Sunday, April 10, 2011

Phonemic Awareness

language, language, language
In the Montessori curriculum, we go through a specific sequence to teach reading and writing.  Prior to this a lot of work happens.  We need to prepare the child for reading.  When we detect a child is in their sensitive period for language (more on that in another post) we will begin this process.  (Only when the child is ready, never force the child to engage in a work if they are not ready.) We need to teach the child what sounds the letters make.  In Montessori, we begin with the concrete then slowly move to the abstract. 

Something you can do at home is to help your child learn sounds.  You can use printed letters, refridgerator magnets or whatever you have on hand.  (We use the Sandpaper Letters) Choose two letters that differ in sound and in form.  I like to begin with b and m as these phonemes are also the first sounds a baby learns when speaking.

Try to get 4-6 small objects that begin with these sounds and put them in a basket.  This could be done on the floor or on a table.  Present the first letter and make the sound that goes with it being careful to not emphasize the 'uh' at the end too much.  Repeat with the second letter.  (You are saying the sound, not the name of the letter.) Choose an object out of the basket and say it's name.  Place it in front of one letter and repeat the sound, then the name of the object, exaggerating a bit on the first sound.  For example, take out the banana.  Say "banana" then hold it under the 'm' and say 'm' then "banana."  Shake your head 'no' and place bananas under 'b'.  Say "banana" then 'b'.  Shake head yes and repeat so your child can hear the 'b' sound in banana. 

Continue until they are all done.  Ask your child if they would like a turn. 

(Example:  for M= microphone, monkey, money, marble, moon and mouse  B= banana, bear, basket, bike and bird)

If so, clean up objects, carefully placing them in the basket before your child begins.  If your child shows an interest in this, you could also point out things in your home that start with those sounds throughout the week.  Follow your child's lead, don't move on from these letters too quickly but also don't stay too long or they will lose interest. 

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