Phonemic Awareness Activities
Phonemic awareness is a set of skills that provide an individual with the ability to manipulate sounds in words--and it also refers to the understanding that letters or characters represent sounds. Additionally, individuals with strong phonemic awareness skills tend to develop early reading success compared to peers without phonemic awareness skills.
Although a variety of activities are available for promoting phonemic awareness, one program that provides some positive gains is the Lindamood Phonemic Sequencing program. This program is reported as potentially positive by the Institute for Education Sciences (IES), and targets oral motor movements to produce sounds. It also provides instruction in decoding and spelling skills. A second program, with four studies meeting IES criteria, is the Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies program, researched most often by Fuchs and Fuchs. Although this method targets multiple reading skills, one activity that can be implemented with small groups of students, or pairs, targets phonics fluency. Students identify sounds letters make, as prescribed in the program, and praise from peers is included in this activity.
Less formal activities to target phonemic awareness include activities involving rhyming, sound discrimination, syllable splitting and phonemic manipulations such as blending, segmenting and replacing sounds (University of Oregon). Activities may involve using auditory prompts such as a CD of instructions (i.e., "What sound is at the beginning of cat? /k/") or the use of manipulatives. Building blocks can be used to represent each sound in a word, and visuals such as game spinners may be helpful to target rhyming words. With blocks, one letter or sound can be written on each block to build or manipulate words. With a spinner, the rhyme can be written in the center with multiple onsets identified by the colored or numbered areas (i.e., -at in the center with /k/, /h/, /b/ and /r/ on the outside). These activities create concrete supports for phonemes and build familiarity with modifying language.