January 18, 2018

Barriers to Reading: Phoneme Manipulation

Barriers to Reading: Students who can manipulate phonemes in words can become quick decoders. These students can maintain understanding at the word level and comprehension isn't interrupted.
This is another post in my "Barriers to Reading" series. The first post was Barriers to Reading: Reading the Whole Word. This post is about phoneme manipulation. Phonemes are units of sound. For example, cat has 3 phonemes: /c/ /a/ and /t/. Likewise, shut has 3 phonemes, as well:  /sh/ /u/ and /t/. Students who can manipulate phonemes become quick decoders. The automaticity is important in keeping word meaning and story comprehension. The activities in this post are exercises to strengthen phoneme manipulation.

Formative Assessment: Strength Through Oral Understanding

First, students should be able to hear common phonemes. In a quick review in a small group, the teacher can read three words (can, car, cub) and ask a student what sound in similar. Quickly teachers can do a quick formative assessment on phonemes in each of the three positions: beginning, middle, and ending. The assessment can allow teachers to know which students need practice in which phoneme place. One teacher at my school does an "Exit Question" each day when the students are excused form the reading table. This quick assessment would be a perfect match for the "Exit Question."  When students demonstrate a clear understanding of similar phonemes, the teacher can follow the same oral assessments with phoneme differences. "Listen to these words: fat, fan. Where does the word sound different, the beginning, middle, and end?"

Part 1: Read the Phonemes

Barriers to Reading: Students who can manipulate phonemes in words can become quick decoders. These students can maintain understanding at the word level and comprehension isn't interrupted.
In the practice set, students can "read" the pictures and discuss what common phoneme is in each word. For example, they read the pictures sad, sap, sack, and sat. They should be able to say the phoneme that is consistent is the beginning phoneme. They should also be able to say how the ending phoneme is different. You may want to have them read the pictures and tell the different between two of the pictures.

Part 2: Read and Write the Phonemes

In part 2 of the set, students can "read" the pictures and write the word. They should be able to write the common phoneme and manipulate the uncommon phoneme. When the students write the words, the phonemes are easily recognized as the same or different.

Part 3: What is the same?


Barriers to Reading: Students who can manipulate phonemes in words can become quick decoders. These students can maintain understanding at the word level and comprehension isn't interrupted.
The third part of the set is another activity in identifying what is the same. Students will read the set of pictures and use a clip or marker to show what part of the word is the same. Students should be asked to tell what the consistent phoneme is in each picture.

Part 4: What changed?

Barriers to Reading: Students who can manipulate phonemes in words can become quick decoders. These students can maintain understanding at the word level and comprehension isn't interrupted.
The final part of the set is the act of determining what phoneme changed? If the pictures are cop and cot, students should be able to hear the difference at the end of the word. They will clip the end of the train. To make this a whole group activity at the small group table, teachers can provide a 3 box chart (maybe using Elkonin boxes) and a flat marble or marker. The teacher will read the words and the students will mark the appropriate box.

Success with Phoneme Manipulation

Finally, the practice should create students who are proficient in phoneme manipulation. Another quick warm up or "exit slip" idea could be asking students to write a common word and ask them to write a new word by manipulating the  phonemes. For example, you could have the students write the word "man." At first, ask he students to change the beginning phoneme and write the word "pan." Eventually, students can be asked to write the word "man" and change the middle phoneme to create a new word. Students will need to use their understanding of vowels to find a new word with a new middle phoneme. You need to determine if the students are allowed to write a real word or a "pretend" word. Obviously, "men" is a real word change, but "mun" might be a pretend word option, if they can read the word with a short u sound.

If you would like a Phoneme Manipulation Sample Set, click the picture below or the link.

If you would like the full Phoneme Manipulation Set in my TPT store, click the picture below or the link.

Do you have other good phoneme manipulation ideas? Let me know in the comments below.

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Barriers to Reading: Students who can manipulate phonemes in words can become quick decoders. These students can maintain understanding at the word level and comprehension isn't interrupted.

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