I Spy

Everyone knows the game “I Spy” where one player says “I Spy something….” and names something specific in the area and the other player has to find it.

Well, I am going to put a Phonemic Awareness spin on it which just means that I am going to make it a listening activity where your little one is listening to the “play on words” to identify the object.

If you read the post “What is Phonemic Awareness?” then you know that there are three phases to this game because there are three different skills to be mastered.

PHASE ONE:
First you are going to play the game by focusing on the parts in the words. So you will say “I Spy a pic -(pause) ture”
This is to get your little one to focus on putting syllables together to hear a word.
If you are confident that your little one can hear and combine syllables then move on to phase Two. If not, practice this game a little each day in different locations.

Phase Two:
This time you are going to focus on the initial sound and the rest of the word so you are isolating a sound but you are still including the bigger chunk of the word.
So you are going to say “I spy a /p/ – /en/”

Phase Three:
Finally, you are going to focus on segmenting all the sounds so that your child has to listen carefully to figure out the word.
If your child cannot figure out the first two simple words PLEASE don’t force it, spend some time working on the earlier skills first.
So you will say, “I spy a /p/ – /e/ – /n/”

This entire activity is meant to build your child’s familiarity with sounds in spoken language, but make sure you have fun with it. Give a pep talk “Let’s play I Spy, it is a fun guessing game, but I’m going to be tricky and hide the word I Spy. I wonder if I will stump you.”

More On Compound Words

Now remember, just because my title says “compound words,” doesn’t mean that your little one will know what a compound word is.  We are just teaching our children the content at this point….not the vocabulary.  We are teaching them age-appropriate oral language skills.

So, that being said, today we are going to give our children more practice playing with words because if you have read some of my other reading posts you know that “playing with words” and other listening activities will help your little one become more and more skilled in hearing and distinguishing that words are made up of sounds.

Today I want you to print the document I have made, cut out the pictures, and first READ all the names of the pictures to your child a few times.  Then see if they can tell you the names of the pictures.  This is an oral language warm-up.

Now, I want you to show your little one that if you put two pictures together it might make a new word, but that word can be a real word or a silly word.  Give them examples and tell them why because you have to model the activity before you ask them to try.

Let your child determine if the new word is real or silly, but be there to support their thinking for the answer -right or wrong.  Meaning, praise them if they are right, but if they are wrong always preface your correction with “No, but that was good thinking or a good try.”

You will write their answers on the real/silly recording sheet to model writing the new words 🙂

Picture Combo

What is Phonemic Awareness?

Occasionally people ask me if I worry about running out of information for this site.  My response is that I have an infinate amount of activities and information that I want to post about and if anything I struggle with getting ahead of myself.  And I have to confess I already have!  I want to show parents the sequence of understanding a child’s development in reading, writing, and math so bad that I want to lay it out post by post.  But today, I am stepping back, only SLIGHTLY, to take what I already have introduced and add a lot more activities to it. 

For example, I wrote a post not long ago about phonemic awareness, but there is SO much to know about phonemic awareness and there are a few other skills to master before introducing the one I posted about coloring a gingerbread house.

So take a minute, breathe, and brace yourself for a little lesson that is “the secret key to reading success” (as my friend and mentor Beth Yglesias puts it).

Phonemic awareness is the awareness of sounds within a word.  To learn this process there is a ladder of skills that must be climbed to achieve the FLUENCY and structure of reading.  So here is a visual breakdown for you: Click HERE on Reading Ladder if you cannot read the image below or click on the image itself.







I wanted you to see this so that you would understand the sequence of activities I am posting,  Each step needs to be MASTERED before moving up to the next.  So I am going to try to post more activities on the earliest steps first to give you lots to practice 🙂

All that to say, I posted an activity recently for a child who has established the Step 5 skill and I skipped an activity for Step 4: Listening for a word in parts and hearing the whole word….so here is an activity for Step 4:

Step four is to be able to listen to the sounds that make up a word such as /c/-/at/ and understand that you are saying the word “cat”

*******When a letter is inside of this symbol “//” you make the letter SOUND not the letter name.  

So if I were to show my little one (who can rhyme as well as clap words and word parts) pictures of a cat, a dog, and a fish, and asked him/her to show me the picture of the /f/-/ish/, he would point to the fish.

But this is just the first level of giving him/her a chance to listen for the word parts to hear a word.  The next level, after this one is mastered, is to ask him/her to show me the picture of the /f/-/i/-/sh/ and he would hear all those sounds together and point to the fish.

Here is a page of pictures for you to practice the FIRST LEVEL of this skill:

Listen To Find The Picture

Color the Gingerbread House

This is one of the first phonemic awareness activities I am posting for pre-readers.  If you try to introduce this activity and your little one is not quite getting it, go back to some of the earlier reading posts on the “getting started” page and practice more activities similar to the earlier skills because your little one may need more time playing with words before he/she is ready to listen for the beginning sounds in words. 

Listening for beginning sounds, generating beginning sounds, and identifying which letter makes that sound are three SEPARATE skills.   So today, we are going to start with the basics of introducing phonemic awareness (which is the awareness that words are made up of sounds).

I created an activity in which you will talk about all the objects in the picture so that you can label the objects with your child BEFORE attempting to listen for the sounds that the words start with.  Once children are able to “play” with words enough to hear sounds.  They usually hear the beginning sound first, then the ending sound, and then the middle sound(s) eventually.  It takes A LOT of practice listening for the beginning sound before a child can hear and distinguish other sounds within a word. 

But this is a great place to start: 

Click on the link below, print it, read the directions and let your child choose what they want to color with -crayons, colored pencils, markers, etc.

Color the Sound

If you dont have a printer, free-hand this picture on a blank sheet of paper 🙂



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