Thursday, March 16, 2017

March 16, 2017

 3 Important Skills Needed for Reading

Rhyming Words


Rhyming words are words like rat and cat or even head and red. Rhyming words are words that have ending sounds that are similar. While there is such a thing as imperfect rhymes {words like home and bone, found in the song, “This Old Man”}, I like to focus more on the rhymes that end the same, like house/mouse or dog/frog. Rhyming words are not always spelled the same; they just need to sound the same. Here are some things we want kids to be able to do with rhyming words:
•       Recognize when words rhyme and when they don’t
•       Produce rhyming words {You ask: “What rhymes with cat?” and they answer, “Rat.”}
•       Play with rhyming words. Create a bunch of words that rhyme with the word, even silly ones.


Syllables


Syllables are the “big parts” in words. For example, words like cat or fish only have one syllable. Words like happy and table have two syllables. For those who find it tricky to hear syllables, I tell people to put their hand under their chin and count the times they “drop” their child when they say a word. Generally, this is the number of syllables the word has. Here are some things we want kids to be able to do with syllables:
•       Count the number of syllables in a word
•       Combine syllables to form a word. Example: “What word do you get when you put together the two parts, hap {pause here} py?”
•       Say the parts of a word when a syllable is dropped. For example, “What does it sound like when you say rainbow without the rain part?“


Phonemes


This is where I usually lose people. Phonemes. It sounds so teacher-y, doesn’t it? So, what exactly are phonemes? Phonemes are the
individual sounds in words. For example, the simple word cat has three phonemes {or individual sounds} /k/ – /a/ – /t/.
What makes this one a little tricky, especially for adults trying to teach phonemes, is that some words have more letters than phonemes. Take the word light, for example. While it has 5 letters, it only has three phonemes {or individual sounds}: /l/ – /i/ – /t/. We will explore more about phonemes on days 4-6 of this series. But for now, let’s see what we want kids to be able to do with phonemes:
•       Isolate phonemes, such as “What’s the first sound you hear in the word bear?”
•       Blend phonemes. For example, “I’m going to say the sounds in a word very slowly. See if you can listen to what I say and tell me what word it is: /m/-/ee/.” {me}
•       Separate phonemes. For example, “How many little sounds do you hear in the word bug?” {3}
Counting phonemes is a more advanced skill that typically comes AFTER kids have mastered rhyming and syllables. Many children will also be reading easy texts, like those found in Reading the Alphabet, before they have mastered counting and manipulating phonemes.

Phonological & Phonemic Awareness
Phonological Awareness is a broad term. It refers to the awareness of sounds in a word. A child with phonological awareness can identify and create rhyming words, count syllables in a word, or (on the smallest level) identify and manipulate individual sounds in a word.
Phonemic Awareness fits under the umbrella of phonological awareness. It is an awareness of the smallest units of sound (or phonemes) in a word. For example, a child with phonemic awareness could hear that the word bat has the sounds:  /b/  /a/  /t/. A child with keen phonemic awareness could change /h/ at the beginning of hat to /c/ and know that now, it’s the word cat.
Phonological and phonemic awareness activities are things your child can do with their eyes shut.  They only need their ear as they identify and manipulate sounds within words.

Enjoy,
Ms. Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Principal
Discovery School

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