Reading skill can easily be developed in school pupils through simple, interesting, systematic and analytical instructional phonic practice.
In order to prepare school children for reading, there is need to engage them in some activities that will stimulate their phonic awareness. According to Marilyn Jager Adams (2004), some of the activities are described below:
Objective: To extend the awareness of initial phonemes in school children by asking them to compare, contrast and eventually identify the initial sounds of a variety of words.
Materials required: Picture cards.
Activity: A few picture should be spread in a circle and the children be told to find those pictures whose name starts with the initial sound on which they have just been working. Each child is to say the name and initial phoneme of each picture that is found. If the initial sound match, the child selects another pair, otherwise, another child takes a turn.
Objective: To help children to separate the sound of words from their meaning.
Activity: The children should be shown how a totally different word may result if the initial phoneme of a word is removed. This will enable the children to separate the sounds of words from their meaning. The children should be called to line up by saying their first name without the initial sound. The children have to figure out whose name has been called and what sound was missing.
Objective: To introduce the children to the challenges of analyzing words into phonemes.
Materials required: Blocks and two-phoneme word cards.
Activity: A child should be told to pick up a card and name what it depicts. The teacher is expected to repeat the word slowly and with a clear pause between its two phonemes. All the students should then be told to repeat the word in the same manner. The teacher is expected to place blocks in two different colors underneath the picture as she enunciates the sound represented by each. This will show that the word bow consist of two separate sounds. The children should repeat the sounds while pointing to the respective blocks, pausing slightly between phonemes with each repetition.
Objective: To introduce the children to the challenges of synthesizing words from phonemes.
Materials required: Blocks and two-phoneme word card.
Activity: The teacher should choose a picture and place it face down so that the children
cannot see it. Then name the picture phoneme by phoneme, while placing the blocks beneath the picture. While the children points to their own blocks, they are expected to repeat the phoneme over and over again. This activity can later be used to teach the alphabetic principles by replacing the colored blocks with letter tokens. If this is to be done, however, it should be noted that, to convey the essential logic of the alphabetic principle, it is best that all words include one letter for each sound, left to right. With this in mind, words with silent letters should be avoided.
The above activities, when practised, will develop reading skills in school children.
Marilyn, J.A., Barbara, F., Ingvan, L. and Terri, B. (2004). Phonemic Activities for the Preschool or Elementary Classroom.