Phonological awareness is the awareness of speech sounds, such as rhyming and syllables. This skill helps to build on the vocabulary a child already possesses. If they know how one “-at” word ends, such as bat, then they will be able to use their knowledge of that sound to read other words, such as cat or hat. What’s unique about this skill is that its development continues long past the typical early literacy stage. Once taught how to utilize this skill, children can implement it in their reading as they grow from early reader books to chapter books and beyond.
The best way to build this skill is by hearing words out loud. Sometimes words that rhyme don’t look exactly like each other, but their sounds are very similar. Here are some simple strategies to practice at home:
· Write two columns on a page. Each column contains one word that matches a word in the other column. Have your child draw a line to connect the two rhyming words.
· Put out items on the table. Ask your child to choose the item that rhymes with whatever word you say.
· Take a look at items around the room and clap together how many syllables each word has. You can switch it up to tap your toes, slap your knees, or jump with each syllable.
This skill can sometimes be one of the most difficult. It’s not as easy to illustrate at times, and it can feel more like drills or exercises rather than fun. One of the best ways to curb that feeling is to incorporate movement and music. Dancing out syllables, acting like animals, jumping to the beat of a nursery rhyme can all be fun ways to bring rhyming alive. For more information or guidance, please visit the Winona Public Library. Our friendly staff is always ready to help you navigate the path of early literacy (and beyond).
Use one of these free handouts to practice this skill at home:
Letter/Image Match (PDF): Cut out the pieces and have your child match each picture with the letter it starts with.