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Early Literacy Play Tips: Phonological Awareness (rhyming, words, and more!)

Early literacy is what children need to learn about reading and writing before they actually begin to read and write. Developing specific skills through fun activities help prepare children to become strong, successful readers in their future. 

Today’s early literacy skill area is: PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS

Phonological awareness is being able to hear and play with the sounds of language, such as words, rhymes, and syllables. 

Why is phonological awareness important? 

  • Children who can hear the separate, smaller sounds of words will be better at sounding them out. That skill will aid them as they begin reading. 

  • Children who can identify the sounds in words can hear rhymes and rhyme words themselves. Studies have shown that children who know eight or more rhymes by heart are typically among the strongest readers. 

  • Studies also show that phonological awareness is the primary predictor of early reading and spelling skills in kindergarten through second grade 

What are some ways you can build your child’s phonological awareness? 

  • By TalkingShare your favorite nursery rhymes with your child often and put extra emphasis on the ending sounds. Example: Jack and Jill went up the hill 

  • By SingingSing fun songs together! Also, look at songs that play with words and have a rhyming pattern. Examples: The Name Game (“Mike, Mike, Bo, Bike…Banana Fana Fo Fike…”), Apples and Bananas 

  • By Reading: Select books (Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? By Bill Martin Jr.) or stories (The Three Little Pigs) that are filled with repetition and rhyme. As you read them, you can pause and let your child fill in the rhyming word. 

  • By Writing: Write the two parts of compound words (cowboy, moonlight, railroad) on separate notecards. Have your child play with breaking apart and putting the parts back together. You can do a similar game with phonemes or units of sound (“What word do we make or hear when we put the sound /c/ and /at/ together?”). 

  • By Playing: You can play a rhyme version of the game, I-Spy. See how many words or items you both can name throughout the day. Example: “I spy things or words that rhyme with the word hairchairbearstair, square. 

By engaging in activities like these, you will help develop your child’s reading and writing skills, preparing them as they transition from learning to read to reading to learn. Also, keep your eyes out for our Reader Pan and Tinker Spell’s Literacy Activities, which will provide additional fun games that you can play alongside your child. 


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