Sunday, August 30, 2015

Early Literacy Series #3: Teaching Rhyming and Initial Sound Instruction

This is the third of seven posts about early literacy.

Kindergarten children turning to talk.
Developing students' phonemic awareness--the capacity to hear and manipulate (separate and blend) sounds in words--is an important prerequisite to reading. Phonological awareness refers to a child's awareness of words, syllables, rhymes and sounds in language. Phonological awareness develops sequentially with awareness of words in everyday speech, followed by syllable awareness. These usually develop in children prior to kindergarten. During kindergarten children usually first become aware of rhymes and beginning sounds. In later kindergarten and early first grade, children develop awareness of all individual sounds in a word. A usual sequence for instruction begins with hearing beginning, then end and finally medial sounds, followed by segmenting and blending sounds. Teaching phonics and phonemic awareness together in kindergarten is beneficial to children. Instruction should be brief and can be fitted into different time slots during the school day.

Teaching Rhyming and Initial Sound Instruction in Kindergarten
  1. Talk with children. Listen. As James Britton so eloquently said, "learning floats on a sea of talk"  (1970, p. 164).
  2. Read aloud ABC books, rhyming books like nursery rhymes, and poems. Use big books and poems written on charts in order to emphasize end rhymes. 
  3. Sing songs with rhymes. Create song charts.
  4. Use children's names and create rhymes. Raffi's Singable Songs for the Very Young or Jack Hartman's Rhymin' to the Beat can be helpful. 
  5. Define rhyming for students and record the definition, with picture examples, on an anchor chart. Use pictures to identify rhyming pairs during phonemic awareness instruction. Identify rhyming words in a variety of texts during interactive read-aloud and shared reading. Use transitional time throughout the day to play with rhyming words orally (What rhymes with ball? mall, call, fall).
  6. Make a wall of words that begin with the same letter and sound; recite nursery rhymes; and call children’s attention to the jump rope rhymes they hear older children recite on the playground.
  7. Provide daily opportunities for students to play with sounds and words in a variety of contexts.
  8. During whole-group instructional time ask students to give you a thumbs-up if two words rhyme, thumbs-down if they do not.
  9. Write a poem on a large chart. As children read the poem in chorus, track words by moving your hand under the words as they are read. This helps children focus on print, demonstrates left-to-right direction, and helps children appreciate the connection between written words and spoken words. When children are thoroughly familiar with the poem, cover up one or more rhyming words with sticky notes. Read the poem together with the children, and ask them to supply the hidden rhyming words. Then remove the sticky notes to reveal the rhyming words. Ask children to think of other rhyming words. On another day, give children the rhyming word cards with masking tape loops on the back. Have children put the rhyming word cards on, next to, or under the rhyming words in the poem. Follow up by making a chart of rhyming words to display in your classroom. You may also wish to add a few rhyming words to the word wall in your classroom.
  10. Provide pairs of words that rhyme and do not.
  11. During small differentiated groups, have students repeat rhyming words after you provide a word (i.e. what rhymes with fan? Child says, pan). 
  12. Children work with partners, individually, or in learning centers (or literacy stations) to sort rhyming pictures or pictures that begin with the same sound.
  13. Have children create a class rhyme book with each child contributing a drawing with two rhyming pictures.  Work with students to label each picture.
  14. Play rhyming games with children.  See examples here
  15. Children cut out pictures that either rhyme with the picture on the top of the bookmark or begin with the same sound as the top picture. Then children glue the pictures in the bookmark squares. Talk about words that rhyme or begin with the same sound. Extend this activity to written language by having children watch as you write the words under the pictures on their bookmarks. Laminate bookmarks to finalize the activity. from: Fox, Barbara J. (2011-04-14). Word Identification Strategies: Building Phonics into a Classroom Reading Program (5th Edition) (Page 32). Pearson HE, Inc.. Kindle Edition. 
    from Word Identification Strategies: Building Phonics into a Classroom Reading Program 

Initial Sound
  1. During whole-group instruction such as shared reading, ask students to give you a thumbs-up if they hear words that have the same first sound.
  2. Provide pairs of words that have, or do not have, the same first sound. (Make this a part of your daily routine.)
  3. Provide many opportunities for drawing and writing.
  4. During writing instruction, show students how they can begin to write words by writing first sound to label their pictures. 


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