Phonemic awareness teaches students about sound elements in spoken language. This concept teaches students that the sounds that make words can be assembled in a variety of ways to make different words. As a subset of phonological awareness, phonemic awareness is taught in tandem with rhyme recognition, syllables, onset--which is the part of a syllable that precedes the vowel--and rime, or the part of a syllable that includes the vowel and the sounds that come after the vowel. Teaching phonemic awareness at the fifth-grade level requires an educator to create fun activities that can inspire an interest in language.
By the time students reach fifth grade, phonemic awareness should assist in the development of spelling skills. Hold a spelling bee with your class or all of the fifth grade classes at your school. Compile a list of appropriate spelling words for fifth grade--such as competition, significance, money or grateful. Include some challenging words, too, such as intensive or structured. Have students study the lists and provide study tips, such as creating flash cards.
As a traditional form of Japanese poetry, haikus provide an opportunity for fifth-grade students to hone their phonemic awareness. Haikus consist of three lines. The first line has five syllables, the second line has seven syllables and the third line has five syllables. Provide class time for students to write haikus about their favorite seasons. While these short poems do not have to rhyme, working with the syllable counts will strengthen your students' awareness of phonemics.
Teach students about specific phonemes with lessons on r-controlled vowels. Demonstrate that when a vowel is followed by the letter r, it makes a specific sound. Discuss the r sounds in words such as car, care, pier, turnip, manor and butter. Create worksheets where students can practice the r-controlled vowels of /ar/, /ir/, /or/ and /er/ words.
Instruct students to choose their favorite book, play or poem. With their chosen literature, assign each student to complete a textual analysis. In this assignment, the fifth-graders will be responsible for reviewing the text and identifying examples of phonemic awareness including recognizing phonemes, rhyme recognition, r-controlled vowels and finding examples of consonantal alliteration, which is a group of words in a sentence with the same consonant sound.
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