Developing Phonemic Awareness – 2 Simple and Fun Ideas


Creating readers and writers that can rely on their own phonemic awareness haunches is something we work tirelessly at in the early grades. Here are two free and simple ways to help build it into kindergarten.

I was never sure if it would be something that I’d enjoy, but I take delight in finding fun, new ways to help students make connections between the visual forms of letters and their sounds… not to mention helping them grow quickly to blends and digraphs {onto cvc and beyond}.

developing phonemic awareness - KindergartenWorks

In a kindergarten classroom, you can begin as early as the first day in a school year to set the foundation and expectation for learning.

Simply saying to your new batch of kinders that you expect them to learn the name of each letter and the sounds they make is a great way to start off.

I always say that I don’t expect them to learn them all today, or tomorrow {wink} but very quickly so we will start practicing everyday!

developing phonemic awareness - KindergartenWorks

Know the old saying, “practice makes perfect?” We know that isn’t true because we are all far from perfect.

In our classroom we say, “the more we practice, the better we get!” And some days I have to re-direct those who are practicing incorrectly and infuse “the more we practice correctly, the better we get!”

So how can we practice developing phonemic awareness early on in the school year?

As mentioned in my article, 12 tips to starting a successful school year, I use the Leap Frog Letter Factory video.

How can we use that video as a jumping off point? We create a motion inspired from the movie to go with each letter of the alphabet.

Then we use the letter factory images created by Jessica at Running With Scissors in into classroom projects to tie it all together. {Thanks to Jessica for permission to share}

Phonemic Awareness Class Book

Here is a class book we create to practice substituting initial phonemes using the classic “chicka-rocka-boom” sing-songy chant.

Students love using the first letter in their name as the focus for this simple book and I love the giggles as we read it together.

Students quickly pick up on how they can manipulate sounds as we use this book to begin our word work lessons for the year.

To prepare this resource, I printed a page as many times as students whose names began with that letter. (I made templates for every letter because you never know when you’ll need a q or a z!)

developing phonemic awareness - KindergartenWorks

Download Chicka-Rocka Class Name Phonemic Awareness Book

This is a free printable class book to focus on beginning letter sounds using student names. It’s a perfect way to reinforce names of students in your class, cover letter sounds and beginning sounds!

All 26 letters of the alphabet templates included with images resembling the (affiliate) Letter Factory Video by LeapFrog.

Then I made each students name in letter boxes. I printed them off on colored construction paper to add a splash of color. They had to cut and assemble their name and glue it as the illustration.

Phonemic Awareness Transition Idea

How can we use use this concept later in the year after the majority of the class has it down?

It works great as a classroom management tool and transition technique.

We apply it at times when I am ready to start group learning and will quietly say, “Bibbity bobbety boo.”

Then I quickly repeat using a different beginning sound on the first two words and pause to let students finish the phrase. They have to isolate the beginning sound I used and substitute it for the /b/ in “boo.”

developing phonemic awareness - KindergartenWorks

Now you’ve got 2 new ways to develop phonemic awareness early on in the school year.

Beginning sounds are so important – between that and letter identification – it’s a core foundation for new readers. Once they get these down then we’re on our way to blending onset and rimes.

If you like what I do here on KindergartenWorks, then be sure to subscribe today. I look forward to sharing ideas with you weekly.

Helpful Free Phonemic Awareness Resources

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  1. So excited to find your cards! My son won’t be 2 until August. Although, we had already taught him to recognize most of the letters, within 2 or 3 times of watching The Letter Factory he knows every letter and sound. I know he will LOVE these!

  2. Yeah – the Leap Frog Letter Factory video is great. I watch it with my grandsons and even my 3 year old grandson is enthralled.

  3. We also use the Letter Factory during those first few weeks of school as well as include the motions into our day as we talk about the letters and their sounds. One of our k teacher, actually takes of picture of each child making the motion and hangs it up on the alphabet chart as a reference. Love the suggestions. Printing the Letter Factory Cards now to hang in my classroom. 🙂

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