Phonological awareness includes learning to break words down into syllables, to identify combined phoneme sounds, to identify words with similar and dissimilar sounds, to blend or split segmented sounds, and to manipulate sounds by changing letters in words and thereby creating new words. I use word games to teach phonological awareness (see my blog post from 1/27/18 for a more complete description of phonemic and phonological awareness). All of my reading programs include word games to help children understand and identify vowel sounds in words. Word games are just another approach for teaching phonemic and phonological awareness to the students. My word games include vowel-clustered flash cards, letter tiles for spelling, complete the sentence games, and add a letter/take away a letter type games to enhance reading ability.
One of my most successful and popular word games is called Match the Sound. This game is played with word walls at a bulletin board, or on a table, or even on the floor. Match the Sound is simply another teaching method used to strengthen phonemic and phonological awareness. Where some children learn best by practicing words in a puppet play, other children respond best to the game approach. We absolutely never include competition in our word games, and we do not offer extrinsic prizes or rewards. We play the game as a team, and we play the game for the fun and enjoyment of playing a game together. We work together; there are no winners or losers.
At my Reading Orienteering Club after-school program, we turned the bulletin boards into word walls. The children would take turns reading a word out loud and then matching the word to its vowel sound on the word wall. This was just another approach for helping children learn how to practice letter sounds, read new words, and spell. Again, the words were always presented in vowel clusters and correct manuscript style writing and formation of letters was emphasized. This helped the children to identify the different vowel sounds and to be able to read what they had written. The 4-steps (see my blog post from 2/14/18 for a description of the 4-step procedure) help them learn each new word. The children were not told that they had missed the word; instead, children were told that the word was tricky. As a team, they then used the 4-steps to capture the word and learn the new word. Correct manuscript handwriting style was also encouraged (see my blog post from 4/12/18 for the importance of handwriting when teaching reading).