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Phonemic Awareness -- Activities that Promote Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic Awareness is Essential to Learning How to Read


Phonemic awareness, the ability to break a word into the smallest units of sound, is essential to learning how to read. Most children learn this skill from an early age; however, those that have difficulty may have problems learning to read. Teachers can use the following activities to promote phonemic awareness.


Which One Doesn't Belong

Provide the class with four words, three of which rhyme, for example: three, free, bee, seen. Students must choose which word in the group doesn't rhyme or belong. This activity can also be used for beginning or ending sound. Teachers can include three words that begin with the same letter and one word beginning with a different letter.

What Am I Thinking Of?

Have a student choose one object in the room, without telling anyone what it is. The student gives clues by naming words that rhyme with the items. Remaining students need to look around the room and guess what the object might be.


Wheel of Fortune

Teacher puts one letter of a word at a time on the board and students blend letters to try to guess the word. For younger children, you can start with easy words, such as putting up C, then A, then T and for older children words can become more complicated, with words including blends such as ST or TH.

Grab Bag

Place small objects, for example, a ball, a rubber duck or a pencil, in brown paper bags. Students must touch the object or look inside the bag to find out what the object is and begin spelling the word, one letter at a time, while the other students try to guess what the hidden object is.

Manipulating Letters

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

Use the image of a water spout and a paper spider that can be attached to the spout in different places, broken into segments and start with one word at the bottom of the spout. The students must change one letter in the word to form another word to move up the spout. For example, you might divide the spout into five sections and begin with the word "CAT. A student can change the C to an H; to create the word HAT; and move up to the second section of the spout, then change the letter A to the letter O to make the word HOT. Students continue changing one letter of the word until they reach the top of the water spout.

Imaginary Animals

Use the name of an animal, such as a horse and have students change the first letter to create an imaginary animal. For example, horse can become lorse or morse. Students can then imagine what the new animal looks like.

Segmenting Sounds

Making Syllables Personal

Create a graph with each student's name on the bottom and numbers along the side, ending with the highest number of syllables in one of the student's name. Have students clap out the syllables for each name and fill in the chart to create a syllable graph.

Ringing Bells

Write words with between 4 and 6 phonemes, each on an index card. Have six bells set up. Have students take turns choosing a card and ringing the bells, one ring for each phoneme.


Phonemic Awareness; Date Unknown, Staff Writer, University of Oregon Center on Teaching and Learning

Phonemic Awareness Necessary for Solving Reading and Spelling Problems, Including Dyslexia,; Date Unknown, Billie Calvery, M.S. Ed., Internet Special Education Resources

What Are the Signs of Dyslexia?; Date Unknown, Staff Writer, International Dyslexia Association

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