A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Teach Syllable Awareness

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Are you looking for a simple and effective way to build your kids’ syllable awareness and phonological awareness skills? I’ve got just the thing for you. My syllable awareness program is a step-by-step guide that will walk you through how to teach syllable awareness to your kids.

Let’s look at why building syllable awareness is important to kids, and then I will show you how to incorporate these fun and easy exercises into your daily routine.

how to teach syllable awareness

The best part is that it’s super easy to implement…..and your kids will have sooo much fun playing with words.

syllable awareness activities - phonological awareness program
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What is Syllable Awareness?

Syllable awareness is all about breaking words into smaller parts, like breaking a big cookie into smaller pieces. Each of these smaller parts is called a syllable, and together they make up the word.

Think of it like a beat in music – each syllable is like a beat, and when you combine all the beats, you have a rhythm to the word. Syllable awareness is part of the phonological awareness skills umbrella. Learning about syllables and learning to recognize that you can break words into chunks will help your kids when they start working on reading and phonics.

Why Are Syllable Awareness Skills Important?

Syllable awareness, like rhyming awareness, is an essential building block for future reading and spelling success, and I believe it’s never too early to start playing with words to develop the skill. That’s why I’ve designed this program to be educational and enjoyable for you and your kids.

Working on syllable awareness skills now means that they will have more success with decoding and writing words in the future because they will understand how words are put together.

Cool, right?

So sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s dive into this program that will show you how to teach syllable awareness in a way that’s simple, effective, and oh-so-much-fun!

Start with Syllable Clapping

When I teach syllables, it always involves clapping.

kids clapping syllables to develop phonological awareness

Teaching kids about syllable clapping is a super fun and easy way to introduce them to the concept of syllables! Clapping syllables is a great point for young kids because it’s a hands-on, interactive way for them to learn about syllables.

Plus…….kids love clapping and making noise, so it’s a win-win situation.

If you want more details, check out this article about how to teach kids to break words apart by clapping syllables.

Why Use Compound Words to Introduce Syllable Awareness?

As you look through the various exercises below, you will see that they begin with using compound words. Do you know why?

The first step of how to teach syllable awareness is to begin with compound words.  A variety of compound word cards for a syllable awareness activity are shown.

Compound words are a fantastic way to help kids develop syllable awareness! When you use a compound word such as “snowman” it’s super easy for kids to hear the two parts of a word (“snow” and “man”) that come together to create a new word (snowman).

By blending and segmenting compound words, kids will start recognizing the individual syllables in words and understand how they come together to form new words. Now that you know about clapping and compound words, let’s look at specific syllable awareness activities that will help you as you learn how to teach syllable awareness.

Use These Exercises to Teach Syllable Awareness

Here are some easy syllable awareness exercises you can incorporate into your daily routine. I know that your kids will have fun with these wordplay activities.

Blending Compound Words

In this activity, students will practice blending two words together to make a compound word. This will help them understand how syllables can come together to form a new word.

For example, say the words “rain” and “bow” slowly for your kids. Ask your kids to repeat the words after you say them. Then, clap the words and show your kids that rain and bow are both 1-clap words.

teach syllable awareness with word cards.  A rain, bow, and rainbow card are shown as an example.

Now, ask your kids to combine the words together. What is the new word? Repeat the word “rainbow” and then clap it together to emphasize both syllables in the word.

Segmenting Compound Words Counting Syllables

In this activity, students will practice breaking down a compound word into its individual syllables. This will help them understand how syllables can be separated to form different words.

This time, start with a compound word like “cupcake.” Say the word slowly, ask your kids to repeat the word, and then take the opportunity to clap it out.

syllable activity word cards (cupcake, cake, and cup) used as an example of how to teach syllable awareness

Then ask your kids to separate the word into two different words. What are the words? Repeat and clap the smaller, one-syllable words “cup” and “cake”

Counting Syllables Exercises

In these exercises, students will practice counting the number of syllables in different words. This will help them develop their syllable awareness and recognition skills…..and it’s just plain fun!

syllable picture cards strawberry, electricity, and dog that are used as an example of how to teach syllable awareness

Start with a simple series of words such as toaster, ball, and wagon. Then start challenging your kids with more complex multi-syllable words such as pineapple, cornucopia, and elevator.

Adding a Word to End

In this activity, students will practice adding a word to the end of a word to create a new word. This will help them understand how syllables can be combined to form new words.

Want an example so that you can see what the heck I’m talking about?

This is an exercise that works great with compound words. Start by giving your children the first word. In this example, let’s use “bird”. Ask your kids to repeat and clap the word.

picture word cards for bird, house, and bird house used for phonological awareness and syllable awareness activities

Then, ask your kids to add another word to the end of the first word. For example, “Now, let’s add the word “house” to the end of “bird”. What is the new word?” Then, kids can clap the word birdhouse.

Adding Word to Beginning

Now, challenge your kids by asking them to add the word to the beginning of a word. Like the previous exercise, this one will help them understand how syllables can be combined in different ways to form new words. It will just make them think a little differently.

Again, start with part of a compound word. For example, ask your kids to say and clap the word “fish”, and then ask them to add the word “star” to the beginning of the word. What is the new word? When they figure it out, say and clap the word “starfish” together.

syllable picture cards for fish, star, and starfish used as an example of how to teach syllable awareness

Adding a Syllable to a Word

This exercise is a fun way to challenge kids’ syllable awareness skills on words that are NOT compound words. In this exercise, you start with a simple word and then ask kids to add a syllable to the beginning or end of the word.

For example, start by asking your kids to repeat and clap the word “cook”, then ask them what word they make when they add “ies” to the end of “cook”. When they figure out the answer, you can say and clap the word “cookies” together to reinforce the concept.

Another example is adding “er” to “toast” to create “toaster” or “er” to “crack” to make “cracker.”

Deleting a Syllable

If you want to take their syllable awareness skills to the next level, you can work on deleting a syllable from a word to form a new word. This will help them understand how deleting a syllable can change the word and its meaning.

Start with a multi-syllable word such as “rainbow”, and ask kids to take off the second syllable (“bow”). What is the new word? Say and clap the new word “rain”.

syllable activity word cards for the words rainbow, rain, and bow as an example of how to teach syllable awareness.

Here is an example with a non-compound word. Start with “dresser” and take off the “er”. The new word is “dress”

Change the Syllable

One of the most challenging syllable exercises involves exchanging syllables in words to create new words.

For example, start with the word “doghouse.” Ask your kids to change “dog” to “bird” and tell you the new word. You can then say and clap “birdhouse together.

You can do this exercise with non-compound words as well. For example, start with the word “dresser.” What is the new word when you change the “er” to “es”? The answer is “dresses.” After they figure out the new word, you can say and clap that word together with your kids to reinforce the concept.

a picture word card for dresser and dresses as an example of how to teach syllable awareness.

When to Use The Syllable Awareness Exercises?

Now that you understand how to teach syllable awareness with specific exercises, let’s talk about when to use the activities.

By incorporating these fun and interactive phonological awareness activities into your daily routine, your students will be on their way to developing strong syllable awareness skills in no time!

The good news is that it doesn’t take a lot of time to do these activities. The exercises are meant to be fun, quick, and playful. It’s easy to find a minute or two during your story time, circle time, class meeting, or during transitions for some fun wordplay.

Save Time with The Syllable Awareness Printables

I gave you lots of ideas for syllable activities for preschool kids. Do you need some help figuring out what words to use for the exercises? That’s where my printable Syllable Awareness Printables come into play. They will help you by giving details for daily syllable awareness exercises you can use with your kids.

How to teach syllable awareness

The printables include a sequence of daily exercises and even picture word cards. You’ll have everything you need to help your students develop strong syllable awareness skills, all while saving time and energy.

Purchase The Printables Today

Now that you know how to teach syllable awareness, I bet you are ready to get the printables and get started. You can purchase the Syllable Awareness Activity Set in the store. Click on the picture below to purchase them today.

syllable awareness activities - phonological awareness program

Purchase on TPT

Do you prefer to shop at Teachers Pay Teachers? You can also purchase the Syllable Awareness Activity Set in my TPT Store.

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