Why is the importance of phonological awareness so vital to reading and writing in the primary classroom? Phonological awareness is a group of oral skills that assists in the development of decoding (reading) and encoding (writing). The beginning stages of proficient readers and writers starts with phonological awareness. This includes rhyming, counting and segmenting syllables, identifying the beginning, middle and ending of words, manipulating phonemes such as sound substitution and sound deletion.
Finding Time For Phonological Awareness
I find that it’s best to spend the first 5 to 10 minutes of the day teaching and reviewing these skills. Here are some time saving tips on how to be efficient when teaching phonological awareness
- Have a monthly time frame for each of the skills
- Have picture cards on a ring in your teaching whole group area
- Use daily reading to focus on the skill
- Incorporate phonological awareness into your centers
I will break these points down to show you the importance of phonological awareness and how easy it can be to fit into a routine.
1. Monthly Skills
Look closely at all the phonological awareness skills that your students must master by the end of the year. Here is a list of skills to include:
- Rhyming (identifying and producing)
- Counting Syllables
- Beginning Sound Identification
- Ending Sound Identification
- Middle Sound Identification
- Blending Sounds
- Segmenting Sounds
- Deleting Sounds
- Substituting Sounds
You may have a reading program that includes all these skills and are broken into months and days for you. If not, decide which skills you want to work on in September and October, etc. and map it out on a calendar.
2. Picture Cards
A time saving tip is to have a monthly ring of cards that allow you to practice and review skills. If you keep it by your whole group (or small group) learning area you will always have access to it when you need it. In this ring there are picture cards that you can hold up and quickly ask a phonological awareness question. Part of what saves me time is that I can use the same card to ask multiple questions (rhyming, beginning/ending/middle sounds, sound deletion or substitution). Pictures are not necessary because phonological awareness is an oral skill, not written. Click on the link if you are looking for a program that is already created:
3. Daily Reading
This time saving tip will allow you to make the most of your story time. When you are reading a story use a few pre-selected words to practice phonological awareness skills. This may include a rhyming word, or a longer word that students could clap out syllables, or any other skill your students are working on. Please note that this should only be 2 or 3 words for the book because it’s important for students to enjoy story time as well.
Centers should be for independent practice and not brand new learning. You want students to get extra phonological awareness practice without needing your assistance. One of my favorite ways to accomplish this in centers is through technology. If you use Boom Learning and are looking for some Boom Cards to practice phonological awareness skills please click on the links and check them out in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. They are in my Boom Learning store as well. I love these because they are self checking which allows for independence (another way to save time).
I hope you can see the importance of having a Phonological Awareness routine that is efficient and effective. It takes a bit of planning on the front side but saves you lots of time on the back. Your students will be able to master so much in a little time.
Check out my blogpost about the importance of learning routines in the classroom and extra rhyming and syllable practice: