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Phonemic Awareness

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Recognizing and identifying the sounds of a word

Developing phonemic awareness helps a student understand that words are made of different individual sounds; this understanding is a foundation for understanding that individual letters make individual sounds and that words are composed of letters. These are key understandings for decoding words and reading text.

Knowing about sounds in words is a foundational step in learning to read and understand printed text. We listen to the sounds of a word - sounds at the beginning, sounds in the middle, sounds at the end. We begin to break a word into different sound parts (segmenting) and we begin to put together different sounds to make words (blending).

Here are a few things we do to develop our phonemic awareness:
We use sound boxes to play "Say It and Push It." We say the word that goes with the picture: bus. Then we say each sound as we push a coin into the box: /b/ and push a coin into the first box; /u/ and push a coin into the second box; /s/ and push a coin into the third box. Then we run our fingers along the arrow and say the word again. 

We sort words by the sounds at the beginning of the word. At first we use just picture cards. Later we use pictures and words. We really like to use our names in games and learning activities.

We rhyme words. By thinking about words that rhyme, we are thinking about the sounds of each word and how the sounds are alike and different. We are learning about the ways that sounds work together to make words.

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