by introducing children to the common elements in word families.
- Read literature with rhyming patterns, like “There’s a Wocket in My Pocket,” or other Dr. Suess books. Ask students to recall some of the rhyming pairs.
- Build word family charts by creating word lists with the same rimes: /at/ = bat, cat, sat and rat.
- Odd Word Out: Provide three words, and ask students to eliminate the word that doesn’t rhyme (e.g., coat, stick, and boat).
- Watch Onset/Rhyme Game Video (FCRR).
Word, Syllable and Phoneme Counting:
Ask students to count the number of sounds in a word, syllables in a word or words in a sentence.
- The word shut has three sounds: /sh/ /u/ /t/.
- The word banana has three syllables: /ba/ /nan/ /a/.
- The sentence “I ate cereal for breakfast” has five words.
Provide students with a selection of phonemes that, when put together, makes a familiar word:
- It starts with /m/ and ends with /an/, put it together and it says…(man).
- Put these sounds together to make a word: /gr/ /a/ /b/ = grab.
Ask students to either pull sounds from words or confirm that a certain sound is present in a word:
- Is there a /b/ in ball? Is there a /g/ in rug?
- What is the first sound you in hear in the word fish? (/f/)
Where is the Sound?
Recite a word to students, and ask them to identify the location of a particular sound: either the beginning, middle or end of the word:
- Where do you hear the /b/ in bat? (At the beginning)
- Where do you hear /g/ in bug? (At the end)
- Where do you hear /a/ in cat? (in the middle)
Students can do this activity orally or using tools, such as Elkonin boxes, to break apart the sounds in words:
- What sounds do you hear in the word sit? (/s/ /i/ /t/)
- What sounds do you hear in the word chip? (/ch/ /i/ /p/ )
Word Manipulation Through Phoneme Deletion:
As students become good at phonemic awareness activities, increase the demand by challenging them to remove a phoneme from a word or divide compound words:
- Say hot dog without the word dog. (hot)
- If I said blast without the /b/, I'd have…(last). If I said stink without the /t/, I'd have…(sink).
- What sound do you hear in meat that is missing in eat? (/m/)
Students are asked to identify the letter that makes the sound in a particular position within a spoken word:
- What letter goes with the first sound in this word: dog? (/d/)
- What letter goes with the last sound in this word: kite? (/t/)
- 2Key Terms
- 3Literacy Diagram
- 4Literacy: A Cornerstone of College and Career Readiness
- 5Literacy Skills Develop Over Time
- 6“Texts” Come in All Shapes and Sizes
- 7Literacy: An Evolving Set of Skills
- 8Oral Language and the Reading Connection
- 9Unlocking Meaning: Vocabulary is the Key
- 10The Vocabulary Gap
- 11How Do Reading Skills Develop?
- 12How Do We Become Good Readers?
- 13Five Components of Reading
- 14Phonemic Awareness
- 19Comprehension — Putting the Pieces Together
- 20Developmental Stages of Reading
- 21Stage 1 — Visual Cue Word Recognition
- 22Stage 2 — Phonetic Cue Word Recognition
- 23Stage 3 — Controlled Word Recognition
- 24Stage 4 — Automatic Word Recognition
- 25Stage 5 — Strategic Reading
- 26Stage 6 — Proficient Adult Reading
- 27How’s My Reading?
- 28The Power of Writing!
- 29How Writing Skills Develop
- 30Why Literacy Is Important
- 31Preventing Summer Learning Loss
- 32Literacy Everywhere
- 33Deepen Your Understanding
- 34Listen to Students Read Aloud
- 35The Value of Good Questions
- 36Motivation — A Key to Promoting Positive Reading Behaviors
- 37Literacy Skills Affect Future Success and Civic Participation
- 38Learn More Library
- 41Check for Understanding