Teaching phonemic awareness is an important part of the Kindergarten curriculum. Not sure what phonemic awareness is? Read more about the importance of phonemic awareness here. There are five main activity types to practice in Kindergarten- rhyming and alliteration, phoneme categorization, oral blending, oral segmentation, and phoneme substitution. These strategies help students develop their phonemic awareness skills, which will help build strong readers. Today, I am sharing all about phoneme manipulation, plus some of my go-to phoneme manipulation activities for you to try with your students.
What is Phoneme Manipulation?
Phoneme Manipulation is “playing” around with the sounds in a word to make a new word. For example, the teacher may say a word “pot” and then ask the students to change the /p/ to /h/ to create a new word. The teacher will ask, “What’s the new word?” “Hot!” the students will yell. This takes a lot of modeling and practice for students to “get” before they can do it independently. So if you have to say the directions and guide the students to figuring out the word, then that’s totally fine! I’d say after a few weeks (yes, weeks!) the students will have it down.
There are three main types of phoneme manipulation- sound substitution, sound deletion, and sound addition. You can check out a free guide here for more information on each type in this blog post: All About Phonological Awareness
Phoneme Manipulation Activity #1- Word Ladder
Word Ladders are a great way to practice phoneme manipulation with little to no supplies or prep time! Just draw out a ladder on a whiteboard or piece of paper. At the top, write one CVC word, like “pan”. Then give your students direction on how to change one sound in the word pan to make a new word. For example you might say, “change the /a/ to an /e/ sound, what word does it make?” Your students will have to then write the word “pen” underneath. Keep changing different sounds in the word to create new words, like shown above.
Phoneme Manipulation Activity #2- Sticky Notes
I love using sticky notes for everything! This one is great because students can physically move the sounds to create new words. On a whiteboard, draw three spots (or use washi tape to block it off). Then write one word inside. Using sticky notes, have students change the beginning, middle, or ending sound of a word to create a new word!
You can watch this in action here:
Phoneme Manipulation Activity #3- Apples and Bananas
Have you ever heard the song, Apples and Bananas? Well, this song actually practices phoneme manipulation by changing the short vowel sounds to long vowel sounds and from /a/ to /e/, and so on! A super easy activity is to just play this song and have your students sing along.
Here is the version I play for my students- Apples and Bananas by Super Simple Songs
Digital Activity- Phoneme Manipulation Boom Cards
Want to have your students practice phonemic awareness during independent centers? These Boom Cards™ were created so that your students can still practice phonemic awareness skills without having you there guiding them through it!
Students will listen to the directions and manipulate the word according to the directions. Then, they will click on the picture or word that they changed. Play a preview to try it out here!
If they get it correct, they hear a “ding!” and it will progress to the next card. You can also see how they do with each activity- how much time it takes them, how many they got right, how many times they played, etc. Learn more about Boom Cards™ here!
I hope that you found some new phoneme manipulation activities to try in your classroom!