Even though I teach (and LOVE) second grade, I really enjoy doing the more basic activities that have been on this blog for even younger guys. All the classes I took for my M.Ed in Reading focused on these early learners. Since I never get to use these particular skills with my budding readers in second grade, I wanted to start this blog so I could... sort of! I wanted to focus more on how children acquire their reading skills this week. That way, when I give activities to do with each read-aloud, you’ll have a better picture of which ones apply to your child.
My Go-To Resource for these activities is Phonemic Awareness in Young Children . It breaks phonemic awareness into 7 steps:
Words and Sentences
Awareness of Syllables
Initial and Final Sounds
Letters and Spellings
Children must master the previous step before moving on. I wanted to breakdown each one as a reference for you. That way, no matter what the read-aloud, you’ll know a few good things to try for your child. Once I’m done describing each part of phonemic awareness, I’ll go back to giving you good books to share! Promise!
Listening Comprehension- Age estimate: As soon as your child’s speaking! (Isn't this guy cute?)
It sounds so simple, but children need to be taught to listen to everyday sounds. These sounds make up their world, and eventually their literacy world. Developing a sensitivity to regular sounds will only help children retain that sensitivity later to phonemes (the individual sounds in words) when reading.
Ask your child to close his/her eyes and name different sounds they hear. Go to YouTube.com and type in things like birds, sirens, wind, waves, trains, various animals. Make sure you screen them first, but see if your child can correctly identify the sounds.
Once they’ve mastered this, try playing two sounds in a row. See if they can identify both in the correct order. Want even more of a challenge? Play a sequence of several sounds, then leave one out. Can your child name the missing sound?
Have your child close his/her eyes again. Go to a corner of a room, make a sound and return to your child. Can he/she guess where the noise came from? You can also hide an alarm clock around the house and see if they can determine its hiding spot! This really teaches them to listening thoughtfully and develop sensitivity skills.
Animal sounds- Probably the most popular listening game I’ve noticed. Have stuffed animals and give your child the sound each makes. See if they can do it on their own. Slowly introduce new animals. Whenever you see these animals in pictures or books, have your child recall the sounds they make rather than read the animal’s name.
Nonsense words- Practice a familiar story, poem or song with your child. Once they’ve heard it several times, substitute nonsense words for the real ones in the story. Can your child guess the nonsense words? Examples: Baa baa PURPLE sheep, Twinkle, twinkle little CAR, Humpty Dumpty WALL on a SAT, etc. Dr. Seuss books are wonderful for determining which words are nonsense and which are real.
Phone is another great game we’re all familiar with that helps with this part of phonemic awareness. Instead of whispering a sentence or phrase, whisper a word into your child’s ear and have them pass it around to all your family members or friends. Add more words if he/she proves capable of doing this!
Again, these seem like common knowledge, but by teaching your child to really listen to everyday sounds, they will be better able to listen to letter and phoneme names later in life, thus making reading a walk in the park :)
Is your child too advanced for this? Stay tuned for my next post...