What the heck is phonological awareness, anyway? And why should I care?
If you’ve never heard the term phonological awareness, or if you’re confused about how it differs from the similar term phonemic awareness, don’t worry. As a former reading instructor even I still get the two terms mixed up sometimes. They are often misused interchangeably. Stick with me for a moment while I clarify.
Phonemes are small units of sound in language, like the sound /k/.
Children with strong phonemic awareness understand that words are separated into phonemes. For instance, the word mouse is made up of 3 phonemes: /m/, /ow/ and /s/. Phonemic awareness is just one skill under the umbrella of phonological awareness. It is also the highest skill level on the spectrum.
Children with strong phonological awareness understand:
• how words rhyme
• how sentences break down into words
• how words break down into syllables
• how each syllable breaks into a beginning sound (onset) followed by another sound (rime)
• how words break down into phonemes and that changing one phoneme can alter the meaning of a word. Cat becomes bat by changing one sound, for example. Now we’ve reached phonemic awareness.
Why is this so important? Without strong phonological awareness then phonics, the essential reading skill of matching sounds to their written letter counterparts, won’t make a whole lot of sense to a child.
So, in my quest to help you raise strong readers and to offer support for those who struggle, I’ve rounded up some phonological fun. Most of these activities are perfect for early learners. With a little creativity you can adapt them to just about any age. The key is to have some fun!
Find this fun printable pdf plus more phonemic awareness activities by clicking the link above. (You’ll have to scroll past a few ads.) I especially like the Silly Putty Stretching.
From Reading Resource.
Cute idea especially for the early childhood classroom.
From Eilis at Growing in Pre K.
Great list of children’s rhyming books.
From Brighton at Dear Brighton.
Free printable: short vowel sound rhyming concentration game.
From Stacy at Teachers Take Out.
So cute! A DIY word family game with paint chip samples.
From MaryLea at Pink and Green Mama.
A hands on vowel sound game that’s easy fun and great for the classroom.
From Sally at Fairy Dust Teaching.
An age adaptable physical game of phonemic awareness (and other fun stuff).
From Jamie (once again) at Hands on As We Grow.
Thank you to all the contributors!
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