Building Successful Word Awareness Strategies

Word Awareness

There are six essential developmental levels of building a solid foundation for phonological awareness for students.  They are:

  • Word Awareness
  • Rhyme Awareness
  • Syllable Awareness
  • Rhyme Production
  • Phoneme Awareness
  • Phoneme Manipulation

On May 10, 2016 here on the blog, we discussed “Rhyme  Awareness and Production” with the Rhyme Time Set in the post “Why a Multisensory Approach” .  In this post, you’ll discover that each of the activity sets in “Building Great Spellers and Readers”  include strategies which build on each other, enhancing spelling and reading development. Phonemic Awareness was discussed in the “Understanding the Importance of the Alphabet beyond Pre-K and Kindergarten.” post.  Please refer to these posts to stay informed with the details of these 3 levels of building a solid foundation for phonological awareness.

Seeing as we have extensively discussed “Phoneme Awareness” and “Rhyme Production & Awareness” levels, the natural step forward in developing a solid foundation in phonological awareness would be to discuss “Word Awareness” using the “Word Building Activity Set”.

This post details the importance of “Word Awareness” as one part of the six developmental levels of building a solid phonological awareness foundation for students.

There are many “spelling” activities that focus on primarily on the visual learning pathway, neglecting the auditory and kinesthetic learning pathways, which sadly leads to memorization of letters in words instead of actual decoding of the words. As a result, students become great memorizers instead of great decoders.  However, with the “Word Building Activity Set”, a student’s “Word Awareness” is greatly improved because the activities included in the “Word Building Activity Set” allow students to use all three learning modalities: auditory, visual and kinesthetic.

While a student who memorizes words is seemingly on par with a student who actually decodes words, when the student who memorizes words encounters a word they don’t know how to read or spell, they will struggle with decoding it visually (seeing the spelling patterns of the word) and/or auditorily (ability to break apart the sounds in a word individually) while a student who “decodes” words will easily read or spell words they are not necessarily familiar with.

To build a solid foundation in spelling and reading, it is pertinent that the student is properly grounded through explicit teachings.  This means we are essentially teaching our students to THINK about what they are spelling and reading by using important strategies.  These strategies help to sharpen their spelling and reading abilities in the long run.

The earlier we begin teaching our students about the proper ways to spelling and read the better!!  Early intervention is always best!  I’m talking about starting as early as Pre-K explicitly introducing multi-sensory strategies for letter/sound correspondence and building on these strategies for spelling and reading through at least 2nd Grade.  As a result, we would be developing better writers, THINKers, and problem solvers.

All of the activities in the “Word Building Activity Set” , as well as the other products in my TpT store, have been developed with this purpose in mind.

So…Ready…Set…Here’s a LOOK into the Word Building Activities included in this set:

I developed the SLAP! phonological word building activity in 2015 in a bid to help improve the phonological awareness activities in our curriculum by making them a little more engaging.  And by engaging, I mean on a Multi-Sensory level.  SLAP! helps to develop spelling and reading patterns for your students and is a simple basis for many activities in word building.

SLAP! quickly became one of my students’ favorites!  And quite unsurprisingly, too, because SLAP! has a rather simple concept.  In as much as SLAP! is simple to grasp, it does, however, manage to provide a much deeper understanding of sounds within words for students.

Here is how SLAP! works:

Using one of the 12-word lists provided, students will build a word, putting letters to match the sounds they hear in the initial, medial and final positions of the word.  Each word in the word lists changes by one sound.

Students un-blend the new word by listening for the one sound they need to change in order to create the new word.  When they have added, switched, or changed a sound to create the new word, they hit the “SLAP!” card and hands go in their lap.

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There are several options for playing SLAP! which can be redesigned for children or students on their different learning levels.  I use SLAP! with my Pre-K – 4th grade students and have since experienced massive progress in their spelling and reading success.







It is noteworthy to state that when I incorporated the “Magnetic Write-on & Wipe-off Dice” from Really Good Stuff, SLAP! as a means of learning became even more fun and engaging.  The goal of the “Word Building Activity Set” is to engage the student on a multi-sensory level while using fun as a means of teaching.


One of the most important things toward the spelling and reading development of your child or student(s) is keeping them active in learning throughout the year.  Whatever program, curriculum or activity you choose, make sure it is explicitly teaching your child to THINK about the sounds and letters attached to those sounds using an engaging Multi-Sensory method for optimal application of strategies taught.

The “Building Great Spellers & Readers” Bundle includes the SLAP! activities and many more activities for all the six developmental levels for building a solid foundation for spelling, reading and writing.  Through this process, students are not limited to just memorizing the words, but truly being able to decode unfamiliar words.

Click HERE to take a closer look at this bundle.


I am confident that purchasing the “Building Great Spellers & Readers” bundle  will be both be fun and enriching for your students or child as they grow in their spelling and reading skills.

If you have any questions, helpful product suggestions or requests, please email me at

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Have a great week,


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  1. Pingback: Understanding Dyslexia – Part One | Turning Around Dyslexia

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