Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Exposing EV to phonics

I started exposing EV to what I had learnt at Jolly Phonics to help increase her awareness of letter sounds, and the way I did it was to include the Finger Phonics Books (complete set contains seven books) as one of her bedtime story books. I first started on the first group of letter sounds – s, a, t, i, p, n. Beginning slowly, I gradually introduced the six letter sounds in book 1 to her, as well as words associated with them, like ant, apple, snake and so on. Because this range of books was full of pictures, I also used it for a 'treasure hunt' game. I would name an item and ask her where it is. To help her, I would sometimes draw finger circles in the air around the item to draw her attention to it, or discreetly point to them. I would also use directional words like 'next to', 'under', 'above' to help her and expose her to such words at the same time. Gradually, she knew more words and could easily point out the items. I've also started showing book 2 to her.  Using letters from these two books, simple three-letter words can be made, like cat, hat, pen etc.

Though she did not seem to respond at first, after a while, she could identify the sound for 'T'. Outside, when I see things that she is familiar with, like c-a-t, I would break the word into their respective sounds, as a way to help her understand that words are made up of letters and their sounds. I would also sometimes write down the words and break them up to highlight the written word and its sounds to her. It may seem early to introduce phonics to EV, but my purpose is not for her to immediately know the phonics or know how to use phonics to blend words together. Rather, my aim is to expose her to it and to increase her phonemic awareness of letters and their sounds.

The Finger Phonics books also had raised letters for finger tracing. EV is still too young to trace the letters correctly. Again, I exposed her to it by showing her how the letter is traced, guide her to do it, then letting her do it on her own. Obviously, she can't follow it and her finger goes in all directions except the correct one. But I let her be, so that it becomes more of a fun game for her. She enjoys it and often reaches her finger to the raised letters, which shows me that she is enthusiastic about it, rather than put off by it.

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