Getting Ready to Write - Part Three looks specifically at the phonological knowledge students need to write.
As I mentioned in Part One, students require a strong knowledge of letter sounds and names to be able to write independently. There are also other important factors that students need to know and acquire for writing, such as whole word knowledge, grammar and tense knowledge, sight words, fine motor development, etc. For this particular blog I will focus on, and provide more detailed information about the phoneme understanding students need to write.
Phoneme understanding is the knowledge of letter sounds and how these sounds work together to form words. This is the main focus in our New Entrant Literacy Programme.
Some letters are easy to learn, such as b and m, because they have one sound. Other letters such as c and g are not as straightforward because they have 2 or even more sounds linked to them. Out of the 45 sounds heard in English speech we start with one phoneme for each letter in the alphabet. These 26 letters/sounds are supported with songs, alliterative stories and pictures to help students hear, read, write and remember them. Students starting school in New Entrants begin straight away with hearing, saying, seeing and writing these phonemes. A new phoneme is focused on each day.
The Alphabet Cards show all the letters in the alphabet with pictures starting with that letter sound. For example the letter ‘a’ has a picture of ants on an apple. These cards are used everyday for reading and writing.
It’s hard with the crazy letters (c and k). The pictures and songs help.
I like the videos and songs. It’s easier to write with the Alphabet Card.
Students hear the phoneme on it’s own and then at the beginning of familiar words. Students repeat these words and try to think of other words starting with the same phoneme.
Students see the letter that makes that phoneme. The letter also has a picture representing that sound. We sing the phoneme song which links the sound with the letter name.
Students write the letter on whiteboards or paper after watching a demonstration on how to form it (refer to Getting Ready to Write - Part Two which looks specifically at the mechanics of handwriting).
It’s sometimes hard to remember all the sounds.
Throughout the day the current daily phoneme is linked to story books, in reading group sessions, within other curriculum areas and in natural conversations whenever possible. At the end of every school day we sing the phoneme song as we head out the door to waiting parents.
It’s fun practicing. I like the pictures and songs.
Fun ‘Can-do’ activities in class help students to remember phonemes.
Letter sound and picture matching.
Talk often with your child. You and other people your child interacts with regularly are their models. Use a range of words to name and describe things around you. Speak clearly so your child can hear all the sounds in your words.
Keywords: Letter Sounds, Phonemes, Phonological Knowledge, Writing, Reading, Oral Language
Curriculum Links: English
Key competencies: Thinking, Using Symbols and texts, Relating to others, Managing Self, Participating & Contributing