I am yet to meet a child who isn’t fascinated by books! Although, before children can actually read, they start to develop a set of skills known as phonological awareness skills. These skills involve the ability to manipulate the structure of words, syllables in words and sounds in words. Phonological awareness skills are important because they form the basis for reading. Therefore, strengthening your child's phonological awareness skills will better equip them for reading.
Phonological awareness typically starts to develop from the age of three up until the age of seven. However, some children may require additional support to develop these skills. Below are ten ways you can practice phonological awareness skills with your child:
1. Syllable Segmentation
Teach your child to count the syllables in words.
Example, “How many claps in butterfly? But-ter-fly… 3 claps.”
2. Syllable Blending
Help your child to join syllables together to make a word.
Example, “Let’s put these together... bed-room… bedroom.”
3. Rhyme Identification
Teach your child to identify words that rhyme together.
Example, “Which word rhymes with cat… hat or mop?”
4. Rhyme Production
Help your child produce words that rhyme together.
Example, “Give me a word that rhymes with cat and hat?”
5. Letter-Sound Awareness
Teach your child the association between the alphabet letters and their sounds. A great way to do this is by using songs.
6. Initial Sound Identification
Help your child identify what sound a word starts with.
Example, “what sound does the word hat start with?”
7. Final Sound Identification
Help your child identify what sound a words ends with.
Example, “what is the last sound in the word hat?” (Your child will need to understand the concept ‘last’ prior to teaching this skill).
8. Segmenting Sounds
Help your child segment sounds in words.
Example, “Let’s separate the sounds in the word hat … h-a-t”).
9. Blending Sounds
Teach your child how to bring sounds together to make words.
Example, “Let’s put these sounds together b-e-d …bed!”)
10. Sound Isolation
Help your child find a particular sound in a word.
Example, "Where is the 'n sound' in the word sun?"
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