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Onset-Rime Practice Through Brain Breaks

In the summer of 2020, I began working with a pre-k student on his early literacy foundational skills. Before we advanced to learning letter names and sounds, we spent a lot of time working on reading/discussing the parts of picture books (title, author, cover, back cover, illustrations, etc.). In addition, we played a lot of games and did activities to build phonological awareness (word awareness, nursery rhymes, clapping syllables, and blending onset-rime). After a few sessions, I began to incorporate movement into our lessons and saw increased engagement. For example, a favorite game to play was blending onset-rime combined with acting out actions, emotions, and activities.

Teacher segments onset-rime and says: /j/ /og/

Student blends onset-rime and performs the action: jog

Teacher segments onset-rime and says: /h/ /appy/

Student blends onset-rime and acts out the emotion: happy

I have found this activity to be a great way to work on phonological skills with little ones but also fun for bigger kids who appreciate the chance to take a movement break.

I created these 40 colorful onset-rime brain break cards with the purpose of having a variety of actions that I can pull out at various times throughout the day in class or a small group or individual session.

Click on the above link or the image below to check them out:

These cards can be used in a variety of ways for a variety of purposes:

Activity suggestions:

  • Use cards as a transition/ short fill-in activity

  • Brain breaks throughout the day

  • Use for short physical/exercise breaks (indoors/outdoors)

  • Cover the onset-rime and show the picture and let students say the 1) onset-rime 2) blend 3) do the action

  • Use the emotion cards to talk about and act out

  • Use for ESL

What other ways can you use these activities?

Be creative and have fun!

Important terms:

Brain Break- Small mental breaks that are designed to relieve working memory and re-focus attention.

Working memory- Short term ability to hold on to information while the mind is busy with another task.

Onset- Onset is the initial phonological unit of any word (consonant sound or consonant cluster).

Rime- Rime is the string of letters that follow the onset (vowel and consonant sound that comes after the onset). ex. in the word dog, the consonant sound /d/ is the onset and /og/ is the rime - blending onset and rime you get dog. Onset-rime practice builds awareness of word parts.

Onset-rime practice builds word awareness and falls under the umbrella of phonological awareness an early literacy skill that is critical to hearing word parts.


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