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 digs 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!
More free resources!
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