Dear Gaila - Reading Preparation part I

December 23, 2015

Dear Gaila,
My daughter will be learning to read next year in kindergarten. What exercises and games can I do in preparation?
Excited Mother of an almost Kindergartener

Dear Excited Mother,

This is definitely a three column answer. This week we'll talk about the first step of phonemic awareness – awareness of sounds. Only after being aware of the individual sounds that comprise a word, can children begin to attach sounds to symbols and string them together into words.


We differentiate phonemic awareness into three parts – beginnings, ending and middle sounds. 

I had a 'game' or drill I liked to use with young kids to gain awareness of beginning sounds. Choose and emphasize a beginning sound (not a letter) finding as many things as possible with this sound. Therefore, you can be in the k-k-k-k-kitchen and find c-c-c-c-cookies and c-c-c-c-cake. If your daughter is named C-C-C-Carla, that is even better! Remember, Carla c-c-c-can't use the word celery since you are searching for /k/ words not words with the letter 'c'! 


Children seem to bounce around enthusiastically as they recognize more and more items with the sound. 


If you are artistically inclined, or a really good Googler, you can have your daughter paste and color in pictures of items starting with a /K/ sound.

Next week I'll discuss phonemic awareness of ending sounds.



Gaila has over 40 year of experience teaching and runs A.H.A.V.A., a non-profit to promote English literacy. Would you like to ask Gaila a question? Email us at or send us a message. Look out for more Dear Gaila columns

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