Wednesday, November 12, 2008

DARTS: Teaching Sounds

Researchers have discovered what separates strong readers and writers from those who struggle: it's the ability to HEAR the SOUNDS in words. The kids who can accurately tell you the sounds in words will find reading and writing much easier than those who can't.

For example, if you ask a child to tell you the sounds in word "lake" kids who will become good readers will be able to say its three sounds: /l/ /ay/ /k/.

Kids headed for difficulty will say something less, perhaps the whole word, "lake" or maybe just two bits of it: /l/ /ake/.

Luckily, this is a skill that can be taught.

The trick is finding ways to practice the skill (it's called phoneme segmentation) that are fun and that get the body involved.

Today I asked volunteers to come to the front and throw darts at the dart board while saying the sounds of words as they tossed the darts.

Here are ten practice words to do at home:

mop /m/ /o/ /p/

late /l/ /ay/ /t/

mouse /m/ /ou/ /s/

eight /ay/ /t/

red /r/ /e/ /d/

ink /i/ ng/ /k/

time /t/ /igh/ /m/

count /k/ /ou/ /n/ /t/

knee /n/ /ee/

bees /b/ /ee/ /z/

More to come later.


vickie said...

where are teachers like you, this looks like an awesome activity and one i might try at your blog. our son is having some problems focusing and working on his own in his learning centers and i'm on the warpath gathering information, at the moment i'm looking for teachers pov.

Dan Gurney, Mr. Kindergarten said...

Thank you. Teachers who think about seeing the world from a child's point of view aren't that hard to find, but male kindergarten teachers are rare, about 2 in 100 or something like that. Too bad. About 50 of 100 kindergartners happen to be boys.

I wish, however, we could throw darts just to throw darts. Seems everything has to have an "educational" purpose these days.