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Phonological awareness is the understanding that spoken words are made up of different sounds put together.
Some phonological awareness skills are:

  1. Being able to pick out words that rhyme.
  2. Counting the number of syllables in a word.
  3. Determining if words begin/end with the same sound.
  4. Finding sounds that repeat.

Demonstrating phonological awareness skills plays a big part in learning to read for little learners.

Phonological Awareness Activities

“Clap your hands!” – In this activity, your child will begin to develop the understanding of syllables. Your child will be challenged to put syllables together to make words (blending) and to take syllables apart (segmenting).  

  1. Begin by using your name or familiar words (apple, pizza, playground, etc.) while clapping and counting the number of syllables. Use long and short words so your child can better understand the concept.
  2. Then pronounce your child’s first name syllable by syllable while clapping it out (E-liz-a-beth).
  3. Have your child to say and clap their name with you and ask “how many syllables did YOU hear?”
  4. Once you have done this several times together, ask your child to say their name (first and last!) syllable by syllable while clapping.
  5. After your child understands this concept, create a list of items around the room/house to find and pronounce syllable by syllable while clapping.

“What comes first?” – In this activity, your child has to pay attention to the initial phoneme (sound) in words and then compare, contrast, and identify initial sounds in a variety of other words.

  1. Gather objects or pictures of items that begin with the same phoneme or sound (ball, banana, book, blue, boat, etc.) and spread them out on the floor or table.
  2. Ask your child to find the objects/pictures that starts with a certain initial sound (in this case, b).
  3. Have your child look at the pictures/objects while you pronounce the word while repeating the initial phoneme, “b-b-b-ball.”
  4. Once your child gets the hang of this activity, you can add pictures/items that start with different sounds and have your child pay attention to the initial sound before picking an item.
  5. With the new sounds, it’s helpful to compare and contrast the sound of one word with another (b-b-b-ball, c-c-c-cat). Ask your child if they are the same or different. This will help your child better understand initial phonemes.
  6. You can also ask your child to identify the initial sound of an object and place it in a pile of objects with the same sound.

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