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  • Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate sounds in spoken speech. Some phonemic awareness skills are: separating words into individual sounds, combining sounds together to make words, and adding, subtracting, or changing sounds in a word to create a different word. Demonstrating phonemic awareness skills is a great precursor to reading readiness in little learners


Phonemic Awareness Activities


  • What was that noise?
    • In this activity, children are challenged to identify familiar sounds using only their ears. This activity builds memory and attention skills used to understand the sequence of sounds. The children are to sit in the middle of the room with their eyes closed while you make familiar noises around them such as closing the door, playing the piano, coughing, crumpling paper, or cutting with scissors. Once you have made a familiar noise, ask the children to identify what noise you have made and where in the room the noise came from. Once children have the hang of this activity, you can make two consecutive noises and have the children sequence the two noises you made by saying something along the lines of, “first we heard a ____, then we heard a ____.”
    • If you are conducting this activity with more than one child, be sure to let all the children have a chance to guess what the noise is. It is also important to discourage children yelling the answers out, in order for this activity to be mentally stimulating and academic for all involved!


  • What sounds do you hear?
    • In this activity, children are challenged to separate familiar words into individual sounds. This activity builds the phonological awareness skill of “segmenting”, which is important for children to understand as they begin to read and write. To conduct this activity, gather several familiar 3-4 letter words and write them on a piece of paper or whiteboard. Have the children pick a word to start with and spell the word on the board with spaces in between each letter, c – o – w. Then have the children pronounce each letter’s sound individually. Once you have pronounced all sounds individually, stretch each sound out in a sequence, cccc – oooo – wwww. Stretching the sounds out will help children learn the skill of segmenting.

By Taylor Villarreal MA, CF-SLP Speech-Language Pathologist