4 Fun Ways to Build Phonological Awareness Skills

You can help your child in Pre-K or Kindergarten get ready to read by building their phonological
awareness. Phonological Awareness is the ability to recognize and work with speech sounds,
syllables and rhymes. You can help your child notice and play with sounds, words and rhymes
they hear in everyday speech.

1. Read, Read, Read: Good phonological awareness starts with your child noticing sounds,
syllables and rhymes in words. Help your child listen for these by reading to them often.
Choose books that rhyme or repeat the same sounds and point those words out to your
child. Use this link for books that can help teach phonological awareness:
Use Picture Books to Teach Phonological Awareness

2. Listen for Initial Sounds. Point out sounds that repeat. For example, when reading the
book “Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!” you could ask your child to listen for the “B” sound in “bugs”,
“butterfly” and other words in the book. Look through magazines and cut out pictures
that start with the same sound and make a collage. Try adding beginning sounds to a
game of “I Spy”: “I spy something green that starts with “sss”.

3. Focus on Rhyming: Ask your child to pick out rhyming words in a book without your help.
Ask questions like, “Did you hear a word that rhymes with hop?” Teach your child
nursery rhymes or try singing. There are lots of children’s songs that contain rhymes.
Here are two examples from local musician and child development specialist Jim Gill:
The Color Game Song
List of Dances Jim Gill LIVE in concert!

4. Follow the Beat: Help your child understand syllables by clapping the “beats” they hear
in words. For example, compare animal names. Pause as you say each syllable: ti–ger
or ko–a–la and clap out each syllable together. You can make it even more fun and get
your child moving by having them jump or stomp with each syllable.

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