All About Preschool: Phonics and Phonemic Awareness (page 2)

All About Preschool: Phonics and Phonemic Awareness

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Updated on Apr 17, 2014


Unlike phonemic awareness, phonics activities add printed letters into the mix. “Phonics activities connect sounds with letters. If you play a sound matching game and then tell your child what letter represents each matching sound, you have added a phonics lesson to the activity,” says Williams. “For example, if your child recognizes that the words 'monkey' and 'mop' both begin with the /m/ sound, you can print the letter m and tell your child that that letter makes the /m/ sound.”

After your child gets the hang of listening for and identifying the sounds in words, you can add the written letter to make it into a phonics activity. Try a few of these fun first phonics activities to boost your child’s reading readiness:

  • Fridge Phonics. Use the magnetic letters on your fridge for some wonderful, hands-on phonics activities. Have your child gather a handful of letters and search for items that begin with each. While you are cooking dinner, he can bring his letter and item pairs for you to see.
  • I Spy. While you are out and about, play a game of phonics I Spy. Bring along your magnetic letters or letters written on scraps of paper. The first player draws a letter and then finds something that begins with that letter. For example, “I spy with my little eye, something that starts with T.” If the other players need more help, you can give additional clues about color, size, shape or add more phonics clues, like the letter it ends with.
  • The “Write” Stuff. As your child begins to write, he may use letters to represent words. For example, if you child makes a flower and the writes an FR, this is a good thing! Your child has mastered the alphabetic principle, which is the understanding that letters are symbols used to represent speech sounds. Don’t worry about spelling; just encourage him to continue to write the sounds he hears, a perfect phonics lesson!
  • Alphabet Books. There are many wonderful alphabet books in print. These books give children the opportunity to both see and hear the letters and sounds in the alphabet and are wonderful additions to your home library. Here are a few classics: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. (Beach Lane Books, 2000), Alphabet Mystery by Audrey Wood (Blue Sky Press, 2003), Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming (Henry Holt and Co., 2006), Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert (Voyager Books, 1993), Dr. Seuss's ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book! by Dr. Seuss (Random House Books for Young Readers, 1996).

Research indicates that your child’s success as a reader is largely dependent upon his ability to identify and manipulate sounds before he begins to read. A little bit of time and energy invested in phonemic awareness and phonics activities will yield great returns as your child begins to read. So go ahead and play around with sounds and letters - you and your child will be glad you did!

More preschool phonics activities:

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