1. Choose two initial phonemes that you would like to teach
a. For example, /p/ and /d/
2. Choose one picture to represent each of the phonemes
a. For example, a pig and a dog
b. Post each of these pictures at opposite sides of the room
3. Generate a list of words that begin with your chosen phonemes
1. Introduce your two chosen phonemes, pronouncing them carefully
2. Explain the activity
a. On each side of the room, there is a picture that represents one of the phonemes
b. The class will hear a word, identify the first sound, and run to the picture that begins with that sound
3. Say the first word and allow students to run to their chosen picture
4. Invite students on both sides of the room to say the first sound corresponding to their picture
5. Ask the class to repeat the chosen word and then to say the first sound
a. Decide as a class which picture matches the first sound in the word
b. Allow any students who have chosen the wrong picture to change sides
6. Repeat the activity with the rest of your word list
English Language Learners/ESL:
- Start with phonemes which are very distinct - Relate activity to difference between phonemes in first language
LD/Reading & Writing Difficulties:
- Start with phonemes which are very distinct - Give more time before students must choose a side
Cultural Appropriateness & Diversity:
- Use pictures which are not culturally or gender biased - Use pictures that all students are familiar with
- Ask students to repeat instructions before doing the activity
Cunningham, P. M., & Allington, R.L. (2010). Classrooms That Work: They Can All Read and Write (5th Ed). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Limited.
Armbruster, B. B., Lehr, F., & Osborn, J. (2003). Phonemic awareness instruction. In Put reading first: The research building blocks for teaching children to read kindergarten through grade 3 (pp. 1-9). Jessup, MD: National Institute for Literacy.
The goal of Dash to Your Phoneme: Active Engagement to Build Phonemic Awareness is to help students to distinguish between initial phonemes in spoken words by having them run to a picture that corresponds with the initial sound they hear.
What You Need
5-10 minutes - Find or print 2 pictures to represent phonemes - Make a word list
10 minutes - Teacher introduces 2 phonemes - Teacher explains that students will hear a word and run to a picture that starts with the same sound - Students run to pictures - Class determines correct match
Teacher:- 2 large pictures of items which correspond to 2 different initial phonemes - A list of words that start with either phoneme
What You Do
Facilitator: - throughout activity
Whole Class: - throughout activity
- Informally observe how students make decision to run to one side of the room or the other
a. Note any students that repeatedly have
difficulty choosing the correct side
- Select students to call out their own words for the activity
- Have students segment the whole word before identifying the first sound, for example /p/ /i/ /g/
- As students further develop phonemic awareness, you may choose phonemes that come in the middle or at the end of words. For example: the middle sound /ă/ as in bat, bad, cap, rat, cab or the end sound /g/ in pig, tug, dog, smog, flag.
- Note that some pairs of phonemes are more different to tell apart than others, for example, hearing the difference between /p/ and /b/ is more difficult than hearing the difference between /p/ and /s/.
- Instead of sayings sounds, you may wish to show pictures representing words that start with your chosen phonemes.
- Optionally, you can choose to say words or pictures that do not start with your chosen phonemes for an added challenge. If students hear these words, they can remain in the center of the classroom.
- You can integrate this activity with letter-sound instruction by posting the letter that your sound makes instead of a picture. Make sure to explicitly teach the letter-sounds you will use in the game in advance of playing.