Phonological awareness includes understanding that spoken words are made up of syllables and sounds that we can separate and blend, that some words start with the same sound, and that some words rhyme.
How can I help?
- Use movement to help your child understand syllables in words.
- Say your child’s name and then clap the syllables. For Sammy you would clap twice, for the two syllables, Sam…my. If your child has a one syllable name, such as Sam, you would clap one time. To help him understand that not all words have the same number of syllables you can also clap his last name or other family members' names.
- Give your child repeated exposure to rhyming words through songs, nursery rhymes or stories that rhyme.
- Tell your child that rhyming words are words that sound the same at the end. Provide some examples. “Hat and bat are rhyming words. Hat and bat both end with at.”
- Read a book that uses rhyming words that match the pictures. Read the words and look for the pictures that rhyme. Repeat the rhyming words together.
- Emphasize beginning sounds by bringing letter sounds to your child’s attention. When reading a book, talk about the beginning sounds in pictures on the page. For example, if you are reading a book about caterpillars you might say, “Our book is about a caterpillar. Caterpillar begins with the sound /k/ /k/ /k/. Look for more pictures that begin with the same sound.
- Use everyday opportunities to talk about beginning sounds. For example, create word games with your child. You might say, “Jayden, I am making a sandwich for lunch. I’ve got the peanut butter. Can you please go to the pantry and get the /j/ /j/ /j/ jelly? Jelly starts with /j/ /j/ /j/, just like Jayden!”