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Jump Up and Clap! Phonemic Awareness Classroom Activity

girl with missing tooth, about to clap her hands together

From Reading Connections: Strategies for Teaching Students with Visual Impairments by Cheryl Kamei-Hannan and Leila Ansari Ricci

Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate the individual units of sound, or phonemes, in words. It is an essential component of successful reading. To teach phonemic awareness effectively, teachers of students with visual impairments should first understand their students’ strengths and weaknesses in this area of reading. Various types of assessments can guide how educators will teach reading to their students who are visually impaired, including screening, diagnostic, and progress monitoring tools.

cover of Reading Connections

After determining students’ strengths and needs in the area of phonemic awareness, teachers can use a variety of activities to teach phonemic awareness skills. The AFB Press book Reading Connections: Strategies for Teaching Students with Visual Impairments features many instructional routines for building the phonemic skills required for successful reading. Here is a sample:

Jump Up and Clap!

Goal: to develop phoneme identification skills

Additional skills: to develop oral language and tactile/motor skills

Materials: A clear area that is big enough to move around freely, chairs, and a word list. This activity is fun to do in small groups.

Ask students to sit in the chairs. Tell them that when they hear a word that ends with the sound /p/, they should stand up quickly and clap. For example, say the word “jump.” The students should stand up and clap. Repeat with the words “up” and “clap”. Intersperse additional words that have different final endings. Students should remain seated until they hear words ending with /p/.

Variation: This activity can be done with initial and final letter sounds.

For more classroom reading activities, read Reading Connections: Strategies for Teaching Students with Visual Impairments, available from the AFB Store at

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