Monday, May 30, 2011

Intensive Phonics Part 2

I'll be adding some pictures a bit later, but wanted to get the plan up now (while I am organizing things). I always cover information in at least four ways with the kids. This covers there different learning styles, and allows me to reinforce information in fun and new ways.

Spines that influence the way I set up our curriculum
1. Uncovering the Logic of English by Denise Eide
2. Find the vawol: Read the Rime Learn to Read by Miriam Cherkes-Julkowski
3. Reading Horizons Intensive Phonics at Home

These two books are written for the parent/teacher to help you have a more foundational understanding of the reading process. Reading these two books before designing our curriculum was key in helping me to set things up.

The main four ways the kids learn reading/spelling through intensive phonics is 1) parent-led instruction, 2) computer-based instruction, 3) reinforcing DVD's/videos, 4) arts and crafts/games. Since I separate reading and writing, our main source of interaction is through communicating - I can tell if the children understand by their responses and interactions with me during our lessons. I also use magnetic boards. I have several sizes of magnetic boards - from lap boards to wall boards. I have tons of magnetic letters and hundreds of words.

Parent-led instruction:
Using the principles from my two spine books, I set about with certain activities we will do on a weekly basis. We will cover a minimum of 2 phonic rules a week. Weekly activity include:
1. Parent-led intensive phonics at home - one or more sections each week
2. Webber Phonological Awareness Photo Cards - these are flash card that deal with a unique set of phonological awareness (such as syllable deletion). These are really important for my dyslexic child
3. AlphaTales books - these are 26 books that focus on the different letters of the alphabet. They are neat stories that utilize a number of interesting words that start with the various letters
4. Starfall books - these are books to coincide with the various stories on the Starfall website.
5. Bob Books - we have the entire set and I like these because the children can use their phonic skills quite quickly to read the books. Mind you, the books are a bit boring, but they work for us.
6. Dr. Seuss books - Dr. Seuss books are AMAZING at reinforcing phonics. Especially with the made up words that coincide with phonetic skills. Just a great tool to use. I LOVE Dr. Seuss books!

 Computer-Based Instruction:
1. CD-ROM based intensive phonics at home (my eldest, age 5, enjoys this program a lot in this format)
2. Help Me 2 Learn Super Star Phonics CD-ROMS. We have the entire set, so they can do computer based activities based on what we are learning
3. Hear Builder Phonological Awareness CD-ROM - great for ear training, again necessary remediation for my dyslexic child
4. Starfall - a great free website that teaches phonics skills

 Reinforcing DVDs
1. Rock-N-Learn Phonics DVD - we may do this depending on our mood and if we need some reinforcement
2. Tad Letter Factory and Tad Word Factory DVDs - these videos are fun ways to reinforce things we are learning
3. Classic Electric Company DVDs - fun way to reinforce some of our learning
4. Word World - a great program for letter substitution

Arts and Crafts/Games
1. Wood and Card board letter decoration. We are starting with the alphabet and phonics associated with the different letters, then moving on to blends. Each new letter we do gets decorated as we discuss it's phonic sound(s), the role it plays in words (consonant or verb), what is special about it (like Q always needs a U after it or Y is sometime a noun and a verb).
2. Games on the magnetic board - like Hangman, Scrabble, etc.
3. Felts - I have quite a few nursery rhyme felt scenes, so if we are doing sounds that are common in a nursery rhyme I have felts for, we will act those out. I also have felt letters so they can write a word or sentence that has to do with the felt scene showing.
4. Rory's Story Cubes - these are nine dice with different pictures on each side of the dice. You pick how many dice you want the child to throw (the more dice you use, the harder the story to develop). We will start with one die and kids will have to try to come up with a story utilizing at least one word made up of the phonic rules we have learned.
5. Story development. Just to have some fun, we will sometimes take an object or even a painting and each child will make up a story around it. I love this as a way for them to utilize their language skills and expand their vocabulary.
6. Letter bead bracelets. There are times when they may want to learn to spell a particular word. Especially if it is a new word we learned during story telling or in science or from reading a new book. Instead of just telling them how to spell the word, we will spell it out with beads, then make a bracelet with the word spelled out. They can wear the bracelet around as they learn to spell and sound out the word. If we haven't gotten to the correct phonetic sounds yet, I will just tell them the rule and let them know we will learn about it more later. They will eventually have enough bracelets where they can wear messages on their arms. Also have necklace strings so they can create long words or even sentences to wear around their necks.
7. Painting and coloring based on different words we focused on while learning our phonic rules.

These are some of the things we do weekly. I want to keep things interesting and focus on the outcome of learning. Since my kids are at such different levels - intellectually working quite far above their ages, but also dealing with dyslexia and limits in fine motor skills based on age - we have to be creative. Hopefully things work, but if we need to try something different - we will do that too!

We will discuss Handwriting in my next posting

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