A Concentration Game for Learning Beginning Sounds

A simple concentration game was made with cards and stickers. A pack of plain cards were divided in half. Half the cards were made with a letter on each one and the other half with a picture of something, usually cut out of a beginning sounds workbook, which would begin with one of the letters. Two different stickers were found that went together, such as Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. Then Mickey Mouse was on the back of each letter card and Minnie Mouse on the back of each picture card. Then all cards were placed down with Minnie and Mickey facing up. A child would pick up a Minnie and a Mickey card to see if they matched. If so, she kept the cards and if not, replaced them. Another way cards were made was to use the same sticker on every card but the letter cards were a different color than the picture cards. So a child would pick up two cards, each a different color. The winner, of course, when all cards were gone, was the one with the most cards.

Read more about the reading programs along with games and activities in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success. Included is a web site where programs and activities can be downloaded for use in a classroom. Also, see 7 reviews on www.amazon.com

A Simple Game for Learning Beginning Sounds

After determining the number of sounds to be learned, using blank cards, a picture was pasted on each one. The pictures could be cut out of a beginning sounds workbook. In my combined first and second grade, beginning sounds were divided into three groups. Players could use one pack until proficient, then use the second pack, and finally the third one. However, as their skill increased two or three packs would be used for one game.

To play the game, each card in the pack was placed on a table or rug with the picture side up. A small marker, such as a lima bean, was placed on each card. During a child’s turn, she would point to the beginning sound of a picture on a card and if correct, would take the lima bean. Her play continued until she couldn’t remember any more. Then she counted her lima beans and marked her score on a piece of paper. Her beans were replaced on each blank card. While her partner took his turn, her attention was apt to be focused on his responses to try and remember more when it was her turn again. I’m retired now but my favorite classes were  combined first and second grades.   The first graders loved this game and chose to play it over and over again.

Read more about beginning reading programs in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success. Included is a web site where programs and activities can be downloaded for use in a classroom. Also, see 7 reviews on www.amazon.com

Reading Comprehension for Beginning Readers

After receiving three reading groups in my first year of teaching, I never used three groups again. The only ones with the most confidence were the top readers in the first group. Because in each group there were variations of ability all recognized by others.

I’m retired now but taught for many years. I developed a program where each child, in my combined first and second grades, had their own reading book and soon was able to choose which stories of interest to read. Good comprehension followed after also being exposed to understanding literature read to them and thinking about writing their own stories.

See my entry about this approach: http://peggybroadbent.com/blog/developing-comprehension-for-beginning-readers-91215.html

Learning Beginning Sounds Using Real Objects

In my combined first and second grade, a favorite game for beginning readers to learn initial sounds  was one using real objects. Cardboard trays were found at the supermarket and one tray was used for each consonant sound. Six or seven letters were used at a time. So for instance,  for letters b, s, t, l, r, m, and z, there were trays lined up, each one with one letter printed at the top of each tray. A Ziploc bag contained real objects that would start with one of the letters on a tray. So, in the bag there might be a pair of scissors, a block, a small package of macaroni, a dog bone, a toothbrush, a bell, a small replica of a menu, etc. Four or five objects for each tray were in the bag. As each object was taken out of the bag, the letter name and sound would be spoken and placed in the correct tray. After all the objects were placed, the child would pick up each one, name it, and place it back in the bag.

Read more about phonics games and the beginning reading programs in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success. Also, see 7 reviews on www.amazon.com

A Variety of Readers Learning to Read With or Without Phonics

In my combined first and second grade, each successful beginning reader after being offered materials and guidance and support, in one way or another, taught herself to read. She may have participated fully in all parts of the program offered, or perhaps only in part of the designed program with special attention unique from anything offered. But she, and every beginning reader, made choices along the way, perhaps unaware of making those choices, but choices never-the-less about how she learned to read. She chose to use phonics or avoided them because innately, she knew a better way.

Although there were commonalities among children, no two children learned in exactly the same way as indicated by the following:

  • Marie’s mother related the pediatrician’s comment that if a child had hearing problems during pre-school years when language was developing, the child would always have poor auditory skills. (And  I found this true with other non-phonics users.) Marie, a very bright child, attended an all-day kindergarten with much one-to-one teaching of phonics. Many classmates started to read – but not Marie. Her teacher said she couldn’t apply phonics. During first grade, Marie was a very dedicated reader often reading at Choice Time as well as Book Time – learning all phonics but never applying them to her reading. It wasn’t long before she broke-the-code and became an excellent student in all but complex spelling.
  • Seven-year-old Heinz, from Germany, was placed in my first grade instead of second because English was so new to him. At home, he had learned to read German. When he arrived in the United States the previous April however, his parents couldn’t convince him to learn English until they bought a book and tape from a favorite movie he had seen. In September he appeared to be speaking English fluently and reading at a 22 level. Did he learn with a phonics program? Unlikely. He finished both first and second grade in one year.
  • Jim, with a very low I.Q., only spent first grade with me. He learned phonics well and read many of the old basal books. Whenever I told him I’d help him find a more interesting book, he’d reject it saying he preferred the ones he had. He also broke-the-code and comprehended very well at his level in story books of interest.
  • Amy broke-the-code so quickly, that I couldn’t find enough time to teach the phonics before she broke-the-code. She learned them later. And she learned them just as fast and easily as she had learned to read.
  • Chase loved phonics. He arrived at a second pre-primer level, sounding out every letter of every new word as he had learned, such as s-s-s, tuh, eh, puh, hesitating before saying “step”. Good Heavens!!! First he had to remember his sounds and then translate those sounds before pronouncing “step” – and how could he ever become a smooth reader that way? So as he learned phonograms, he was helped to give up his old way as he learned to read well, relying heavily on a new phonetic approach.
  • Isaac entered second grade in late winter from another state. His records revealed on-grade-level reading in a basal program. He knew phonics well, including most phonograms. After finishing one reader after another, in a month he had broken-the-code and relished reading all kinds of novels.
  • Then there was Bernice, a multiply handicapped, low I.Q. student, fully mainstreamed from a special education class, functioning throughout, I’d guess, at a kindergarten level. We all helped her to read. She learned phonics and ended second grade reading comfortably in second grade readers or easy literature books. Reading was by far her greatest strength academically.

It was always hoped that during and after learning how to read, these choices allowed each child’s self-confidence to grow, leading to continued motivation, responsibility, and independence – and realizing the purposes for learning how to read and enjoying many different books, stories, and articles.

Read more about the reading programs in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success. Also, see 7 reviews on www.amazon.com

Beginning Readers’ Success

In my classroom, each successful beginning reader after being offered materials and guidance and support, in one way or another, taught herself to read. She may have participated fully in all parts of the program offered, or perhaps only in part of the designed program with special attention unique from anything offered. But she, and every beginning reader, made choices along the way, perhaps unaware of making those choices, but choices never-the-less about how she learned to read. She chose to use phonics or avoided them because innately, she knew a better way. It was always hoped that during and after learning how to read, these choices allowed her self-confidence to grow, leading to continued motivation, responsibility, and independence – that she knew the purposes for learning how to read and enjoyed many different books, stories, and articles.

Read more about programs for beginning reading in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success, beginning on page 38.  Also, see 7 reviews on www.amazon.com

Teaching Phonics With Phonograms

A phonics Reading Folder for each child was stapled inside a manila file folder with his name and Reading printed on the cover. Inside, the first page contained upper and lower case alphabet letters, the second page beginning sounds, two pages of phonograms, one page of consonant blends, and one page of nonsense words to see if what had been learned could be applied. Each section of each page had a readable and easily pronounceable code on the right.

On each of the two pages of phonograms, there were four sections with six phonograms in each. The beginning phonograms were rather simple, such as: at, up, ook, it, and, all - progressing to more complex phonograms, such as ell, ight, ould, en, ain, tion.

In the Book Center, there was a bookcase containing materials and games that corresponded to the codes in the reading folders. For instance, if a child was going to teach a section labeled with a triangle, a triangle would be on a shelf containing all the appropriate materials and games that would teach the phonograms in the triangle section of his folder. And each activity had a triangle printed on the outside of it, to be returned to the correct place. Some games would require two folder sections in order to have enough variety to play the game. In that case, on the outside of the game there might be, for instance, a triangle and an X, therefore, using both the triangle and the X phonograms. Children were usually free to choose which game or activity to use.

There were as many different activities as could be provided. For many years I made them myself. After becoming wiser, when asking for parent volunteers in September, I added one more – to make games and activities. They did not create them, only remade those that were worn out. Many sets of the same activity or game were made for each section, with variations in color and format.

Folder Time on Mondays through Thursdays included each child with a partner either to teach or be taught, or was in a group with me. No Folder Time on Fridays when there was a conference with each one. This recorded information was used to formulate partners and a group for the following week. Across the top of the grid were upper and lower case letters and each of the codes. So during a conference, the section of a child’s folder that was passed was checked in my record keeping and Good written in red across the code in the child’s folder. Then she and I knew exactly where she was. At first it might be a few weeks on one section, but before long, achievement became more rapid.

Read more about the Reading Folder in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success, on page 49. There is a web site included showing all materials and activities discussed in the book. The Reading Folder may be viewed in Appendix B and the folder may be printed for use in a classroom. Also, see 7 reviews on www.amazon.com

Making Choices About Learning to Read

In my combined first and second grade classes, each successful beginning reader after being offered materials and guidance and support, in one way or another, taught herself to read. She may have participated fully in all parts of the program offered, or perhaps only in part of the designed program with special attention unique from anything offered. But she and every beginning reader made choices along the way, perhaps unaware of making those choices but choices never-the-less about how she learned to read. She chose to use phonics or avoided them because innately, she knew a better way. It was always hoped that during and after learning how to read, these choices allowed her self-confidence to grow, leading to continued motivation, responsibility, and independence – that she knew the purposes for learning how to read and enjoyed many different books, stories, and articles.

See more about this in my book,  Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success. See 7 reviews on www.amazon.com

   Teaching Young Children © Peggy Broadbent 2011 - All Rights Reserved