Phonological Awareness

Phonological awareness is the ability to be aware of sounds within words and to be able to break down words into syllables and into phonemes. The activities listed here can help develop phonological awareness and can be used in lessons for the benefit of all children.

Pupils who have difficulties in this area may have:

  • problems identifying syllables in polysyllabic words
  • problems recognising rhyming words
  • difficulty in generating rhyme
  • difficulty identifying initial, medial and final phonemes in words
  • difficulty with phoneme blending
  • visual strengths (learning better from charts, diagrams, videos, demonstrations and other visual materials)
  • a good visual memory (bein able to visualise information and present it in the form of mindmaps, diagrams, charts, posters, illustrations)
  • kinaesthetic strengths (learning better through using concrete materials, practical experiences and multisensory techniques).

Activities to develop phonological awareness

  1. Syllable count – say the word (eg. yesterday), then use fingers to count the syllables (yes/ter/day).
  2. Finish the name – adult to say the first syllable of a two syllable name (eg. Hen...), then ask the pupil to complete it (Henry).
  3. Finish the word – adult to say the first syllable of a two syllable word (eg. zeb...) then ask the pupil to complete it (zebra).
  4. I spy 1 – initial sounds (everyday items in the classroom).
  5. I spy 2 – initial sounds (pictorial choice).
  6. Pairs – matching pictures to initial sounds.
  7. Bingo – matching pictures to initial sounds.
  8. I spy 3 – 'I went to the zoo/park/seaside and saw something beginning with...' (initial sounds).
  9. Sound/picture mapping – match picture to sound by drawing lines.
  10.  I spy 4 – initial CV (consonant-vowel) blending (I am thinking of something beginning with ca..
  11. Pelmanism – matching pictures to initial CV.
  12. Missing vowels – helps the pupils to become aware that there could be more than one choice of vowels for each word (eg. bt – bat, bet, bit, but).
  13.  Line-links – ask the pupils to draw lines to link initial sounds to rhyme endings (eg. b-ed/r-ed, m-an/c-an).
  14. Rhyme word searches.
  15. Rhyme pelmanism 1 – pictorial.
  16. Rhyme pelmanism 2 – words.
  17. Rhyme families 1 – collect rhyming pictures ('Can I have a picture that rhymes with...').
  18. Rhyme families 2 – collect rhyming words ('Can I have a word that rhymes with...').
  19. Rhyming cloze (oral) – using traditional rhymes, action rhymes, songs and jingles.
  20. Blends and ends – matching initial consonant blends to rhyme endings (eg. bl-ack/tr-ack).
  21. Dominoes – using blends and ends.
  22. Tongue twisters – initial sounds and consonant blends (eg. six silly swans swam out to sea).
  23. Odd word out – both oral and written (eg. ring, sing, song, thing).
  24. Sense or nonsense – as the pupils to identify the words that make sense by blending the phonemes (eg. brick, quick, stick, smick, trick).
  25. Compound word pairs – collect word pairs (eg. sea/side, tea/bag).
  26. Syllable sort – collect syllables to form polysyllabic words (eg. yes/ter/day, af/ter/noon).