Pyramid of Potential






Games to Play to Become Aware of Sounds 






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October 30, 2014


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Games to Play to Become Aware of Sounds


Excerpt From "The Roadmap From Reading Failure to Success" 

By Kathy Johnson, MS Ed

To be published December, 2014



Most people when young, process words and phrases all at once. They rarely play with sounds, unless someone plays directly with them. Suddenly they are in school and the teacher says, if I say "Kuh" "aaa"  "tuh" and you put those sounds together, what word does it make? Some children may understand, yet others may find this very frustrating, because they had never played with sounds before. Play the following games to help with this!


I Spy


You may have played this with colors - I spy with my little eye something blue. The players then guess what it is by looking around the room for something blue. If the children you are working with don't know how to play with sounds yet, use a small number of objects or pictures. Start with 3 pictures - perhaps of a cat, a dog, and a mouse. Name them out loud so that they know what words you are using. Then say, "I spy with my little eye something that starts with the sound 'mmmm'. Is it cat or dog or mmmmouse?" Be sure to give it away since this is their first time doing it, and you want them to be successful!


Play it again and again. You can also find words that end with a certain sound as well.


It doesn't belong here


Using objects or pictures, the students have to find the one that does not start with the same sound as the others. For example, you could have a bat, a banana, a ball and a deck of cards. Have them listen closely for the one that starts differently. Make sure that the different one is not always last, although I have put it here for convenience. Other words:

  • Man, mouse, marble, potato
  • Shell, ship, shark, lobster
  • Dirt, dart, dark, market

Rhyme it!


Rhyming might seem easy to you, but for some people, it is not a game they understand. It actually has to be taught. You will once again start with pictures or objects. Work with 3 or 4 at a time; only 1 of them does not rhyme.


Make this a guessing game, so if the students get the answer wrong, there is no penalty. Say, "Here are some made up words. Can you guess which word does not belong?"

  • gan, lan, san, binton
  • jid, sid, brable, fid
  • sorbie, wev, kev, dev

Play these games daily, and in only a matter of a couple weeks, the students understand about sounds! Have fun!





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Did You Know?
Phonological and Phonemic Awareness

What the problem looks like

A kid's perspective: What this feels like to me

Children will usually express their frustration and difficulties in a general way, with statements like "I hate reading!" or "This is stupid!". But if they could, this is how kids might describe how difficulties with phonological or phonemic awareness affect their reading:

  • I don't know any words that rhyme with cat.
  • What do you mean when you say, "What sounds are in the word brush?"
  • I'm not sure how many syllables are in my name.
  • I don't know what sounds are the same in bit and hit.
A parent's perspective: What I see at home


Here are some clues for parents that a child may have problems with phonological or phonemic awareness:

  • She has difficulty thinking of rhyming words for a simple word like cat (such as rat or bat).
  • She doesn't show interest in language play, word games, or rhyming.
A teacher's perspective: What I see in the classroom

Here are some clues for teachers that a student may have problems with phonological or phonemic awareness:

  • She doesn't correctly complete blending activities; for example, put together sounds /k/ /i/ /ck/ to make the word kick.
  • He doesn't correctly complete phoneme substitution activities; for example, change the /m/ in mate to /cr/ in order to make crate.
  • He has a hard time telling how many syllables there are in the word paper.
  • He has difficulty with rhyming, syllabication, or spelling a new word by its sound.


To find out more about Phonological and Phonemic Awareness and how to help, follow this link:



In This Issue
Take a Look!
Video of the Week
Solving Auditory Processing Problems
Solving Auditory Processing Problems
Kathy Johnson describes the steps involved in overcoming auditory processing difficulties to be able to read.
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Bob Johnson

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It is now time to set up your professional development at your school - Kathy is available for many dates this Fall! Call now to secure YOUR date!


Below are the upcoming workshops that Kathy Johnson is giving. If she is not coming to your area, why not hire her for your next professional development?


Kathy Johnson is speaking at the following conferences. More information can be found at

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"Maybe We Should Teach the Way They Learn"
Tuesday, November 11, 2014 

New York, NY



"Supporting ALL Diverse Learners in the Classroom"
Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Coconut Creek, FL



"Towards Successful Inclusive Classroom Environments"
Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 12:00pm through 

Monday, February 9, 2015 at 5:30pm
Teaneck, NJ



Monday, December 08, 2014 in BUFFALO, NY 
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** Early Registration Prices Available Until 11/18/2014 **

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 in ROCHESTER, NY 
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** Early Registration Prices Available Until 11/19/2014 **

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 in SYRACUSE, NY 
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015 in MERRILLVILLE, IN 
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** Early Registration Prices Available Until 1/8/2015 **

Thursday, January 29, 2015 in FORT WAYNE, IN 
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Friday, January 30, 2015 in CARMEL, IN 
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015 in MISSOULA, MT 
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** Early Registration Prices Available Until 2/5/2015 **

Thursday, February 26, 2015 in BUTTE, MT 
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** Early Registration Prices Available Until 2/6/2015 **



If you aren't near any of these on-site professional development conferences, consider the following:


Dyslexia, Dyscalculia & Dysgraphia: An Integrated Approach   Price: $169.99  Author: Kathy Johnson, MS Ed.  Format: DVD



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