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.
- For example, clap your hands, stomp your feet or tap your head as you say a word slowly, so that your child can hear the syllables. For example, as you are eating together say the name of a food slowly. At the same time as you say the word make the movement. Have your child join in with you.
- Give your child repeated exposure to rhyming words through songs, nursery rhymes or stories that rhyme.
- Read a book that uses rhyming words that match the pictures. 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.” Emphasize the rhyming words on each page by repeating them several times. Provide a magnifying glass and go on a “rhyming word search” looking for pictures in the book that rhyme. You can also say a word that rhymes with a picture in the book and ask your child to search for the picture that rhymes with your word.
- Emphasize beginning sounds by choosing one letter sound to focus on each day.
- For example, you might choose the first letter of your child’s name. As you go about your day, help your child find toys or objects that begin with that same letter sound and create a collection. Gather them into a group (Jane, jump rope, jigsaw puzzle, jewelry, John Deere tractor toys) and add to it each day. Over the next day or two, point out other objects around the house, grocery store, doctor’s office or while driving, that begin with that same letter sound. Ask your child to say the letter sound and name the objects gathered at home that begin with the same sound. Which letter sound did you collect the most items for?
- Blend and segment word parts.
- Print your child’s name on an index card. Cut it into syllable pieces. Pull the index card pieces apart while saying your child’s name slowly and then push all the pieces together while saying the name fast. Create additional syllable puzzles by gluing pictures to index cards and cutting the pictures into syllables. Have your child separate the pieces and say the name of the picture slowly and then push the pieces together and say the name of the picture fast.