Oh, friends, I can't even tell you what a happy teacher I am. I've spent the past few days in literacy training courses, learning to use our new adoption materials. One of the best things about our new program is the comprehensive, systematic, plan for teaching phonics and phonemic awareness.
At the beginning of the school year our focus will be on letter discrimination and letter identification. We'll look at letters and see similarities and differences in the formation of the letters. We'll also take a quick tour through all of the letters of the alphabet.
The in depth study of letters and letter sounds will begin a few weeks into the school year. In this part of our instruction we'll be working on consonants and short vowels. We introduce a few dominant consonants first, then add a few vowels. Once we have a few of those basic letters, we can start blending words!
There are several components within a week's worth of lessons:
*Phonemic Awareness- how we hear sounds, developed through songs, rhymes, and poetry
*Sound/Symbol Relationship- using workmats and letter for hands on work
*Blending Sounds- sounding out words letter by letter (consonant, vowel, consonant words)
*Spelling- using boxes to help sound out individual words (boxes are called Elkonin boxes)
*Sight Words- basic words we should all be able to read quickly
*Decodable Text- reading books at home and in the classroom
I'm so excited about our new literacy materials. Phonics is just one small piece of literacy instruction. It will be taught for 30 minutes each day. I'm excited to share other components of our balanced literacy program with you. Information about shared reading, our writer's workshop, guided reading, how children read independently, and reading at home will be coming soon!