Tonight on the way home, to avoid playing the same song my kids ask for over and over in the car (it really is a great song, I just couldn’t stomach it for the 10th time today) I made up a game. “Guess which animal I am?” I said and went “Moo, Moo!” My almost-two-yr-old exclaimed “COW!” I told my preschooler it was his turn. “Meooow! Meooow!” he said and we guessed cat. Then it was my youngest son’s turn. He said “I’m a tiger- ROAR! ROAR!” He didn’t quite pick up on the guessing game fun, but made a sound that approximated a tiger’s roar. It was way more fun than listening to the same song again, and involved their active participation while exercising one of the early literacy skills.
Phonological Awareness is one of my favorite skills to discuss and highlight in story time. It’s the ability to hear and play with smaller sounds in words. There are so many creative things you can do with this skill, but here are some ideas for some basic things to start with:
Babies: Sing songs! Sing nursery rhymes, make up songs with baby’s name,.. Don’t like singing? Play music and bounce baby or tap the rhythm.
Toddlers: Sing songs! Sing nursery rhymes, songs with animal sounds, incorporating actions. Wheels On the Bus is a good story for this (change it to “animals on the bus” and you can practice animal sounds).
Preschoolers: Sing songs! Sing nursery rhymes and favorite songs! Rhymes introduce sound patterns that are not only fun, but will help your child learn to read later. Play rhyming games (I Spy with my little eye something that rhymes with cat), or clap your child’s name or different words with one clap per syllable. Books that are great to enhance phonological awareness: Down By the Bay by Raffi, any Dr. Seuss book, Tanka Tanka Skunk by Steve Webb, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr and Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney.
Need more info and book suggestions? You can read more here.