Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Phonemic Awareness - Phoneme Discrimination

After being a kindergarten teacher, you come to realize the importance of Phonemic Awareness in a child's education. What is Phonemic Awareness? Phonemic Awareness is not phonics. Phonemic Awareness is the ability to listen for, identify, and manipulate the individual phonemes in words.

Children need to be able to identify the sounds in words that are spoken not words that they see on a page. For example, if I were to ask a child what the initial sound in the word cat is, they would be able to tell me that it is /c/. They need to be able to do this with initial, medial, and final sounds. Once they have mastered this skill, they would move on to manipulating the sounds in words. For example, I would say the word is cat, change /c/ to /b/, what is the new word? Again they need to be able to do this with initial, medial, and final sounds. 

This first Phonemic Awareness pack that I have created has an activity that can be used everyday to help students master this first skill of Phonemic Awareness which is Phoneme Discrimination. There are word lists provided for initial, medial, and final sounds in words. Every day you choose a new sound to focus on. You tell the students that they will be listening for a specific sound as you read off a list of words. When they hear the specific sound they will give some type of signal such as touching their head to let you know that they heard it. This activity can be done in a whole group or small group setting and can be done very quickly. It is great for the beginning of the year and is very beneficial to helping students with their phonemic awareness instruction. See the word lists below. I printed the lists out on different colored paper for initial, short vowel medial, long vowel medial, and final sounds. Then I punched holes in the lists and added a ring to make them easy to use.

I also included worksheets in this pack for students to practice the skill independently. See an example of one of the worksheets below. There are assessment pages that you can use with students as well for a pre-assessment, post assessment, and reassess if they were struggling after first instruction.

There are also a few pictures cards in the pack to provide additional support to students who initially may struggle with the concept. You could use the picture cards as seen below to have students find the two pictures that have the same initial sound or they could try to find the one that does not have the same initial sound.

These are some of the picture cards included.

Children need to master these phonemic awareness skills before they can become successful readers! :)

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