Recommendations to Foster Phonics Knowledge (page 3)
Many of these suggestions provide effective ways to teach students to recognize and pronounce consonants in isolation or in single words. However, for phonics instruction to be effective, students must transfer their knowledge of consonant letter sounds to the act of decoding. One way to help students do this is to first provide direct instruction in the consonant letter sounds to be learned and then give students substantial practice in the act of reading. As each consonant sound is taught, you should provide short, easy sentences and/or stories for students to read. You may create these sentences or stories yourself, have the students assist you in their development through language-experience activities (see the Introduction), or use commercial materials that have been designed for this purpose. Students may need to read these sentences and stories over and over to master their phonics skills. The use of contextual material is essential because you want students to use context clues to assist them as they are learning phonics. You also want to be sure that students understand that the purpose of your instruction is to aid them in decoding so that they can obtain meaning from printed words.
There are many methods of teaching phonic elements. One typical procedure for teaching a consonant letter sound follows:
- Develop awareness of hearing the sound.
Say, “Listen to these words. Each of them begins with the b sound. Circle the b in each word on your paper as you hear the sound. Ball.... bat.... base.... banana....”
- Develop awareness of seeing the grapheme (letter or letters) that stands for the sound.
Tell students to circle all of the words in a passage that begin with b.
- Provide practice in saying words with the b sound.
Pronounce each word and have students pronounce it after you: “Big, bad, baseball, basket, beach. . . .”
- Provide practice in blending the b sound with common word families or phonograms.
Teach or use several phonograms with which students are already familiar, such as -ake and -and. Put the b in one column, the phonogram in a second column, and the two combined in a third column as follows:
b ake bake
b and band
b at bat
b ig big
b ike bike
and so on. Instruct students to say b (either the letter name or the sound /b/), then the phonogram (the sound represented by the letters in the phonogram, such as /at/), and then the word formed by the two, /bat/.
- Ask students to help you make a list of some words that begin with b. Ask students to say each word with you as you write it. You may then have the students themselves write the same words (on paper, small chalkboards, white boards, or magic slates) and say them as they write them.
- Provide practice in reading b words. Present sentences, paragraphs, or simple stories that have a number of b words in them for the students to read. If the students can read only a few words, you can use illustrations (or rebuses), if necessary, instead of the other words.
The following activities will also assist students in learning the consonant sounds:
A. If the student does not know a great many of the initial consonants, consonant clusters, vowels, vowel teams, and special letter combinations, use a phonogram list.
B. Construct flash cards on which a word that uses a consonant is shown along with a picture illustrating that word, such as b in ball or c in cat. On the opposite side of the flash card, print the letter only. This can be used as the student progresses in ability.
C. Put the consonant letters on 3 x 3 cards. Divide these cards into groups of 10 each. Lay out separate groups of letters, so the student can see all 10 at once. As you call the sounds of letters, or as they are played from a tape recording, have the student pick up the correct card to match the sound of the letter. As there are fewer words to observe—that is, after some have already been picked up—you will need to speed up the rate at which you pronounce the remaining words. The following timing seems to work well: pronounce the first word, wait 7 seconds; pronounce the second word and wait 7 seconds again; then 6, 6, 5, 5, 4, 4, and 3 seconds. Many students are unable to manipulate the cards in less time than this.D. Tape-record words and have the students write the letter that stands for the beginning, ending, or both beginning and ending sounds of these words. See the following example:
Directions: As you hear a word called on the tape, write the letter that begins the word. (Tape script says, “Number one is come, number two is dog,” and so on.)E. Use the same system as in item D. Instead of having students write letters they hear, have them pick up the card that matches the beginning or ending letter they hear in the words.
F. Put various consonant letters on the board or in a pocket chart and have the students make lists of words that begin with these letters.
G. Record the consonant letters with their sounds and let students hear these as many times as is necessary. They should, however, have a chart they can follow to see the letters as they hear the sound.
H. Use charts that are available commercially for teaching consonants. Tapes that give the proper pronunciation of the consonant sounds are also available.I. Use commercially prepared games or computer software designed to teach consonants and the application of consonant sounds in decoding.
© ______ 2009, Allyn & Bacon, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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