Preschool Activities for
Opportunities abound for using preschool activities to teach reading readiness. The activities set the stage for learning that "secret code" to phonics and word meaning. Although many expensive preschool reading activities exist and may be a lot of fun, you can help children at little to no cost. The activities consist mostly of
Phonological Awareness, Phonemic Awareness
That’s right. Reading to children and letting them look at books and other materials is the most important of these preschool activities. The TIME spent reading is directly related to the success of the reader. So the more, the better.
What is Phonological Awareness?
This is simply the ability to identify and manipulate large parts of SPOKEN language. Phonemic awareness is a subset of phonological awareness, so try not to confuse the two terms. Children can show us they have phonological awareness with these preschool activities:
• Phoneme identifying
• Rhyming – identifying rhymes and making rhyme
The cat ate a (rat).
There was a mouse in the (house).
• Hearing syllables in spoken words
Clap the parts in your name: Mi-chael
• Working with onsets and rimes in spoken words
The first part of sun is s-.
The last part of pig is –ig.
• Hearing and working with individual phonemes in words (Aha! This is Phonemic Awareness!)
The first sound in dog is /d/.
The last sound in run is /n/.
The middle sound in rug is /u/.
What is Phonemic Awareness?
It is one type of phonological awareness. The child can identify and manipulate individual phonemes. Phonemes are the smallest parts of spoken language that makes a difference in the meanings of words. So the word up has two phonemes: /u/ /p/. The word shake has three phonemes: /sh/ /a/ /k/. The word flag has four phonemes: /f/ /l/ /a/ /g/. A phoneme can have more than one letter.
Phonemic awareness preschool activities include:
• Categorizing phonemes
Which pictures begin with /s/?
• Blending phonemes
Put these sounds together.
What word is it? /m/ /a/ /p/. Map.
• Segmenting phonemes
Stretch the word map into its sounds.
• Deleting or adding phonemes to make new words
Say the word cat without the /c/.
Say the word cat without the /t/.
Say the word cat but add /s/ at the end.
• Change phonemes to make new words
Say the word cat. Now take off the /c/and
add /m/. What’s the new word?
Something for teachers to remember:
Phonemic awareness can be taught and learned.
Your preschool ideas can focus more on beginning sounds. Once the child can identify and categorize beginning phonemes, you can move them on to ending phonemes. We always go from the simple to the more complex.
Your entire phonemic awareness program for the year should not exceed 20 hours. Some children need less or more instruction than others. As important as it is, you do not need to spend much time each day on it. Also, small group instruction has been shown to be more effective than whole group. Keep ongoing assessment a part of your teaching.
What About Phonics?
Okay. Maybe you are wondering, “What about preschool activities for phonics and learning the alphabet?” (This is sometimes called the
Great idea, since phonemic awareness instruction is actually more effective when children are taught how to manipulate the phonemes by using the letters of the alphabet. Teach the letters along with phonemic awareness. This way the children begin to understand how phonemic awareness relates to reading, writing, and spelling.
And guess what? Relating the sounds to letters is what we call Phonics. Just remember, though, phonological awareness is the foundation for what comes later. Older children who show weak reading skills often cannot demonstrate phonological awareness.
Preschool activities and preschool ideas for reading start with babyhood and continue to kindergarten. Then we really get on to the phonics instruction. But solid preschool reading activities will include phonological awareness and phonemic awareness activities. And have fun playing with all those sounds!
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