Syllable Awareness: Step 4 Phonological Awareness Counting Word Parts for Word Smarts

Syllable Awareness: Step 4 Phonological Awareness Counting Word Parts for Word Smarts
Step 4 in Phonological Awareness deals with word parts and counting syllables. We started with words with sentence segmentation and now we're moving to word parts. This IS NOT a blog post about syllable types, we're just talking the introduction to syllables and counting word parts. 

Counting Syllables

Syllable Awareness: Step 4 Phonological Awareness Counting Word Parts for Word Smarts.
When I was growing up we were told to put our hand under our chin and say a word. The number of times our chin hit our hand equalled the number of syllables. This works, but I have had students struggle with this method. Their hand wasn't close enough to their chin or they had their hand on their chin or they just got confused saying and counting. We have to be explicit with our directions and our practice. They need to be able to count syllables. There are many options. I like the golf clap with counting fingers. We ask students to hold one hand still and we show them a golf clap...the other hand makes a quiet tap more than a clap. Once we practice the golf clap, we add counting fingers to the clap. Let's use "pineapple." We say a word part, (pine) students clap once with one finger, (ap) the second clap has two fingers, and (ple) the third clap has three fingers. Then they can hold up the three fingers on their hand. It makes counting more concrete. 

BUT, we can't stop at golf clap. Let's shake it up with fun ways to practice...maybe Syllable Dice. They roll the die and pick a picture. The dots on the die will tell them HOW they need count the syllables. This is surely to get some giggles. 

After all the practice and all the fun, if there someone in your class who is still really struggling with counting focus on the "hum." Mark Weakland, Literacy Specialist, a gives this wonderful explanation on you tube. 

5 Activities 

Syllable Awareness: Step 4 Phonological Awareness Counting Word Parts for Word Smarts.

1. Syllable Clip-Its: Students choose a card, count the syllables, and clip the number. 

2. Syllable Counting with Manipulatives: Students need to physically move a manipulative (small erasers, magnetic circles, flat marbles, etc.) to count the syllables. 

3. Syllable Color: Students color a circle or square for each syllable. 

4. Syllable Sort: Students physically manipulate pictures by counting, sorting and glueing according to syllable. 

5. Syllable Game Boards: Much like the Sentence Segmentation Game, students will move their game piece based on the number of syllables in a word. 

Why does it matter? 

Well, because they will eventually use the syllables to write. We will teach them every syllable has a vowel and they'll be able to use that to help spell. It also takes the scary OUT of writing. This is one of my favorite conversations about spelling and syllables.

Me: How did the student feel after he made the goal?
Student: What's another word for "confident?"
Me: Why? Why do you need a new word for "confident?"
Student:  I can't write confident, so I have to think of another way to say it.
Me: You can't write it. How many syllables does "confident" have?
Student: Con-fi-dent, 3.
Me: Ok, write three lines on the paper. 
Student draws three lines. 
Me: Now, write each syllable.
Syllable Awareness: Step 4 Phonological Awareness Counting Word Parts for Word Smarts.

Sentence Segmentation: Step 3 Phonological Awareness Makes Each Word Count!

Phonological Awareness Step 3 Sentence Segmentation helps students understand and discriminate the different between sounds, syllables, and words.
Step3 of Phonological Awareness is sentence segmentation. This is such a great way help students distinguish between sounds, syllables, and words. I have always done sentence segmentation during small group instruction and whole group writing instruction, but more on that later. 

I had a conversation with the amazing Donald Bear years ago about practicing sentence segmentation with our earliest students...even preschoolers. We had a great conversation about nursery rhymes (how they aren't used enough today) and marching around the room. One march, per word. That's sentence segmentation.

Alliteration and Rhyme: Step 2 Phonological Awareness helps students productively play with words

Alliteration and Rhyme helps students play with sounds and understand relationships.

Step 2 of Phonological Awareness is alliteration and rhyme. This is gonna be fun. I love playing with words and watching the students have fun while they are learning.

Even though these go together for Step 2, they are equally impressive.

All About Alliteration

(See how I did that?) I was on a trip to New Orleans with my best friend last year and we were in and out of several souvenir shops, like we all do. We looked at t-shirts and sweatshirts and cups and BOOKS. Did I mention my best friend was also a teacher? I found this book, Zoo Krewe. It was a delightful book about New Orleans with alliterative sentences. So. Much. Fun. Alligator adds andouille. Bear burrows in beads. Crawfish creates a costume. What fun!

Alliterations are all around us...and we use them every day. Best Buy. Coca-Cola. Lululemon. Cap'n Crunch. And my favorite Duck Donuts!

Students can make alliterative sentences BEFORE they know letters, because they are just playing with sounds. Using picture cards, students can find their beginning sound match to create alliterations. In the title picture, the students are matching draw and drink by listening to the beginning sound. Once they find a partner, they can create a sentence ORALLY: "He can drink juice and draw a picture." 

So many activities can be done with alliteration. Matching sounds, making sentences, and sorting pictures will help the students fully understand matching beginning sounds. Here are a few activities for Alliteration.

1. 2-Part Alliterations and 3-Part Alliterations

Matching sounds is easy, especially when they can find another partner in the class. They have to move around the room, saying their sound until they find their partner.

2. Thumbs up, Thumbs down

You say the pairs, they make the vote. Simple. Quick.

3. Sort by Sound

Don't introduce letters, just match sounds. Students should match picture cards to picture cards and recognize when they are the same. 

Alliteration Activities Phonological Awareness Small Group Science of Reading
4. Make Awesome Alliteration Sentences

Students can find many words starting with the same sounds and then they make a sentence...a crazy sentence...a sentence that makes them smile. Patty and Peter pain a parrot and peel peaches for a pie. Pretty Perfect!

If you'd like to check out the Alliteration Set, click the link and the picture. 

Rhyming is the opposite!

Phonological Awareness Step 2: Alliteration and Rhyme helps students play with sounds and understand relationships.
Where alliteration is matching the beginning sound, rhyming is matching the ending sound. Rhyming matches rimes. (wink) Rhyming is a skill we've talked about and taught for years...but sometimes we put too much emphasis on writing the rhyme...and we need to be talking more about hearing the rhyme. 

Students need practice with hearing the rhymes. Many times they "know" cat and hat rhyme, but they really just know they "go together." We have to make sure they KNOW what rhyming means. The only way to do that is to play with the sounds.

1. Yes or No (This can be Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down)

Listening to rhyme means students need to take away the first thing they hear and focus on the last thing they hear. They need to disregard the beginning part of the word. Teachers can emphasize the ending while they are sharing the rhyming pairs. /p/-AT and /c/-AT. /h/-OUSE and /m/-OUSE.

2. Which Doesn't Belong? 

Being a child of the 70s, I remember the Sesame Street song, "Oe of these things is not like the other? One of these things doesn't belong?" We need to give them choices to compare and contrast. In a pocket chart, we have a target word (red) and two other options (fed, cup). I like to do a "kangaroo hop" and point to each picture: "red-fed, red-cup." Once they can distinguish between two, move to three. "red-hoe, red-bed, red-can."
Phonological Awareness Step 2: Alliteration and Rhyme helps students play with sounds and understand relationships.

3. Sorting and Matching

Students have to have lots and lots of practice with rhyming. Make sure they are sorting and matching over and over again.

If you'd like to check out the Rhyming Set, click the link or the picture.

When you have students matching beginning and ending sounds ORALLY, you are setting them up for success. When they can attend to part of a word (beginning or ending), they are ready to talk about all the sounds in the words. 

What are your favorite rhyming activities?

Check out these books for alliteration and rhyming.



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Step 1 Listening is the first step in getting students to understand sounds and how to use them.

I was talking to a new teacher and she was frustrated by all the *NEW* stuff they were required to do in small group. She didn't feel like she was given a good explanation about what "Phonological Awareness" is. They were told it's important. They were told not to skip it. They were told to make sure it was in their plans. It is All. The. Buzz.

...and it makes me kinda crazy. It's not new. It's been around forever. We've been doing it all along in small group as a part of best practices.

In the past few years phonological awareness is getting much more attention...and I have to say it's much needed attention.

Let's have fun...and Keep them Engaged: A Winter Vocabulary Activity

Print and Digital Vocbulary
I know it's hard. This time of the year is so hard to keep them engaged, so sometimes we have to do something different. Have you ever tried mystery words? They are fun and can quite possibly keep their attention (for a minute or two)...and they are learning at the same time. Mystery Words use the beginning sounds to create new words. 
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