Phonics and phonemic awareness are two of the most important parts of reading instruction. They are necessary as children learn how to make sense of letters, sounds, and words. But what exactly is the difference between the two?
Phonics is the relationship between letters and sounds. Phonemic awareness is the ability to HEAR, identify, and manipulate individual sounds in a word.
I like to remember the difference by saying that phonemic awareness can be done in the dark. It uses the ears rather than the eyes AND ears like phonics.
Phonemic awareness is critical in the early grades. It can powerfully affect reading and spelling development in students. The more opportunities students have to work with sounds in the classroom, the more confident they will become. Getting phonemic awareness practice in your schedule daily may seem daunting, but making it a routine can help!
The options for phonemic awareness activities are varied and easy to do with your students.
Blending boards are a simple, effective tool for helping students recognize sounds in words. You can also use flashcards to practice sound identification, and focus on different parts of words. Playing games with students is of course one of the best ways to get students engaged in learning about phonemes.
The year-long bundle includes everything you need to help your students confidently identify and manipulate sounds. Blending boards, worksheets, and even videos are included.
The oral task cards are perhaps the best part of the curriculum, as they include practice with all the following skills:
- Sound deletion
- Sound addition
- Beginning, middle, and ending sound games
- Nonsense Words
- CVC Words
Using these task cards daily will greatly enrich your students’ understanding of sounds in words. There is also an assessment included so you can address their individual needs and see their growth.
Dive into the activities today and daily practice will no longer seem impossible!
Students learn so many valuable things in elementary school. We set the foundation for their education for the rest of their lives. Among all of the important things they learn in school, it all starts in their kindergarten classroom when we teach them the building blocks of reading, writing, and math.
Aside from letters, and numbers, a huge focus is on learning sight words. Sight words are generally words that students will see the most often while reading. Little learners should have them memorized to help them continue to learn to read and write. They help them produce meaning and skip difficult decoding skills as beginning readers.
When deciding on what activities to do to practice sight words in kindergarten, the sky’s the limit! They are young and excited to learn new things. There are a number of fun and engaging activities you can do to practice sight words with them.
Here are some of my favorite sight words activities for my students
- Have a sight word hunt while reading. Choose your sight word for the day and have your students hunt for the word in their book.
- Get some yummy treats involved. Make a big bowl of pudding. Students can dip their fingers in the pudding and write their sight word on a pan with the pudding. If they get the word right, they get to lick their fingers! This one is guaranteed to be a hit.
- Do some task cards. Task cards are a fun alternative to worksheets. Task cards feel more like a game than work!
- Use magnetic letters. Get some cheap cookie sheets and some magnetic letters and have your students spell out the words.
- Make sight word necklaces. This resource includes 88 sight words that your students can use to make fun sight word necklaces. Everytime your student looks at their necklace, they will be reminded of their sight word. It is also great for getting parents involved in your students learning!
- Use shaving cream. Spray shaving cream on the students desks and let them use their fingers to write out their sight words in the shaving cream. Fun and messy!
- If you are distance learning, try out these Sight Words Google Slides activities. These reading comprehension passages and questions are a fun and engaging way to improve comprehension and fluency while practicing sight words.
Learning can be so fun when you are working with kindergarten aged students. Everything is new and exciting so just have fun with it!
What are your favorite ways to work on reading with your students? Let me know in the comments!
For more kindergarten ideas, check out these free winter activity ideas!
You all, I was searching for some ideas to teach students about the famous Thanksgiving Day Parade when I found the book, Balloons Over Broadway. This story is based on a true story about Tony Sarg who invented the “upside-down puppets.” When I was young, our whole family would gather around the television to see the parade while my mom was in the kitchen cooking a Butterball turkey!
The Great Puppeteer
Tony Sarg was born in 1880. He was a German American puppeteer and illustrator. He was raised around puppets and inherited his grandmother’s collection. Once he watched a marionette show and wanted to know how the puppets were moving. They would not tell him, so he sat in the front row, attended many shows and drew pictures of the movement until he could figure it out on his own. Tony moved to New York. Macy’s contacted him about his amazing animated puppets. They wanted him to put his puppets in their store windows for Christmas. The windows were a huge success. Thousands of people would gather around the windows to watch the amazing puppets.
Then, Macy’s asked him if he would put his puppets in their first parade. He quickly realized after the parade that the puppets were too small for everyone to see. He worked with a couple others to design the large “upside-down puppets” that we all love to watch today in the parade!
Reading about Tony was fascinating. He had a great sense of humor. One time he floated a monster puppet in the ocean at Nantucket. The joke made national news. You can see a great video capturing the event here. He loved to make toys, illustrate books and made games.
An Idea Born
Learning about his life and reading the book Balloons Over Broadway, inspired me to design a digital escape room for kids to accompany the book. If you wanted to extend the activity you could have kids use permanent markers to color and create their own balloon for a “Hallway Parade” at school. If you wanted to do this lesson during Christmas, you could have students design a puppet window for a department store.
Also check out Teaching Winter Holidays Around the World
Fall is such a wonderful time of the year- especially in the classroom. It’s right after we start the new year and our students are focused and excited. I love bringing the elements of the fall season into our day to day activities and lessons. With all of the colors and activities available, there are so many ways to use fall themes in your lesson plans.
One of my favorite ways to do that is to look for books with fall or Halloween themes. Finding a good book to read to your class and then doing a corresponding activity is a great way to explore the story more in depth with your students and make a text to self connection. Text to self connections teach your students valuable skills they will need in school and in life. Your students will learn to make the connection between what they are reading and themselves and explore empathy.
My Where’s My Mummy Craft is a fantastic option if you are looking for a Halloween themed activity that is both engaging and fun.
Included in this activity you will get:
- Mummy craft printable
- Text to self connection printable
- “I Want My Mummy” bulletin board display
Start by reading the book “Where’s My Mummy” by Carolyn Crimi to your class. Have your students use the Mummy Craft printable to glue on toilet paper and googly eyes to make their own adorable little mummy.
This activity focuses on making a text to self connection. Here are questions you can ask your students to get the conversation going:
- How do you think the mummy felt in the story?
- How would you feel if you couldn’t find your parent?
- How would you feel when you did find them?
A huge bonus when you do this craft is that it makes great Halloween classroom decor!
Want more fun Halloween activities for your class? Check out my Halloween Bats Escape Room here!