Activities for Skill Building (page 3)
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.
Buy or make a Lotto game, using pictures of familiar animals or objects on one side of the cards. When you read a Lotto card to the children, show them the word before naming the object or animal.
Make a series of word puzzles by backing pictures of familiar objects with their names and then cutting them in half to form a two-piece puzzle. Mix the pieces from several of these puzzles in a storage tray. Let the children complete each puzzle on the "word" side. If they select the pieces that go together, they can turn the puzzle over to see the "picture" side.
Work individually with children to make cards for words about which they have special interest, such as the names of family members, things they see on the way to school, favorite foods, and so on. When possible, paste a picture on the reverse side of each card. As the children learn to read their words, they can place the cards in their own word banks.
One of the first things a reader needs to know is where to begin. On some occasions when you read with older children, show them where the words begin. Point out the first few words so they can see that printed words correspond to spoken words, that there are spaces between words, and that reading goes from left to right and top to bottom (in English and other languages written with the Roman alphabet).
Some children may want to follow along as the text is being read. They can help you read by pointing to words as you read them aloud.
Technology can be a real boon to beginning readers. Some computer programs highlight the words in a text as they are read aloud. Other programs allow the child to select words or rebuses (pictures that can be changed to words) to use in her writing and will read back what the child has written. You can also make tape recordings of familiar storybooks and encourage the children to read along with the tapes. (Make sure to clap or say "Turn the page" at the end of each page.)
When Do Children Read?
There is no magic age at which children are ready to learn to read. Because each child is a unique individual, the age will vary and will be influenced by the following factors:
- Understanding of and ability to use language effectively
- Development of small- and large-muscle skills
- Social and emotional development
- Background and experiences
- Interest in reading and desire to learn
- Opportunities given to learn to read
© ______ 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.
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- Child Development Theories
- Social Cognitive Theory
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- The Homework Debate
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- Problems With Standardized Testing