Thursday, July 28, 2016

Recap: Phonemic Awareness vs. Phonological Awareness

Recently, I've shared information and resources related to phonemic awareness and phonological awareness. Feel free to visit those original posts if you missed them the first time! Today, I wanted to just give a brief recap of the relationship between these two concepts.

Phonemic awareness is defined as the ability to hear, recognize, and manipulate individual sounds within words. These sounds are known as phonemes. Hence, the term "phonemic awareness."

If you notice, that definition is based upon hearing sounds and words. It has nothing to do with print or associating those sounds with letters. In fact, that is where phonics comes in. See how this works?




Phonological awareness revers to the ability to hear and manipulate sounds. It may refer to phonemes (as in phonemic awareness), syllables, words, and sentences. If this is confusing to you, Dyslexia Help provides an example of what phonological awareness looks like at each level: phoneme, syllable, word, and sentence. As you can tell when working with phonological awareness skills, activities are not restricted to sounds (phonemes) only, which is what distinguishes it from phonemic awareness.  

Again, don't miss that our skill here is auditory; it's focused on hearing. Phonological awareness has nothing to do with print or associating those sounds with letters. 

I'm also sharing a few images below that may be helpful. I've linked them to the original sources, which are full of valuable information as well! I've tried to be thorough, but honestly, sometimes you just need to see it in a more visually-concise form. So here we go! Check out the images below, and click back to their original pages to gain a wealth of additional resources and information about phonemic awareness and phonological awareness.

You can download this file here!
Presentation: West Virginia Phonological Awareness Project
Phonological Awareness: Instructional & Assessment Guidelines





Monday, July 25, 2016

Phonological Awareness: Differentiated Activities for the Classroom

Previously, I shared the importance of phonological awareness development among young readers. If you missed that post, you can access it here. Still, knowing about phonological awareness is one thing; knowing how to appropriately help your students develop it is another. Speaking from experience, I know that it really helps if you have some structured activities to guide you while you're guiding them... especially in those early years of teaching!

Today, I want to share some of my own resources for daily phonological awareness practice.

I created these to use with my own students, to help students develop phonological awareness specifically with syllables. They're great quick, but effective, activities to use daily in small-group instruction. As students become familiar with the routine and gain proficiency with syllable manipulation, you can even transition this to use as a partner exercise.

First, I designed instructional posters that reinforce the definition of a syllable as well as a poster guide for vowel sounds. These are great to use during instructional time as supportive materials, or you can put them on display for student reference during independent activities. Your more visual learners will heavily rely on these as cues when they are working these phonological exercises. 

Next, I created three activities for building phonological awareness. The activities are differentiated to meet the needs of students at different stages of development with phonological awareness. If you weren't aware that there are different stages of development, don't fret; you don't have to do extensive assessments to determine your students' abilities. Observation alone will give you all the information you need to inform your instruction in this area. These activities are designed to easily fit your students at different levels, without being overly complicated.



1. For Students Who Need to Develop Phonological Awareness with Syllables


Use the “Say, Tap, & Count” activity. This activity features picture cards, which should be cut apart into the same number of pieces as the syllables contained in the words. (The cards feature dotted lines for easy, even cutting.) Lay cards for one picture in front of the student. He/she pronounces the word for the picture. Then he/she touches each part of the picture while saying each syllable in the word. The separate parts for each picture help the student visualize and count the syllables in the word while hearing each syllable as it is pronounced.


2. For Students Who Can Hear & Count Syllables Independently


Use the “Sort It Out!” activity. This activity features numbered header cards for a pocket chart or a table as well as corresponding picture cards. Each student draws one picture card. He/she pronounces the word for the picture and counts each syllable he/she hears in the word. Then the student places the picture card under the number that matches the number of syllables in the word.

This sounds simple, and it really is - as long as students have developed this level of phonological awareness. If they have to tap, clap, or do a chin-check to help them count the syllables, that's fine! You just want them to be able to do this activities entirely independently. 

3. For Students Who Can Hear & Manipulate Syllables Independently

Use the “Change It!” activity. This activity features twenty instructional cards for a listening/speaking activity. The teacher reads aloud the instructions as printed on each card. The student(s) listen and follow the instructions to substitute syllables and make a new word. The students say the new word aloud. Each card contains the answer as well as instructions. 

This is entirely an auditory exercise. For example: 

Say airplane. Instead of plane, say bag. What is the new word? (airbag)

I love using these activities, because I can literally watch my students progress from one skill to the next, and it's so exciting to watch their proficiency develop. They enjoy these as well! If you are interested in learning more about these activities, you can access them here in the Tally Tales TPT store

I used this particular set so much that I realized I needed a little variety to keep it interesting and new for my students. Building on this same concept of these three differentiated activities, I created seasonal phonemic awareness activities to use throughout the entire first semester of the school year! If interested, you can access them individually by clicking on any of the following images. 
Back-to-School Syllables
Halloween Syllables

There's also a bundle that contains all of these!
Syllables Bundle
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to comment below or contact me directly through the contact form.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Phonological Awareness: What It Is & Why It's Important


In a previous post, I wrote about the importance of phonemic awareness in classroom reading instruction. If you missed that post, you can easily visit it here.

Today, I want to extend my topic a bit to share information about phonological awareness. If you fall among the majority of teachers (myself included, at one point in time) you may be surprised to learn that there is, in fact, a difference between those two topics.

Before we proceed, let's clear up a common misunderstanding: phonemic awareness and phonological awareness ARE NOT the same thing. Phonemic awareness is defined as the ability to hear, recognize, and manipulate individual sounds within words. These sounds are known as phonemes. Hence, the term "phonemic awareness." This may sound confusing, but don't miss it: Phonemic awareness actually falls under the overarching category of phonological awareness. It's one component of phonological awareness.


Phonological awareness revers to the ability to hear and manipulate sounds. It may refer to phonemes (as in phonemic awareness), syllables, words, and sentences. If this is confusing to you, Dyslexia Help provides an example of what phonological awareness looks like at each level: phoneme, syllable, word, and sentence. As you can tell when working with phonological awareness skills, activities are not restricted to sounds (phonemes) only, which is what distinguishes it from phonemic awareness.  

Again, don't miss that our skill here is auditory; it's focused on hearing. Phonological awareness has nothing to do with print or associating those sounds with letters.



Phonological awareness begins long before a student picks up a book to read. In fact, phonological awareness development is a great predictor of future reading success. It helps students gain an understanding of how sounds work together within all levels of the structure of print. As they develop as readers, they will associate those sounds with letters, which directly impacts the way they blend sounds together to read or to communicate ideas through their own writing.

*               *               *

So you've got this. Now, what can you do?

This answer depends largely on the age of the students you teach. Younger students, or those who are still developing foundational skills for reading, should be exposed to phonological awareness exercises on a daily basis in the form of phonemic awareness skills. Students who have established a reading foundation, but are extending and building those skills (typically 3rd grade and older) need phonological awareness exercises 2 or 3 times per week. For all students, phonological awareness activities are most effective in small group instruction.

The following are some basic phonological awareness exercises that are appropriate and fun for young learners, who typically enjoy playing with words and sounds. You may notice that some of these activities are similar to those identified as phonemic awareness activities. That is common; remember, phonemic awareness is one component of phonological awareness. The structure of the activities may be similar; you just want to make sure the words you use to practice those skills are developmentally appropriate for your students.

I have also provided an example or two to better explain each activity. In a future post, (coming soon!) I will share some phonological awareness resources that I created to use with my students. 
  • Rhyming
Example: Do these words rhyme? knight, write (yes) Can you think of a word that rhymes with repair? (unfair)
  • Counting Words*
Example: Listen to my sentence: The wild monkeys danced and swayed in the jungle trees. How many words are in my sentence? (10)

* This is a great exercise for helping build memory and stamina as well!
  • Counting Syllables
Examples: Say mountain. How many syllables do you hear in mountain? (2)
                Say explorer. How many syllables do you hear in explorer? (3)
                Say magnificent. How many syllables do you hear in magnificent? (4)
                Say parallelogram. How many syllables do you hear in parallelogram? (5)

Note: If your students need extra support with this, they may repeat each word while tapping syllables on a table or fingers. They may also clap each syllable or do a "chin-check" (hand placed under the chin to "feel" each syllable as the chin drops in the pronunciation of the word). These strategies are supportive and should be encouraged!
  • Tapping Syllables: Head, Shoulders, Knees, & Toes
For this activity, the teacher says a word, such as locomotion. Student repeats the word, syllable-by-syllable, while tapping the head, shoulders, knees, and toes. For this word, students would tap their heads and say "lo," shoulders "co," knees "mo," toes "tion." Be careful to only use words with four syllables or less for this activity! 
  • Syllable Manipulation
Examples: Say friendly. Instead of ly say ship. What is the new word? (friendship)
                Say locker. Instead of lock say mark. What is the new word? (marker)

*               *               *

And if you want to know more...

If you want to learn more about phonological awareness and activities you can use, the following list includes what I consider to be some useful, practical sources of information. Start clicking! :)
SaveSave

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Erin Condren Planner Giveaway!

I'm excited to share some giveaway news today! If you haven't already visited An Apple for the Teacher, then you definitely need to stop by today to enter a giveaway for an Erin Condren planner! What better way to start the upcoming school year than with a new planner?!? You'll find The Tally Tales among the list of contributing bloggers, so check it out! :)

Friday, July 15, 2016

Using Elkonin Boxes to Support Phonemic Awareness Development

Since my focus lately has been all about phonemic awareness, I thought I would share a useful freebie that's available in the Tally Tales store. If you are already gathering phonemic awareness resources for the upcoming school year, then you might find this useful for your small group instruction. If you don't already have a set of elkonin boxes, head on over and grab this set for free!
Elkonin boxes are great for building phonemic awareness because they help students focus on segmenting a given word into its individual sounds. If you use these boxes the way I suggest in my How-To guide (also included in the freebie!), then this can also become a very tactile experience for your students as well! 

Sometimes the hardest part is determining which words are appropriate to use with your students. Considering this, I provided three different Elkonin Box sets for words containing 3, 4, or 5 phonemes (sounds). Then, I included a corresponding word list for each set of Elkonin Boxes. Basically, the hardest part of using this resource will be printing it out. How easy is that?!?



I sincerely hope you can use these items with your young readers! Please feel free to comment or use the contact form if you have any questions about this particular resource. Otherwise, head on over to the Tally Tales TPT store and snag it now! :)