Unit Three

Back to Developing Phonemic Awareness in Kindergarten Children


Objectives:

Upon completion of this unit, the participant will be able to:

  • Demonstrate phonemic awareness training strategies.
  • Explain the difference between phonemic awareness training and phonics instruction.
  • Distinguish between phonemic awareness activities and phonics instruction activities.


Instruction:

Recall the following important pieces of information from Unit Two:

  • Phonemic awareness is "the ability to notice, think about, and work with the individual sounds in spoken words" (Armbruster, et. al., 2003).
  • Segmenting is separating the phonemes in a word and saying them individually.
  • Blending is creating a word by saying individual phonemes in rapid succession.


Phonemic awareness training activities utilize segmenting and blending. In their book, Phonemic Awareness in Young Children, Adams, Foorman, Lundberg, and Beeler outline activities for developing phonemic awareness. They begin with word level phonological awareness (a broader awareness of sounds that includes phonemic awareness as a very specific, refined form of sound awareness). These activities include segmenting compound words into their constituent words and creating other compound words by blending constituent words. They also include segmenting the onsets and rimes of words or blending them together to create words.


In chapters seven and eight, Adams, Foorman, Lundberg and Beeler focus their activities on the phonemes. See the following summaries of some of their strategies:


  • Isolating initial and final phonemes: The teacher uses a photo or object as a stimulus, then says the word for the students to hear. She then says the word again with stress and emphasis on the initial or final phoneme. Some phonemes lend themselves to being stretched out such as the sound represented by "m" (mmmmmmmmmmm), Try it! Say (mmmmmmmmmmm). Other phonemes are short and care must be taken to cut them off so that a vowel sound is not included such as the sound represented by "t" (avoid "tuh"). Try it! Try to say only the sound of the "t", or a "p", or a "k". It is not easy, but keep trying! The teacher can then say the word followed by just the initial or final sound. This demonstration is followed by opportunities for students to try with guidance and feedback.
    • For example, the teacher displays a photo of the moon and says "moon", then says "(mmmmmmmmmmmm)oon" followed by, "The word 'moon' begins with (mmmmmmmmmmmmmm)." Alternatively, she could say "moo(nnnnnnnnnnnnnn)" followed by, "The word 'moon' ends with (nnnnnnnnnnn)".


Practice! Try the example above, then substitute the name of the object in the photo below in the place of "moon" and try again.


Mouse.jpg


  • Segmenting phonemes in one-syllable words: The teacher says a word, then says it again while segmenting the sounds. While saying each segmented phoneme, the teacher lays down a block on the table to mark each phoneme. When she is finished she counts the blocks, tells the students how many sounds are in the word, and repeats the segmented sounds. The teacher asks the students to repeat the segmented sounds. This demonstration is followed by opportunities for students to try with guidance and feedback.
    • For example, the teacher says "sun", then says (ssssssssss) while putting down a block, then says (uuuuuuuuuuu) while putting down a block, and then says (nnnnnnnnnnn) while putting down a block. She then says, "There are one, two, three sounds in the word 'sun', (ssssssssss), (uuuuuuuuuu), (nnnnnnnnnn)." She asks the students to say the sounds with her as she repeats (sssssssss), (uuuuuuuuuu), (nnnnnnnnn).


Practice! Try the example above, then substitute the name of the object in the photo below in the place of "sun" and try again.


Knife.jpg


  • Blending phonemes into one-syllable words: The teacher looks at a photo, but does not show it to the class. She then says the sounds represented by the phonemes in the word, and places a block on the table as she says each phoneme. She then repeats the phonemes a little more quickly in sequence again and again until finally the word is said clearly. This demonstration is followed by opportunities for students to try with guidance and feedback.
    • For example, the teacher looks at a photo of a map and sets it on the table face down. She says (mmmmmmmmmmm) while putting down a block, then says (aaaaaaaaaaaa) while putting down another block, and then says the sound represented by "p" (taking care to avoid "puh") while putting down a third block. The teacher repeats the sounds more quickly (mmmmmmm),(aaaaaaa),/p/, then again (mmm),(aaa),/p/, and finally "map".


Practice! Try the example above, then substitute the name of the object in the photo below in the place of "map" and try again.


Phone.jpg


These strategies can be implemented through a variety of games and activities. Look through a copy of Phonemic Awareness in Young Children (Adams, et.al., 1998) or one of many other phonemic awareness training programs to review some of these games and activities. Phonemic Awareness in Young Children (Adams, et.al., 1998) is only one of many phonemic awareness training programs available. In their article, A Comparison of Eight Kindergarten Phonemic Awareness Programs Based on Empirically Validated Instructional Principles, Santi, Menchetti, and Edwards (2004) examine eight such programs. See the Resources page for a listing of these programs. You probably already do activities that are similar or that could easily be adapted to include these strategies.


Mid-Lesson Reflection: Think about some of the ideas you wrote in your Reflection from Unit Two, and how they could fit with what you have learned above to incorporate phonemic awareness training in your classroom.


Phonemic awareness training focuses on the sounds in words, not which letters are used to represent those sounds. In fact phonemic awareness training is oral in nature, using spoken words.


  • Notice how the teacher in the following scenario focuses on the phonemes in spoken words:
    • Ms. Martin shows her students a picture of a cat. She asks her students to identify the picture. They all respond, "cat!" She asks them to say only the first sound in the word. Some students say, "c!" and others say the hard c sound represented by the letter "c". Ms. Martin tells her students that "c" is in fact the first letter in the word "cat", but the first sound is the hard c sound represented by that letter. She demonstrates the sound carefully, trying to keep it short enough so that only the hard c sound is heard and not an additional vowel which sounds more like "cuh". She encourages her students to say the sound with her a few times for practice. She continues with the two remaining sounds in the word to segment the word "cat" into the sounds represented by "c", "a" and "t".


In phonics instruction, the focus is on the letters. The purpose of phonics instruction is to form connections between sounds and letters so children can learn to read, to decipher the code. In phonics instruction, learning activities will include print and draw attention to it.


  • Notice how the teacher in the following scenario shifts the focus to letters:
    • Ms. Martin shows her students a picture of a cat with the word "cat" printed clearly below the image. She asks her students to tell the first letter in the word "cat". They all respond, "c!" She asks them to tell her what sound it makes. They all respond by making the hard c sound present in the word "cat". She asks them to think of other words that begin with the same letter. Some students respond with the following words: car, candle, carton, and kitchen. Ms. Martin smiles and remarks that "kitchen" does have the same initial sound as the word "cat", but that it isn't spelled the same way. She begins to explain that some words with the hard c sound in "cat" are spelled with a "k" such as "kite". She goes on to ask the students to tell her words that begin with the letter "k". As the students respond she makes a chart with "c" words on one side and "k" words on the other.


Check out some of these Resources and Sources to learn more.


Assessment:

  • Role play or write a scenario that describes how you would implement two phonemic awareness activities.
  • In your own words, explain the difference between phonemic awareness training and phonics instruction activities.
  • For each of the following scenarios, determine whether the teacher is providing phonemic awareness training or phonics instruction.
    • Ms. Martin shows her students the following photos: a finger, a fox, a phone, and a fish. She asks her students to identify the first sound common to each of these words.
    • Ms. Martin tells her students the names of three objects she is holding - a dish, a doll, and a dime. She asks her students to tell her what letter begins each of those words.
    • Ms. Martin says the sounds represented by the letters "sh", "i" (the short vowel sound), and "p". She asks her students to tell her what word those sounds make all together.


Teacher.jpg


For Teacher feedback, click this link at File:UnitThree.wma Please be aware that you may need to use your Back button to return to this page after listening to the Teacher feedback.


Reflection:

  • How might phonemic awareness training activities and phonics instruction be combined to facilitate learning the code? When should letters be introduced to begin connecting them with the sounds?


You have completed Unit Three. You may proceed to the Conclusion section of Developing Phonemic Awareness in Kindergarten Children #Conclusion now.