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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Initial and Final Sounds- Alpha and Omega

This segment is for those children who understand words and sentences and are ready to start reading on their own!  Typically, these are Kindergarten aged kids, but a lot of Pre-K kids will be ready, too!  
If your child isn’t quite here yet, try these previous blogs:
Listening (earliest stage)
Rhyming (2-4 year olds)
Words/Sentences (4-6 year olds)
and Syllables (5-7 year olds)
**Please note that these are all rough estimates of age**
Phonemes are defined as the individual sounds within words.  This does not necessarily refer to just the different sounds that each letter makes, but also combinations of letters that make one sound (ch, th, etc.).  By starting to look at the beginning and ending sounds, you can lead your child to guess what might fit in the middle.  However, you can do your child a big favor by starting to introduce metacognitive skills at this point.  By that, I mean help your child think about what they’re doing.  If your child guesses a word and it’s wrong, ask him/her “does that make sense in the sentence?”  This will help them later when encountering more challenging words.  

Here are some activities:

Start collecting objects!  You can use shoeboxes, cups or a containers like this:

 to store them.  Label each with a letter of the alphabet.  When you find an object that starts with that letter, put it in the box/container.  This can be an activity that is extended over months.

Play the guessing game.  Choose a book with limited words on each page.  While you’re reading, pick out a word on the page, but DON’T tell your child.  For example, choose a simple word like SAT.  See if he/she can guess your word by only telling them it starts with the /s/ sound and ends with the /t/ sound.  Do not actually say the letters, but rather the sounds they make.

Point out that several words will begin with the same sound.  Find a page in a book that has a few words that begin with a certain letter.  Ask your child to find all those words.  Or, find some magazines and start cutting out pictures that start with the same sound.  Once your child has mastered initial sounds, do the same activity using final sounds.

The Bag Game- Place some objects in a bag without your child seeing.  Give them clues until he/she can guess the object.  Always start off giving the initial phoneme of the words you have in mind.  Then, give clues about the object.  For example, if your object is a cup, say it starts with a /c/ sound and you drink from it.

See if your child can guess which sound you take away from words.  Say the entire one syllable word, then leave off the initial sound.  See if he/she can guess which sound you omitted.  For example, say PIN... then say IN.  See if he/she can come up with P being the missing phoneme.  Try words like FOX, MAKE, RACE, PHONE, SINK, SEAT, FEEL, HAND, etc.  Do the same thing, but now leave off the final sound.  For example, say FREEZE then say FREE.  Try some of these words: BARK, SHEEP, NOTE, NOSE, GREAT, GRAPE, etc.
I have two more steps of phonemic awareness I want to hit on before going back to giving you great read-alouds!  

Remember, this is a FABULOUS resource for parents and teachers alike, and where I am getting most of my information!

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