A number of studies conclude that phonemic and phonological awareness skills are strong predictors of early reading ability. A recent study found that teaching phonological and phonemic awareness skills to children improved their literacy development. A child who has good phonemic awareness skills is able to recognize sounds in words, blend sounds together to form words, and talk about sounds in words (e.g. What sound does ‘hat’ start with? Say the word ‘top’ but change the ‘t’ sound to a ‘h’ sound). A child who has good phonological awareness skills can rhyme and segment words into syllables. Caregivers and teachers can provide opportunities to learn these skills through play and book reading. Here are some fun ways to promote phonological awareness and phonemic awareness skills with 4-6 year-olds:
- Make up rhymes during play and invite your child to add a rhyme.
- Make up nonsense rhymes so your child starts to recognize rhyming. Ex. “You are a silly billy willy milly”
- Call attention to rhymes you read together in books. Ex. “Room and broom rhyme!”
- See if your child can figure out the rhyme when you provide a series of rhymes and then the first sound of the next word in the rhyme sequence. E.x. “You try adding a word……hop, top, pop, m…. (mop!)”
- Call attention to the sounds in words.
- “Ball starts with the “b” sound – so does bat. Can you think of something else that stars with the “b” sound?”
- “Boat ends with the “t” sound –think of the ending sound in this word – top”
- Encourage an awareness of syllables in words.
- Tap out syllables during songs
- Ask your child to clap with you for 3-4 syllable words (ex. butterfly, helicopter, parachute).
Read more about the study mentioned above in the article below:
Goldstein, Howard, Arnold Olszewski, Christa Haring, Charles R. Greenwood, Luke Mccune, Judith Carta, Jane Atwater, Gabriela Guerrero, Naomi Schneider, Tanya Mccarthy, and Elizabeth S. Kelley. “Efficacy of a Supplemental Phonemic Awareness Curriculum to Instruct Preschoolers With Delays in Early Literacy Development.” Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research 60.1 (2017): 89.