Cascades Academy Independent School PK-12
What is Phonemic Awareness?
What is Phonemic Awareness?

Perhaps you have heard me mention the term phonemic awareness in a conversation we've had or in a newsletter I've posted. To clear up any misunderstanding about what phonemic awareness is and how is it different from phonics I'd like to address phonemic awareness in this blog, and phonics in my next blog. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify and manipulate the sounds of language. It is a critical skill because phonemic awareness is a precursor to learning to read in the early grades. So when a child hears the word CAT and I ask what sounds do they hear, a child with strong phonemic awareness will be able to break down the individual phonemes and tell me they hear /k/ /a/ /t/. Of course, this is an example of early phonemic awareness, and as a child becomes more proficient at hearing the sounds in simple words, we move on to practicing manipulating sounds in words. So when I ask a child to replace the /k/ in CAT with a /b/ sound, a child with adequate phonemic awareness skills will be able to tell me the new word is BAT. More complicated phonemic awareness activities involve manipulating phonemes, substituting phonemes and deleting phonemes from words. When you play word games involving any of the above activities or read any children's book that involves rhyming (think Dr. Seuss books!) you are helping your child to hear the sounds in words and assisting them in learning how to read. What a great foundation for early literacy!!

Next time: What is Phonics?

Introducing our next Storyline: The Farm

Many thanks to everyone who came to the optional parent/teacher conference. It's always nice to have the opportunity to have an uninterrupted chat with parents about their children!

You may have heard by now that we've started our second storyline, The Farm! We began this storyline introducing ourselves as Farmer Daisy and Farmer Lily, letting them know that we are looking for a piece of land to begin an organic farm. Ms. Natalie came in to inform us all that indeed, Cascades has a piece of property that we could use for our farm! Everyone is very excited to be starting another storyline, and are particularly excited that we will be hatching chicken eggs as part of our story. We have several field trips planned, visitors coming to the school, and any number of activities to engage in to make this storyline interesting. Next week we will create our characters and begin building our frieze.

During Math time this week, children were introduced to the concept of subtraction and had several opportunities to practice this, for some, new skill. We've been practicing counting by 5's to 50 although many children can count to 100 by 5's, and children had the chance to practice exchanging 1's for 5's through a game called The Raft Game which they really enjoyed! And of course, we continue to refine our counting and ten-frame skills through our calendar work.

Many thanks to Julia Cardwell for helping with Centers this week. It's always great to have parent help during Center time, and especially helpful when the volunteer is a math teacher!! If you'd care to join us some Wednesday for Center time, just let me know. We all love when parents visit us in the classroom. And you don't have to be a Math teacher!

In art next week, students are going to begin working on robots made out of trash (recycled robots) and Ms. Meadow is asking that parents and students think about items they can save instead of discarding, and bring in for art making. The base of the robots will be flat cardboard, and details such as arms, ears, eyes, buttons, and other robo-features will be added, but think of items that are small and relatively flat. We will not be using large bottles and the like, but think more of bottle caps, lids, straws, egg cartons, (we have plenty of toilet paper rolls), and even things like pennies, buttons, washers, and other random knick knacks that could make a good robot feature. The idea is to have different shapes, sizes, and textures so kids can let their imaginations run wild! Items will be shared, but "special" or one of a kind items can be kept for the student who brought it in. It would be awesome to have these items by Monday, by Wednesday at the latest. Thank you!

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