Phonological awareness is the awareness of sounds in speech, such as rhyming. Research tells us that children who have developed phonological awareness have improved reading and spelling, as well as understanding of what is being read. It is a literacy skill that involves hearing the sounds of language, rather than focusing on the meaning of the sound. For example, when you talk with your child about rhyming words, encourage your child to listen for the same ending sounds, rather than think about the definitions of the words.
Some activities you can do with your child to build their phonological awareness include:
- Sing or read nursery rhymes.
- Say two words (e.g., mad, sad) and ask your child if they rhyme. Remind your child that words rhyme if the end of the words sound the same. Provide non-examples as well (e.g., sat, moon).
- Say two words (e.g., cat, hat) and ask your child if they rhyme. Then, ask your child if he/she can think of a word that rhymes with the rhyming words (e.g., mat).
- Read books with rhyme (e.g., Dr. Seuss books).
- Draw a picture (e.g., mouse) and ask your child to name the picture. Then ask him/her if she can say a word that rhymes with the word (e.g., house).
- Rhyme book - Your child can draw pictures of objects that rhyme or cut out rhyming pictures found in magazines and tape or glue them on a piece of paper next to each other. You can fold a few pieces of paper in half to create a book.
- Remember to visit your local library for story time, books, and other activities.