Friday, July 10, 2015

Summer Skills Building: Phonics

Today's post continues our occasional summer series on fun ways to build academic skills during the summer.

It’s hard to blame kids when they groan at yet another phonics worksheet. Workbooks can be important skill builders, but they’re not the only way to reinforce phonics skills. Make it fun (especially in summer!), and kids will argue when it’s time to stop instead of when you ask them to start! One way to do this is with a nearly endlessly adaptable game we developed called Phonics Toss.

You can set this up to practice with lots of different phonics skills, but we’ll imagine you want your child to practice the long a sound for the sake of this explanation.

  • several sheets of paper and a marker
  • something to toss that won’t roll, such as a poker chip, a coin, or a popsicle stick
  • a roll of masking tape (optional)
  • a list of words. You can also make up words as you play!
  • Isolate whichever sounds you want the player(s) to focus on. (See the end of this post for some more suggestions if you’re not sure where to start.) There are three primary ways to spell the long a sound in words, so write “ay,” “ai,” and “a_e” in large letters on separate sheets of paper. Lay them on the floor.
  • Optional: designate a line or make one with masking tape so no one gets too close to the letters when throwing.
  • If there are multiple players, ask them to decorate their marker somehow. They can draw on a popsicle stick, choose a sticker to place on a coin or poker chip, etc.

The adult should start each round by saying, “The 'a' sound in” and then saying a word with a long a sound such as “chain,” “state,” or “play.” Staying behind the line, players should toss their marker at the paper with the correct letters on it. Markers that land on the correct paper earn a point. The adult in charge can offer a reward if a certain number of points are reached, or eliminate scoring to play for fun.

Other Sounds and Letters to Practice (in order of difficulty):
  • Number of syllables (for this one, write numbers on the papers instead of letters)
  • Initial sound (e.g. words that start with f, g, or h)
  • Rhyming words (instead of writing letters, draw simple pictures on the papers like a cat, a man, and a sad face and call words that rhyme with “cat,” “man,” and “sad”)
  • Digraphs (e.g. /sh/, /th/, and /ch/)
  • Short vowel comparisons (e.g. short e versus short i)
  • Short vowels versus long vowels (e.g. short o versus long o)
  • All long vowel spellings (like our example above, but with e, i, o, and u)

No comments:

Post a Comment