Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Teaching Phonics

I have now taught two children how to read using the same method. It was a method that engaged all the senses. We used the phonograms from Spell to Write and Read but I added visual and physical components.

In the Kindergarten year, I mainly concentrated on visual and physical aspects of the sounds. We covered the first 26 phonograms which are a to z. I made pictures such as the one below to engage them in the visual aspect of the letter.

You see the letter "S" in the shape of the swan. The key/trigger words for this phonogram were swan and was since the phonogram s has two sounds "s" and "z." For the letter "s" we would hiss like a snake. I got most of my ideas for physical movements from the DVD Leappad Letter Factory. I used this book to get some ideas for pictures:

This was a great book for Kindergarten and just looking at and learning the letters. We spent a lot of time playing with the sounds.

In first grade, I found that it is nice to make things a little more formal. We did a letter a week because we don't do blocks in a block you would want to do a letter a day. We had a fairy tale, sound(s), picture, physical movement and key word(s) for each letter. We covered the consonants, vowels and a few multi-letter phonograms. My goal for this year was to have my child become familiar with the sounds and know them well.
A guide I made to help you match up fairy tales to letters:

In second grade, we speed up the process doing sometimes up to 4 or 5 letters a week but when we get to the multi-letter phonograms we slow those down to 1 a week. We again use the pictures, physical movements, sounds, key words but this time we use Aesop's Fables. I also spend time dictating words letter sound by letter sound for the child to write down and decode. It is around this time after the 7-year change and the child's 8th birthday that I have found everything clicks and the child is ready to read.
All the other stuff I have tried--workbooks, phonics programs, etc. have not worked like all of this has. I think that this sort of gentle whole body phonics experience really helps guide a child into reading.
I hope this enhances and helps in your experience in teaching reading.

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