phonemic awareness activities II

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This page features activities designed to stimulate the development of phonemic awareness in preschool and elementary school children.

Rhyming activities

On-The-Go Rhyming Game

Goal: To show your child that rhyming words end in the same middle and ending sounds.

  • As you are riding in your car or walking through your neighborhood, invite your child to play a rhymming game with you.
  • Tell your child you are going to name something you see, and then say another work. Your child is to tell you if the two words ryhme.
  • Example: Say, "house, mouse." Ask your child, "Do these words ryhme?"
  • Then say, "house, car." Ask your child, "Do these words rhyme?"
  • You can also say, "I see a house." Then ask your child to say a word that rhymes with house.
  • If your child cannot generate a word that ryhmes with house, you can give them choices. Ask your child which word rhymes with house? Horse or mouse?

Rhyming I Spy

Goal: To help your child learn to identify and generate words that rhymes. This game puts a rhyming twist on the old "I Spy Game". 

  • Pick out an object in the room for your child to find, (a toy car, for example) and say, "I spy something that rhymes with star." 
  • Once your child has guessed correctly, let her pick an object for you to guess.

Silly Sentences

Goal: Help your child identify and generate rhyming words. 

  • Start a sentence, but replace the last word with something that rhymes with the correct word, such as, "On my head, I wear a cat." Have your child guess the correct word, in this case, "hat."  
  • Take turns, and be prepared for some silliness. 

Rhyming Read Alouds

Goal: Increase rhyming knowledge through literature. 

Read aloud books containing rhyme. Here are some suggestions for some fun books to read aloud: 

  • The Cat and the Hat by Dr. Seuss
  • Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo by Kevin Lewis and Daniel Kirk
  • In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming
  • Whiskers and Rhymes by Arnold Lobel
  • Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young by Jack Prelutsky
  • There's a Wocket in My Pocket by Dr. Seuss
  • Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
  • Moose on the Loose by C. P. Ochs
  • Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino
  • Never Take a Pig to Lunch by Nadine Bernard Westcott

Reading the book at least twice. The first time, read for enjoyment. Let the child hear the story or poem straight through, without stopping to analyze it.The second time you read the story or poem (either during the same sitting or another session), point out some of the words that rhyme. “Grass – pass. Those two words rhyme!” Have your child repeat some of the pairs of rhyming words so they can get a feel for rhyming. Occasionally stop at the end of a line and see if your child can guess what rhyming word is coming next. It is generally quite predictable. 

Whole Class Rhyming Words Competition

Goal: Increase ability to generate rhyming words.

  • Form 3 groups and assign a word to each group. 
  • Provide books and maganizes to each group and ask them to find words or pictures that rhyme with their assigned word. 
  • The group that finds more rhyming words should be declared the winner and they can win a small prize to motivate them further.

Blending Activities

The Name Game

Goal: To help children learn how to smoothly and fluidly blend syllables and individual sounds into words. This skill supports both word decoding and fluent reading. 

Materials: A hand puppet (have fun and name your puppet).

  • Tell your students that when your puppet says their name to stand up. But they must listen carefully because your puppet is going to try and trick them by saying their name slowly in chunks! Tell your students that if they hear their name a second time, they should sit down. 
  • Call each students' name and leave about one second between each syllable. For students with single syllable names you can use their middle name or their last name too. Play this fun game for 5-10 minutes.
  • Variations: Once you have called everyone's name, for a second round you can call each name but tell your students you are going to add another word after their name and they have to stand up and point to whatever object your puppet says. To make this phonemic awareness activity more challenging use only individual sounds in words rather than the larger syllable chunks. 

Sound Blending

Goal: This phonemic awareness activity is designed to help children learn how to blend sounds in words to form new words.  

  • Read the book before you read it to children and make note of one-syllable words from the book that are names of people, places or things.
  • Inform your child or children that you are going to read the book outloud but you want some help.
  • Tell them that you will strech out the sounds in some of the words while you are reading, and you want your them to help by squeezing these sounds back together and saying the words.
  • Now, read the book and stretch out the words you have chosen and let the guessing begin.  

This phonemic awareness activity helps support kids when learning to sound out and reread new words for fluency.

Blending With Songs

Yopp (1992) suggested the use of song games and presented an example to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands":

If you think you know this word, shout it out! 

If you think you know this word, shout it out! 

If you think you know this word, 

Then tell me what you've heard, 

If you think you know this word, shout it out!

The teacher says a segmented word such as /b/-/a/-/t/, and the children respond by saying the blended word. Another phonemic awareness activity that increases children's ability to blend speech sounds to form words.