If you’re looking for ways to help your child become aware of phonemes, or the individual sounds in words, there are plenty of games your children can do in daily life to promote phoneme awareness. Below are a few examples:
This game is a great way to help children identify different sounds and improve their pronunciation. The parent says a tongue twister out loud (such as the ones listed here). The child then must repeat the tongue twister back to the parent.
- Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
- She sells seashells by the seashore
- I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream
- I saw a kitten eating chicken in the kitchen
- A big black bear sat on a big black rug
- He threw three free throws
- Four fine fresh fish for you
- Which witch is which?
Phoneme substitution is a great way to help children identify different sounds and where they change and what they change to. The parent says a word out loud (such as ‘bat’). Ask the child to replace one of the sounds in the word with a different sound (such as the ‘b’ in bat to a ‘c’ as in ‘cat’). Make sure you refer to ‘sounds’ only and not letters. Instead of saying “change the ‘b’ in bat to ‘c’, say the letter sounds only. Increase the difficulty by asking your child to replace multiple sounds in the same word.
Word association helps your child identify sounds. The parent says a word out loud (such as ‘cat’). Ask your child to say another word that begins with the same sound (such as ‘cap’ or ‘kitten’). Remember, you are practicing ‘sounds’ not letters. Increase the difficulty by asking your child to say words with the same ‘ending’ sounds. To make more challenging, ask your child to say a word that begins with a ’different’ sound from the word you say (such as ‘cat’ and the child says ‘dog’). Do the same activity for ending sounds or middle sounds.
There are a number of games your children can play in daily life to promote phoneme awareness. Some of these games include saying tongue twisters, playing with words that rhyme (Phoneme Substitution), and word association. By playing these games, your children will develop a better understanding of how sounds work together to form words. Additionally, they will become more aware of the different ways that words can be pronounced. Ultimately, these games will help your children become better readers and writers.
The challenges increase as your child’s vocabulary increases!