Printable Phonemic Manipulation Words List [PDF Included]

Last Updated on August 7, 2023 by Editorial Team

Every word we read or write is a culmination of different sounds, and each of these individual sounds is known as a phoneme, the smallest unit of sounds of speech. By learning these unique sounds and how to blend them, one can become proficient in reading and writing. That’s why it’s important to teach little kids how to identify and say phoneme sounds and enhance their phonemic awareness skills so they can learn to read and take their first steps toward language development. 

But phonemic awareness is not just about learning letter sounds. It is more than that! It involves multiple levels, like phoneme isolation, blending, segmentation, and phonemic manipulation, which we will discuss today. Plus, we will share an extensive word list that can be used to practice phoneme manipulation. Having a list of words at hand means not wasting time looking for words and getting straight to teaching and practicing phoneme manipulation. 

What is phonemic manipulation? 

Phonemic or phoneme manipulation is basically playing with phoneme sounds to form new words. To give you an instance, if we change /r/ to /p/ in ‘rat,’ we get the word ‘pat.’ And this is what phoneme manipulation is all about. Changing or varying different phoneme sounds in a word to come up with a totally new word with a different meaning. 

But where does phoneme manipulation stand in the pyramid of phonemic awareness? Unlike segmenting a word into its component phonemes and blending phonemes to form words, phoneme manipulation is a tough nut to crack for early language learners. And so it finds a place high up in the phonemic awareness pyramid. 

Kids often have a hard time learning manipulation because it requires them to fulfill a set of steps to arrive at the answer. They must begin by holding individual phoneme sounds in their working memory, then manipulate and blend the new set of phonemes to finally come up with the new word. This requires ample practice before kids can actually master the technique of phoneme manipulation. 

Why do kids need to learn phoneme manipulation?

Learning phoneme manipulation is necessary for kids because it gives them the power to understand word structure, decode words into sounds, and use their letter-sound knowledge to read words and, in the future, sentences. We know that to become a good reader, one must develop accuracy, fluency, and speed. These three aspects are taken care of as students develop a firm hold on phoneme manipulation. 

Unless a student learns how to decode words and manipulate phonemes effectively, all their energy is spent trying to break down the words. Therefore, they have little to no time to comprehend the text. By polishing the critical skill of phoneme manipulation, a child can effortlessly recognize known words and decode new words, making the reading process exciting and enjoyable. 

Types of phoneme manipulation

Coming to types, phoneme manipulation is divided into three types – addition, deletion, and substitution. You can begin by teaching phoneme addition, which is comparatively easy to master, then move on to deletion and finally to substitution. Let’s see what these types mean in detail. 

1. Phoneme addition

This manipulation strategy involves adding a phoneme to a word in order to form a new word. For example, adding the phoneme /b/ to the word ‘at’ can turn it into a completely new word – ‘ bat.’

2. Phoneme deletion

Similarly, when you delete a phoneme from a word to generate a new word, it is known as phoneme deletion. An example of this type of manipulation would be deleting the phoneme /d/ from the word ‘card’ to get ‘car.’

3. Phoneme substitution

This type of manipulation is a two-step process in which one must delete an existing phoneme in a word and then add another to reveal the new term. So, when we say – “substitute the final phoneme /p/ with /d/ in the word ‘map,'” the student must first delete the /p/, replace it with /d/, and then blend the words together to read ‘mad.’ Complex steps like these challenge kids and make phonemic substitution the most difficult concept to learn.

Before you begin with manipulation lessons, it is a good idea to ascertain if your students are ready for it. Generally, kids who have perfected segmentation and blending can start with phoneme manipulation right away. But that does not mean you cannot introduce this concept to learners at other levels. Just make sure to take it slow, and if you see it is overwhelming for some students, you may want to give it a pause before they master the easy concepts.

Phonemic manipulation words list 

Phoneme addition word list

ox —> boxat —> matus —> busink —> rinkate —> gate
owl —> howlill —> billpill —> spillpit —> spitmile —> smile
lobe —> globepear —> spearlow —> glowsee —> seedten —> tent
bee —> beedtea —> teamart —> cartfar —> farmpart —> party
lash —> flashlip —> sliptar —> startop —> stopoil —> soil
for —> fortcap —> clapmall —> smallit —> kitdrop —> droop
train —> strainrind —> grindnose —> noiseclam —> clampplane —> planet

Phoneme deletion word list

rash —> ashfarm —> armgate —> atetape —> apethink —> ink
pant —> antseat —> eatthat —> attable —> ableblow —> low
clap —> lapbeach —> eachskit —> kitshelf —> elflaunch —> lunch
sit —> itthank —> tankblast —> lastthink —> thinbranch —> ranch
cat —> atran —> ansand —> andcard —> cardash —> ash
train —> rainstand —> sandbark —> arkband —> badcant —> cat
bend —> bedrice —> icefang —> fanpin —> inshop —> hop

Phoneme substitution word list

bat —> catbake —> lakefall —> tallmat —> patrun —> sun
sub —> tubbed —> fedbelt —> felthotel —> motelden —> pen
men —> henmet —> petjet —> lethit —> pitvet —> wet
sing —> wingcook —> bookpit —> sitman —> fannew —> few
hot —> potnap —> capnail —> maillake —> cakemale —> sale
lift —> gifthack —> sackmouse —> housetoy —> boybook —> hook
fox —> boxtell —> bellroad —> toadnut —> butsave —> wave
fix —> foxhut —> hotson —> sunbug —> mugjog —> jug
mug —> mudbad —> bathad —> hatcan —> cabhut —> hug
pit —> pigwin —> wigran —> ratwash —> waspfork —> fort

Wrapping up,

Phonemic manipulation is a core skill for amplifying a person’s reading abilities. That makes it a non-negotiable when it comes to teaching little kids to become better readers. By supporting early readers to develop phonemic manipulation, we can improve their overall phonemic awareness. Teachers often use apps and online resources like websites to instill phonemic awareness in their students. While those are all great resources, giving kids the opportunity to try hands-on activities for phonemic awareness and manipulation can positively influence their reading proficiency. So, don’t wait any longer. Grab your free copy of the phonemic manipulation word list today!

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