Counting Syllables – Phonological Awareness Skills

Phonological Awareness Skills
Counting Syllables

Phonological awareness skills are a range of abilities which underpin literacy development. A child with strong phonological awareness is able to manipulate and play with the sounds in words. Some of these skills include:

● Hearing and counting syllables in a word
● Identifying rhyming words and producing rhyming pairs
● Identifying the first and last sounds in words. For example; ‘cat’ starts with the ‘k’ sound and ‘fish’ ends with the ‘shh’ sound.
● Breaking words into sounds. For example; ‘cat’ is ‘k’ – ‘a’ – ‘t’.
● Blending words together to make sounds, such as ‘m’ – ‘oo’ – ‘n’ to make ‘moon’.

Children begin to pick up and learn these skills in preschool and kindergarten. Children who have more trouble learning to read and spell often have underlying issues with their phonological awareness skills. Further, research shows that children who currently have or have had in the past speech and language delays often have less developed phonological awareness skills. This series of blog posts will give you some practical strategies and activities to help your child learn some of these new skills and give them a great start to their formal education.

Counting Syllables
This is one of the earliest phonological awareness skills that children learn. Breaking words into beats or syllables is the first step towards being able to ‘sound out’ a word.

Here are a few quick activities you can do at home to strengthen your child’s ability to hear and count syllables and to build their phonological awareness skills:

1. Collect a group of objects or toys from around the house. Using your lap or table as a drum, beat out the syllables in each of the object’s name. For example; ‘aeroplane’ would be ‘ae-ro-plane’, 3 beats. Sort the objects by number of syllables.

2. Set your child a mission to find a word with the MOST syllables. Can they find a word with more than 4 syllables? More than 5? You can do this by looking for long words in books, or looking for long words on your shopping list.

3. Count the syllables in the names of family members. Find out which family member has the longest name with the most syllables. You could do first names only at first and as your child becomes more confident, include last and even middle names!

Have fun counting out the beats in words as you watch your child learn important new skills.

Speech pathologists work with children to strengthen their ability to hear and manipulate the sounds in words. If you’re concerned about your child’s phonological awareness skills, book an appointment at Newcastle Speech Pathology today. Alternatively, you can drop into one of our free coffee consults to discuss the issue further. Check out our Facebook page for more information.

If you would like more strategies for building your child’s phonological awareness skills, you can check out our blog post about rhyming

Written by Bec
Speech Pathologist
Newcastle Speech Pathology