[RFHF] Phonological awareness activity

Katie Anderson katie.anderson at state.or.us
Mon Sep 12 15:05:13 PDT 2011

Hello!  I just received my newsletter from Learning Disabilities Online newsletter (http://www.ldonline.org/article/377).  The following phonological development activity, from the LD Online newsletter, may be a good one for a home visit or story time!

The following activity originally appeared in the book Phonemic Awareness in Young Children: A Classroom Curriculum.

Listening to sequences of sounds

>From chapter 3: Listening games


To develop the memory and attentional abilities for thinking about sequences of sounds and the language for discussing them.

Materials needed

Objects that make interesting, distinctive sounds. Some examples follow:

banging on wall/table/lap
blowing a whistle
blowing nose
clicking with tongue
closing purse
coloring hard on paper
crumpling paper
cutting with a knife
cutting with scissors
dropping (various things)
drumming with fingers
eating an apple
folding paper
noisy chewing

opening window or drawer
pouring liquid
ringing a bell
rubbing hands together
sharpening a pencil
slamming a book
smashing crackers
snapping fingers
stirring with teaspoon
tearing paper
turning on computer
writing on board
writing with a pencil


In this game, the children are challenged first to identify single sounds and then to identify each one of a sequence of sounds. Both will be very important in the language games to come. The children are to cover their eyes with their hands while you make a familiar noise such as closing the door, sneezing, or playing a key on the piano. By listening carefully and without peeking, the children are to try to identify the noise.

Once the children have caught on to the game, make two noises, one after the other. Without peeking, the children are to guess the two sounds in sequence saying, "There were two sounds. First we heard a ____, and then we heard a ____."

After the children have become quite good with pairs of noises, produce a series of more than two for them to identify and report in sequence. Again, complete sentences should be encouraged.

Remember that, to give every child the opportunity to participate mentally in these games, it is important to discourage all children from calling out their answers until they are asked to do so. In addition, both to support full participation and to allow assessment of individual students, it is helpful to switch unpredictably between inviting a response from the whole group and from individual children of your designation.

Note: Because of the importance of the skill exercised through this game, invest special care in noting every child's progress and difficulties. Extra opportunities should be created to work with children who are having trouble with the concept of sequences or in expressing their responses.


  *   With the children's eyes closed, make a series of sounds. Then repeat the sequence, but omit one of the sounds. The children must identify the sound that has been omitted from the second sequence.
  *   Invite the children to make sounds for their classmates to guess.
  *   These games also offer good opportunities to review, exercise, and evaluate children's use of ordinal terms, such as first, second, third, middle, last. It is worth ensuring that every student gains comfortable, receptive, and expressive command of these terms.

Katie Anderson, Library Development Services
* Youth Services Consultant * Oregon Center for the Book Coordinator *
Oregon State Library, 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, OR 97301
katie.anderson at state.or.us<mailto:katie.anderson at state.or.us>, 503-378-2528

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