Is phonological awareness a new term for you? I’ve heard of phonetics, but I must say, this was certainly a new term for me. So, I did like I normally do when I see a new term; I researched it. With the constant improvements made in Early Childhood Education, phonological awareness is definitely something we all need to know. The literacy goals now are to have a child read well by third grade. Phonological awareness is one tool to help educators reach that goal. Let’s learn more about it.
Phonological awareness is a child’s awareness of the sound structure of words. It is an important and reliable predictor of later reading. It’s a broad skill that includes identifying and manipulating units of oral language (parts such as words, syllables, and onsets and rimes). That just brought up a new word “rimes”. No, it’s not a typo. The “onset” is the initial phonological unit of any word (such as h in hat) and the term “rime” refers to the string of letters that follow, usually a vowel and final consonants (such as “at” in hat). Not all words have onsets. This can help students break down new words when reading and spell words when writing. Simply put, it’s breaking down the words beyond syllables to make reading easier. It’s the new latest greatest thing in literacy.
How Can Parents Help at Home (Reading Rockets)
- Do activities to help your child build sound skills (make sure they are short and fun; avoid allowing your child to get frustrated):
- Help your child think of a number of words that start with the /m/ or /ch/ sound, or other beginning sounds.
- Make up silly sentences with words that begin with the same sound, such as “Nobody was nice to Nancy’s neighbor”.
- Play simple rhyming or blending games with your child, such as taking turns coming up with words that rhyme (go – no) or blending simple words (/d/, /o/, /g/ = dog).
- Read books with rhymes. Teach your child rhymes, short poems, and songs.
- Practice the alphabet by pointing out letters wherever you see them and by reading alphabet books.
- Consider using computer software that focuses on developing phonological and phonemic awareness skills. Many of these programs use colorful graphics and animation that keep young children engaged and motivated.
Though it may sound like work, phonological study is actually fun for the children. One very simple technique is to use alphabet magnets and change out the first letter (the onset) and create new words by adding a new first letter to the rimes. The silly words that come up will make the children laugh while also teaching them to read. It’s a win-win situation! We can’t just read a book… we have to make the book come alive!!
In my opinion, nobody brings a story to life better than award winning author and Queen of Storytellin’, Mary Jo Huff! You have never heard a story until you have heard Mary Jo! Children absolutely love her, and adults alike. She has performed all over the United States to hundreds of thousands of children through the years. Her artistry is phenomenal. Her techniques pull you deep within the story until you become a part of it. She has a wonderful exuberant personality which just infuses itself into her work.
Let’s talk about literacy for a moment. Literacy is the ability to read and write. Often when we hear that word we simply think of reading. It’s so much more. Reading and writing go hand in hand. We must work on both skills. Now, I’m going to give you some websites. Please, parents and caregivers, visit these websites. Look around, take a class… it’s a hard world out there and we need to give these young children every advantage we can.
For more information on phonological awareness, visit Reading Rockets. It’s a great source of information for parents and teachers!
Mary Jo Huff information on Mary Jo and an online store which you just have to browse!
Read Right from the Start create a free account and login! Click on Videos at the top and browse for your child’s age. Take some free classes! You won’t regret it! The modules are really informative and definitely worth the time.
Get Ready to Read if you have a 4-year-old, head over to Get Ready to Read and have your child take a free assessment. Browse the website to get a better understanding of the assessment and literacy.
Author: Belinda Davis ©2019