Thursday, March 3, 2011

Phonological Awareness- Phoneme Manipulation

This is actually a segment of phonological awareness that I do not believe I included in my first post.  Phoneme manipulation is something that depends on children having a good handle on the other components.  It's often the case that most children will not succeed in independently manipulating phonemes before the end of first grade.  But that doesn't mean we shouldn't introduce it and attempt to work with phoneme manipulation.  It's actually a very fun way to "play with words".  We're helping them make brain connections and with those paths repeated over and over, they will eventually "stick". 

Just a side note: A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a word.

Just like with other phonological awareness skills, we start with the beginning and ending sounds first because it's easier than working with the middle sounds.  Activities like these can be done informally throughout the day through song and oral games but plan to spend a bit of time formally, using objects/manipulatives so they can also visualize what you are doing.  Using the actual letters, whenever possible, will reinforce that letter/sound connection also.

Manipulating the sound is simply adding sounds to, taking sounds away or substituting a sound.  One of the phoneme manipulation activities we do that gets a lot of laughs is to substitute a letter sound for one that is common in a song.  For example, Row Row Row Your Boat.

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream.

We'd sing, (B)ow, (b)ow, (b)ow your boat or  (Z)ow, (z)ow, (z)ow your boat. 

One way I have helped them visualize what we were doing and also to reinforce that letter/sound connection was to write that first verse of the song on the board after we sing it, emphasizing that /r/ sound.  Then I'd erase the Rs and a child would slide a magnetic consonant letter up in it's place and we'd make the new word.  Just recently I came across a little saying that I'm teaching the children when we do something like this...and it's purely for humor.  :-)  "No, no, no! That's all wrong!  This is the way to sing that song!"  Then we'd sing it a new way.

When doing this activity, your new word should rhyme with the initial word. 
So, "n"ow would actually sound like no instead of now.
Excuse the non-Kindergarten teacher penmanship.  I've never had that knack, especially when writing on vertical surfaces. However, no matter your printing, it's very beneficial to often write where your child can see you writing.  A lot can be learned by your conversation as you are writing.  You can talk about how many words are in a sentence, what the beginning sounds are, what letters are repeated, you can make it obvious when putting spaces between words (using the two finger approach), you are teaching that you read AND write from left to right and you can also talk about punctuation (specifically the period being the "stop sign" of a sentence).  I make good use of this medium-sized magnetic dry erase/flannel board.  It slides behind door easily so it's out of sight but it's still large enough to get a lot of good use out of it.  I believe I purchased it through Discount School Supply about 5 years ago.  There are MANY dry erase boards out there.  This 3-in-1 is very useful for homeschooling or preschool programs.

Here is a song out of The Mailbox publication, Phonological Awareness Fun.
Old Mac's Adventures
Old MacDonald visits the (zoo).
And at the (zoo) he sees a (zebra)

Or... at the (zoo) he sees a (lion)

You can really get into a song like this using pictures or props.  Perhaps, put the props in a suit case and talk about how Old MacDonald is going to get to the farm.  Is he going fly?  Ride a boat?  Drive a car?  Then pretend to do that. When a child's having fun...they retain so much more information!  You can include a little sorting activity and sort animals you would find at the zoo, farm, ocean first and then sing the song accordingly. Let the fun begin! 

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