Phonological Awareness – Pre Reading Skill 6

In my initial post I identified phonological awareness as, “The ability to hear and change smaller sounds in words.  Hearing beginning and ending sounds.  Changing a letter in a word to make a rhyme.  Leaving a sound or chunk out of a word.  Adding a sound to the word  Putting two word chunks together to make a word.”

In order to understand phonological awareness we need to first discuss what a phoneme is. A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in the English language. The chart below shows you the phonemes or sounds in the English language with a picture that helps understand what the sound is.


For pre-reading it is important that students at the very least are aware of the individual letter sounds and their connection to the letters. Knowing the connection to letters and sounds is great, but not enough!

To move into phonological awareness we want our children to be able to identify and manipulate the beginning sound and change it to sounds that rhyme.

An example of identifying the beginning sound and manipulating it is this; cat begins with /c/. If I change the /c/ to a /b/ what word do I have? Now lets change the /b/ to /h/. How about the /h/ to /s/.

An author who does this really well is Dr. Seuss. Reading those books from early days is a good way to begin to instill phonemic awareness.

The next step is to just identify beginning sounds in words. What sound does dog begin with?

Once they can identify beginning sounds start the beginning sound change discussed above.

Then try leaving the beginning sound out. What is the word if I leave the /c/ out of cat. How about first sound of hog.

All of this sound manipulation can be really fun because words are made up and it can get funny!

You can do all this with any word you come across in the day.

So really phonological awareness is being able to identify sounds and play games with them to make new words. In the future I will be sharing more phonological awareness games and activities!

Find entire series here.


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