Thursday, March 21, 2013

Guest Blogger: Fun Phoneme Sound Mats FREEBIE

 My family is having a "staycation" for spring break, and it is a good thing! The stomach bug made its unwelcome arrival into our home last weekend. I was the last to succumb, for which I am grateful because everyone else was on the mend when I got sick. With that said, I am so thankful for the chicken soup in the freezer and for guest bloggers!  Please welcome my good bloggy friend, Andrea, from Reading Toward the Stars who is pinch-hitting for me today. I hope to be back over the weekend!

Hello, everyone!  It's Andrea, and I am visiting Lauren's blog from Reading Toward the Stars!  So glad to be here and can't wait to show you a little bit of my world!

Like Lauren, I am a reading specialist.  I currently work with struggling readers in grades K-3, but I have worked with students in grades K-6.  One of the things I love to do with students is to help them manipulate phonemes in words.  This helps them to think about the sounds they hear in the words and gain a better understanding of words.

When I started teaching students who struggled in reading, I used plain old Elknonin boxes (squares) with counters.  These worked, but the kids got bored with them.  They do enjoy "pushing the sounds" as we call it.  Then I started to make my own cuter boxes for the seasons, and the kids go wild!  Here are the spring ones!  {Click on any picture to grab a freebie.}
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So, how do I use these?  I actually use them in different ways.  I start out with just counters.  I use either flat marbles or cute erasers.  At Christmas time I used bells.  This makes it more interesting.  I call out a word, and the students "push" the sounds as they hear them.  Then we read the word together, focusing on that left to right progression.  Here is a picture of what that looks like.  I gave the student the word "hop", and she pushed each phoneme to make the word, saying /h/ /o/ /p/ as she pushed each star up.
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After the students have a grasp on segmenting the sounds, I venture into word families and letters.  The two boxes would be the onset (first sound) and rime (word family) that students would have to segment.  We manipulate the sounds by changing out the onsets and rimes to make new words.

Right now I am using the three boxes with some groups for them to find the letters to go in the blanks.  Once we have a word, we manipulate various sounds to make new words.  {I didn't think I would need the arrow for the first graders this late in the year, but it came in handy for a couple who still want to do everything right to left.}  Here is an example.

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I gave the word "fat"

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Then I said "fit".
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Then I called out "pit".
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Then we finished with "pin".
The kids always enjoy doing this, and it leads to many other opportunities to work with words.  There is a great article about using Elkonin boxes in different ways here at Reading Rockets.  There are many things you can do with students to help them blend and segment words.

This is a strategy that is not just for the struggling reader, but for every beginning reader.  As students work in the long vowels with silent e, they are great to show what the word is without the e and with the e.  The four boxes are great for those beginning and ending blends to for students to hear those sounds.  Many times those n and m ending blends are hard to hear.  "Pushing the sounds" helps them to actually focus on the sounds of the words and place them in the words.

I hope this helps in your endeavors with readers.  I find that my students are more aware of the words they are reading and spelling when we do these activities.  I even do these with my third graders, and they enjoy it!

Head on over to my blog and see what other reading ideas you can "grab" while you are there!

And a big THANK YOU to Lauren for letting me invade her blog for a while!

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