Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hearing Individual Sounds in Words

I recently recieved an email from one of my readers:

"I am noticing that my students often know the beginning sounds and end sounds of words but nothing in between...how do you develop this skill?"

Becoming aware of individual sounds in words is the most difficult level of phonological awareness. However, it is also the area of phonological awareness that research infdicates is the most predictive of success in using sound knowledge in reading.

Here are some activities I suggest:

1) Word of the day/week. As an oral activity, ask children to listen to a simple work. For example, sat. Say listen to each sound /s/ /a/ /t/. How many sounds do you hear? (3)

2) Using Songs
For example, “If you know my Word” to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus”

The sounds in my word are /f/ /i/ /sh/, /f/ /i/ /sh/, /f/ /i/ /sh/,
The sounds in my word are /f/ /i/ /sh/
Do you know my word?

3) Say It Slow, Say It Fast game

Choose three letter words (e.g., cat). Show your child a picture that represents the word so that they have a visual. Have your child say the word with you, normally. Then say, “I’m going to say his word slowly. I’m going to break it apart.” Slow down and say each sound in the word. Ask your child to repeat after you e.g. /c/ /a/ /t/). Once they say it slowly, ask them to speed up the word and say it normally again. Once they succeed, give them the picture to hold onto as a reward.

4) Penny Push Directions
During the activity the children say, hear and push a penny for each sound they hear in a word. There are no symbols or letters involved. Research shows that the more senses you use to teach something, the more likely it is that the learner will grasp the concept.

Follow this link to a video that gives an example of how to segment words into individual sounds.

Here is a video of a child using coloured tiles to represent sounds in words.

Does anyone have any additional suggestions?

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