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Showing posts from September, 2017

Using Children's Names to Teach the Alphabet

How does one begin to teach children the alphabet principle that 26 letters in the English alphabet represent about 44 sounds? The alphabet principle is the foundation of phonics. Phonics teaches children that our English language is reliable and predictable in reading and spelling.
To make the alphabet principle comprehensible to students we purposefully teach children to notice letters around them. Children usually first notice letters by seeing their name in print. A good strategy to help children focus on the initial letter in their name is to write their name in black letters with the initial letter written in a different bold color such as red. This also helps isolate the initial sound of their name and quickly used to make a connection with a letter and its sound.JulieAs a whole class, you can sort the names based on their first letter,  and how many letters are in each name.  You can also play games with the names.  You can have each child hold his name, then call out letters a…

Spelling the (s) Sound

There are many ways to spell the (s) sound. Beginning readers first learn that there are 2 ways to spell (s). One way is with s. Another way is with ss.

Watch this quick video on how to teach this concept to your students.



So we learned that initial and medial (s) is spelled with s. Final (s) after a short vowel is spelled ss.

S has 2 Sounds

Did you know that the letter s has 2 sounds? Yes, it's true. S can make the sound (s) and also make the sound (z).

For students to become successful readers they need to know the English rules that govern reading. Watch this video to learn how to teach readers the 2 sounds of s and when to use which sound.


So we have learned that initial s is pronounced (s) as in sat, and s after a short vowel is pronounced (z) as in is.

Segmenting Sounds with Beads Activity

Being able to manipulate sound in a spoken word, known as a phonological awareness skill, is absolutely necessary for a beginner reader to be successful in reading.

Sometimes students need a visual that they can manipulate to help them segment a word.  Being able to see and touch sounds is very important for visual and tactile learners. It makes the abstractness of reading more concrete.

I use a piece of pipe cleaner also known as a flexible fuzzy stick which can be found in the art and craft area of a store. I also use small beads that have a hole in the middle of them. I string about 6 beads per pipe cleaner. You can always use less, like 3, when working with very young readers. You can either tie the ends together, so students won't be tempted to remove the beads, or leave it untied.
Below is an example of how to use this concrete representation to segment sounds.

Teacher: Today we will segment the word dog into each of its sounds. For every sound you hear in the word dog, move…

Elkonin Boxes

Elkonin or sound boxes are used in phonological awareness activities as a visual to segment and blend. Elkonin boxes can be used to segment and blend words in a sentence, syllables in a word, or sounds in word.

I made a quick video to demonstrate how to use Elkonin boxes to segment and blend sounds in a word.


Rhyming Words Visual

Phonological awareness, the ability to manipulate sound, is one of the most important skills a student must have to become a successful reader.  One of the sub-skills of phonological awareness is the ability to recognize rhyming words.

Teaching students about rhyming words, can be easier if you use a visual representation.


This is how I explain rhyming words to students.
Rhyming words are like these two rectangles. The first part of each rectangle is different. The last part of each rectangle is the same. Rhyming words end with the same sound. Rhyming words can begin with different sounds, but the last part of rhyming words end with the same sound.