I’m often asked, “How do I teach my children to read?” My first response is always to read, read, and read some more to them. My second response is to play lots and lots of games to develop their phonological and phonemic awareness.
Phonemic awareness is the ability to break a word down into its individual speech sounds (example: the word cat is made up of three separate phonemes- /c/ /a/ and /t/).
Teaching kids about phonemic awareness is typically done through oral language activities that are playful and fun.
Today we have a spring themed activity that uses elkonin boxes or sound boxes.
Carrot Boxes Phonemic Awareness Activity
During this activity children will practice segmenting or separating the phonemes (sounds) they hear in a word. This is all done orally with no visual representation of the letters. If you use letters then the activity turns into a phonics activity which is ok, but we are working on developing phonemic awareness skills here!
Remember we learn to listen and speak before we learn to read and write.
Preparing the Activity
1. You will need a carrot patch sound box for each child.
Download the FREE Carrot Patch Sound Box Printable HERE!
You could also draw 3 boxes on a blank sheet of paper and that would work just fine.
2. Pick up a small bag of carrot chocolates. During Easter, you will find them at almost any store that carries candy. We got ours at Target and also saw them at Dollar Tree. You will need three carrots for this activity.
Ready to Play
Place each carrot under a box in the dirt.
Say a word with three sounds (phonemes). Here are some ideas to get you started.
bug, cat, top, net, man, dig, bed, him, cot, rug, wish, dash, chop, thin
Have your child stretch the word out into phonemes. I like to say, “Stretch it out like a rubber band.” As the child says the first sound, they push a carrot into the first box to make it sprout. Continue for all three sounds.
If the word is ten, the child would say /t/ and push the first carrot into the box. Then, /e/ and push the second carrot up into the box. Finally, /n/ and push the last carrot into the last box.
Pull the carrots back down into the dirt and repeat with a new word.
Notice that just because a word has four letters doesn’t mean it has four phonemes. Wish is /w/,/i/, /sh/.
It is important that we model the correct sound for each phoneme. Be careful not to add additional sounds. For example the sound we use to represent the letter d is /d/ not /duh/. Here is a video where I model the correct way to say each sound.
When you are finished playing this phonemic awareness activity, you can enjoy a yummy chocolate treat.
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