Kindergarten Readiness Skills

What you can do this summer to encourage your child’s school readiness skills

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Summertime is a great opportunity to focus on encouraging your child’s development and helping them prepare for the upcoming school year! Although each child is unique and develops at his or her own pace, most educators and developmental experts agree upon a certain set of skills as essential tools for further development and achievement in school. Among these skills are social skills, reasoning & concept development, language, reading and writing skills, which are the skills many of our kids are focusing on and developing in therapy.

Phonological and Phonemic Awareness
Phonological awareness is the ability to focus on and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words.  Children who have phonological awareness skills are able to identify and make oral rhymes, can clap out the number of syllables in a word, and can recognize words with the same initial sounds like ‘money’ and ‘milk.’
Phonemic awareness refers to the specific ability to focus on and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words. Acquiring phonemic awareness is important because it is the foundation for spelling and word recognition skills. Phonemic awareness is one of the best predictors of how well children will learn to read during the first two years of school instruction.
Students at risk for reading difficulty often have lower levels of phonological and phonemic awareness than their classmates. The good news is that these skills can be developed through working with a licensed Speech Language Pathologist.
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What you can do at home to encourage school readiness skills

Rhyming Books
One of the first phonological awareness skills to develop is detecting and generating rhyming words. Using children’s books are a great way to expose your child to rhyming patterns. When reading with your child, discuss rhyming patterns by saying something like, “Hat and bat-they rhyme because they sound the same at the end.”
Here are a list of books to encourage phonological awareness.
  • Jesse Bear, What Will you Wear? By Nancy White Carlstro
  • Silly Sally By Audrey Wood
  • Is Your Mamma a Llama? By Deborah Guarino
  • Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do you Hear? By Bill Martin, Jr.
  • Time for Bed By Mem Fox
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom By Bill Martin, Jr.
  • Sheep in a Jeep By Nancy E. Shaw
  • In The Tall, Tall Grass By Denise Fleming
  • Miss Mary Mack By Mary Ann Hoberanand Nadine Bernard Westcott
  • Good Night Moon By Margaret Wise Brown
Fun Games to Promote Phonological / Phonemic Awareness
  • Rhyming Games: Research shows that students benefit from direct instruction on rhyme recognition paired with fun activities that target this skill. Spice up memory and bingo by playing rhyming memory or rhyming bingo.
  • The Listening Game: The ability to listen closely is a key ingredient of phonemic awareness. Create a quiet environment and talk about the sounds you and your child hear. The key phrase is, “Who can spot a sound with their ears?”
  • Bippity Boppity Bumble Bee:  Working with and noticing syllables within words is important, because it increases your child’s awareness of how words can be split up into smaller parts, according to their sounds. The  ultimate goal is to work on individual phonemes (vowels or consonants), but children must first learn the concept of “parts of words.” Get your child clapping out names. As they get used to the game, you can start using other words with more syllables. Start the game by saying “Bippity Boppity Bumble Bee, Will You Say Your Name For Me?”
  • In My Box: Fill a box with rhyming objects or pictures such as  box/socks, cat/hat, or chair/bear.  Have your child hold the box and choose an item. If the item is a cat, say “In my box, there’s a cat”. Have your child then come up with the appropriate  rhyming word pair.
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