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The –op Shop: Phonemic Awareness Game

Show families how literacy learning can be fun

The beauty of games? They make learning fun! We know that when children play, they learn. Play and academic instruction can work together in early childhood; it’s not one or the other!

In fact, authentic literacy involves reading and writing texts for the same purposes within school as outside school. Children have real experiences with literacy throughout the day—during story time, in reading (or hearing someone read) instructions for a board game, in noticing the letters on a stop sign, in signing their names on birthday cards, and much more.

Connect4Learning helps find opportunities throughout the day to reinforce the purposes of reading: learning information, enjoyment, and accomplishing specific tasks—not simply to learn literacy skills.

Share the following activity with families to help their children build literacy skills while—you guessed it—having fun.

Phonemic Awareness Game for Families

Learning to break apart and blend sounds in words is a critical reading skill that starts to emerge during the preschool years. It is an important building block for future phonics. Play this simple game to help your child practice and gain confidence in his ability to separate and blend sounds in words.

  • Gather materials. Get a piece of paper and write the words –op Shop at the top.
  • Brainstorm ideas. Tell your child you are going to come up with items that would be found in the –op Shop. Only words with –op at the end can be found there.
  • Give clues. Say that you will give clues to the items in the –op Shop by saying the beginning and ending parts of the word. Your child should blend, or put together, those parts to figure out what the word is.
  • Provide an example. Say /b/ –op, /b/ –op, leaving a second between the word parts as you say them. Be sure to say the sound of b (not the letter name). Try to make as little of the uh sound as possible when you say the beginning letter sound. This will make it easier for your child to blend the parts accurately. Tell your child that /b/ –op, when blended together, makes bop. Write bop on your list of –op words.
  • Try more! Try these examples with your child, saying the first sound, pausing a second, and then saying –op: cop, hop, mop, pop, top. Say each segmented word two times.
  • Make a list. As your child figures out each –op word, write it on your list.
  • Notice commonalities. Point out as you write that each item on the list ends with the letters o and p, which spell –op.
  • Try it together. Ask your child to say the segmented word parts with you too.
  • Time to rhyme. After all the items have been added to the list, point to each word as you read it aloud. Note that they all rhyme, because they all end in –op!
  • Try different versions. Play this word game with other rhyming word groups:
    • bat, cat, fat, hat, mat, pat, rat, sat
    • big, dig, fig, jig, pig, rig, wig
    • bet, let, met, net, pet, set, wet
    • bun, fun, gun, pun, run, sun