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Deedee Wills - Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

6 Quick Phonemic Awareness Activities for Kindergarten to Work into Your Schedule | Free File

Quick and easy phonemic awareness activities for kindergarten to fit into your daily schedule. Here are some ways to develop and strengthen phonemic awareness skills with just a few minutes each day.

Phonemic Awareness Activities for Kindergarten

When it comes to phonemic awareness, research tells us that consistency is more important than quantity. With just a few minutes every day, we can develop strong phonemic awareness skills in our students which helps them unlock new words and become strong readers. 

What is the main difference between phonological awareness and phonemic awareness?

Phonological awareness skills include identifying rhyming words, sentence segmentation, the number of syllables, and onsets and rimes. Phonological awareness is a broad umbrella that phonemic awareness falls under. Phonemic awareness includes blending sounds into words, sound segmentation, and manipulating a phoneme to create a new word. Phonemic awareness instruction draws the child’s attention to the awareness of sounds within a given word.

Let’s break down six different phonemic awareness activities for kindergarten starting with phoneme blending and moving in order by difficulty to phoneme segmentation. Now all of these fun phonemic awareness activities can be completed with no manipulatives; however, using picture cards is a great way to help with student engagement. They also provide context with is especially helpful for English language learners or students with a language based learning difference.

What are the phonemic awareness stages?

Phoneme Blending

We practice phoneme blending by giving students the sounds and having them blend the sounds together to make the word.

You can start with a two phoneme word such as “at” and then progress to CVC words. It looks like this, “Listen to these sounds, /c/-/a/-/t/. Can you put the sounds together to make a word?” We can make this activity (and the others that follow) more difficult by adding additional phonemes, for example,/c/-/a/-/s/-/t/.

Phoneme Segmentation

Instead of blending sounds together to make a word, students are now breaking words apart into individual phonemes (sounds). It would sound like this, “Listen to this word, cat. Say each sound in the word, cat.” Some students will start with just identifying the initial sound. But with time and consistent instruction, the individual sounds will become easier to hear.

Phoneme Isolation

We isolate the sounds. Students practice separating one individual away from the rest of the word. Try this phonemic awareness activity with your students. “Say the word, pig What is the first sound in pig?” You can continue this by asking young children to identify the middle sound and the final sound as well.

Phonemic Awareness Activities Phoneme Isolation
Phonemic Awareness Activities Phoneme Segmentation
You can also use these cards in other ways, like finding the rhyming words.

Phoneme Discrimination

We practice phoneme discrimination by identifying the similarities and/or differences within words. You give students three words and ask them to identify which word does not belong. You might say, “Which word does not have the same beginning sound” or “Which word does not have the same ending”? Playing the fun game, Odd Man Out is also a fun way to practice phoneme discrimination.

Phonemic Awareness Activities Phoneme Discrimination
Phonemic Awareness Activities Phoneme Discrimination

Phoneme Deletion

We completely delete a phoneme from a word. You may have them delete the beginning sound or the ending sound from the whole word. It would sound like this, “Say fan. Now say fan without the /f/.” As you can see these sound boxes help students track the number of sounds in the spoken word.

Phonemic Awareness Activities Phoneme Deletion
Using counting chips or other familiar objects such as Unifix cubes for these sound boxes is a great hands-on way to incorporate tactile connections.

Phoneme Substitution

Phoneme substitution is the most difficult task in this list of phonemic awareness tasks to master. This is where students remove a phoneme and replace it with another. Students combine segmentation, isolation, deletion, and blending in order to substitute a phoneme. To practice this skill, you give students a word; let’s say “bed” for example. You then ask students to change one phoneme for another. So, “change /b/ to /l/.

As I said, this phoneme manipulation is an important skill and a more advanced phonological awareness skill. Through daily phonemic awareness lesson plans such as the ones covered in your Science of Reading direct instruction activities, students will be given a lot of time to take a closer look at these foundational literacy skills.

Using Manipulatives

As stated earlier, manipulatives are not required in order to complete these phonemic awareness activities for kindergarten. However, they can provide students with additional support and excitement about the task. Using sound boxes or Elkonin boxes is an option. You can easily make these, or snag the free file at the end of this blog post!

The sound cards shown throughout the post are also an option. There are 488 sound cards in this phonemic awareness bundle! These printable cards are a great addition to daily routines to support your early learners. These also act as sound sorts for whole-group practice, small groups, and centers!

Phonemic Awareness Activities for Kindergarten
Students will conntect the speech sound they hear with the letter names.

When should you start teaching phonological awareness skills?

Phonological awareness skills are taught in kindergarten and early first grade. Through phonological awareness activities, early readers can apply these skills to sound out words as phonics instruction begins.

Sound games are great activities to play during your whole class instructional time. But students who need extra practice will greatly benefit from additional small group instruction.


You can find these sound cards with word lists in the following file:

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Snag these sound boxes for practicing phonemic awareness activities in kindergarten. Add your email to the box below. Then, check your inbox for your free sound boxes. 

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Deedee Wills

Deedee Wills

My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching in different classroom environments and grades. My heart belongs to early childhood education. My job is to make teaching FUN, ENGAGING, and EASIER. Welcome!

Hi, I'm DeedeE.

My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching in different classroom environments and grades. My heart belongs to early childhood education. My job is to make teaching FUN, ENGAGING, and EASIER. Welcome!

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