Showing posts with label beginning readers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beginning readers. Show all posts

What is Phonological and Phonemic Awareness??

Phonological and Phonemic Awareness

Phonological awareness is a broad skill that includes identifying and manipulating units of oral language – parts such as words, syllables, and onsets and rimes. Children who have phonological awareness are able to identify and make oral rhymes, can clap out the number of syllables in a word, and can recognize words with the same initial sounds like 'money' and 'mother.'

Phonemic awareness refers to the specific ability to focus on and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words. Phonemes are the smallest units comprising spoken language. Phon
emes combine to form syllables and words. For example, the word 'mat' has three phonemes: /m/ /a/ /t/. There are 44 phonemes in the English language, including sounds represented by letter combinations such as /th/. Acquiring phonemic awareness is important because it is
the foundation for spelling and word recognition skills. Phonemic awareness is one of the best predictors of how well children will learn to read during the first two years of school instruction.

Students at risk for reading difficulty often have lower levels of phonological awareness and phonemic awareness than do their classmates. The good news is that phonemic awareness and phonological awareness can be developed through a number of activities.

What the problem looks like:

A kid's perspective: What this feels like to me

  • Children will usually express their frustration and difficulties in a general way, with statements like "I hate reading!" or "This is stupid!". But if they could, this is how kids might describe how difficulties with phonological or phonemic awareness affect their reading:
  • I don't know any words that rhyme with cat.
  • What do you mean when you say, "What sounds are in the word brush?"
  • I'm not sure how many syllables are in my name.
  • I don't know what sounds are the same in bit and hit.

A parent's perspective: What I see at home

Here are some clues for parents that a child may have problems with phonological or phonemic awareness:

  • She has difficulty thinking of rhyming words for a simple word like cat (such as rat or bat).
  • She doesn't show interest in language play, word games, or rhyming.
  • Click here to find out what parents can do to help a child at home.
  • A teacher's perspective: What I see in the classroom
  • Here are some clues for teachers that a student may have problems with phonological or phonemic awareness:
  • She doesn't correctly complete blending activities; for example, put together sounds /k/ /i/ /ck/ to make the word kick.
  • He doesn't correctly complete phoneme substitution activities; for example, change the /m/ in mate to /cr/ in order to make crate.
  • He has a hard time telling how many syllables there are in the word paper.
  • He has difficulty with rhyming, syllabication, or spelling a new word by its sound.

How to help

With the help of parents and teachers, kids can learn strategies to cope with phonological and/or phonemic awareness problems that affect his or her reading. Below are some tips and specific things to do.

What kids can do to help themselves

  • Be willing to play word and sounds games with parents or teachers.
  • Be patient with learning new information related to words and sounds. Giving the ears a workout is difficult!
  • Practice hearing the individual sounds in words. It may help to use a plastic chip as a counter for each sound you hear in a word.
  • Be willing to practice writing. This will give you a chance to match sounds with letters.
  • What parents can do to help at home
  • Check with your child's teacher or principal to make sure the school's reading program teaches phonological, phonemic awareness, and phonics skills.
  • If your child is past the ages at which phonemic awareness and phonological skills are taught class-wide (usually kindergarten to first or second grade), make sure he or she is receiving one-on-one or small group instruction in these skills.
  • Do activities to help your child build sound skills (make sure they are short and fun; avoid allowing your child to get frustrated):
  • Help your child think of a number of words that start with the /m/ or /ch/ sound, or other beginning sounds.
  • Make up silly sentences with words that begin with the same sound, such as "Nobody was nice to Nancy's neighbor".
  • Play simple rhyming or blending games with your child, such as taking turns coming up with words that rhyme (go – no) or blending simple words (/d/, /o/, /g/ = dog).
  • Read books with rhymes. Teach your child rhymes, short poems, and songs.
  • Practice the alphabet by pointing out letters wherever you see them and by reading alphabet books.
  • Consider using computer software that focuses on developing phonological and phonemic awareness skills. Many of these programs use colorful graphics and animation that keep young children engaged and motivated.

What teachers or parents can do to help at school?

  • Learn all about phonemes (there are more than 40 speech sounds that may not be obvious to fluent readers and speakers).
  • Make sure the school's reading program and other materials include skill-building in phonemes, especially in kindergarten and first grade (these skills do not come naturally, but must be taught).
  • If children are past the age at which phonemic awareness and phonological skill-building are addressed (typically kindergarten through first or second grade), attend to these skills one-on-one or in a small group. Ask your school's reading specialist for help finding a research-based supplemental or intervention program for students in need.
  • Identify the precise phoneme awareness task on which you wish to focus and select developmentally appropriate activities for engaging children in the task. Activities should be fun and exciting – play with sounds, don't drill them.
  • Make sure your school's reading program and other materials include systematic instruction in phonics.
  • Consider teaching phonological and phonemic skills in small groups since students will likely be at different levels of expertise. Remember that some students may need more reinforcement or instruction if they are past the grades at which phonics is addressed by a reading program (first through third grade).

I hope these ideas help and answer some questions for parents. Have a great week.


A quick post to share a website, I stumbled across TextProject over the weekend. It's designed for beginning and struggling readers to high levels of literacy through a variety of strategies and tools, particularly the texts used for reading instruction. They have a variety of different reading resources. I love the vocabulary. This month is transportation-it has several current colored pictures that you can print off and use in a classroom. The vocabulary was created with QuickReads in mind to support ELL and Exceptional Learners. Which is great! The beginning readers are only a couple of pages with great real colored pictures to support the text---perfect to build vocab. I wish that there was some comprehension work like there is with QuickReads but a great way to build vocabulary.

I'm busy packing up for the end of the year. Have a great week.

Daily 5

This week Colorado stated CTAP (state assessment), so my iPads have been spending time in a second grade classroom. (They are getting lots of lovin'.) The classroom teacher and I have taught together in the past and I have brought them in to done some math work with her students using the iPads.  She said her class had a great time with them.

She asked me about how she should go about adding more technology to her Daily 5--either with an iPad to two or with the laptops she has in her room. Though she teaches second grade, she has a number of students this year who need help with mastering sounds and letters. One idea I had for her to try was with this Symbaloo mix. Its the grouping of songs that can be used to reinforce the alphabet  It also allows students to access the videos on their own; so she can keep teaching.

I'll send this to her, so she can try it next week. Depending on her feedback I may create a couple of others for students to use. I can see a number of other ideas to use with Symbaloo. If you use technology during Daily 5, what do you do and how have you set it up? Have a great weekend!

Free Reading Apps

As of the first of September, there are 700,000 apps in the Apple app store! In June, there were 650,000. If they are adding more than 25,000 apps per month, how do you keep up with it? Short answer is, you can't. Couple of hints in how not to get lost trying to find what your looking for. I start with learning goals and go from there. Remember, it isn't about the nouns.

Reading is a passion that grows as we grow. I spend most of my day teaching students how to read and helping them find a love for reading is not an easy task, it takes so much time, diligence and efforts. It also calls for some kind of creativity on my part. In this regard, there are some awesome free reading apps that you can introduce to your students. Some of these apps have cool narrative and others are illustrated, but they will all help you get your kids into reading.
reading ios apps

This is a great story of friendship which mixes animation and audio to interest kids. The interactive feature that shows the name of everything pictured on each page with accompanying voice over.

2- Pango Book 1 and 2

This app has a wide variety of funny adventures, animated stories, and sweet characters. 

3- Play Tales
reading ios apps

This app offers interactive books, traditional and classic, popular and new, for toddlers and beginning readers that will engage them in books and stories once again.

4- iHowToBook

reading ios apps

This is a cool app that provides a nice library of procedural test, and reads in a very clear and soft voice. Pages can be read, or read one word at a time.

5- I Like Books
reading ios apps

This app provides 37 read-aloud stories for young children.

6- MeeGenius
reading ios apps

This free app includes hundreds of books that are read aloud. Some of the downloads are given for free but others are pro.

favorites out there to share? Does anyone have a text to speech app that reads PDFs or Word documents that they love? I'm looking for one.

Beginner Readers

Last week I introduced a kindergarten student that I work with, with one of my favorite beginner reader reading programs is SRA's Reading Mastery. It's a scripted program that teaches basic decoding and comprehension skills. I love how this program gives students that strong foundation in phonics that they all need to be great readers. It works with the idea that students need to be able to segment and then blend words. The words they are learning to read are taught to be read fluently and spell them. Items are taught orally first with tons of practices--errorless practice that some many students need. This errorless practice has helped to hear the sounds in words and reblend them to the original word. A skill that he was having trouble mastering.

Yes, its decodable.  Since this will not replace the students core guided reading program, I'm not to worried about that. But decodable text has a place and at some point in time he will get both from me. Authentic text has its place and for this student it will help to expand his vocabulary and language use in ways that decodable text cannot. Decodable text is great to ensure students understand how to segment and blend words but if it's used all the time than students don't learn to master other reading strategies that great readers use when they are reading.

The ideas and concepts behind Reading Mastery can be used as word study for students in DRAs 1-3 or Fountas and Pinnells A-C. As students learn sounds, rhyming words, and spelling.

RM 1 Review Game

About Me

Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I empower busy elementary special education teachers to use best practice strategies to achieve a data and evidence driven classroom community by sharing easy to use, engaging, unique approaches to small group reading and math. Thanks for Hopping By.
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