February 12th, 2007
This year we are commiting to having a major focus on phonics. With two beginner readers and older children who still need to improve their spelling it is rather a timely commitment. We are quite excited about this really and looking forward to seeing the results come to fruition.
In the past the children have learnt their sounds via flash cards which have served a purpose to a point. The point being that several have learnt to read and read fluently. However once we have mastered reading we tend to ‘drop’ the rest of the sounds so therefore have never progressed through all the phonetical sounds in the program. Now my belief is that the program is an aid to the goal, the goal being ‘to read’. So once said goal was acheived we stopped. I am now re-visiting my previous position with the strong realisation that all of my readers need help with their spelling. So always being one to combine children and needs where I can all the children are learning/re-learning their phonetical sounds.
I also like to be able to achieve a goal in the most economical way of my time, so I looked around for a more interesting way to present phonic sounds to several children at a time. My eyes alighted on the hundred chart we have hanging on our wall. It is a great chart put out by the education department back in the 50s or 60s. The numbers of one to hundred are printed onto an upholstery canvas within a grid. After visiting upholsteries in town with the idea of buying the canvas and painting the sounds on my self I came to the realisation that I would have to find another way. The upholstery canvas was not a product marketed anymore. There were other products but being the thrifty soul that I am they were not options.
I then took myself off to our local ‘cheap’ shop Crazy Clarks and purchased a painter’s canvas for $7!! My idea was to paint the sounds on it. When I took it home and explained my ideas to Prince Charming he was able to suggest easier methods again. I typed up all the sounds into Excel and Prince Charming sized and fit grids to match my canvas. When they were printed out I taped the sounds onto the back of the canvas so I could see them through, with a permanent marker I traced over the printed sounds and viola! I had my hanging chart.
I went a little further and printed out a further two sets, one in a different colour ink. I then laminated all three sets, keeping one set intact I then cut up the other two sets, including the one of different colour ink. We can now play games with these as well, sound bingo, memory, go fish etc.
Of a morning we now have a quick run through the sounds using the chart and later when all the sounds are more familiar we have some games awaiting. When spelling the children also have a visual aid.