Count the Sounds

A hand holding up three fingers

Purpose:  To help beginning level learners develop phonemic awareness, which is the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds in spoken words, and the understanding that spoken words and syllables are made up of sequences of speech sounds (Yopp, 1992). Phonemic awareness prepares learners to sound out and spell new words.

Preparation Time:  None

Materials Needed:  None

Procedure:

  1. Say a word from the week’s vocabulary.
  2. Repeat the word and say it very slowly, emphasizing the individual sounds in the word.
  3. Have the learners count the sounds, and tell you how many they hear by holding up the corresponding number of fingers. Example: House  /h/ /ou/ /s/. The learners hold up three fingers.
  4. Repeat until you have gone through all of the week’s vocabulary or until the class loses interest.

Expansion:

  1. Give the learners pennies, paperclips, or small pieces of paper to act as markers.
  2. Say a word from the week’s vocabulary.
  3. Repeat the word and say it very slowly, emphasizing the individual sounds in the word.
  4. Have the learners count the sounds, setting out a marker for each individual sound.
  5. Have the learners say the word, emphasizing the sounds and touching the markers as the say the sounds.
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