Before the Thanksgiving Break, I attended a DCPS workshop on Phonemic Awareness. It was actually a pretty good workshop that I found useful and wanted to share.
--Now, before I get into the strategies and tools that were given, I have to slightly digress on a related topic. I signed up for this workshop because I knew that I needed some re-certification hours. To cut a long story short, I had all kinds of issues with obtaining my certification; I had re-cert hours but they ended up not counting, so I accidentally wasted a year getting no hours. I figured it wasn't a big deal. How many hours could I possibly need for re-certification? 30? 60? NO. 90 HOURS in 5 years! I almost fell to the floor. Without taking a graduate class (and spending moo-lah), that's nearly impossible for me to do, especially since I only have 4 years, and the DCPS professional development workshops are only 2-3 hours. Yeesh. I'm going to be spending a lot of afternoons in workshops.--
OK, back to the topic at hand. This workshop was really interesting, because a lot of the teachers that were attending taught higher level elementary, middle or high school. Most of these teachers were a bit in the dark about how to teach reading, since most of that happens in the younger years. Unfortunately, a lot of older children really need help with the basics even as they get older. I was sooo pleased to see that the Montessori curriculum follows exactly what all of the current research is recommending. Maria was just so ahead of her time!
So, for those who are Montessorians, phonemic awareness is basically the idea that words are made up of sounds. Generally, we teach this through sound games. This workshop gave me some ideas of sound game extensions. So, here are my recommendations and steps for phonemic awareness with some new suggestions all in the Montessori realm.
Sound games can start on the first day of school for a 2 or 3 year old! Start by taking sound game objects and emphasize the first sound. "This is an apple. Let's listen to the first sound that you hear when I say the word, apple. Aaaaaple. Aaaaple. A- A- A Apple. Aaaah is the first sound that I hear when I say apple."
Once the child has mastery of the first sound, move on to the last sound.
Finally, work on the middle sound.
*I had a conversation with My Boys Teacher about the sequencing of sound games and sandpaper letters that I think would be helpful here. Once the child has mastered the first sound, sound games and sandpaper letters can overlap. At least, that is what I tend to do. If anyone has any other suggestions feel free to put it in the comments*
During circle time, I like to do a lot of "I Spy" and I always recommend it for parents to play at home because it's SO easy and can be done anywhere! "I spy with my little eye, something that begins with the sound..."
This technique could be used after the child is familiar with all of the sounds. I find that some children have difficulty hearing all of the sounds in a word, particularly if it is a long word. Sometimes I will see this difficulty rise when the child is working with the moveable alphabet. In this case, I tend to go back to my sound objects. This exercise could easily be worked with sound objects.
With your non-dominant hand, raise a finger as you sound out each sound of a word. For example, Ladder. L (from left to right, raise one finger) A (next finger) D (next finger) R (next finger). Invite the child to sound out an object. (For a challenge, try to to pick one with more than three sounds!) I practiced this today with some of my five year olds who are having difficulty blending four letter words in reading. It was neat to see the connections that they made as they distinguished between words that had three sounds and four sounds.
"Which Objects Which Sounds"
OK, I'll be honest, this is something that I do on occasion, and I totally just made that name up. I use this children who are having difficulty "hearing" words when they begin reading. In other words, for the child who says "c-a-t" over and over again, without hearing CAT.
Take three sound objects. "I'm going to sound out one of these objects. Which one is it? fff-oh--ks." Repeat with many objects. I also invite the child to sound out objects so I can guess. I've had success with this game in the past, but it really isn't necessary for every child.
Again, this is a fun game for second or third year students. This tends to be the age where children can find some humor in what they are learning. I tried this with my third years today, and once they got it, they thought it was fun. This is something that I might add into a circle-time game for older children.
In this game, take a sound away from a word to create or new one, or add a sound to create a new one. For example, "What do you get if you put a "s" in front of the word "mile"?" Watch tiny faces mouth out s-mile, smmmile, SMILE! Another example, "What do you get if you take away "f" from "feast". Pause. Pause. EAST!
Well, I hope that these suggestions give you some new ideas for freshening up your sound games. Phonemic awareness (ie- sound games) is an incredibly important component of reading. Even more important is that each child learns and grows differently. I think it's great to have an arsenal of strategies that can be used individually as needed. I don't think that it's necessary to play every sound game ever created, but it sure helps to have an idea when you need it!
1 day ago