Listen up! Setting the Stage for Reading and Writing

The Literacy Knowledge and Skills Domain of the Head Start Early Learning Framework sets the stage for reading and writing development in school. As early childhood teachers, we must provide activities that lend themselves to not only developing these critical skills, but that also fully engage children in their learning.

Did you know that Phonological Awareness is a continuum of skills that leads directly to emergent reading and writing? Phonological Awareness calls children to listen to the sounds of our language from a whole word or sentence, down to the individual letter sounds in a word. Later, these skills will help children develop strategies for decoding words when they are learning how to read.

If you want to implement phonological awareness activities in the classroom, but you don’t know where to begin, here are some great activities to get started.

  • Focus on a nursery rhyme or poem every week. Write it on chart paper or poster board and, each day, read it together, making sure that you point to the words as you read it and plan different ways that you can play with the words (for example, hum the rhyme or poem or have the children listen for specific sounds).
  • Use counting, tapping, clapping and jumping to segment a word into syllables.
    For example: cupcake = cup – cake = 2 syllables
  • Play fun word games that manipulate phonemes by removing, adding or substituting sounds in a word or sentence.
    For example: “Let’s play the MISSING game!”
    Can you say “smile” without the /m/; or say “bat” without the /b/“)?

Interested in early literacy, phonological awareness and how to effectively implement it in your classrooms? Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at