Games that Build Phonemic Awareness

Make games out of sounds. You can play sound games almost anywhere: the dinner table, the bathtub, the car. Word play with sounds is a very direct way to build phonemic awareness. Following are some ideas which you may modify to fit your time and situation. For instance, when played during a car ride, the answers may be found as objects on the side of the road. Start each game with a few examples so everyone gets the idea.

1.  Rhyming Sounds: "What words rhyme with pan?  For instance, man rhymes with pan."  
2.  Beginning Sounds: "How many words can you make that start with the "b" sound?"
3.  Ending Sounds: "How many words can you make that end with the "t" sound?"
4.  Rhyming Beginning Sounds: "What word rhymes with cat but starts with the "b" sound?"
5.  Dropping Sounds: "What happens when you drop the "m" sound off of Mike's name?"
6.  Substitute Sounds: "What happens when you change the "t" in Tom to the "m" sound?"
7.  Counting Sounds: "How many sounds can you hear in the word pig?"  Say each sound.
8.  Common Sounds: "What sound do all of these words have in common: snake, sit, sleep?"
9.  Blending Sounds: "What word is made of these sounds: "d" and "o" and "g"?

In all of these examples, the sound of "b" means the sound that the letter b makes. Just say the sound, not the name of the letter. These are sound games. No knowledge of letters is required.

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