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The following is a handout that can be printed and given to teachers to use in their classrooms. It will better prepare the children for recognizing phonemes, a skill that leads to reading.

Phoneme Games to Play

The following games will help your students to learn about Phonemes. These games will prepare the children for phonics and reading tasks. No reading skills are needed for any of these games. The first 3 games are Kindergarten - First Grade level. The last two games are more suited for Second Graders.

A. Count the Phonemes

Teacher pronounces a word. Then children show, with their fingers or number cards, the number of phonemes in a word.

  • Phase 1: Use simple words
    • cat - c/a/t
    • bell - b/e/ll
    • phone - ph/o/ne
    • jello - j/e/ll/o
    • glue - g/l/ue
  • Phase 2: Use harder words
    • animal - a/n/i/m/u/l
    • intricate - n/t/r/c/a/te
    • walked - w/al/k/ed
    • leisure - l/ei/s/ure
    • shampoo - sh/a/m/p/oo

B. Jump Along with Phonemes

  • Mark the floor or sidewalk with a series of 12 lines (number of lines is changable).
  • Children begin by standing in a row ALONG the first line.
  • The teacher calls out a word like "top". Then the teacher says "go".
  • Children jump forward the number of phonemes in the word.
    • If the child is correct (in this case, he has jumped forward 3 rows), he keeps his place.
    • If incorrect, he moves back to the beginning line.
  • The game ends when all children have passes the 12th line and everyone applauds their success.

    It is important to note that the children that have the most difficult time learning phonemes need the most practice. Ending the game after the first or 5th child succeed puts the child with weaker skills at a greater disadvantage.

C. Tap Along with Phonemes

  • Children sit at their desks
  • Teacher calls out word and children tap on their desks the number of phonemes in the word.
  • Teacher prompts children to announce the number of phonemes in the word.
  • Teacher then announces the number of phonemes in the word.
  • Teacher sounds out the phonemes, separating them vocally.
  • Children repeat the sounding out of that words' phonemes.
  • Next word.
  • Game ends at teacher's discretion.

D. Lose a Phoneme

  • Teacher says a word (like can).
  • Children divide the word into phonemes (c/a/n)
  • Teacher calls on a child to drop a phoneme. (Say can without the c)
    • Begin with initial phonemes
    • Move to final phonemes
    • Finally do a phonemes within the word

E. Change a Phoneme

  • Teacher says a word (like pat).
  • Children divide the word into phonemes (p/a/t)
  • Teacher calls on a child to change a phoneme. (Change the p to b in pat)
    • Begin with initial phonemes
    • Move to final phonemes
    • Finally do a phonemes within the word