Activities for Skill Building (page 2)
Phonological awareness is knowledge of the sounds that make up words. Being able to break words into their component sounds and to put sounds together to make words helps children to sound out and spell new words. Here are some fun activities for developing phonological awareness:
Sing songs using the children's names—for example, "Hello, Costanza. How are you? How are you today?" Have the children clap out the syllables as they say the names: two for Joey, three for Costanza, four for Alexander, and so on.
Teach the children songs that involve rhymes and sound play:
- "Ring around the Rosie"
- "The Ants Go Marching"
- "This Old Man"
- "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly"
- "Anna, Anna, Bo-Banna, Banana Fanna, Fo-Fanna, Fi Fie Fo-Fanna, Anna" (substitute each child's name for Anna)
The Sound Game
Say a compound word—such as lunchbox, beanbag, or playground—and ask a child to repeat it. Then ask the child to say it again without one of its parts. For example, "Say lunchbox. Now, say it again, but this time, don't say box."
Make a set of rhyming picture cards—cat/hat, shell/bell, key/bee. Color code the backs so that rhyming cards match. Encourage the children to find the rhyming pairs. Four- and five-year-olds can also identify words that have the same beginning or ending sounds.
Using letter stamps, a computer, or paper and markers, have children write words by writing letters for the sounds that they hear. Some children like to write notes to friends; others like to write captions for their drawings or to make books or journals. If any of the children want you to, you can ask them to read what they wrote "their way" and then write the words underneath "The way I write it."
By the time they get to preschool, most children already know a lot about print. They may recognize some favorite cereal boxes, store logos, and even books and videos. If they have been read to frequently, they can probably hold a book right side up and turn its pages from front to back. They may even realize that the reader reads the words, rather than the pictures, and they may correct someone who doesn't read every word of a favorite book they have memorized.
Most preschool children are ready to master more advanced print concepts, such as naming letters, recognizing words, and following along.
By the time they start kindergarten, children should be able to name some letters. Usually, the ones that most interest them are the letters in their names. Here are some fun ways to help children who are interested learn the names of letters:
Help children identify the letters in their names and find them in different contexts, such as on food labels or on signs in the classroom. Children might also learn to recognize the first letters of each others' names. You might point out the first letter in a book title and ask, "Whose name starts with this?"
Many children enjoy playing with rubber stamps and stamp pads or with homemade stamps cut from potatoes, sponges, or cucumbers. Use stamps with letters as well as ones with simple shapes. Another fun way to stamp is to roll out a slab of clay or play dough and make impressions with cookie cutters, rubber stamps, plastic letters, and found objects. Encourage children to talk about their stamp pictures. Help them name the letters and shapes they used.
Use any word-processing program with the font size set on 18-point or larger. At first, children will enjoy typing random letters and "reading" back what they have written. Later, they may try to type particular letters, write their names, or ask you to help them write the names of friends and family members.
Letter Books—Beginning Sounds
Make individual books for the children by folding and stapling several sheets of paper. Help each child select a letter for the book, and place that letter on the cover. Also talk about different objects that start with that letter. Encourage the child to draw or cut out pictures of things beginning with that letter.
Children who can recognize familiar signs and logos and who can pick out their own names from a group of words may enjoy some of these word recognition games:
Label objects in the classroom, and read the labels out loud to the children. Every once in a while, take a label away and see if the children can put it back in the correct place.
© ______ 2006, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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