We hope you love this new word awareness activity!
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My Three loved doing alphabet activities with me last year. When she was about 2 1/2, all of it started to click, and by three years old she recognized most of the uppercase alphabet.
But one thing she didn’t grasp as easily as letter names was letter sounds.
In fact, I’ve noticed that she could use some support in a variety of phonological and phonemic awareness activities.
So … welcome to our phonological awareness series! Each of these activities will be print and play – that’s right, no prep! And you’ll only need one manipulative: poker chips (or another small object).
This week we are focusing on awareness of word. This is the understanding that a sentence is made up of individual words. Its a basic understanding that isn’t always easy to master.
One way to teach the awareness of word is to have students clap the words in a sentence. But I wanted to try something a little more hands-on.
So I created these silly sentence trains. Each page has a train with either 3, 4, or 5 cars (for 3, 4, or 5-word sentences).
All you do is read one of the silly sentences at the bottom of the page. Then your learner repeats the sentence and uses a poker chip to cover each circle. Each poker chip represents one word.
A tip: Read the sentences with breaks between the words, at least at first.
“Cow – swims – fast.”
“Rat – reads – books.”
If your learner appears to be ready, read a sentence at a normal pace.
“Fish dig holes.”
Make sure your learner repeats the silly sentence as s/he puts a poker chip onto each circle.
You’ll probably find that these 4-letter sentences add a new challenge, because many of them include small function words – such as a, to, and the. If you read the sentence too quickly, you’ll notice that your learners skip right over those function words.
Another tip: When finished, have your learners point to each poker chip one at a time and repeat the sentence back to you.
The 5-word sentence train was a real challenge for my Three. I tried to speak the sentences more fluently to see how she’d do, but she was easily confused. She would repeat the sentence, but she wasn’t using exactly one chip for each word. Sometimes she would say three words while moving only one chip.
I decided to give my Five a turn. He had no trouble at all – no matter how fast I spoke the sentences. This was no surprise; he’s a beginning reader and learned the concept of word with the voice to print cards we did when he was a preschooler.
More teaching tips
- If you’d like, cut off the bottom of each train so that your learners have just a train mat and not the sentences.
- Use the silly sentence mats during individual tutoring sessions or in small groups.
- Does your school have buddy reading with kids in older grades? I’ll bet those fluent readers would love reading these silly sentences to help your learners master awareness of word!
You can grab the free download below. Stay tuned for more phonological awareness fun!
Get your free word awareness activity!
BUILD CONCEPTS OF PRINT WITH THIS POPULAR PACK
Nursery Rhyme Concepts of Print Pack – Set 1
Since children love nursery rhymes, these classic poems are the perfect text for teaching concepts of print. This file contains 280 pages of printable activities featuring ten different nursery rhymes. The file includes instructions for how to teach concept of word, voice to print matching, and more.
This resource is FANTASTIC! Thank you so much for sharing your work!
My granddaughter is not ready for this resource yet but it is definitely worth printing and saving for a few years.
When I printed there was not a black and white option. Is it possible to that from my end?
This is Kate, Anna’s assistant. There is not a separate file that is designed to be printed in black and white, but you can print using “gray scale” when you go to print the file. If your printer doesn’t have colored ink, the file should still print, but without color.
Hi there Anna discovered your website yesterday and super excited as I will be teaching remedial kids from next week. I teach in South Africa
I’m glad my site is helpful to you, Inge!
Thank you so much for the printables. I teach students literacy for students with cognitive disabilities and your resources provide me with hands on materials to support the curriculum.
I’m so glad my resources are working for your learners, Laura!
Wow! What a confidence booster these can be!
I hope they work well for your learners, Cindy!
Love the Sentence Word awareness Trains. Kids have enjoyed also. After using all the trains mix up the sentences and use only the 5 word train. 🙂
I love that idea!
Many thanks for sharing your wonderful resources – much much appreciated.
Marylou (from Australia)
You’re very welcome, Marylou!
Thank you so much for the freebies!
You’re very welcome, Noemi!
Great idea. Thank you.
You’re very welcome, Maria!
Thanks again for your great resources. I agree that teaching the letter names and then the sounds is actually confusing for beginners. I have moved to not teaching the letter names first and just the sounds. Another method I’ve used successfully is to teach the name and’ it says’ at the same time. eg It’s name is b (bee) and it says b (buh).
I think it depends on the learner. My oldest four kids didn’t have any problem learning both letter names and sounds together. We definitely have to open to trying different things, depending on our students! 🙂