Third Grade Reading: Phoenemic Awareness

Michigan's third grade reading law focuses on building five elements of reading: phoenemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and expression. Although the names of these elements might sound complex, they are straight-forward concepts that you probably understand and practice already! ELPL is here to help support you in all five elements, from understanding what goes into them, ideas on how to practice and develop them, and special ways the library can support you and your child.

What is phoenemic awareness?

Phoenemic awareness is the ability to hear and distinguish sounds. This includes recognizing sounds, alone and in words, adding sounds to words, taking apart words and breaking them into their different sounds, and moving sounds around.

How can we practice it?

Phoenemic awareness is easy to practice anywhere, and can often be done in the dark or with your eyes closed! Here are some ideas:

  • Play "I Spy" with sounds -- for example, say "I Spy something that starts with the sound "buh."
  • Take note of words that rhyme, and ask your child to think of rhymes on their own
  • Ask your child if words rhyme or not, and ask them to explain how they know
  • Say a sentence out loud and ask your child how many words they hear in it
  • Play the silly name game by replacing the first sound in your family members' names with a new one -- for example, Bob becomes Fob or Tob
  • Say a word out loud and have your child jump or clap for each sound they hear in it (you can explain that each sound is a syllable)

Find a full list of activities here: Read at Home Tools.

How does the library support it?

If you and your child come to storytimes, we practice sounds all the time! This includes predicting what words might come next in rhyming stories, singing rhyming songs and clapping along to the noises, and repeating sounds in fingerplays, stories, and that our friends' say and make.

Do you have book recommendations to help with phoenemic awareness?

Find a booklist here:

Kids Books for Phoenemic Awareness

List created by EvaELPL

Children's books to help develop phoenemic awareness (the understanding that words are made up of separate sounds), one of the key elements of early literacy.

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