Teaching Ideas

Teaching initial sounds

Submitted by Susan (10-10-2012)

Hi everyone,

I have to teach initial sounds in grade Prep. I intend to use flash cards (from our K-3 website) as learning prop. For example with the focus letter b, we can have bubbles, ball, bear etc. I am just wondering do we spell and sound the list of words we have came up with a b sound?

I am a bit hazy, given that we have one letter focused per week. I am planning to make a word wall with all the initial sounds, where students and myself will add to the word list.

We will also have craft and songs and fun science activities with each letter sound. Can you please advice me how you go with teaching initial sounds?

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What others are saying...

Karen Roberts (10-10-2012)

I use the Jolly Phonics program, which introduces the 26 sounds of the alphabet and then another 16 sounds that young readers and spellers need to get started with their literacy learning. I started using it in 2010 after teaching other methods for the past 30 years and am convinced that it is the best way to introduce early literacy.


Laura (10-10-2012)

I'm surprised that you are only teaching one letter sound a week. Is this part of the curriculum, or something that you just decided to do? (Just curious).

I think children that age are capable of 3 sounds per week or more (I taught 3-5 sounds per week). We basically learned one sound, did typical activities to reinforce the sound. The next day we reviewed the previous day's sound and then added a new sound (on hindsight, I might do 3 sounds per week, allowing for absent children to catch up, etc). The goal being that they know all the alphabetical sounds by the end of the semester.

However, I would also do the alphabet in a certain recommended order, which add on to the previous letters, and teach reading during the first week!

Example: Week 1 Letters: s,a,t - by the end of the week students can read and spell/write words such as sat & at.
Week 2 Letters: i, p, n - bulding on the previous weeks lettes, we now have, it, pat, tap, pin, pat, sip, etc.

You get the idea. I hope this is the sort of thing you were looking for, if not, well I hope it helped someone :) I used the Jolly Phonics system of letter sound learning, which is where my order came from, but other professionals recommend similar orders, etc.

If you'd like to know more, feel free to email: cobs1(at)hotmail.com

Good Luck!!!


Anonymous (10-10-2012)

I use Letterland. I find this a great way to introduce letter sounds. I have one letter focus per week. The lesson starts off with a story about the letterland character e.g A=Annie apple. There is then a song taught with the sound. The students then brainstorm words that start with that letter and a craft activity for the character. I did this last year and found it was fantastic and enjoyable for the students (and teachers :)


Ann Foster (10-10-2012)

Hi,
I am of the same mind as the previous writer. Children love to learn sounds and progress rapidly. I would introduce 3-5 sounds per week. I would also have a pack of letter cards that have been taught. Flash these cards each day to consolidate the sounds and letters taught.
Make certain that you are also following a well structured phonological and phonemic awareness program.

Good luck


Sandra (10-10-2012)

I think the 'Ants in the Apple' program is great for teaching initial sounds as it is fun and after singing the song there is worksheets to cement the sound that you are teaching that week.


Anonymous (10-10-2012)

I used Letterland for many years however the school I work at recently adopted the Diana Rigg program. She uses flash cards for sight recognition and also has a strong focus on the formation of the sounds eg what does the mouth look like? Where is the tongue and teeth? I find this very effective for children who are mispronouncing their sounds. Also very good for ESL students. This program appears to have a similar order to Jolly Phonics for introducing initial sounds, which means we can begin blending sounds to make CVC words earlier. I had a lot of success with this program last year!


Susan (WA) (10-10-2012)

Hi Susan, not sure what 'Prep' is but I teach 4-5 yr olds. We don't start teaching intial sounds until week 5 as our students need this time to settle into class and a routine. We teach 1 sound a week for the first 6 sounds (using Diana Rigg) as they have very little pre literacy skills when they come to us. Then we teach 2 a week.

I use a combination of songs and art plus use of small group work to work on the sounds (how they look/sound, write word walls, find them in my modelled writing, use of flash cards (Diana Rigg) and stories)

When they have learnt 6 or more sounds we start using literacy centres (2 per group) using playdough to make letters, writing, sound bingo, etc.

Good luck


Anonymous (10-10-2012)

We have started Zoo-phonics with the whole school. Zoo-phonics introduces each letter with a character and a character name and action. This way of learning helps the children who need to move around, gives visual cues as well as the phonetical sound of the letter. Have a look at Zoo-phonics, it may be something that your whole school can get involved in. Even the Stage three students liked the dancing....


poppet (10-10-2012)

We have linked our news into initial sounds as well, where each news group bring in an item which begins with the initial sound of the week (Kindy - 4 year olds) or the day (prep - 5 year olds). We found this makes news more interesting, and also encourages discussion of initial sounds at home, reinforcing what we are learning at school.


Rhonda (10-10-2012)

Our Prep Term One reading initially explores the link between oral and written language. The first four weeks are devoted solely to reading readiness as well as the principles of whole language.

The remaining weeks of the term include phonics skills (initial consonants 2 each week) and sight word learning. Separate phonemic awareness lessons will continue. An individual home sight word program will be implemented in week 5. There is a strong link between literature, language and literacy.

Focussed teaching:

Phonemic awareness 4 x 20 mins weekly
Phonics 4 x 30 mins weekly (Initial sounds Term 1 & 2)
Sight words daily practice + individual weekly assessments
Daily literature experiences

Phonics groups:

2 groups based on knowledge of alphabet and letter names. Those children with severe language delays will be participating in an intensive oral language program at this time with SEP staff.

Group 1: phonics booklet
Group 2: craft and oral language Alternate following day.

During early term 2, the children will be assessed for levelled reading groups.

Home programs:

Phonics scrapbook is sent home. Rhymes sent home weekly to be pasted in and shared.

Sight words book is sent home to be returned each Friday for assessments. New list if you can read the last one!

The order we use for phonics is:
a m p s i f d r
Revision and testing
o g l h u c
Revision and testing

Term 2
b m k v e w j p y x q z
Revision and testing

It seems rather traditional but it is balanced with lots of literature, whole language etc.

I am implementing phonics a lot earlier than usual, but we have new school targets to meet!


Luke (10-10-2012)

I have only taught grade 1/2 (last year was my first year of teaching) but the song "ants on the apple" is great for introducing the basic letter sounds - it goes to tune of "skip to my lou" and goes "ants on the apple a - a - a, balls are bouncing b - b - b" etc..


Joanna (10-10-2012)

I agree with the above comment. Jolly Phonics is a great program for receptions. My class is learning 5 sounds in the week.


Mo (10-10-2012)

As a beginning teacher and needing direction, I found after 4 years in Preprimary Jolly Phonics is still the best program on which to base your phonics learning. I have worked in three different schools and I was relieved to see two out of three used this program and sent me on PD!

The children love the actions and characters in the books and it is similar to lots of the other programs in terms of which letters you look at first.


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