In order to learn to read, children must become aware of the sound structure of spoken language. This awareness of the sound structure of spoken language is called phonological awareness. One way to develop phonological awareness is to bring your child’s attention to the syllables that make up words.
- basket of fruit or pictures of fruit
Step 1: Place the basket of four to five pieces of fruit or four to five fruit pictures on a table or on the floor. Tell your child that you are going to play a game with the names of fruits.
Step 2: Ask your child to pick a fruit or fruit picture from the basket. Then ask him to say the name of the fruit and clap out the syllables, like this:
Now, say it slowly. Ba . . . na . . .na
Now, say it fast. Banana
Clap the syllables in banana (3 claps)
Now, clap it slowly.
How many times did we clap? That’s right! We clapped three times. Banana has three parts. Banana has three syllables.
Step 3: Repeat with the other fruits as long as your child is interested. Make it fun. Let your child feel success. At this age, the experiences are all about fun and positive exposure to new skills. Mastery will come later.
Use fruits that have just one or two syllables to start with.
Ask your child to think of other fruits that you have not included in your basket. Ask your child to independently clap out the syllables in the fruit names and tell you how many parts or syllables there are in the name.