What is it?
Phonological awareness is the explicit awareness of sound structure of spoken language. It encompasses a continuum of skills (from rhyming to sound manipulation), including the ability to detect longer speech segments (e.g. words) to the smallest individual speech sound.
What rhymes with “cat”?
Do “cat” and “mat” rhyme?
Jack and Jill went up the hill—Which two words rhyme?
Blending Syllables into Words-Examples
I am going to say a word in a silly way: “ta…ble” (pausing between syllables). What word am I saying? (“table”)
I am going to say a word in a silly way: “fan…tas…tic” (pausing between syllables). What word am I saying? (“fantastic”)
Breaking Words into Syllables-Examples
I am going to say a word and I want you to clap each part: “table” (2 claps); dinosaur (3 claps); harmonica (4 claps)
Why is it important?
Phonological awareness is a precursor to the understanding of written language.
What can I do at home?
- Rhyming: Play a thumbs up-thumbs down game. Start the game by saying, "If the words rhyme, give me a thumbs up. If they do not rhyme, give me a thumbs down." Make sure that your examples are clear for young learners, especially when the words do not rhyme. By choosing words with different beginning sounds that are unrelated (i.e. dog-refrigerator), you are helping your child learn to focus in on the rhyme.
- Syllables Around the House: Have your child go around the house and identify and clap the syllables for household items (i.e. table (2 claps), window (2 claps), refrigerator (5 claps). This can be done in a variety of settings.
- Silly Syllables Around the House: Tell your child that you will be saying some names of items around the house in a silly way. Have your child identify the items. For example, say “ta…ble” (pause between the two syllables). Have your child go to the table). This can be done in a variety of settings.
- Body Tapping: This is a version of Head/Shoulders/Knees and Toes. Choose a word with three sounds (big). Say each sound separately. Have your child touch his head when saying the first sound /b/, touch his waist when saying the second sound /i/, and touch his toes when saying the last sound /g/. When your child can do this activity easily without assistance, say one of the sounds separately and ask your child to place his hands on the head, waist, or toes to show if the sound comes at the beginning, middle (vowel) or end.
- Tapping to Read: Students tap each sound as they blend (read) words. Say the word “mat”. Have your child repeat the word “mat”. Tap your index finger to thumb while saying the sound, /m/. Tap your middle finger to thumb while saying the sound, /a/. Tap your ring finger to thumb while saying the sound, /t/.
- Tapping to Spell: Students tap to separate each sound as they spell words.