Pre-Reading Skills Focus: Phonological Awareness


A series on the pre-reading skills needed for preschoolers to become successful readers.

Welcome to the Pre-Reading Skills Focus Series!  This is a 6-part series, because six pre-reading skills are being focused on individually!  This is the 5th post in the 6 part series, find the other posts here:

 Print Motivation

Narrative Skills


Print Awareness

Pre-Reading Skills Focus: Phonological Awareness

What is Phonological Awareness?

Being able to break apart and manipulate the sounds of spoken language.

Phonological Awareness does not include written words, but focuses on manipulating sounds of oral or spoken language.  Making Phonological Awareness an auditory skill.  There are many skills that go into Phonological Awareness, see the diagram below for more information.

phonological awareness

To help foster Phonological Awareness in your children, here are some ideas for multiple age groups:

Infants & Young Toddlers

-Sing fun songs with your infants like Twinkle, Twinkle or Nursery Rhymes.

-Talk about the things in the environment around you and discuss the sounds that different objects make.

-Use different voice levels when talking and playing with your baby: whisper, low, high and loud

-Make up rhymes that include your child's name and recite the rhymes often.

Toddlers (2 & 3 year olds)

-Play oral rhyming games when in the car.  Think of a word and find some rhymes, even if the rhyming words aren't real!

-Read lots of rhyming books.  Dr. Suess books are a great choice.

-Talk about words that start with the same sound.  Using your child's 'letter' (the first letter of their name), come up with words that start with that letter.  Emphasize the initial sound when speaking the words.

-Play listening games~  Ask your child, do these words sound the same?  House-House   Yellow-Yarn   Bat-Bat.  This helps toddlers listen with meaning and differentiate between words that are the same and different.

Pre-Readers (4 & 5 year olds)

-Show pictures of animals with simple names, such as a cat or dog.  Show children how to break up the word into individual sounds, such as c/a/t.

-Encourage your child to rhyme, even with silly words.  Play the rhyming name game.

-Use family member's names.  See how many syllables each family member has in their name.  Show your child how to clap out the syllables they hear.

-While in the car, say a word in segmented chunks.  Such as, f/i/sh.  Ask your child to push the sounds back together and figure out what word you just segmented.

-Talk about the first sound in words.  Can your child think of other words that start with the same sound?

-Read lots of rhyming books.  Point out the rhyming words and how they sound the same at the end of the word.

-Make and sing silly rhyming songs.  For example: change rhyming words in  Hickory Dickory Dock to "Hickory Dickory knock, the mouse ran up the rock".  See how many silly versions you can come up with.

-Have a sound substitution day.  When you come in contact with an object, use the sound substitution of the day in the front of the word.  For example: If it is F day, you would brush your teeth with a foothbrush and ride in the far to the fark!


Have other great PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS activity ideas?  Leave a comment below!