|A is for Apple|
Gathering a set of flashcards (we used ABEKA) we start with the soft vowel sounds. My desire in teaching is to engage all of the student: sight, sound, touch, action. Saying the vowel's name, its sound, tracing its shape introduces the letter. To engage movement, activities were chosen giving way to playful, interactive learning.
Some items we used in phonics:
1. Dry erase board: drawing pictures with the letter written on them, the student identified the letter, said the name/sound and erased the letter.
*example, underwater adventure: draw ocean waves; beneath the waves draw simple images (fish, plant life, starfish, etc.) letters being studied are on the images; the student collects underwater "fish or plants" by erasing them when correctly identifying the letter or sound or such.
2. A Tree: this was a poster of a tree shape. I added various shapes (related to the season i.e. apples, acorns, leaves) with letters on the back. Sticky-tack or tape loops works well and is easily removable.
3. Toys: gathering various toys or items with the sound in them (for a: apples, ants (picture or toy), alligator, bag, etc.) listen for the sound as the name of the item is said.
As we learned a letter, we would add new ones each day; always reviewing the previous. This gradually increased our learning time growing their attention span in the process. For us, learning didn't end when the "class time" was over- keeping our eyes open for "teaching moments", we found our sounds all around us.
The early foundations in phonics has been a vital key to raising a family of readers. Many programs and curriculum are available to assist parents in this endeavor. Personally, we used ABEKA curriculum for most of our home school education. No curriculum is perfect nor is it complete. A little time and effort added to their ideas and teaching aids made our introduction to phonics not only successful, but memorable as well.