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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Book Study Party Literacy Beginnings Chapter 8: Phonemic Awareness and Phonics: The Sounds of Language

Thanks to Vanessa Levin for throwing this Literacy Beginnings Book Study Blog Party!
Pre-K Pages

Chapter 8 is being hosted by No More Worksheets

Here are my thoughts:

This chapter explained exactly what Phonemic Awareness and Phonics is and what it involves. Phonemic Awareness is the ability to hear the individual sounds in words. Phonics is is knowing the sounds represented by the symbols (letters). I saw this at a conference and it helped me, so maybe it will help you: 

Click on the picture for a larger image

The authors also included a wonderful quote by Marie Clay:
 "Phonemic Awareness is NECESSARY for success in learning to read and write."

With this goal and the knowledge that children learn through play we can build children's phonemic awareness and phonics skills by:
  • using Nursery Rhymes
  • poetry
  • songs
  • tongue twisters
  • games
  • Interactive Writing
  • Individual Writing
  • Shared Reading and
  • just plain ole GETTIN' SILLY!

One of my favorite ways to get kids motivated and interested in working with letters and sounds is by making mistakes! I make mistakes in the Morning Message, when I'm talking about sounds and letters, when I'm reading (rhyming books especially), when I'm trying to write a letter on the board and form it incorrectly. Kids love to show what they know- let 'em!

Play lots of games involving the manipulation of sounds and letters:
  • Use picture sorts for letter sounds, syllables, and rhyming.
  • Have kids clap out the syllables (or word parts) or use a drum to drum them.
  • Play What's My Word by separating simple words into their individual sounds (phonemes) and have the kids tell you the word. /c/ /a/ /t/= cat!
  • You say a word (Make It) and they tell you the individual sounds (Break It).
  • Play What's My Sound by naming 4 words that begin with the same sound (bear, bun, big, bird) and have the kids tell you what sound they all begin with. Then name words with the same ending sound.
  • Name 3 words that begin the same sound and 1 word that is different and have them tell you which word doesn't belong.
  • Play beginning sound Memory or Concentration. Kids turn over two cards and if they begin with the same sound, they keep the matching pair. Click here for a free version- I included both long and short vowel sounds so you can play either way.
Read, Read, Read and Repeat the Story, Repeat the Story, Repeat the Story! The more times you read a story, the more exposure the kiddos have to rhyme, rhythm, sounds, etc. Here are some of my favorites:

and the entire There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed A ___ Series of books by Lucille Colandro. Those are great for leaving out the rhyming word and having the kids fill in.

Use phonemic awareness and phonics games as transition and classroom management tools:
  • Call students using the same first letter. Rick, Cindy, and Samantha become Lick, Lindy, Lamantha.
  • Call students by having them move when they hear a word that rhymes with their name.
  • Call students when they see their name or the first/last letter of their name written or held up on a card.
Bottom Line: We have a fun job! Let's play!


  1. I am so glad I came to see your blog. You have so many awesome ideas! Thank you for all of your shares. I loved the story about your Father and your nickname. :)

  2. Thank you, Pam. My Sailor hubby just informed me that 'Gracehopper' also has a Navy tie-in. Rear Admiral Grace Hopper was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer. She is credited with popularizing the term "debugging" and is AKA "Amazing Grace". The popular Navy quote, "It's easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to get permission." is also attributed to her. I had no idea that my blog name also had a Navy tie-in, but how fitting! I love it even more now. :)