Phonemic awareness is an important component of literacy. Many researchers believe it is a major predictor of later reading success. While there are many aspects of phonemic awareness, one of the key things to remember is that it is all oral. This means teachers and families should play lots of word and sound games with children.
Another necessary part of phonemic awareness is the ability to hear and segment sounds. This is easy to do and can become a favorite game. To “play,” say a simple word with three distinct sounds (called phonemes). For example, you could say, “hop.” There are three sounds – the h sound, the short o sound, and the p sound. Clap your hands when each sound is heard.
|Clapping for each sound in h - o - p.|
When a child can clearly hear the three sounds in words like dog, tub, hat, pin, and other words, show your child how to use his or her arm to indicate the first, second, and third sound. For example, when saying the word, hat, have your child point to his wrist when saying the h sound. As the short a is said, the child moves his hand to the inside of his elbow. Finally, as the t is said, the child points to his upper arm.
These types of visual and kinesthetic experiences develop the ability to segment sounds in words. This will be helpful as children later learn to read.