8 Phonological Awareness Goals Plus Fun Ideas for Preschoolers
Phonological awareness is the foundation for reading and comprehension. When preschoolers are able to grasp these skills, they will better be able to grasp spoken words, written stories, and to eventually become readers themselves. In this blog post I’m going to share what phonological awareness means, some goals to set for your students, and some fun activities you can do to promote this skill.
What Is Phonological Awareness?
Phonological Awareness is the understanding and awareness that words are made up of different sounds in spoken language. It involves understanding individual sounds and words as well as parts of words. These abilities are a big predictor of later reading success. This is why setting phonological awareness goals as a teacher is so important for your pre-readers.
Phonological Awareness Goals for Preschoolers
For preschoolers to succeed in reading they need to master some basic building blocks which is why creating phonological awareness goals is an important part of your lesson planning process.
Preschool Goals (in order of increasing complexity):
- Counting Syllables in Words
- Identifying and Producing Rhyming Words
- Alliteration (repeated beginning sounds)
- Onset-Rime Segmentation
- Initial and Final Sound Segmentation
- Blending Sounds into Words
- Segmenting Words into Sounds
- Deleting and Manipulating Sounds
I love to do Phonological Awareness activities whole-group during our morning circle time. I follow a spiral review system where we go through a series of predictable tasks each morning as students build their skills.
For instance we blend compound words, clap and count syllables, identify the beginning and ending sound in words, count how many words are in some sentences, identify rhyming words, etc. every single day. I change up the words and sentences each day so they don’t get bored. I often use words that go with our particular theme or the season. The children love this predictable time in our morning routine, and watch their phonological skills soar over the course of the year!
Fun Phonological Awareness Activities for Preschool
In order to reach your goals for your preschoolers, it is important to provide many hands-on learning experiences for students to practice these concepts. Here we share several activities to help reach those goals for preschoolers.
Place 3-5 balls of playdoh on a table. Say a simple word like “dog” and then break it down into its individual sounds “/d/ /o/ /g/”. Have children smash one ball of playdoh for each sound in the word.
Either provide picture cards that rhyme or tangible objects for students to sort. Students can practice rhyming and comparing different words at rhyming sorting centers. Rhyming is a critical phonological awareness skill, so you can never practice it too much!
Clap It Out
Clapping and counting syllables is an easy phonological awareness activity you can do every day. I like to choose words that go with our current theme or the season. The children love to suggest words to go with the theme. For example, we may clap all animal names one day and insects another day. This is great for boosting their vocabulary as well.
Mystery Sound Game
Place several objects in a big that all start with the same beginning sound. (For example a spoon, soup in a can, a soccer ball, a paper snowflake, and a sock.) Pull out one item at a time and have children name the object. Ask them if they can figure out the mystery beginning sound.
More Fun Phonological Awareness Ideas
I’m Thinking of a Letter
Play a guessing game. Say “I’m thinking of a letter that sounds like /m/.” See if children can guess the letter M. Repeat this with several letter sounds as a great way to review letters while boosting phonological awareness skills.
Nursery rhymes are great to practice skills like rhyming and even syllables. You can even show how rhyming words have the same number of syllables to further mastery of these concepts.
Building Block Sentences
Another phonological awareness goal involves counting the number of words in a sentence. Give each student a variety of building blocks of Legos to represent different words. Next, say a sentence and ask students to show how many words are in the sentence by using the building blocks to represent each word they heard.
These are great for practicing alliterations and provide great phonological awareness practice. As a class create different tongue twisters together and try to use as many words as possible that start with the same sound. You’ll love the children’s giggles as they try to repeat these silly phrases back.
Setting phonological awareness goals for preschoolers is so important and is a huge predictor of a child’s future reading ability. When teachers identify students’ weaknesses early on, they are able to dramatically increase a student’s chance to become a successful reader. Try out these fun activities with your preschoolers today!