Look around the room. Do you see any small items that you could collect and put in a basket? Grab them for this super easy phonological awareness activity to do with the kids.
Having a strong phonological awareness is one of the biggest factors that determines future success in learning how to read. Preschool is the perfect time to start building phonological awareness skills. Rhyming, gross motor differences, alliteration, beginning sounds, and syllable counting are all appropriate items to work on with preschoolers.
We have a simple syllable counting activity that you can revisit over and over with the children. This activity works well with a small group of students to build literacy skills.
Syllable Straw Counting
The skills covered in this activity include:
- develop phonological awareness (syllable counting)
Building phonological awareness and more specifically phonemic awareness helps pre-readers prepare for their reading journey. The more opportunities we give children to hear and say sounds, the more we are “filling” their reading tank with fuel to read on their own one day.
- basket or container
- 6-10 small toys
- 2 paper straws per child
Place a collection of small toys in a container. Find a variety of one, two, and three syllable items. We used a helicopter, van, hammer, shark, duck, and elephant.
Each child will need two paper straws. For extra fun, purchase seasonal paper straws.
Invite a child to pick and name one item from the basket. Say the word with the other children as they tap their paper straws together and verbally segment the syllables in the word. Tap the sounds again and count how many sounds are in the word. Repeat until all items have been used.
Here is an example.
Teacher: Kira, please pick one item from the basket and tell us what it is. (Child picks the toy hammer.)
Teacher: Get your straws ready. We are going to tap the parts of the word. (Tap straws and say “ham.” Tap a second time and say “mer.”)
Teacher: Let’s tap again. This time we will count how many taps we do for the word. (Tap and count “1, 2.”)
Teacher: Yes, hammer has two parts: ham and mer.
If students are having trouble counting the syllables, start by just tapping the parts.
If you don’t have paper straws, you could use homemade drums (empty containers with lids) or clapping hands instead.
Include children’s names in your syllable counting game.
Hands-on oral activities support phonological awareness. How else do you work on syllable counting with your kids?
BIO: Jodie is the creator of Growing Book by Book where she shares book lists, reading and writing activities, and literacy-building tips for young children. She is also the proud mom of 2 little boys. Check out her Phonological Awareness Ideas! You can connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.
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