The 1st Component of Teaching Reading: Phonological Awareness

Hi! Thanks for visiting! I have included below the 1st of my 7 components of teaching reading from the desk of a 1st grade teacher!

**I’ve posted some FREE PDF downloads in this post! Enjoy!**

In this seven post series each component is broken down for a quick and easy read and includes free PDFs and paid products for download.

I wish you the best of luck supporting your child in their reading journey! I firmly believe that teacher AND parent should be united in the reading process. So I thought, why not share with parents a step by step way to teach your reader? These components all put together took me 20 minutes a day with a small group of 5-6 readers at my teaching table. With your reader, it may take even shorter, its completely up to you!

The 1st component to Reading Success: 

Phonological Awareness:

Phonological Awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate components of oral language. It is an umbrella term that encompasses phonemic awareness, syllables, rhyming, and onsets and rhyme. Basically it just means you can hear that words have individual sounds, and that oral language is made up of a variety of sounds strung together in different forms.

It seems odd that listening to sounds in words would be a prerequisite skill to reading, but it is a CRUCIAL skill to reading! It is also crucial for spelling!

The main umbrella term–phonemic awareness–deals with manipulating individual sounds in words. Children who can not distinguish and manipulate the sounds in spoken words will have a really difficult time recognizing the print/sound in written words. Listening (not reading) activities that help children manipulate individual sounds in words is a prerequisite skill to reading.

The following bullet points are a break down of the different elements of phonemic awareness and phonological awareness accompanied by example activities and free downloads to practice these skills at home!

  • Listening Activity Ideas:
    • Questions to ask: Do these words sound the same (ex. fog, log)? Do they have the same beginning sound (ex. cat and cap)? Do they have the same ending sound? (ex. pot, hat).
  • Rhyming-
    • Being able to identify words have ending sound chunks that are the same. A great way to do this is word family work! My students ALWAYS had a hard time with rhyming because they didn’t understand that the first sound (the onset) could be different than the ending string of letters (the rime).
      • Example: in the word dog the first sound, /d/ is called the onset. The ending chunk of the word /og/ is called the rime. So doing listening activities that help them pull apart the ending chunk or the rime really helps them to start to hear the rhyming sounds.


Rhyming Freebie

Word Puzzles PDF


  • Syllables-
    • Syllables can be a fun game in the car, or out and about. Just the other day my 4 year old niece started clapping each of our names at the dinner table and saying how many syllables each of us had! I was so impressed! Identifying syllables in words is a simple activity for children to understand words have parts! It also is a prerequisite skill to understanding how to break apart hard text. When my students started reading multisyllabic words (I called them swoop words), they were able to break down the word into parts on their own because they had had so much prior practice listening to syllables. There is the key word again: LISTENING. Listening practice precedes reading. Reading multiple syllabic words would be super difficult for students who had never had practice listening for syllables.
    • You can just say a word and have your child clap out the syllables. If clapping isn’t working have them have them out their hand under their chin with the top side of their hand under their chin and have them say the word and count how many times their jaw moves!


Word Part Salad Screen shot

Word Part Salad PDF

  • Alliteration-
    • Recognizing that the same sound can be in different words. You can say two words like: “tap/tag”, and ask your child “Do these words begin with the same sound?”
    • If they have trouble have them break apart the first sound and the ending chunk. Say, “t–ag”, what’s the first sound you hear?” Then say the next word, “t–ap, what’s the first sound you hear?”
    • You can do this with ending sounds as well.


Cross the Bridge SH

Cross the Bridge PDF

  • Blending-
    • This may seem like something you would need to write down (and there is a blending component for phonics), but remember this is phonemic awareness which is all about LISTENING, there is no text needed!
    • Example: Teacher says the sounds in the word dog but does not say the actual word.
      • Teacher: “/d/o/g/” then asks the child “What word do those sounds make?”
  • Segmentation-
    • This is the opposite of blending. This is telling a child the whole word and then asking your child to tell you the sounds in those words!
    • Example: Teacher says, “The word is mat, tell me the sounds in mat”, and the child responds by saying, “/m/a/t/”.

All of this information comes in BOX 1 in the Teacher Packet of both subscription sets, but I wanted to offer these free activities for my wonderful followers and viewers!