A Phonics Lesson for Kindergarteners—5 Games
by Mary Follin
If you’re looking for a phonics lesson for kindergarteners, begin with phonemic awareness. For starters, simply reviewing the sounds of the individual letters with your child will give them a significant head start in their reading skills. And if you are going to review the sounds of each letter with them, please keep it short—no more than 5 minutes a day. Most kids have fun with this, but it can get repetitive, so always leave them wanting more.
Sometimes it’s helpful to integrate learning into other modalities: body movements, tongue twisters, scavenger hunts—you get the picture! A phonics lesson for kindergarteners should be engaging and fun, and if you’re turning it into a game, you’ve got more time to work with—probably about 20 minutes, depending on your child’s attention span.
Here are 5 fun activities, each of which is actually a phonics lesson for kindergarteners that promotes phonemic awareness.
- Start by choosing a ‘sound of the day’ and draw it on posterboard for reference throughout the day. Then ask your child to find 10 items in the room that begin with that sound. Throughout the day, point out objects that begin with the ‘sound of the day.’
- Create a scavenger hunt. Hide 10 objects that begin with the ‘sound of the day.’ Create clues to read aloud to your child, using the ‘sound of the day’ as many times as you can. For example: “The blue ball is hiding where Baby Bobby sleeps. B-b-b-b.” (Be sure and repeat the sound at the end of each clue.)
- Make up songs that use the ‘sound of the day.’ “Baby Bobby has a blanket. Baby Bobby has a ball. Baby Bobby blows bubbles!” Make up a silly tune, and practice the song with your child, emphasizing the sound of the letter ‘b’ each time.
- With colored chalk, draw pictures with your child on the sidewalk, driveway, or blacktop of items that start with the ‘sound of the day.’ Let your child think of the item, then draw it.
- Pick a variety of words that have repetitive sounds in them. Ask your child to draw the letter that corresponds with the sound in the air (lower case), and then act out the words or make up a dance. Here are some words to get you started: Buzzing Bumble Bee, Silly Sister Sally, Running Round Rose (or Ring-a-round the Rosy!), Goofy Galloping Gary, Merry-Making Melanie, Lazy Little Lizard, Darling Dancing Dog…be creative! Be sure to emphasize the sound in the letter.
These 5 activities are just to get you started! Once you get used to noticing sounds and pointing them out to your child, will have no trouble coming up with a phonics lesson for kindergarteners on your own.
Need a Phonics Lesson for Kindergarteners? Try Our Phonics Program to Teach Your Kindergartener to Read!
Founder and creator of Teach Your Child to Read™, Mary Follin was a systems engineer with IBM early in her career. Since then, she has worked for companies in a variety of industries: product development, market research, and other professional services firms. She also wrote Ethyr, winner of the the Moonbeam Children's Book Award and the Gertrude Warner Book Award. Mary currently writes, together with Erika Guerrero, a column titled ASK MOM, an advice column featured every other Friday in Fredericksburg Parent & Family magazine. ASK MOM won a 2021 Parenting Media Association award.