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Phonemic Awareness in Young Children

Phonemic Awareness in Young Children

A Classroom Curriculum
Authors: Marilyn Jager Adams Ph.D., Barbara R. Foorman Ph.D., M.A.T, Ingvar Lundberg Ph.D., Terri Beeler Ed.D.

ISBN: 978-1-55766-321-4
Pages: 208
Copyright: 1998
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Size:  8.5 x 11.0
Stock Number:  63214
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  • One of the most popular programs available — more than 250,000 copies sold

  • Easy and fun activities that take only 15-20 minutes a day

  • Includes a flexible assessment test that allows group screening

  • Meets new federal requirements for scientifically based reading research

  • Developed by leading experts in reading instruction

Phonemic Awareness in Young Children complements any prereading program. From simple listening games to more advanced exercises in rhyming, alliteration, and segmentation, this best-selling curriculum helps boost young learners' preliteracy skills in just 15-20 minutes a day. Specifically targeting phonemic awareness — now known to be an important step to a child's early reading acquisition — this research-based program helps young children learn to distinguish individual sounds that make up words and affect their meanings.

With a developmental sequence of activities that follows a school year calendar, teachers can chose from a range of activities for their preschool, kindergarten, and first-grade classrooms. Plus, the curriculum includes an easy-to-use assessment test for screening up to 15 children at a time. This assessment not only helps to objectively estimate the general skill level of the class and identify children who may need additional testing but may also be repeated every 1-2 months to monitor progress. All children benefit because the curriculum accommodates individualized learning and teaching styles.

Here is everything a teacher needs:

  • Teaching objectives
  • Lesson plans and sample scripts
  • Activity adaptations
  • Troubleshooting guidelines
  • Suggested kindergarten and first-grade schedules
  • Informal, group screening

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Review by: Charles C. Wills, Behavioral Associates of Runnemede
"Very user friendly. The activities serve as a bridge between enjoyment and needed fluency development of the basic phonemes. I recommend this text."
Review by: Cena Holifield, Academic Language Therapist, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
"[The] activities reinforce the phonological awareness skills that are crucial for young children to develop the foundation required for becoming a successful reader."
Review: Utah State Textbook Commission Evaluation
"The directions are easy to understand and the lessons follow a developmental sequence beginning with the easiest and most basic activities. . . . This book could be used with any reading program. . . . The games are user-friendly and do not require a large amount of preparation time. . . . Excellent resource book."
Review: Australian Journal of Learning DIsabilities
"This book is ideal for schools who have a pre-prep grade or who have an intervention program for prep children at risk or a number of ESL students…Strongly recommended."
Review: Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiologyvolume 22, no 4, dec 1998
"Useful for students who are developing normally and who can acquire the targeted skills through exposure."
Review: Closing the Gap
listed in DISKoveries
Review: Wisconsin Bookwatch
"Highly recommended."
Review by: Joseph Torgesen
"This is the curriculum in phonemic awareness that many teachers have been waiting for."
Review: American Educator
"This curriculum is an example of what we desperately need more of: research-based theory translated into field-tested materials that teachers can confidently and successfully use in the classroom."
  1. The Nature and Importance of Phonemic Awareness
    What Research Says About Phonemic Awareness
    About the Structure of Language
    Phonemic Awareness in Young Children: A Classroom Curriculum
    --Notes to the Special Education Teacher
    --The Structure of the Program

  2. The Language Games
    About the Use of the Language Games
    Overview of the Program
    Brief Description of the Games in Practice

  3. Listening Games
    1. Listening to Sounds

    2. Listening to Sequences of Sounds

    3. Jacob, Where Are You?

    4. Hiding the Alarm Clock

    5. Who Says What?

    6. Whisper Your Name

    7. Nonsense

    8. Whispering Game

    9. Do You Remember?

  4. Rhyming
    1. Poetry, Songs, and Jingles

    2. Rhyme Stories

    3. Emphasizing Rhyme Through Movement

    4. Word Rhyming

    5. Can You Rhyme?

    6. The Ship is Loaded With

    7. Action Rhymes

    8. Rhyme Book

  5. Words and Sentences
    1. Introducing the Idea of Sentences

    2. Introducing the Idea of a Word

    3. Hearing Words in Sentences

    4. Exercises with Short and Long Words

    5. Words in Context and Out

  6. Awareness of Syllables
    1. Clapping Names

    2. Take One Thing from the Box

    3. The King's/Queen's Successor

    4. Listening First, Looking After

    5. Troll Talk I: Syllables

  7. Initial and Final Sounds
    1. Guess Who

    2. Different Words, Same Initial Phoneme

    3. Finding Things: Initial Phonemes

    4. I'm Thinking of Something

    5. Word Pairs I: Take a Sound Away (Analysis)

    6. Word Pairs II: Add a Sound (Synthesis)

    7. Different Words, Same Final Phoneme

    8. Finding Things: Final Phonemes

    9. Spider's Web

    10. --With Word Pair I
      --With Word Pair II

  8. Phonemes
    1. Two-Sound Words
    2. Basic Three-Sound Words
      --Analysis to Synthesis
      --Synthesis to Analysis
      --Analysis and Synthesis
    3. Consonant Blends: Adding and Subtracting Initial Sounds
      --Analysis to Synthesis
      --Synthesis to Analysis
      --Analysis and Synthesis
    4. Consonant Blends: Inserting and Removing Internal Sounds
      --Analysis to Synthesis
      --Synthesis to Analysis
      --Analysis and Synthesis
    5. Building Four-Sound Words
    6. Guess a Word
    7. Troll Talk II: Phonemes

  9. Introducing Letters and Spellings
    1. Guess Who: Introducing Sounds and Letters
    2. Picture Names: Initial Sounds and Letters
    3. I'm Thinking of Something: Initial Sounds and Letters
    4. Picture Names: Final Sounds and Letters
    5. Picture Search: Initial or Final Consonants
    6. Introduction to How Words are Spelled: Add a Letter
    7. Swap a Letter
    8. Sounding Words

  10. Assessing Phonological Awareness
    The Assessment Test
    The Testing Procedure
    Detecting Rhymes
    Counting Syllables
    Matching Initial Sounds
    Counting Phonemes
    Comparing Word Lengths
    Representing Phonemes with Letter
    Interpreting the Results
Appendix A: Phonetic Symbols and Classifications of American English Consonants and Vowels
Appendix B: Suggested Kindergarten Schedule
Appendix C: Suggested First-Grade Schedule
Appendix D: Accompanying Materials and Resources
Appendix E: Advanced Language Games
Appendix F: Annotated Bibliography of Rhyming Stories
Appendix G: Poems, Fingerplays, Jingles, and Chants


Excerpted from chapter 1 of Phonemic Awareness in Young Children: A Classroom Curriculum, by Marilyn Jager Adams, Ph.D., Barbara R. Foorman, Ph.D., Ingvar Lundberg, Ph.D., & Terri Beeler, Ed.D.

Copyright © 1998 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

The Nature and Importance of Phonemic Awareness

Before children can make any sense of the alphabetic principle, they must understand that those sounds that are paired with the letters are one and the same as the sounds of speech. For those of us who already know how to read and write, this realization seems very basic, almost transparent. Nevertheless, research shows that the very notion that spoken language is made up of sequences of these little sounds does not come naturally or easily to human beings.

The small units of speech that correspond to letters of an alphabetic writing system are called phonemes. Thus, the awareness that language is composed of these small sounds is termed phonemic awareness. Research indicates that, without direct instructional support, phonemic awareness eludes roughly 25% of middle-class first graders and substantially more of those who come from less literacy-rich backgrounds. Furthermore, these children evidence serious difficulty in learning to read and write (see Adams, 1990, for a review).

Why is awareness of phonemes so difficult? The problem, in large measure, is that people do not attend to the sounds of phonemes as they produce or listen to speech. Instead, they process the phonemes automatically, directing their active attention to the meaning and force of the utterance as a whole. The challenge, therefore, is to find ways to get children to notice the phonemes, to discover their existence and separability. Fortunately, many of the activities involving rhyme, rhytmn, listening, and sounds that have long been enjoyed with preschool-age children are ideally suited for this purpose. In fact, with this goal in mind, all such activities can be used effectively toward helping children to develop phonemic awareness.

The purpose of this book is to provide concrete activities that stimulate the development of phonemic awareness in the preschool or elementary classroom. It is based on a program orginally developed and validated by Lundberg, Frost, and Petersen (1988) in Sweden and Denmark. After translating and adapting it for U.S. classrooms, we field-tested it with kindergarten students and teachers in two schools receiving Title I funds. We, too, found that kindergartners developed the ability to analyze words into sounds significantly more quickly than kindergartners who did not have this program (Foorman, Francis, Beeler, & Fletcher, 1997). This ability to analyze words into sounds is exactly the skill that promotes sucessful reading in first grade (Wagner, Torgesen, & Rashotte, 1994).

About the Structure of Language

In order to build phonemic awareness in all children, classroom teachers should know a little about the structure of language, especially phonology. Phonology is the study of the unconscious rules governing speech-sound production. In contrast, phonetics is the study of the way in which speech sounds are articulated, and phonics is the system by which symbols represent sounds in an alphabetic writing system.

Phonological rules constrain speech-sound production for biological and environmental reasons. Biological constraints are due to the limitations of human articulatory-motor production. For example, humans are not able to produce the high-frequency vocalizations of whales. Other constraints on our ability to produce speech have to do with the way our brains classify and perceive the minimal units of sound that make a difference to meaning — the units we call phonemes.

The differences between the sounds of two phonemes are often very subtle: Compare /b/ with /p/. Yet, these subtle differences in sound can signal dramatic differences in meaning: Compare bat with pat. Fortunately, because phonemes are the basic building blocks of spoken language, babies become attuned to the phonemes of their native language in the first few months of life. However, this sensitivity to the sounds of the phonemes and the differences between them is not conscious. It is deeply embedded in the subattentional machinery of the language system.

Phonemes are also the units of speech that are represented by the letters of the alphabetic language. Thus, developing readers must learn to separate these sounds, one from another, and to categorize them in a way that permits understanding how words are spelled. It is this sort of explicity, reflective knowledge that falls under the rubric of phonemic awareness. Conscious awareness of phonemes is distinct from the huolt-in sensitivity that supports speech production and reception. Unfortunately, phonemic awareness is not easy to establish.

Part of the difficulty in acquiring phonemic awareness is that, form word to word and speaker to speaker, the sound of any given phoneme can vary considerably. These sorts of variations in spoken form that do not indicate a difference in meaning are referred to as allophones of a phoneme. For exmaple, in the northern part of the United States, the pronunciation of grease typically rhymes with peace, whereas in parts of the South, it shymes with sneeze. Similarly, the pronunciations of the vowels vary greatly across regions, dialects, and individuals. Alternately, variations in spokn form sometimes eliminate phonetic distinctions between phonemes. Thus, for some people, the words pin and pen are pronounced differently woth distinct medial sounds corresponding to their distinct bowels. For other people, however, these words are phonetically indistinguishable, leaving context as the only clue to meaning. Indeed, because of variations in the language even linguists find it difficult to say exactly how many phonemes there are in English; answers vary from 44 to 52.

Excerpted from chapter 1 of Phonemic Awareness in Young Children: A Classroom Curriculum, by Marilyn Jager Adams, Ph.D., Barbara R. Foorman, Ph.D., Ingvar Lundberg, Ph.D., & Terri Beeler, Ed.D.

Copyright © 1998 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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