Finding 10 powerfully simple word work activities does not have to be as hard as you think!
Sometimes a picture IS worth a thousand words!
It Starts with Phonemic Awareness!
It is essential that phonemic awareness is developed before children learn to read. Phonemic awareness is based in oral language. Phonemic awareness is not only the house in which reading is developed it is also the strongest indicator of a child’s potential reading success!
So, YES! We spend a lot of time in kindergarten developing and practicing phonemic awareness!
What is Phonemic Awareness?
Phonemic awareness is done orally and without print (with print is phonics). It is the knowledge that words are made of up individual sounds or phonemes. It is also the knowledge of how to manipulate these sounds: blending, segmenting, substituting, rhyming… The child then needs to learn how to transfer their knowledge from oral language to written language.
Why Teach Phonemic Awareness?
Research tells us that strong phonemic awareness leads to stronger decoding and comprehension as a child continues to grow as a reader. Research also tells us that early education is key! So a strong reading program will include phonemic awareness activities in Pre-K, kindergarten, and early first grade. Students who also struggle to read will need often need intensive intervention in phonemic awareness.
How do I Teach Phonemic Awareness?
I teach phonemic awareness with picture cards.
I have my whole year prepared and place in a photo box. I use index card organizers to help file the cards alphabetically. This box has been well loved and it a bit tattered, but it still does the job.
We use these cards in a variety of ways.
#1 A simple sort by beginning sounds.
As you can see, the possible word sorts are plentiful!
I have the words printed on the cover card because I can’t always remember, “Is this picture ‘sniff’ or ‘smell’?”
Other Ways to Use the Cards
Oral Language Development-ESL Support
Students with language delays or students who are second language learners benefit when words are contextualized for them.
According to contextual learning theory, learning takes place only when students process new information in a way that it makes sense to them. So before I am going to ask them to manipulate the sounds in a word, they must be able to contextualize the word… For many, the image is the triggering force.
CCSS.ELA.L.K.1f –Produce and expand complete sentences in shared language activities.
#2 Have students use this word in a complete sentence.
“I got stuck by a thorn.”
#3 Have students expand upon a simple sentence.
“My finger was bleeding because I got stuck by a thorn.”
CCSS.ELA.RF.K.2- Demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds.
#4 Have students count the number of words in the oral sentence they create using this word.
“I can not find my other orange sock.”
CCSS.ELA.RF.K.2a- Recognize and produce rhyming words.
#5 Students give you a thumbs up or thumbs down.
#6 Students produce a rhyming word.
“Can you think of a word that rhymes with sock. It can be a real word or a silly word.”
CCSS.ELA.RF.K.2c- Blend and segment onsets and rimes of single-syllables in spoken words.
#7 Have students blend onset and rime.
Make a guessing game out of it.
“I have a card in my hand. See if you can guess it. m/ail.”
CCSS.ELA.RF.K.2b- Count, pronounce, blend, and segment syllables in spoken words.
#8 Have students clap out the number of syllables in words.
# 9 Have students sort words by syllables.
# 10 Have students segment words by syllables.
BONUS: Make a guessing game out of it.
“I have a card in my hand. See if you can guess it. Roc/ket.”
You can find all of these picture sorts in one big download. This includes 81 different sorts (in color and black/white) with over 480 different word cards!
There you have it! 10 (plus a bonus) powerfully simple word work activities that will strengthen the phonemic awareness skills in your classroom.