Thursday, February 23, 2012

Learning Centers: Onsets and Rimes

A component of literacy development and reading instruction for young children involves the ability to break words into smaller units.  This skill falls under the umbrella of phonological awareness which is a broad term encompassing phonemes, rhymes, words, syllables and onsets and rimes.

An onset is the the initial consonant(s) sound of a syllable (the onset in the word cat is c-; of string, str-).  A rime is the part of a syllable from the first vowel onwards (the rime of cat is -at; of string, -ing).

In my first grade class I created a game for my students to deepen their understanding of onsets and rimes while having a bit of fun.

I made cards for each of the 49 common onsets and  37 common rimes, and gathered an hourglass timer, a spinner and some paper.  Students, working in teams or individually, spin to see if they will pick an onset card or a rime card.  Once a card is chosen, the timer is set and students write down as many words as they can that start with the selected onset (ch-, d-, etc.) or end with the rime shown on the card (-at, -ake, etc.).

It is fairly straightforward and simple but extremely engaging.

It can also be adjusted depending on students age and ability.  In kindergarten I generally include only onsets with one letter and simple rimes such as -at, -an, -it.  In first grade onsets include digraphs and blends while rimes include vowel teams and silent /e/ syllable types.

I have included a sample student sheet (click to embiggen) but it works just as well for students to use a blank piece of paper once they understand the task.



Ms.M said...

Nice game. My students have been working on this most of the year. I will have to make something similar. Although I think I would stick min in the pocket chart center.

I have a question for you. Do you loop with your students? I think I remember you mentioning last year that you were teaching Kinder and now your in First. Just curious.

Ms. M

Ms.M said...

Another question. Do you have your kids write down only real words or nonsense words too?

And I have to share that I did not know "embiggen" was a real word. I was pretty sure what it meant but looked it up anyway. So I learned something new today. :P

Ms. M

Gary said...

Ms. M. - Good memory! I did loop with this class and next year the plan is to teach kindergarten so I can loop again with that class.

For this game I do not allow the children to use nonsense words because that would be too easy and I'm not sure it would be purposeful.

As far as embiggen, I am not so sure it is a real word. Or at least it wasn't. I think it was a word made-up on The Simpsons and has since found its way into our lexicon.

Hilary said...

Clever you. Play time is the best way for wee ones to learn.

Embiggen has a certain Colbert-esque truthiness to it. ;)

Gary said...

Hilary - I have learned that you can call anything a game and children will show an interest, even cleaning up the classroom and such.


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