If your students are working on phonics, decoding, or spelling, it may be helpful to regularly revisit basic phonemic awareness, says Karen Baicker, executive director of the Yale Child Study Center-Scholastic Collaborative for Child & Family Resilience and publisher for Family and Community Engagement (FACE) at Scholastic.
“Phonemic awareness is the most fundamental precursor to reading,” Baicker says. “Building phonemic awareness begins with word play — listening to sounds, exaggerating them, and manipulating them. Phonics, decoding, fluency, and comprehension can’t take place without the ability to break words into units of sound.”
To strengthen your students’ early reading skills, Baicker recommends playing simple syllable and rhyming games. Here are three phonemic awareness exercises you can use to build a stronger foundation and boost confidence in your students.
1. Rhyme Time
Children love to come up with rhymes, and encouraging them to do so helps build their phonemic awareness.
Baicker recommends asking your students to produce rhymes for simple words — think cat, dog, run — and emphasizing the initial sound in each word.