Phoneme Substitution

The high quality, colorful worksheets designed to engage children in fun and stimulating phonics and phonemic awareness activities are available to be purchased here along with the Children Learning Reading Program

Worksheets For Phoneme Substitution Activities

The Children Learning Reading program is so effective because it concentrates on the development of phonemic awareness in your child. A key activity in phonemic awareness development is the skill of phoneme substitution.

By using high quality phoneme substitution worksheets you will be able to assist your child in developing this very important skill. The worksheets are fun and will stimulate learning. They are available when you place an order for the Children Learning Reading program.

What Is Phoneme Substitution?

If you have read other pages of this website you will know how important phonemic awareness is in the development of your child’s reading skills. Your child will be a very proficient reader if they have good phonemic awareness and phoneme substitution is a skill that they will need to be a really proficient reader.

Phoneme substitution is where a word is transformed into a new word simply by changing any of its phonemes or sounds. As an example of this we will use the word “SAND”.

  • If the initial /s/ phoneme is replaced by a /h/ phoneme then the word changes to “HAND”
  • If the final /d/ phoneme is replaced by a /k/ phoneme then the word changes to “SANK”
  • If the second /a/ phoneme is replaced by an /e/ phoneme then the word changes to “SEND”

In all of these examples we have substituted one phoneme for another and the word has completely changed.

When your child is proficient at phoneme substitution they will have advanced in their literacy development as well as general language. Phoneme substitution can be quite challenging for young children so patience is required.

You may find that it takes your child quite a long time to provide the right answer when challenged with phoneme substitution. This is OK as they will become more proficient at it with some constant practice.

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It is best to start with the first and last sounds of a word. It is going to be more difficult for your child to substitute sounds that are in the middle of words. Once they are confident with first and last substitution then you can slowly introduce changing the sounds in the middle of words.

Phoneme substitution should be practised once your child has a good grasp of the phonemes of the different letters. If you try to do this before then they are likely to find this really difficult and you do not want them to give up on their reading.

Teach your child phoneme identification and isolation before moving on to phoneme substitution as this will help them. They should be proficient in both these activities first so that they will approach phoneme substitution with confidence.

The short video below shows Jim Yang using a phoneme substitution worksheet with his 3 year old son Ethan.

Phonemic Substitution Teaching Example

It is a good idea to use letter cards for phoneme substitution teaching. First you will use the cards to spell out a word like “cat”. Tell your child that the word is /c/, /a/, /t/ “caatt”. Ask your child to sound out the word with you and give them praise for doing this.

Tell them that you are now going to change one of the letters and that you want them to let you know what the new word is. The original word was “caatt” and now you can change the /c/ to an /s/ or “sss”.

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Ask your child what the new word is. If the child has difficulty with this then ask them to sound out the letters with you. Do this slowly at first and then say it fast so that they can understand that the word is now “sssaatt” and not “caatt”.

Once your child has got the hang of this use other letters such as /h/, /m/ and /b/ to make the words “hat”, “mat” and “bat”. It is important that you concentrate on substituting initial sounds first before you move on to other areas.

Now you can move on to substitute the last letters in the word. Start back with “cat” and change the /t/ for an /p/. Explain that the original word was “caatt” and you have changed the /t/ for a /p/. Ask your child what the new word is. When they say the word “cap” congratulate them on getting this right.

Try other last letter substitutions such as “bin” changing to “big” and then to “bit”. It is very important that your child has mastered the last sound substitution exercise before you attempt to move on to the next stage.

Now it is time to try middle sound substitutions. Start with a word like “big” and tell your child that you are going to change the middle sound to /a/. So we started with “biiig” and ask them what word it has now changed to. When they say “baaag” or “bag” congratulate them again for getting this right.

Try different middle phoneme substitution until your child is confident with this. You can use “top” and “tip”, “bug” and “beg”, “pat” and “put” and so on. After your child has become proficient at middle phoneme substitution do more substitution exercises varying them from first, middle and last letters.

You can add fun to phonemic substitution exercises by using a train scenario like we did with the phoneme isolation training. This time you will have a train set or pictures of a train engine and carriages and place the letters on these different parts.

Then you can remove the first letter from the engine and substitute it for another to change the word. You can tell your child that the train has stopped and the only way that it will go again is if they tell you what the new word says.

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Worksheets For Phonemic Substitution Activities

As with all of the high quality worksheets there are full instructions and they can be easily printed out.

The worksheets contain engaging and fun phoneme substitution exercises that will help to develop your child’s proficiency in this area. Each task will be a little more challenging and will demand a little more thought.

To obtain your high quality phone substitution worksheets you can order them with the Children Learning Reading program by using this link.

Children Learning Reading is a proven reading program that will help you teach your child how to read effectively in only 12 weeks.

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2 Replies to “Phoneme Substitution”

  1. YEONHWA AHN says:

    I purchased your program, but I wonder did I fully download or not…
    I would like to check and compare with my files, but I don’t know how to access your programs again…
    Would you help me?


    Yeonhwa Ahn

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