Phonological awareness games

Phonological awareness is developed through reading and writing. It can also be developed through targeted oral language activities. Collaborative and engaging oral language games give students an opportunity to practice their phonological awareness skills and consolidate their learning through repetition. 

Oral language games to develop phonological awareness

The following oral language games include one or more aspects of phonological awareness. Each game can be easily modified to target a different phonological skill.

Bean bag toss

Students are placed into teams. Each team stands in front of three rings (such as hula hoops) or circles (chalk) marked 1, 2, 3, which represent the number of syllables in words and each team has their own colour bean bags. The teacher calls out a word and all children in the team throw a bean bag into the hoop that corresponds with the number of syllables the word represents. The teacher confirms the correct number of syllables in the word called out. Tally each team's results where each bean bag in the correct hoop gets a point for their team and play again.

Syllable swap

Students each hold a card with a word written on it. They march around the room to music. When the music stops, each student swaps cards with another student. However, they can only swap with someone whose word has the same number of syllables as their word. Students make one swap and then the teacher starts the music again.

Syllable match

Students each have their own collection of word cards displaying words they can read. The teacher calls out 1, 2 or 3 and each student selects from their collection a word that has the number of syllables that the teacher called out, then places that word to the side. Play continues and students win when they have no cards left.

Syllable bingo

Students are given cards with a grid displaying a mix of pictures and words, as well as some counters. The teacher calls out the numbers 1, 2, 3 or 4. If a student has a picture or word that has the corresponding number of syllables, they place a counter on that picture or word. The student wins once all pictures and words are covered with counters.

Word web

Students sit in a circle with a word card displayed on the floor in front of them. One student begins the web by making a connection between their word and another student's word. Holding onto a string of wool, the first student throws the ball of wool to the other student, explaining the connection. 

For example, student 1 has the word 'cat' and connects with student 2 who has the word 'van,' because the student can explain that both words share the same middle vowel sound. Student 2 connects with student 3, who has the word net, because the student can explain that they both have the 'n' phoneme. Each student holds onto the string of wool while the game continues. Continue until a web is created between students across the floor.

Letter dice roll

The teacher writes a vowel on the whiteboard. Students roll 3 dice with letters on each face and make consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words. Making the word involves using the letters represented face-up on each die and the vowel displayed on the whiteboard.

Onset-rime hopscotch

Play hopscotch but place words with the same rime in the boxes, for example, cat, hat, bat, mat, sat, chat and flat. Students read aloud the words they land on as they play. 

For more information, visit Phonological awareness.

Rhyming objects

A number of objects are displayed. Several options are possible depending on the level of support required by students:

  1. Rhyming pairs: From the display, students select two objects that rhyme, such as a pen and a figurine of a hen. Students articulate the rhyme for both objects. Play continues until all objects have been correctly paired.
  2. With their eyes, a student locates two displayed objects that rhyme. They pick up one of the objects and give their partner a clue to locating the matching rhyming object on display. For example, 'I have a pen. What bird lays eggs and rhymes with pen?'
  3. A student locates an object on display and thinks of a rhyming word. They give their partner clues to guessing what the matching rhyming word could be. For example, 'I have a pen. What rhymes with pen and means one more than 9?'