A Few Ideas for Phonological Awareness

February 23, 2014 | By jmitchell | Filed in: Early Literacy.

According to Ball (1993), different phonological skills develop along a continuum. In summary, preschool and kindergarten skills include general awareness of sounds in speech, making animal sounds, listening to rhymes and alliteration, and will sometimes make up nonsense words. Grade one skills focus on more specific aspects of sounds. They should be able to provide rhymes, guess what a word is by its individual sounds, identifies syllables in words, and knows that words start with certain sounds. Grade one and above students can replace one sound or syllable for another and can play word games.
Ball, E.W. (1993). Assessing phoneme awareness, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 24, 130-139.

  • Each student counts the syllables in their first and last name. The construct a bar graph showing how many students have 3, 4, 5, etc.
  • Each student picks a letter out of a bag, then constructs a tongue twister with the letter chosen.
  • Have each student count the sounds in their first name, then count the letters and see if the are the same or different. For example, Jennifer has 8 letters and 6 sounds.
  • Have a backward day. Pick a few words, like \”stop\” and \”go\” and say them backwards, \”pots\” and \”og\”. Play a game using those words, Mother May I, or Musical Chairs, and use the backward words instead or music.
  • Have each student switch the beginning sound of their first name with the beginning sound of their last name and that is their name for the entire day. For example, Jennifer Mitchell would be Mennifer Jitchell.


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