7 Tips for Teaching Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic awareness is the basis of the English language and any other language as well. Students first must learn the isolated phonemes and their units of sound before they can master words and strings of phonemes. 

Building phonemic and phonological awareness is important, so let's look at some tips to help to help your new reader. 

7 Tips to Teach Phonemic Awareness 

1. Start with One Sound at a Time

Start with some easy sounds, such as /s/ or /m/. You can exaggerate these sounds, making it silly for your reader. Have them feel it on their lips or the vibration in their throat. To avoid confusing the child, do one sound at a time, and it gets easier as they learn more letters and sounds. 

2. Make Silly Things to Remember 

Kids learn best when they're having fun, so make letters and sounds silly and enjoyable. "Slithering snakes" can be made with their arm and an exaggerated /s/ sound. Come up with silly ways to remember each letter or songs that your child can sing. 

3. Have Your Child Listen For Sounds

Once he focuses on the sound, ask him if he can hear it in a word. Can he hear the /m/ in mat? Does he hear /s/ in mat? Do these activities with your child orally to help him hear and gain phonemic awareness. 

4. Point Letters and Sounds Out in Reading

You should read to your child at least 10 to 15 minutes daily, and use this time to point out the letters and sounds the child is learning. Put those skills to work. Read slowly, and find places in the book to point out those letters. Ask if he can find a /f/ or if he hears you say an /m/. 

5. Work on Rhyming and Word Families

Not only does using word families help to boost your child's confidence in reading, but they also help to build phonemic awareness. Play rhyming games and sing silly rhyming songs. It helps your child hear the sounds and understand that they sound similar. 

6. Use Auditory, Visual, Touch, and Movement

Kids best learn phonemes when they work with multiple senses. Your child can clap the number of syllables that they hear in a word, which is auditory. Some parents like to use letter chips to sound out words and show them how to change the letters in the word. Roll out letters in play-doh or write letters in salt. 

7. Try Early Writing Activities

Early writing activities help to develop phonemic awareness. Let your child try to figure out how to spell words. If they can't figure it out, help show them what letters need to be changed. You can use play-doh, magnetic letters, or blocks if your child is unable to write just yet. Another option is dry erase boards because kids love those! 

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