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Last year I made a game for my daughter called Put Your Socks and Shoes On. It’s sooo easy to replicate, because all you need is construction paper and a pen.
Yesterday we brought the game out again and I’m happy to report that Jenna (3.5) was pretty much able to crush it.
The really exciting thing is that she can now say “J-am JAM!” and “S-am SAM!” instead of sounding out every single letter. That got me to thinking about:
When you don’t want kids to sound something out!
It’s really tricky. Teachers and parents give kids inordinate amounts of praise for sounding out letters. Thats good! (I’m not saying that’s bad.) But then it gets to the point where you want kids to stop sounding out every letter, and start reading the word for Pete’s sake!
That transition can be rather tricky.
Here are some tips to make that easier:
- Stop praising your child for sounding out every letter.
- Ask “Can you read that faster?”
- Use a visual to show the relationship between word families, and present that visual super fast. (See below.)
Kids with strong phonemic awareness to begin with, will make this transition faster. So try to incorporate rhyming as much as possible in the rest of your day.
Make your kid think you are just being goofy all the time. “We’re getting into the car/jar/tar/. We’re driving to the store/bore/tore. I’m making dinner/blinner/zinner.”
You can teach reading, when you aren’t even teaching reading!
Then when you come back to a game like this, your little reader will be ready to crush it too.
Sound Boxes are a wonderful ways to encourage phonemic awareness with young children. Here’s our latest Sound Box, for “mmmmm”. It was slim pickings around the house for this sound, let me tell you! But we finally found milk, a muffin and some monkeys. If could find a picture of myself I guess we could add mommy latter on.
We also got out the “t” box and decided to add Jenna’s toes, and Bruce’s tie. It’s so much fun to see how Jenna is learning her sounds! I need to get more tissue boxes that are the right size, so we can make more boxes.
Here is our “c/k” box, from a few months ago. The next sound on our list to make will be /p/.
Ta-ta-ta-TA! Here is our new /t/ sound box. We have a train, toothbrush, tube, tissue, tea and a teddy.
I should probably have put the /k/ box away when I introduced this one, because Jenna has instantly taken to playing with the two boxes together. This is a great discrimination activity, but she is still not quite ready for it. Jenna really likes to dump all of the objects onto the floor, and then put them back one by one. Her accuracy is only slightly better than 50/50 at this point, but it’s only been one day.
Here is a fun idea to teach phonemic awareness, and it doesn’t cost any money. Phonemic awareness is knowing what sounds begin words, and the ability to break words into their different sound parts. The strength of a child’s phonemic awareness, is one of the best predictors of his or her ability to learn to read.
Jenna and I put together this sound box for the /k/ sound, in under ten minutes. I used an old tissue box, and she helped me gather toys in the playroom that went inside. Here are some of the things we chose: carrot, caribener, compass, car, camera, cub and cookie. On one side of the box I put the letter “c”, and on the other side it says “k”. We made this box on Saturday, and will play with it a few days before we make our next box, for the sound /t/.