More Than Fun and Games

Along with playing totally fun Reading-Ready games, including our own literacy inspired version of Hedbanz, musical chairs, hop scotch, and tower building, our class has really advanced in terms of phonemic awareness.  You may remember that phonemic awareness is an important reading skill that does not include print.  It is a component of phonological awareness that involves word parts at their smallest spoken unit, the individual sound or phoneme.  Phonemic awareness is the primary single predictor of word reading difficulties (e.g. Pennington, et al. 2012; Snowling, 2000).

Using our blending mats and sound tokens (both pictured at the top of this post), the Reading-Ready students used “sound clues” and worked together to figure out mystery words from our new Jan Thomas story each week.  See below for ways we applied phonemic awareness skills to compose words using individual sounds and also manipulated sounds to create new words.  

Phonemic Awareness Skills and Examples:

Blending Phonemes 

Example: “What word do these sounds make when we put them together?  Listen to my sounds: /f/ (pause) /a/ (pause) /t/.   Yes, those sounds blended together make fat, fffaaat, fat.”

Substituting Phonemes

Example: “Say sun.  Change the first sound of sun.  Change /s/ to /r/.  What’s our new word?” (run)

Adding Phonemes

Example: “Say at.  Add /m/ to the beginning of at.  What’s our new word?” (mat)

Deleting Phonemes

Example: “Say funny.  Take away the last sound, /ee/, of funny.  What’s our new word?” (fun)

Keep It Going

You can practice these provided examples with your child and use them as a guide to make your own “sound clues” to keep your little reader challenged and learning at home.

- Johanna Sims, M.S., CCC-SLP


Pennington BF, Santerre-Lemmon L, Rosenberg J, MacDonald B, Boada R, Friend A, Leopold DR, Samuelsson S, Byrne B, Willcutt EG, Olson RK. Individual prediction of dyslexia by single versus multiple deficit models. J Abnorm Psychol. 2012 Feb;121(1):212-24. doi: 10.1037/a0025823. Epub 2011 Oct 24. PMID: 22022952; PMCID: PMC3270218.

Snowling, M. J. (2000). Dyslexia (2nd ed.). Blackwell Publishing.

Reading-Ready Hedbanz: What Sound or Word are You Wearing?

Reading-Ready Hop Scotch: Jump and Say Your Sound

Reading-Ready Musical Chairs: When Baby Shark Stops, Say Your Sound or Blend Your Word

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