Phonological awareness is an important aspect in the fundamentals of reading. It is the first step in literacy. Children can learn phonological awareness in a variety of ways. Rhyming, sentence and word recognition, sound knowledge, phonemes, letter identification, spelling, and games which require active listening are a few of the techniques used by teachers in the classroom. All of these methods help in a child’s reading and speech fluency.All children need to learn how to read and write in order to survive in today’s society. There have been many different methods used in order to teach phonemic awareness to preschool children. Phonemic awareness is the capability of an individual to differentiate, identify and manipulate specific sounds. An example would be a child combining and blending the sounds in the word cat. Many people believe that phonics and phonemic awareness are the same thing. However, phonic awareness is recognizing that words come from sounds with in turn make up a language. Phonics is knowing that sounds are composed of letters which compose a writing style.
In order to teach a child phonic awareness and to read, a teacher must comprehend the procedure that the brain formulates in order to understand the printed data. The brain undergoes three functions which facilitate understanding. First, there is information retention which has to deal with spurs of the environment. Second, language articulation is where a child uses prior knowledge in order to associate its meaning; and the third process is modeling and making connections with former information . Reading comprehension occurs in the frontal lobe of the brain. When this process takes place, it leads to an understanding and knowledge of what a person has seen and read.
Phonological processing is a person’s ability to listen and comprehend dialect as well as printed terms. Hence, it is to say that the child recognizes the sound each letter makes. Mechanically our brain unconsciously processes verbal communication. Instantly a child gathers phonemes in order to pronounce the word and decomposes it to grasp the oral language. In contrast to speech, reading involves a child’s knowledge in the process of associating written words with the alphabet and in turn producing spoken words. Therefore, a child has to be of conscious mind in order to learn reading. A teacher must instruct a child in the phonological sequences of letters in order for the child to acquire phonological processing.
There are many different techniques a teacher can utilize in order to build phonological awareness. One technique would be merging words and sounds collectively in order to construct new words. The words composed can be silly or factual. This technique facilitates the child’s use of phonemes, which was a study conducted by McCandlies, Cohen, and Dehaene in 2003 . Having a child combine letters and then separating them is another form of building phonological awareness. It will also help them in recognizing the letters of the alphabet. Examples of the activities mentioned above are having a child say the first sound in the word “rat” and then saying each letter sound individually. Blending would consist of telling a child say ‘at’ and then stating to them to put an ‘r’ in front and say the new word.
These activities can been done with a variety of materials such as chalk, boards and markers. Remember preschool children are very visual. The more movement they utilize, the better they retain the information. Image is a phonic awareness 3 letter word game.
Many people do not see imaginative play as a means of learning. However, it is during play that children are at their most influential developmental stage according to Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist. Since the children are imaging different situations, they are associating everyday activities and assigning meaning to them. During this time, individuals and items can transform themselves into different things. For example, a child can become a cat, or a baby and a piece of construction paper can be converted into a notepad for taking orders in a restaurant. Through the children’s interactions and language, they gather and exchange knowledge, experiences, and vocabulary which enhance their verbal communication through mutual exchange (Genishi and Dyson, 2009).
Collaborative songs and games can also be a means to teach phonological awareness. Nursery rhymes can be utilized as a tool for phonological awareness. Rhyming activities such as asking a child which words rhyme or which ones do not rhyme will enhance their awareness. A teacher may also say a word and ask a child which word rhymes with it (Phillips, Clancy-Menchetti, Lonigan, 2008). Some examples would be: this old man, head shoulder knees and toes, one two buckle my shoe and Humpty Dumpty. Games that constitute phonological awareness do not have to come from a book. They can be invented from one’s everyday activities. Examples of these activities would be a trip to the grocery store or beauty salon.
Children can be asked which items in the store begin with the same letter sound or which nail polishes have the same letters in them. If a child does not respond or say the correct answer, be sure to mirror the correct response and not state that they were wrong. The teacher should support the child through the learning process. The following illustration explains the steps of phonological awareness.
Activities which implement pattern recognition are also efficient at phonological awareness. This is an excellent tool to utilize in the classroom due to the fact that children learn how to read by identifying patterns. When a child associates words from letter patterns and connects the sounds, this is called patterning. A teacher should replicate, rehearses, and observe the children when teaching pattern recognition in order to determine the child’s advancements in this area. Assessments should cover word subdivision, sound combinations, and sorting new data into patterns. Repetition is the key in the learning process.
Preschool children have a short attention p; therefore, keep activities fun and exciting in order to facilitate the best learning environment. Not all children have the same literacy background and predisposition; they come from a variety of environments and cultural upbringings. Consequently, teachers must adapt to each individual child’s style of learning and pace. There will always be variations in the learning process.
Technology is a part of our everyday lives. Children have computers, iPhones, iPod’s, and tablets. Since technology surrounds children twenty -four hours of the day, seven days a week, parents need to take advantage of the situation and use the time wisely. There are many games online which can help children build their phonological awareness. Websites which parents can utilize are: starfall.com, PBSkids.com, ABCmouse.com, learninggamesforkids.com, sheppardsoftware.com, and ezschools.com.
All these websites provide educational games for preschool children. They have a variety of subjects such as math, reading, and science. Also they cover the fundamentals of the alphabet, phonics, sounds, and blending. These games are especially interesting for those children who are visual and auditory learners.
Percentage of children who are going online daily for educational purposes As stated above, there are many different techniques that a teacher can employ in order to educate a child. Other methods such as repeated reading, modeling fluency, and leap frog are also useful tools in phonological awareness. Children imitate and mimic adult behavior. Therefore, it is vital that a teacher speaks to a child in the appropriate grammatical matter. They will store the information and use it later in other situations that arise. Although a preschool child does not know how to read, they do make associations with words. Hence, reading every day for thirty minutes will build a child’s vocabulary.
Books which have tape recordings and CDs are also good sources for vocabulary buildings, rhyme, and word segmentation. In these days, parents are not concerned about their children’s education. They spend fifty or more dollars on video games instead of providing educational support. It is ignorant for them to believe that programs like VPK and Head Start are providing a child to play and interact socially. Although social interaction is vital to a preschool child, education stimulation is also crucial. Teachers go through countless training sessions in order to provide their students with high standards. There are a variety of sources that parents and teachers can use. Computer games, internet sites, books, rhymes, music and movement, and activities created by the teacher or parent are all ways to provide phonological awareness.
Parents and teachers alike have to remember that every child is different and each child has his or her way of thinking and processing information. Thus, educators and parents have to learn their child’s learning style whether it is audio, visual, or kinesthetic in order to provide a grade a learning environment. Reading, writing, and spelling are the principles of fluency. If children are provided with the proper tools now, they will be better equipped for the future. Remember, the children of today will be the leaders of tomorrow!
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