By, Jessica Drake-Simmons, M.S. CCC-SLP
Everybody knows the importance of learning letters but the lesser-known imperative pre-reading skill is phonological awareness. Phonological awareness refers to the ability to hear and play with sounds, syllables and words of spoken language. Children who are able to think about the sounds in words have the necessary foundation of understanding how letters and sounds operate in print.
Phonological awareness is one of the best predictors of future reading success.
Phonological awareness skills develop with exposure and direct teaching. Here are some ideas to facilitate phonological awareness skills in your child:
Infants & Young Toddlers
- Sing fun songs or nursery rhymes
- Increase awareness of environmental sounds (animal sounds, sirens, trains, etc.)
- Change pitch and volume
2-3 year olds
- Make up rhymes that include your child’s name
- Read rhyming books; give your child the opportunity to fill in the rhyme
- Do these words sound the same game? (barn-bat, house-house, hippo-house)
4-5 year olds
- Encourage your child to come up with rhyming words (this is a fun game for the car!)
- Clap out the syllables of family members names
- Talk about the first sound in words. Have your child think of other words that start with the same sound.
- Take a walk around your house looking for things that start with the same sound (e.g.,door, dishwasher, dog, etc.)
- Listen for words that start with a given sound while reading a book
- Have your child figure out the segmented word that you say (e.g., “For lunch, we are going to have mac-a-ron-i”)
Visit our Pinterest page for developmental norms and more phonological awareness teaching ideas.
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