Friday 6 April 2012

Language World 2012: Embedding Phonics in Language Learning and Teaching, Sue Cave

The principles of Jolly phonics in can be applied in French through creating an association between sounds and images with phonics being introduced right from the first lesson.
No one usually alert language learners to the fact that letters make different sounds in different languages. Phonics makes students more independent as it allows them to try out and transfer pronunciation rules by themselves.
Sue Cave presented the 7 steps to her approach to embedding phonics in language learning and teaching, with the first three steps focusing on Oracy and steps 4-7 focusing on Literacy development.
Steps 1 and 2: Identify and practise the individual sounds in a word (1) and practise blending the sounds to create the whole word (2).
Start with the basic sounds and get students to blend the sounds together. This is a very similar process in students’ mother tongue and in a foreign language-even if the pronunciation rules can be very different.  
Once the word is sounded and blended, students can concentrate on its meaning.
The spelling is then revealed and a correct pronunciation given with the support of sound files.
New key sounds need to be introduced every lesson and be related quite tightly to the content of the lesson.
The French version of the phonics programme focuses on colours, numbers, days of the week, months and animals and 24 sounds that do not exist in French or are spelt different in English
Children came up with pictures to illustrate them and example of sounds. Then they use cards with graphemes on one side and pictures on the other side to practise.
Student practise blending with known consonants and some students can be put in charge of specific individual words. Games to help to consolidate the knowledge of individual sounds can help like the “Throw the beanbag if you hear your sound” game.
Step 3 is to practise connecting the meaning of the word to its sounds.
Step 4 is to identify and practise the graphemes for the individual sounds.
Get children to draw the graphemes in the air as it is a way to strengthen the sound/ writing link
Phonic bingo
Splat with sounds
Sing the phoneme-music helps focusing on specific sounds and slowing language down.
Step 5 is to practise reading, saying and writing the word.
Bring up the issue of silent letter and encourage the students to develop a bank of silent letters as well as a bank of sounds.
Phonic hangman with letters sounded out.
Grapheme scrabble encourages students to try to make new words.
Step 6 is to practise connecting the meaning of the word to its written form.
Step 7 is to practise putting words together to say and read a sentence.
For instance, do not teach numbers on their own.  If you count things e .g chien/ araignée, students can also find out about “liaisons”.
Busy bees can represent “z” liaisons or Light blue silent e.
As phonics comes along every time students meet new words, phonics is being taught in every lesson rather than specifically at the beginning of the year.

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