Wordplay: Phoneme Manipulation

Build Phonemic Awareness
Whole Group/Small Group
Building Readers' Word Recognition


The teacher conducts phonemic awareness activities at the sound wall to manipulate phonemes of familiar words to reinforce decoding skills and gather informal data on student understanding.

Key Take-aways

  • Phonemic awareness activities are a part of daily phonics instructional practice across subject areas.
  • Engage in multimodal strategies, using visual and auditory supports.
  • Exposing students to a variety of wordplay activities supports building word consciousness and a word-rich culture in our classrooms.


Dr. Ken Kunz: In this video, we witnessed the magic unfold as a dedicated teacher gathers a group of enthusiastic students near the sound wall. The importance is clear. These interactive exercises not only make learning enjoyable but also lay the groundwork for a robust foundation in language. 

Teacher: Right now, we are going to play with the words that we just used before when we were sitting down. Okay. We’re going to add some, some sounds. We’re take some sounds away. We’re going to rhyme some of those words. Find rhyming words that go together. Okay? Okay. All right. 

Teacher: First one, I’m going to give you the word it. Let’s add the sound /b/ in front of it. What’s that? What’s the new word that we get? Everybody. 

Student(s): Bit. 

Teacher: Good. Let’s add the sound /m/ in front of it. What do we get? 

Student(s): Mit.

Teacher: Good. Let’s add the sound /s/ in front of it. 

Student(s): Sit. 

Teacher: Good. Excellent. 

Dr. Ken Kunz: As we reflect on the practices in this video, we see it as important that students have the opportunity for repetition, manipulating sounds and sound patterns.