Phonemic Awareness Activities

We continue to focus our posts on “phonological awareness” because it is such an important developmental component in contributing to a child’s ability to be successful in learning to read. Many studies have shown that a child lacking phonemic and phonological awareness experience difficulties in learning to read.  These studies also indicate that mini-lessons that focus on developing this awareness can greatly improve a child’s success rate in this area.

How Can I Tell if a Student Lacks Phonemic Awareness Skills?

The site displayed in the link below contains valuable ideas in phonemic awareness.  This specific page contains videos of a student lacking phonemic awareness skills and another student who has developed a solid understanding in phonemic awareness.

Assessment Video Clips

What is the Difference Between Phonemic Awareness and Alphabetic Principal?

Phonemic awareness is a child’s ability to discriminate sounds whereas the alphabetic principal requires students to associate a sound to a specific letter.  The link below provides a benchmark for kindergarten in both areas.  The focus of this blog posting is to present activities for the high priority skills outlined for phonemic awareness.

Benchmark for Phonemic Awareness and Alphabetic Principal

Phonemic Awareness Activities – Rhyming

1. Reading

Reading, reading and more reading so children can hear the rhyme within literature.  Dr. Seuss has always been a favorite to use for this purpose.  Throughout the site I recommend books; many of which do include rhyming.

2.  Matching Rhyming Cards and Emergent Reader on the Public Site

In the link below you will find word family rhyming picture cards and a rhyming emergent reader.

Rhyming Emergent Reader and Picture Cards

Nutrition Rhyming and Matching Activity

Click Here to View on You Tube

3.  Rhyming Picture Cards in Nutrition Theme

Within the different theme units of the members site you will find rhyming game activities.  Since the focus for this blog post is on the “Nutrition Theme” we have posted a Smart Board activity that could be used in relation to rhyming and the focus theme.  There is also a printable version of the rhyming cards if you do not have access to a Smart Board.

4.  Rhyming Riddles 

The cards could be used to make rhyming riddles.  Examples are found in the link below:

Rhyming Riddles

5.  Integrate Show and Tell

If you students bring something for “Show and Tell” integrate a rhyming activity.  For example, if a student brings a play “truck” have the students generate words that rhyme.  Allow for nonsense words but this would be acknowledged.

6.  Rhyming Names

Students love to make rhymes with their names.  Have fun making nonsense words with names of students in the classroom.

Example:  Jason the mason.  Bill in the grill.

Orally Separate Phonemes

Using a puppet to develop this skill would be ideal.  Explain that the puppet says all the sounds in words very slowly.  Demonstrate how the puppet speaks, example,  h—o—t (stretching the sounds).  The children would site what word the puppet said (hot).  Together as a class generate a name for the puppet (Slow Word Sam).  After, the children have become familiar with this activity they can take the puppet to the Literacy Center and do the same activities that were modeled in class.

Identifies First Sound in One Syllable Word Assessment

In the link below you will view a video on how a student was assessed to determine his ability to identify first sound understanding.

Hearing Beginning Letter Sounds Assessment

First Sound Instruction Lesson

In the link below you will find how a lesson was conducted in developing first sound understanding.

Identifying First Sound Lesson

Hundreds of Picture Cards

If you are a member of the site you will have access to hundreds of picture cards that would be used to develop the skills outlined above.  The alphabet cards specifically would be used for this purpose.

In the link below you can access alphabet picture cards but they are not of the quality or quantity you would have access to as a member.

Alphabet Picture Cards 



8 Responses

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  1. Hello!
    I teach 2-3 year olds in Japan. Curriculum is Kinder/Grade 1. Teaching phonics is the first thing I focus on and the most successful thing I have found for these kids is to daily go through phonics with them in a sing-a song chant with actions. I made large ABC cards with an upper/lower and picture for each, It goes something like “A ah Apple munch munch, B bu ball throw the ball, C cu cat meow meow” and we do this in about 1 min going through all the cards I say it then the kids repeat- this is in addition to the 1-2 letter focus for each week in books, crafts and practice writing. As the students write each letter for practice they are expected to say the name and sound with each stroke. Within a month or two the kids know all the sounds and can then see/write a letter, name it and say the sound, we can then begin blending together and breaking words up by sounds. All the students are reading CVC words by the end of first term (3 months) and reading grade 2-3 level readers at the end of the year. Repetition and consistency seems to be the key!

    1. Thanks for your input. You have developed your own unique system that works!


  2. I am a preschool teacher and my mode of instruction is Letter land. I find your site very useful and this blog on effective phonemic awareness is really good. Thanks for these posts.

  3. Thanks for taking the time to post what works for you.


  4. I am a Kindergarten teacher and I use Jolly Phonics, a multi-sensory synthetic phonics programme. It gives fantastic results and the children love it! Thanks for nice ideas you post!

  5. I am quite familiar with “Jolly Phonics” and I have used it. I know many teachers use this program successfully but I prefer a more balanced literacy approach. It introduces letters in isolation of text and this was something I was not comfortable with.


  6. Thank you for sharing such helpful resources. I also appreciate your comments about “Jolly Phonics”. I moved away from Jolly Phonics a number of years ago because I found, like you said, that it introduces letter sounds in isolation. There is a disconnect between the sound/action and applying to real text. I do not find ELL children make the connection. I use resources by and by Fountas and Pinnell and together these resources support my reading development program.

  7. Thank you for your contributions and relaying a program that works for you.


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