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

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 Game for Learning Letters

A bingo-type game for learning the names of letters was very popular. There were boards 6” x 6” with nine squares, each containing a letter. There was a pile of cards, face down, each containing one letter. A child would pick up a card, say the name of the letter, and place a poker chip or some marker over the letter if it was on his board. When these games were first made, one child would be the caller with the pile of cards. Well, why were some games so popular and why did some entail big arguments? Because no child could be a caller for others! That caused the rumpus. As soon as each child picked up her own card – peace!!! Live and learn! There was a rule that a letter could not be covered up without saying the name of it.

Read more about games and activities  in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success, beginning on page 49. 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

Grouping for Phonetic Ability

When I first heard that entering students were grouped for an intensive phonic program because they were the weakest in phonetic ability, I thought I had misunderstood. I hadn’t. Now, why wouldn’t one assume that a weakness in phonics at 5 or 6 years old – might be a child’s disability??? Might have very weak auditory skills. May have a disability with auditory skills. Many children learn well using a phonics approach but for some, it just doesn’t work and is not an appropriate program. They need a different approach.

See more about 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 Difficulties

Hello Teachers!

So many theories about how to teach reading!  Marilyn Adams wrote extensive details about identifying the characteristics of skilled readers concluding that good phonic instruction should be taught early and thoroughly.  And Frank Smith (1985) believes “The system of ‘phonics’ is both cumbersome and unreliable…” and “… is dysfunctional in fluent reading and interferes with learning to read.”  There’s a problem with each theory.  It is just right for some children and not at all beneficial for others.  And although there are similarities among children, each one is different.

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

   Teaching Young Children © Peggy Broadbent 2011 - All Rights Reserved