Phonemic Awareness Activities at Home


Parents, you have an important role to play in how your children learn to be fluent readers and good spellers. Help them make the connection that the sounds in our spoken language are related to the letters/letter sounds by working on these fun phonemic awareness activities. (What is phonemic awareness?)

Reading rhymes and rhyming books to your child

How often do you read to your child? Many parents want to know how to encourage their children to read on their own. The best way to motivate them to read independently is to read with them. Even first and second graders (older children as well, in many cases) enjoy being read to. So set aside a regular time to read with your child. Look for rhyming books and others which play with words.


Take Dr. Seuss’s There’s a Wocket in my Pocket. In this book the beginning sounds of key words are substituted to make silly rhymes. From a Wasket in the Basket to the Yeps on the Steps and more…you can use these ideas and create your own silly rhymes throughout the day.

Play with words

Make up silly alliterations. They don’t have to be meaningful, just have the same beginning sound. Quite often we feel inhibited because we are trying to make ‘sense’. With little kids ‘nonsense’ or ‘silly’ help catch their attention, keep them giggling and draw them into the activity. Stay true the sounds you pick and avoid mixing different sounds of the same letter.

Shanthi shares shiny shoes. (Here the sound is /sh/ and not /s/.

Direct their attention to beginning sounds of words through the day.

“Would you like more mmmilk? That’s right, milk starts with /m/. Stretching the first sound out makes them pay attention to that particular sound. Do you want sssoup (or sssaambar with your rrrice)?

Let’s put away the shhhirt.”

Make your grocery list a guessing game. Ask your child to help you.
“We need something that begins with mmm. It is a yellow fruit. What can it be? That’s right, a mmmango! How about something white we drink? Yes, mmmilk begins with mmm.”

Play word games

Your children are used to playing the game “Name, Place, Animal, Things” with beginning letters. Instead of the letters ask them to find words with beginning sounds. So Chandra, China, Cheetah and Cherry begin with the sound /ch/ and not the letter c. This will benefit them when they learn how the letters ch make the sound /ch/ as they learn about digraphs.

Blending and segmenting sounds

When children read they have to blend the sounds of the letters to decode the whole word. The first step is being able to blend sounds in spoken words.

Say the word slowly and stretch all the sounds out. Choose common words with fewer sounds.

“Can you turn the ffffffaaaannn (fan) on? Where is mmmyyy (my) book?

Play the I Spy game

Look around your home and stretch names of things around your home or garden. From sssooofffaaa to llliiighttt, there are plenty of familiar words for your child to guess.

Robot Talk

Do you ever spell words to other adults so your little ones can’t follow what you say? Challenge your kids to do the exact same thing, except ask them to say the sounds of the words. Pretend you’re a robot. Talk like one where you say the sounds of the word. Remember to say the letter sounds, not letter names.

I want to play /b/ /a/ /l/.

I want to eat /i/ /d/ /l/ /i/.

If you have fun while doing these activities it is guaranteed to make your children want to play with sounds in words.


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