Learning to spell..with my mouth??

So it’s time to learn to sound out words for spelling.  At first, it can be quite a daunting task for a little one.

Here is one trick I have found that helps with little children, or older kids who are having trouble sounding words out… It sounds complicated but give it a go.  Just having something tangible for them to focus on can really help.

First things first, go back a step.  Talk about how different sounds make up words and give your child examples.  At book reading time, you might point at a word and say ‘that says ‘cat’ – it is made up of the sounds ‘c-a-t’, ‘ca…t”.  At another time, you might sit with your child and go through each sound of the alphabet.  Or maybe just a few common sounds at first.

‘Study’ each sound and feel it in your mouth.  You might say to your child ‘let’s see which parts of our mouth make this sound’.  Have you ever stopped to think yourself?

– /m/, /b/, /p/, /w/ are made with our lips

– /k/, /g/ are made with the back of our tongue

– /n/, /t/, /d/, /l/, /r/, /s/, /z/ are made with the front of our tongue

– /f/, /th/, /v/, /ch/, /j/ are made with our lips and tongue

(the vowel sounds have nothing really getting in the way, it’s just our jaw height and tongue tension)

So now when your child starts to attempt to work out the last sound in a word, you can say ‘say the word and catch that last sound in your mouth, which parts of your mouth were moving?’.  Put the emphasis on ‘catch’ and make it sound like a fun thing to do.  Your child will then hopefully be able to say ‘caaaaaa..t’.  And you’ll encourage them to ‘catch that last sound!’ and identify which it was.  They will hopefully say ‘I could feel my tongue with /t/!’.  Or it might be working out the first sound.  Again, encourage them to slowly say the word and catch the first sound.  They will hopefully say ‘c….a’ and you might need to say ‘catch the first sound’.  And hopefully they will say ‘c, c’ – no need to identify what made the sound if they already identified it!

Sometimes just having taken the time to ‘study’ the sounds, children feel a little bit more confident and aware of what they are doing.  Knowledge is power!!

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ABC Reading Eggs – website/app review

[3 years +]  Are you keen for your child to look forward to literacy learning experiences?  Are they ready to learn before they start school?  Could they do with some help now that they have started school?  Do they have learning difficulties or autism?  Are you looking for fun and educational apps and games for your child?

ABC Reading Eggs is definitely a great place to discover!

image courtesy of daily telegraph

image courtesy of daily telegraph

What is it?

ABC Reading Eggs is a website and iPad app that is dedicated to teaching children literacy through fun, interactive games and based on research in developing literacy skills.  It was developed by experienced teachers, writers, animators and web developers, and you can tell!  It teaches phonemic awareness and phonics, sight words, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension and will have your child hooked to learning about sounds and words before you know it.  Just give it a go by checking out a sample lesson or taking a free trial.

The best thing I have found is the simple things that get your child hooked.  The fun games like spinning a wheel or popping bubbles, the funny and enticing characters that have your child working so hard just to hear them sing and the idea of getting to new eggs and seeing what will happen.  Each lesson ends in a story involving the sounds, words and characters they have just interacted with.  After your child has earned so many eggs, they then get access to play games with these.  We haven’t even gone to the game section as the lessons are enticing enough for Master 3.

Reading Eggs also sells Reading Eggs readers that we have found at our local library.  These match exactly what your child has learnt in the lessons which make it hard for your child not to be able to read successfully once they have done the lesson once (or more – they can be repeated as many times as needed).

Reading Eggs is available on the web and also on iPads.  You can get a mini-version on iphone app which is related games but certainly not whole program.

Who is it for? 

Reading Eggs is designed for children from three years of age with no literacy experience and will take them through until a grade 2 reading level.  Children with or without difficulties learning to read will benefit.  As long as your child knows how to work the mouse and arrow keys, they can be guided through it independently, but the games and characters really get you hooked in as well!  A simple test can tell you where your child should start, if you are unsure.

How much does it cost? 

It doesn’t sound cheap, but after you have taken a free trial, you will see how amazing this website is.  A year’s subscription costs $79.95.  There are other options including packs with books and access to only so many levels.  We were lucky enough to hear about a free 5 week trial and then got offered a discount to join after that.

So, if you can fathom at least checking out the sample lessons or taking a free trial, you can judge if it would be worth it for your child.  Of course, there are the simple ways to learn literacy, by first focussing on phonological awareness and exposure to books.  (link to post).