Phonological Awareness sounds quite complicated but it simply means being able to hear and play with the smaller parts that make up words.
Children begin speaking by babbling or repeating the same syllable over and over again – dadada or bababa for example. Once they master several consonant-vowel repetitions, they begin mixing and matching the syllables together for example ‘daba’ ‘adda’. Already babies are showing phonological awareness which we can develop. This awareness can be increased by the use of rhymes – nursery rhymes are perfect for helping children get a sense for the feel and rhythm of language. They also begin to recognise rhyming schemes that show them how sounds are used in the language.
Activities to help increase phonological awareness include:
- Playing I spy
- Matching pictures / objects to initial sounds
- Playing alphabet lotto gamesSyllable clapping – say the word or sentence and clap the rhythm
- Syllable counting – say the word and then use fingers to count the syllables – e.g. yesterday is yes/ter/day
- Finishing the word – say the first syllable of a two syllable word and get the child to finish it e.g. zeb…ra
- Playing change the vowel – change the middle vowel to change the word, e.g. bat, bet, bit, but or cat, cot, cut (you can make a slider to do this by putting the two consonants on each side and the vowels on a strip of paper in the middle)
- Play rhyming games e.g. Slug in a Jug
- Make blends and ends dominoes
- Find the odd word out from a group eg. ring, sing, song, thing (both by listening and reading)
- Think of compund word pairs eg. foot/ball, sea/side, tea/bag
- Find rhyming pairs (the Find the Rhyme jigsaw is great for this)