You've been told that your child is struggling with phonemic awareness and it's starting to affect their reading skills. It was suggested that you work on phonemic awareness with your child at home, but you're unsure where to start. Here are some activities for you to do with your child at home that are fun, engaging, and work to develop their skills at the same time.
Read Aloud Books and Poems: While reading aloud with your child, point out rhyming words. Tell them why it rhymes if they aren't sure. This helps them with recognizing words that rhyme. Read a few lines and ask your child to predict what word might come next. This helps children to produce rhyming words.
Matching Pictures: If your child is having difficulty recognizing rhyming words purely by listening, add in pictures! Use pictures of items you have around the house, from their favorite books, magazines, etc. Show your child 2-3 pictures and ask them to identify the ones that rhyme.
Toss the Bean Bag: If your child is having difficulty producing rhyming words, try this fun, kinesthetic activity. While tossing a bean bag (or ball) back and forth, say a word that rhymes. Nonsense words work too! The point is to get your child to produce any word that has the same ending rhyme and work on expression.
Rhyme Memory Game: This is a spin on the fun memory game most of us are familiar with. Find 12-16 pictures and place them face down. There should be 6-8 pair of matching pictures (e.g., cat/hat). Take turns flipping two cards over. A match occurs when the two pictures are rhyming words!
I created a Memory Game on Google Slides that is pretty fun and easy to use. Get access to the game here.
Elkonin Boxes: Students are given a word and then proceed to say a sound while moving a token from one box to the next. There are many variations to this strategy. My favorite is having a visual of the word (e.g., picture of a sun) in addition to the teacher/parent giving the word so that the auditory, visual, and kinesthetic modalities are activated while learning.
Moving Sounds: Students are given a word and then move for every sound or syllable in a word. Try jumping in place or to the right, tapping arms, tummy, or lap, hitting a drum, swaying side-to-side, or stomping in place. Not only does this get students thinking about the sounds/syllables, it also gets them moving!
Touch Your Chin: This one works well for syllable segmentation! Students keep their hands/fingers on their chin, and notice the number of times their chin moves as they pronounce a word. Each syllable has a vowel sound that forces the mouth to open. Creating awareness with the body is a powerful tool when auditory processes like phonemic awareness are weak.
I Spy: Take a twist on a childhood favorite by saying the sounds of an item and then having your child go to retrieve it. For example, “I spy with my little eye a /p/ /e/ /n/.”
Snail Talk: Have a little fun talking with this one! Try stretching out a word by saying each sound slowly. Then have your child guess the word you said. “I’m going to eat my piiiiiiiiie.”
Tap & Slide: Say the sounds of a word. Have your child repeat each sound while tapping their arm (or leg or tummy), then slide their hand across their arm to blend and say the word. Do this sitting or standing! If your child has difficulty blending sounds just by listening, add in letters or a picture of the word to help them process the word easier.