Helping Your Child With Phonemic Awareness*
Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate the individual sounds in spoken words. Phonemic awareness can, and must, be taught and learned. Children must master phonemic awareness skills in order to master the phonics skills necessary to become successful readers. There are numerous phonemic awareness skills that include rhymes, segmenting, deleting, and substituting sounds. Following are ways you can help your child strengthen their phonemic awareness skills.
· Read books with rhyme, repetition, and rhythm. Mother Goose books, Dr. Seuss books, Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, and the alphabet books by Edward Lear are favorites.
· Rhyming Games. “I am thinking of an animal that rhymes with hat. What is the animal?” Answer: cat.
· Segmentation. Pass your child an empty cup and ask: “What are the three sounds you hear in the word cup?” and at the same time, if necessary, extend the sounds while pronouncing the word. Answer: /k/ - /u/ - /p/.
· Deletion. When your child smiles at you, say something like: “What a beautiful smile. What is the word smile without the beginning /s/ sound?” Answer: mile.
· Substitution. Point to a picture of an object such as a bug and say “A bug. Change the /g/ sound to the /n/ sound and you have something you like to eat. What is it?” Answer: bun.
· Blending. Whenever you’re talking with your child and using some basic words such as big, stop and say, “Here are the sounds of a word. Guess what the word is.” Then follow with the sounds /b/, /i/, and /g/. Answer: big.
*Involving Parents in Their Children’s Reading Development by Bruce Johnson, published by Treasure Bay.