Ready to Read:
Here's a short video about phonological
awareness, including suggestions on how to share this important early
literacy skill with children. To view, click the PLAY button on the left
(arrow pointing right).
Here are some baby rhymes that are fun to
share and start the process of developing phonological awareness.
Just click the PLAY button (arrow on the left) in the Google Media Player
Phonological awareness is the ability to hear and play with the small
units of sounds that make up words. It includes activities such as
rhyme, initial sounds, and breaking words into syllables.
Phonological awareness looks at four concepts:
Phoneme. The smallest part of the way a words sounds.
The word "is" has 2 phonemes (/i/ /s/) and the word "lick" has 3 (/l/ /i/
/k/). The English language has about 42 phonemes.
Grapheme. Sounds that we use in English can be
represented by one letter or two. These are the smallest part of
our written language that represents a sound. Examples of
one-letter graphemes include b, d, k, and r. Examples of
two-letter graphemes include br, ch, and sh.
Phonemic Awareness. Learning to hear, identify, and
manipulate each sound in a word (phoneme).
Phonics. Understanding the relationship between
phonemes (sounds of words) and graphemes (how a word is written).
Most children who have an understanding of phonological awareness have
an easier time learning to read. To understand a spoken language, a
child must be able to hear and distinguish the sounds that make up that
language. Children that develop an ability to recognize rhymes,
syllables, and phonemes learn to read quicker. Picture books for
young children are written to help. Playing word games is important
To help develop phonological awareness:
Help your pre-reader become aware of the smaller sounds that make up
words by learning nursery rhymes and making up your own silly, nonsense
Ask whether two words rhyme: “Do ‘cat’ and ‘dog’ rhyme?” “Do ‘cat’
and ‘hat’ rhyme?”
Sing songs with your child every day. Songs naturally break words
into syllables and are a fun way to learn about word sounds.
Play “I Spy” with rhymes. “I spy with my little eye something that
rhymes with far (car).” Let your child make up rhymes and have you guess
Put two words together to make a new word: “What word would we have
if we put ‘cow’ and ‘boy’ together?”
See if your child can change the beginning sounds of his or her
name. “Jimmy, can you change the /j/ in Jimmy to the /t/ sound?” (Don’t
say the letter name.)
Say rhymes and sing songs in the language most comfortable for you.