Repetition is key when building pre-reading skills. Phonics and phonological awareness is best practiced through games that keep preschoolers excited and engaged.
In our community helpers unit, this can be practiced by role playing different jobs. This is also a great opportunity for dramatic play, so props and costumes work great and increase the fun!
The following are some of our favorite phonics games to play during the community helpers unit:
Preschoolers play mail carrier by sticking “stamps” onto matching envelopes. This is taken a step further by putting the envelopes in their mail bag and delivering the letters to matching “addresses.”
Matching uppercase and lowercase letters helps reinforce letter identification for preschoolers. Phonological awareness practice happens simultaneously when preschoolers are asked to identify the letter sounds of the letters they are working with.
In another activity, the doctor treats the patient by matching band aids onto corresponding wounds. Band aids are always a hit with preschoolers, but real bandaids would only allow this game once. So we use reusable cards that look like the real thing. Then they can replay as many times as they want.
In a fun phonological awareness rhyming game, preschoolers will play baker and quickly select donuts off of the tray that match the “orders” coming in. Adding a tray and a baking disguise this learning into a fun game.
Preschoolers wear gloves and play garbage collector. Although they can’t just start picking trash up right away. They have to find garbage that matches the appropriate given letter or sound before they can toss it in the “trash.”
When our children are older, they will read to learn. In preschool, by building in phonics and phonological awareness into everyday learning, they learn to read while they learn. Exposing preschoolers to letters and phonological skills will give them confidence and provide a constant as they grow and learn throughout their lives.