Phonological awareness is the ability to hear the fine sounds which make up words. Often, children with dyslexia have a difficulty with this, which leads to difficulties with reading and spelling.
There are activities which can train phonological awareness - once again, it's about practice!
Create a collection of cards including a variety of syllables. Animals and foods are good choices, as you can have clear pictures and a wide variety of syllables. You can also use a list of your child's friends' names.
Practise tapping out the syllables, and then sort out the words based on how many syllables they have.
It is also useful to point out that the number of syllables is not related to the length of the word (e.g. compare mouse and lion)
This game is similar to the word beginnings game, but you are selecting word endings instead.
Print out the game boards here.
Each player has a board of initial sounds. Pick out a word ending and read, then try to put it with one of your beginnings to make a word.
The first person to get 4 (or 5) in a row wins!
Alternatively, you can play for a given number of turns, and then score a bonus point for any 4 in a row.
This downloadable dominoes game follows the same structure as traditional dominoes.
Deal each player seven dominoes, turn over one to start and then pile up the rest.
You can play a domino if it rhymes with one of the words at the end of the chain. If you cannot play, you take a domino from the pile.
The game ends when one player plays all of their dominoes. If neither player can go, then the winner is the person with fewest dominoes left.
Create cards with nouns, adjectives and verbs which begin with the same letter.
The children pick one of each which start with the same letter. They should then write these into a sentence.
Download this game here.
Print out pictures of words with one, two, three or four syllables. You can also use written words (just pick the word for your partner so they don't see it).
Each square of the board has a number on. If you land on the number 3 for example, you have to spell a 3 syllable word.
Give an appropriately sized line for each syllable and clap out the spelling.
This is a great game in which you snap two cards which have the same number of syllables. While playing, children will start to break a word into syllables as they say it.
You can also play as a pairs game.
To train phonological awareness, you can ask children what has changed between two words, for example cat to rat (the 'c' sound to the 'r' sound).
Children can do this visually if you show them the written word, so this game uses pictures to create an extra challenge.
To make this into more of a game, I have also created cards with the sound changes on. Write random numbers for points on the back. Once the children have identified the sound change, they can pick the correct card and get that number of points.
This is a jigsaw which can be completed by matching up the words which rhyme.
You can create a Tarsia puzzle using this downloadable software.
I then print pictures and glue them on.
Make up alliterative names for your friends and family!
It might be worth providing a list of possible adjectives to refer to if stuck.
Missing Short Vowel
Create a set of words with gaps for the short vowel sound.
Create a die with a, e, i, o, u and SPLAT on.
Roll the die and then try to find a word which this vowel could fit into. Write the vowel in, and keep that card.
If you roll SPLAT, then your partner must read aloud all of their words and you can choose one to steal.
Download the game templates here.
Both players get a game board with some common word endings on. Go through the endings and try to encourage children to read them.
Then, take turns to pick a letter (or letter combination). The aim is to make a real word.
If none of the words are real using your selected letter, you miss that turn.
The first person to complete the board wins.
Create pairs of words which rhyme.
Turn all of the cards face down, and then turn over two cards at a time. When you find a pair which rhymes, you keep the pair and take another turn.
Place four key words on a spinner, and spread out rhyming words. Spin the spinner, and select a word which rhymes with that word.
Rhyming 3 in a Row
Download this game here.
Print out the grid and get two coloured pencils and a die.
Roll the die, and read the word. Find a word in the grid which rhymes, and colour it in.
First one to three in a row wins!
Missing long vowel
This game works in the same way as the short vowel game, but all of the words are split digraphs so you are substituting long vowels.
Download the word list here.