Posted by Tom Karren
Phonemic Awareness Activities in Early Childhood Classrooms
Small children can be quite overwhelmed when it comes to learning. With proper training and practice, children become capable of reading in a short amount of time. Teachers who educate the students take up the early childhood care education course where the methods of teaching words and sounds to the children in the school are taught. However, before beginning to read, children must have a strong understanding of how sounds in words work and for this reason, phonemic awareness is necessary.
Phonemic awareness is the ability to think, identify, and manipulate sounds in spoken speech. However, it must not be confused with ‘phonics’. Phonemic awareness is an important skill that is a prerequisite to reading letters. For this reason, phonemic awareness must never include printed letters. Hence, teachers must be careful to focus on the sounds and if as a teacher you have skipped a step, you have jumped to phonics.
…before beginning to read, children must have a strong understanding of how sounds in words work and for this reason phonemic awareness is necessary
Research tells us that it’s important to focus on phonemic awareness in the classroom before reading can begin so that children develop a solid understanding of the sounds of speech before actually beginning phonics.
At present, teachers are facing difficulties in getting their students to read. The reason behind this, as many researchers have pointed out, is the skipping of steps in the developmental process and forcing our children to read books as soon as possible. Hence, skipping steps must be avoided because the progress of children in reading will be limited if they have not learned the sounds required to read words. The early childhood care education course will guide you to educate children so that they develop strong phonemic awareness necessary for developing reading skills.
As early childhood teachers, you need to remember that phonemic awareness skills are necessary for all children and it is not possible to impart them the reading skills directly. However, we also can’t afford to spend a lot of time developing phonemic-awareness either. The good news is that phonemic awareness can be and should be developed in small pockets of time throughout the day such as 10 to 15 minutes or even lower in single, or multiple classroom sessions.
Game of Listening as an Activity
One of the phonemic awareness activities that you can do is to bring noises to the attention of your students. The more your students get familiar to the sounds, the better idea will they have about letters as well. If you can conduct this activity for just five to ten minutes every day, children will learn to recognize sounds which will help them in the long run.
There are various types of sounds in the environment such as the sound of an air conditioner, teachers talking, doors closing, and many more. Ask your students to spot the sounds. This activity is very important and is taught to the aspirants in the early childhood care education course because sound spotting makes reading easy and helps in the proper pronunciation of words.
Another important activity for increasing phonemic awareness is rhyming. Children easily grasp the concept of rhyme and with it, you can use word-play which helps children notice that sounds in our language follow certain patterns and have meaning. Hence this is a great auditory practice to develop phonemic awareness for children.
These are some of the easy methods that you can learn in the early childhood care education course. However, there are many other procedures too such as working with syllables where according to sounds, words can be split into smaller parts. It will help the children to learn and identify the sound of large words.