The Riccarton Phonological Awareness Programme for four and five year-olds

18th April 1997 at 01:00
The authors of this programme are Lesley Baillie, speech and language therapist (Dean Park Clinic, Balerno) Valerie Connolly, senior teacher, Primary 1 (Riccarton Primary) Caroline Ronald, Primary 1 class teacher (Riccarton Primary) Pam Greig, headteacher's relief teacher Pl-3 and learning support teacher (Abercorn Primary) Janet Hunter, learning support teacher (Riccarton and Abercorn Primary Schools) Susan Thomson, deputy headteacher (Riccarton Primary School)


Use basic kit below and activities on card with all children for the first two terms.

Posters alphabet, nursery rhymes.

Frieze alphabet.

Books nursery rhymes, alphabet books, big books which encourage "interactive reading", for instance, repetitive, rhyming and other patterned language.

Tapes rap and song tapes, alphabet tape, nursery rhyme tape.

Games tongue twisters, three bags full (both from Living and Learning), Snap and Lotto for rhyming and alliteration.

Phonic aids alphabet flash cards, Ginn Phonics Bank, Sound Beginnings box (from LDA), foam and plastic letters (upper and lower case), magnetic board for plastic letters.

Other sand, play dough.

Cards outlining suitable activities, listed below.



* Use rhymes, especially traditional nursery rhymes, for: memorising and reciting; spotting deliberate mistakes; dramatising; making a book of favourite rhymes; * make displays of pictures or objects which rhyme.

* tape children reciting.

* make own variations of well-known rhymes.

* adapt or invent rhymes, songs or raps to include children's names.

* organise games such as: playground clapping games games in gym with direction changes when a rhyming word changes; Identifying rhyming objects in a "feely bag" or tray; guessing games clued by rhyme, for instance, "I'm thinking of something that rhymes with bat"; "I packed my suitcase" game with objects that rhyme, for instance hat, bat, cat.


adapt rhyming activities to use for alliteration, such as: * Making a sound book; * displaying pictures or objects that alliterate; * alliterating upbeat words with children's names, for instance "Super Sally"; * "I packed my suitcase and took a ball, a book, a bat"; then extend to "a blue ball, a big book"; * sort objectspictures into alliterating sets; * play I spy, Kim's Game, Snap and Lotto.


* play circle games in which: children claptap a pattern round the circle; children claptap syllables of own and others' names and guess names from clapped syllables; objects are placed in the middle, child chooses one and claps its name, others guess it; * play same games with feely bag; * clap and sort pictures by numbers of syllables - place inside hoops with ballscounters indicating number of syllables.



When children can recognise initial sounds, this research-based multi-sensory approach using the findings of B Blachman helps them link sounds with letter-patterns. Wait until children are confident of each step before moving on.

For steps 1-4 each child needs a picture of a letter box with a horizontal space where he or she can place up to four counters in a row. A "wee hand" at the left-hand side points to the starting place.

1 Give out three counters to each child. On the command of "Post your letters" children place the counters in line. The teacher then gives a three-letter word starting with a sound which can be drawn out, for instance, sun, hat, zip. Children to repeat it (a) at normal speed, (b) in slow motion, for instance, s...u...n, while pointing to the counters to represent the individual sounds. Give lots of examples, later introducing words starting b,c,d,g,k,p,t which are difficult to stretch out but can be repeated instead, for instance, b-b-b-b...u...n.

2 Repeat Step 1, using four counters to represent four-letter words, such as hand.

3 Make cardboard disc printed with the vowel "a". Continue as before, using a disc instead of middle counter and choosing rhyming words, for instance, cat, mat, sat.

4 Exchange final counter for disc printed with the consonant t. Repeat procedure.

Can children see the words that rhyme?

5 On blackboard write the rime at several times.

Ask children to add various initial letters to make words; talk about the words. ( In a one-syllable word, "onset" is the part before the vowel, and "rime" is the rest.) 6 Repeat with different rimes, for instance, ig, ip, an, ot.

7 Make cardboard wheels, one smaller than the other, pinned at the centre.

Write onsets (such as m,b,h,f,s, r) on outer wheel and rime (such as at) on inner wheel. Children rotate inner wheel to make different words and write them down.

8 Write consonant plus vowel on a cardboard tube, and final consonant on another cardboard tube pushed inside. Use in the same way as the wheels. Introduce double final consonants (for instance, him, hid, hip, hill).


After two terms, identify those children you feel need further support, and assess using following activities: RHYMING

* choosing and reciting a familiar rhyme.

* supplying missing words in rhyme recited by teacher.

* recognising rhyme in pictures, for instance, matching pictures of mouse and house.


* identifying initial sound of three alliterating words.

* supplying another word beginning with sound you are alliterating.


* clapping own name (after hearing teacher clap hishers).

* clapping someone else's name.


For children who need further help, the project provides a highly structured six-week programme (45 minutes two to three times a week) for groups of four to five children, with individual follow-up as required. This focuses on the three areas covered by the assessment using activities such as those from the first two terms, broken down into small steps which can be built up gradually.

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