Recommendations for Fostering Phonemic Awareness
Informal Language Activities
Phonemic awareness can be fostered both through informal language activities that encourage students to explore and manipulate the sounds in words and through formal, systematic instruction. Phonemic awareness activities should begin prior to kindergarten and may include the activities listed here.
To provide informal language activities that encourage students to explore and manipulate the sounds in words, the teacher might do the following:
A. Read to students throughout the day, and engage them in discussions and explanations to enhance oral language development. Use pictures and objects to demonstrate word meanings and associations.
B. Point out to students the separate words as they appear in sentences on charts or in big books. Pronounce the words clearly while doing this.
C. Help young students to hear the syllables in words by clapping them out and pronouncing them in exaggerated ways.
D. Use alliterative literature to help students develop the concept of beginning sounds. Ask students to identify words that start with the same sounds in the text. After reading a book, have students generate more words that have the same beginning sounds. Using the pattern of the text, have students create alliterative sentences for a class book. Each student can illustrate a sentence.
E. Provide other activities that encourage children to identify and manipulate phonemes, such as these:
- "What is the beginning sound of _____?"
- "What is the ending sound of _____?"
- "Do dog and cat rhyme?"
- "How is bat different from sat?"
- "Listen to the word time. Can you change that word by giving it a beginning sound of /d/?"
- "What are all of the sounds you hear in feet?"
Each of these suggestions can be expanded into activities that may consume several instructional sessions. Do not attempt to teach these concepts too quickly; do not expect all students to learn them at the same time.
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