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Phonological Awareness

Updated: Mar 12, 2023

Phonological Awareness is one of the best predictors for kids as they enter kindergarten! It is also one of the lesser known aspects of reading when I've spoken to parents. Phonological Awareness is considered an umbrella term that describes one’s ability to hear and then manipulate spoken words and sentences.

For today's post I want to share 5 simple tips on how you (as a parent) can help grow your child's phonological awareness BEFORE they even enter kindergarten.

1. Word Awareness

Parent says: "The cat is big". How many words are in the sentence?

(Repeat the sentence and count the words out with your little one)

For our little learners, they may not be able to distinguish when words start and stop. It may sound like one big word "thecatisbig". We want them to become aware of each individual word. Slowing down and placing larger pauses between words may help your little one notice each word.

2. Rhymes

Parent says: "I spy with my little eye something that rhymes with men?"

Child says: "pen"

Parent says: "We are having maghetti for dinner"

Child thinks: Maghetti? Oh.. Spaghetti!!

3. Syllables

Parents can start by increasing your child's awareness of syllables by clapping out syllables in longer words. You can also segment longer words into their syllables and say them slowly to your child.

Parent says, "/di/ /no/ /saur/"

Child says, "dinosaur"

Once your child gets the hang of syllables, you ask your child to segment a word into it's syllables or you can ask them to blend two or three syllables together. Compound words are a great place to start!

Parent says, "backpack"

Child says, "/back/ /pack/"

4. Onset-Rime

Think word families! Have your child blend, isolate, delete, add and then finally substitute the first sound in a word.

Blend: Parent says, "put together /m/ and /at/" Child says, "mat"

Isolate: Parent says, "what is the first sound in mat" Child says, "/m/"

Delete: Parent says, "delete the /m/ in mat" Child says, "/at/"

Add: Parent says, "add /m/ to the word /at/" Child says, "mat"

Substitute: Parent says, "Switch the /m/ in 'mat' or a /c/" Child says, "cat"

Start with three phoneme words (words that have three sounds so this includes digraphs and vowel teams). Avoid beginning and ending blends as these can be tricky and less developmentally appropriate.

5. Body-Coda

As mentioned in another post, this strategy works AMAZINGLY for stop sounds. When working on phonological awareness, you will be having the child blend, isolate, delete, add and then substitute the final sound in a word.

This functions similarly to #4 but the emphasis is on chunking the first two letters together and leaving the final sound separate.

How Latch Onto Learning can Help

If your little one is struggling with any of these skills or if you would like your child to have extra practice with these skills, we offer mini-tutoring sessions that are 15minute virtual-1:1 classes that work on these crucial early literacy skills. These are ideal for parents/kids who are entering kindergarten or are in Kindergarten. Help give your little one that little reading boost! This is one small step you can take to help prevent future reading difficulties for your child.

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