Essentials for Literacy Instruction

When I started teaching kindergarten, I was so eager on getting these little ones learning the alphabet and start the process of writing and reading early.  I learned very quickly that the majority of my students didn’t understand the concept of what a beginning sound was nor could they hear it.  I had to take a step back and start with the basics.  This is where phonemic and phonological instruction comes into play.  The video in the link below does a fantastic job of explaining phonemic and phonological awareness. 

Importance of Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear and segment sounds.  We know that a student’s skills in phonemic awareness is a good predictor of later reading success or difficulty.  Since research has proven this time and time again, as a Pre-K or kindergarten teacher, this is a great place to start your literacy instruction.  I have outlined some fun and engaging activities below that can be used for segmentation and blending.

Fun Phonemic Awareness Activities

Slow Speaking Sam Puppet

I had a puppet called “Slow Speaking Sam”. He says sounds of words very, very slowly. My little ones have fun trying to figure out the word he is saying.  Together we blend the sounds to say the entire word.

Assigning Each Child A Sound

I have three students (to begin with) and assign them each a sound.  They each say their sound and the rest of the students must guess what the word is when you put all the sounds together (blending).  We discuss what sound was heard first, middle and last.

Money in the Bank and Taken Out

I show a CVC picture card and we move the pennies to represent each sound. Each child is given a cupful of pennies or whatever you have available.  The students move the pennies into the bank representing each sound heard.  After, they blend the sounds together to say the entire word while removing the pennies.  After the game, the students can count how many pennies they collected.

Stretch the Sound


The student stretch each sound using a slinky or elastic band. These can purchased at a Dollar store (love those stores).

Squeeze the Sound

Again, I show a CVC picture card.  The students must squeeze the ball each time a sound is heard. They blend the sounds together to say the entire word, while dropping the ball to the ground (do not want a ball that bounces). This is also great in developing fine-motor strength!

Using Your Imagination

These are just a few examples but you get the idea of the possibilities.  The activities should involve some sort of movement in order to be effective.

Phonemic and Phonological Outstanding Resources

In the links below you will find outstanding resources in terms of understanding the benchmarks, assessment videos, and instructional priorities in terms of phonemic and phonological awareness.

Resources Offered by Kinderplans to Assist in Developing These Skills

I found these resources invaluable during my years of teaching Kindergarten. I used them extensively in my literacy centers.  

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *