Phonics - Ideas for phonics in God's Creation from A to Z

If you are using God's Creation From A to Z, please share your ideas with us.
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Re: need help with blend ladder, tearful child (K)

Unread post by CaseyVG »

I had exactly the same problem a few weeks ago without the dramatic letter sounds. Instead, my son only wanted to play with the letters, bang his pencil on the table... basically anything but focus on the ladder. I think that this was the first thing we came to in MFW that was actually difficult for him, so he didn't want to do it. The individual letter sounds came easy. We quoted "I don't quit, I persevere!" A LOT! I just kept trying the blend ladder when it was scheduled. When we were in the U unit he actually said "Good, I'm glad we don't have to do the ladder today" when it wasn't in the TM. So this weekend, we talked about how it was going to take lots of practice to learn how to read, and mommy and daddy had to practice too when we were kids (this was outside of school time, like with daddy). I told him that he only had to do it for 5 minutes, and just keep persevering. Yesterday he actually focused for the 5 minutes, and then asked to be done.

But then today he actually got it! He was so proud of himself, and we high fived a lot. I had /ad/ together and we were changing the first letter to make mad, sad, lad, etc. Sometimes I would say "This says /lad/ just like in ladder. We only did it for the 5 minutes today too and he was ready to be done, but I'm so relieved that it's going better. Well, I hope that gives you a little bit of encouragement. I think that if you just keep trying with her and telling her it's going to take lots of practice, that she'll get better at trying, and soon she'll get it.

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Re: need help with blend ladder, tearful child (K)

Unread post by mama102507 »

We have a saying in Indiana.... "If it ain't broke-don't fix it!!". Lol. If she is getting along without a ladder, that's fine! I am 32 and this is the first time I've ever seen this ladder concept. I am sitting here trying to figure it out so I can explain it to my daughter who is sounding out words on her own...we may just skip the ladder. ;)
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Re: need help with blend ladder, tearful child (K)

Unread post by asheslawson »

Hang in there - my daughter is very similar and patience with gentleness just works best - and a lot of light-hearted humor! Not much else I could add that hasn't been said - but I bet she'll do fine!
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Re: need help with blend ladder, tearful child (K)

Unread post by Yodergoat »

Thanks for the continued suggestions! Now, a little over a month later, Gail has adjusted to the ladder and even (gasp) asks to do it daily!

I had to just put it away for a while after the first couple of disastrous times. Something about it intimidated her, and if she feels intimidated she guess wildly and gets so flustered she will cry. But using dry erase board, regular paper, or just the textured letters by themselves worked very well and once she felt more relaxed she started blending them together better. Then I brought the ladder back out, and she embraced it immediately as long as she gets to choose some letters to try after I do the letters we need to do... today she chose y and x to make yax, yex, yix, yox and yux. (I know we aren't on Y yet, but if she is happy and wants to try, I do let her.) She likes the silliness of stuff like that, and it is a delight to see her smiling now while we use the ladder instead of crying. :-)

She has needed some extra motivation that she is "really" learning to read, so I have been writing simple stories for her. Now I see why those little readers are so stilted and awkward! ;) "The big pig sits. It sits and sits. Get up, pig! Get up and run! Run, pig, run. The big pig runs. It runs and runs. Then in sits. The big pig naps." and so on. She thinks they are special because I write them for her.

I also use sight words and names she knows to make stories she can read. She has to pay close attention to the order and such even though she "knows" all the words. Like this: "God loves Gail. God loves Dad. God loves Mom. God loves us! God loves the Ellis family. Gail loves God. Dad loves God. Mom loves God. The Ellis family loves God! Jesus is God's Son. Jesus loves us! God and Jesus love us." She concentrates hard on things like this to get them in the right order without just guessing what comes next.

She loves these stories and is so proud and motivated when she reads them. She still tends toward guessing at times, but doesn't get tearful. The little stories really do make her feel like trying harder, because she is actually reading them and not just using pictures to guess at a story like she does in books. Confidence is a big deal for her... she is crushed if she gets something wrong, even though I don't push for perfection at all. So I want to do little things like this to encourage her, even though I know they're not part of the curriculum.

Again, thanks for the suggestions and help! It is going so much more smoothly now.
I'm Shawna...
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... happily wed to William since 1996
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Re: need help with blend ladder, tearful child (K)

Unread post by TriciaMR »

That's great...

I was just thinking... They've (whoever they are) done studies that when kids read to dogs, they do better and improve long term. Dogs are just so non-judgmental. (I've actually been having my dog sit in my lap while my 2nd graders read to me, and it is amazing how different they read.) So, if you have a dog or another pet and just let her read to it she might relax and not worry about getting it "perfect."

Yodergoat wrote:Do we have a dog or other pet she can read to? Oh, do we ever!!!!! ;)

I had never considered suggesting she read to a pet... thanks for the great idea!!! She does talk to her budgies and turtle, because they're in her room.

I'll suggest the puppies to her.
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Other ideas for Bingo cards

Unread post by Yodergoat »

I have a few ideas for using the letter sound bingo game cards which are scheduled to begin in lesson 9, O-o-octopus.

First, I use capital letter tiles that fit over the lower case letters on the cards as my "markers." I used Bananagram game tiles. These not only make convenient sized markers, but it allowed me to choose the tiles beforehand and put them in the Bananagram bag to draw out as we go in random order. For a child who is having trouble distinguishing upper versus lower case, this would be good matching practice as well.... this would be a good use of the bingo game even before it is used for letter sound bingo beginning in O-o-octopus. A child could play bingo by matching the drawn capital letter tile to the lower case letter on the game board. Good practice for upper and lower case!

For actual letter sound bingo, I also did that a bit differently. Instead of using the letter sounds that accompany the flashcards to play the bingo game, I called out other (less familiar) words that begin with that sound. My daughter already knew her letter sounds so well that doing it by the letter sound alone or the letter sound and flashcard word made it too easy. She had to listen carefully to hear what sound was used to begin the less familiar word.

For fun and motivational purposes, I sometimes let Gail be the one who calls the sound, using whatever word she can think of that begins with that sound. Meanwhile, I am the one who marks the bingo card. This is a good challenge for her, as I encourage her to think of other words besides the ones used on the flashcards. She would draw a letter tile at random from the bag, then have to thik quickly to come up with a word that begins with that sound... kitchen for K, up for U, Jesus for J, etc.
I'm Shawna...
... a forgiven child of God since 1994 (age 16)
... happily wed to William since 1996
... mother of our long-awaited Gail (3/15/2006)
... missing 6 little ones (4 miscarriages, 2 ectopics)
... starting Rome to the Reformation this fall!
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Re: Phonics - Ideas for phonics in My Father's World From A

Unread post by jenh »

For my 5 year old active boy, I have needed to come up with ideas to make school more exciting so that he is into it. Here are some things I have found helpful.

1) For the Day 3 Letter Sound Practice we have used the bigger Lauri letters that we bought in the preK curriculum and have jumped on the appropriate letter or shot it with a nerf gun. For example I would say, "Jump in the letter that begins the word snake." Also I have used the smaller letters and placed them on the table but instead of pointing to the letter he would drive a matchbox car over the letter. These simple things made it from an activity he would moan at to him asking to do it more! The 3 year old could play too by modifying the instructions to him.

2) For the Day 4 Word List Page sometimes we would line all his matchbox trucks and cars on the table and insterad of underlining or circling the word, he would "Park" the indicated car on the word. For example I would say, "Park the small red car on the word ant." It doesn't practice all the skills that the activity in the book describes but it hits most of them and he loves it!
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Unread post by TriciaMR »

lea_lpz wrote:For some reason, my dd keeps saying that letter N makes the the eh, eh, eh, sound. I say ne, ne, ne, and and she says eh, eh, eh, like eggs. Maybe because there are eggs in the nest. Or maybe she hears eh and not ne.

I know I shouldn't compare my children, but I am feeling frustrated because I have to repeat, repeat, repeat with my dd, and then my littlest learns what were doing just by watch us as the table as he colors or on the first try.

What we're having trouble with is her understanding the sound letters make and thinking of things that make that sound. Is this normal? She my first, so disclaimer, I am probably over anxious, but, because in her preschool they had said she might have possible learning disability, I worry, especially because the baby gets the sounds, so would confusing eh sound for the ne sound be normal? Is there some way I can make it clearer for her?
That does sound like an auditory processing issue, but it could be a way she is holding her tongue, too. To say /n/, her tongue needs to be on the roof of her mouth. But, she can't see your tongue when you say it for her. So, have her look at your mouth and tell her to look at where your tongue is while you say /n/. Then tell her where to put her tongue and have her say it. Also, try other words besides nest:


She could be confusing it with the /e/ in nest, so thing of some other words that begin with n, but not /ne/. So have her say /n/ /ot/, and then /n/ /ag/, etc.

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Re: frusterated!

Unread post by homespun »


I read this somewhere: You take a short pvc pipe and put an elbow on each end so that it looks like a phone. You put one end up to your ear and you speak in the other end. Example: Have her put it up to her ear and say the word "nest". She should be able to hear it very clearly. It might be worth a try.
MFW user since 2006 beginning in K. Doing ECC synergy group this year for our second time with ECC.
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Re: frusterated!

Unread post by Julie in MN »

lea_lpz wrote:I actually do say other n words though the list is good because it makes sure other vowel combinations are used with n. She just keeps coming up with an e sound, beyond saying eggs, she'll say other words that start with e. I don't know if she is connecting the eggs in the nest flash card with n or if she is hearing e when I say n. I will try to see how she says n. And repeat it for her. I can get her to say n and ne, but the first thing that pops out of her mouth is eh if ask her what sound n makes, so she only says it after I tell her, No, E makes the eh sound, but N makes the ne sound. Like nest, nuts, nails, and nose. Then I make the ne sound and have her repeat. Then I ask her to think of words that start with ne. And she'll say nest, but then she'll give me words that start with e again!
You might want to double-check whether you're saying /ne/ or /n/. The letter N doesn't say /ne/, it says /n/, like in "not" which isn't ne-ot, it's nnn-ot. Or, the end of the word "run."

Just thought there was a remote chance she was hearing the /e/ part of /ne/.

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Re: frusterated!

Unread post by cbollin »

lea_lpz wrote:Thanks for all the feedback. My kids spent the weekend at my mother's so had an opportunity to mull over things. I will check out the starfall website to listen to how the pronunciation of sounds. I wasn't very sure how to enunciate the letter sounds when we do the A-a Apple song.
starfall has its own A A sounds song. also done to the rhythm of Twinkle Twinkle.
click on the flashing ABC in upper left corner to play it.

also, they can play on that site for more practice. and try with other words with n that aren't followed by letter e.
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Re: frusterated!

Unread post by Yodergoat »

I was thinking something similar when I saw your description of N saying "ne" in your post. My daughter had trouble blending initially, and I think it was because of the way we were pronouncing the letter sounds during the A-a-apple song. She tended to combine the beginning consonant with the next vowel sound of the word in the song. So we got "buh" instead of just "b," "neh" instead of just "n" and "tuh" instead of just the pure sound of t, for example. So when she tried to sound out consonant and vowel combinations on her blend ladder it sounded strange, like "tuh-a" instead of "ta."

We had to work on that and it made me wish that I had been more careful about keeping the consonant sounds pure and short from the beginning. One way I could listen for the pure sound of a consonant was to listen for how it sounded at the end of a word, like "win" and "brown." Then I could correctly model that short, pure sound for her. That helped! :) If you are wondering what sound each consonant letter makes, try to isolate it at the end of a word so you can hear it. I really had to work on this in order to model the sound for her properly!

Something similar could be happening so that your girl isn't hearing the "n" of nest.
I'm Shawna...
... a forgiven child of God since 1994 (age 16)
... happily wed to William since 1996
... mother of our long-awaited Gail (3/15/2006)
... missing 6 little ones (4 miscarriages, 2 ectopics)
... starting Rome to the Reformation this fall!
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Re: frusterated!

Unread post by lea_lpz »

I listened to the starfall pronounciation of the letters, and, :~ it was me, not her! I am saying the vowel sound next to the constenant when we do the A-a Apple song. Hear it said very clearly, distinctly as just a constant sound made it a lot clearer. We are going to the starfall song together in a minute and then start practicing (as in me) clearly stating just the single letter sound. Thanks. Actually a relief to know it's me and not her. :-)
ds14, dd11,ds9, dd4.5, dd2.5, dd2.5 (yep twins)

Getting bored with the routine stuff

Unread post by cbollin »

bethinga wrote:So, what have you done when your K child (and you) begin to get bored with the routine stuff that used to feel "reliable" and comforting. Like, the alphabet song, the calendar, the straw counting. Especially if they already know days of week, months of year, counting to 100, and all letter sounds? The picture sorting game is "eh", whereas it used to be fun. Although the naming of each picture is helpful to reviewing the sound, I need to spice things up a bit.

For all of these, I'd like to ideally replace them with something similar, or up the ante a little. Ideas?

My son will be six in October. I also have a 3.5 yr old daughter who follows along with everything. For everything of his that she can't do, I have to offer an activity for her, so I have to take this into consideration when thinking of replacement activities for the above.
here are some things I did ... 179#p47744

It's ok to set those things aside for a few days and have a break from them.

anyway... if you leave out math routines, you can sub with some skip counting for a little bit on the 100 chart. by 2's, by 5's and by 10's. maybe 3's.

do math as "laundry" (sorting and classifying), pairs.. how much detergent to pour.
do math as kitchen - time to pour, mix, (it's shake and bake and I helped)

for calendar.... begin to play games with your wall calendar... "tell me what is the date for the 4th Saturday in October". If today is the 27th of August and Judy's birthday is the 10th of September... how many days until then?"

count weeks.. ask your child to guess the number in the next month (both.. how many days in such and such month.... and the game of if tomorrow is the 28th of August and August has 31 days... what is the day of next Tuesday in September?" then look and see if you got it right. let them count on their fingers.

another idea..... learn to read an analog clock. hour and half hour at least.

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Re: Getting bored with the routine stuff

Unread post by Mom2theteam »

Let's see....we stopped the songs probably 1/2 way through K. We would just sing them occasionally. I stopped making mine color the pictures for the first page, I just had him cut them out quickly and be done with it. We varied the 100 chart by counting by 2's, 5's, 10's. We stopped the patterns on the calendar because he knew patterns.

Also, sometimes you just need a break for a few days and do something else. And, once we hit about lesson 16, we started going through them much faster doing a couple of days a time skipping the simple stuff that he had clearly mastered. But, my son was older. He turned 6 a month after starting K. So, he was already 6.5 at that point and ready to move along. I don't necessarily think that's a good idea for everyone. Hope you can "break out" of the rut.
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Re: Getting bored with the routine stuff

Unread post by shaffer96 »

Have you checked out I used that site a lot to supplement K for my daughter. Now I am doing K with my preschooler who will be 5 in November and it is perfect for him as it is written. We dont do the songs though because he is not into those at all! Hope you find a way to make it work for you!
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Re: Getting bored with the routine stuff

Unread post by bethinga »

Thanks for the wonderful ideas! I'm going now to check out enchanted learning. He's zooming ahead in math, coming up to me all the time with things like, "Hey, Mommy- 3x15 is 45." And, "Did you know that 99+99 = 198?" And, before we started MFW in May, we tried a little Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons, and he zoomed from page 20 to page 90 in one day, just because he was having fun, and had caught on to sounding things out.

I value going slow so as to treasure childhood and the little years, and he loves routine. But, just beginning to recognize some boredom, so I want to nip that quickly so school stays fun. He loves all the other parts, and so do I!
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Blend Ladder Help

Unread post by KellyMS »

MunkyWrangler wrote:So we started the T-t-Turtle unit and thus the blend ladder. My daughter picked the first half up right away. However, the second half Mommy is having issues. Am I supposed to come up with the others words for her to write, or am I just missing the list somewhere in the TM?
The only word it has listed at the end of the directions is the word "sat." But it says, "After he has printed all of the words, have him read them to you."
Which to me indicates other words.

Monday Syndrome is strong today. ;A;
Since you've only learned one vowel sound so far you'll only spell one word this unit. Next unit when you learn the /u/ sound, you'll do two words. Once you've covered all five vowels you'll have five words each time.

Hope that helps!
MunkyWrangler wrote:KellyMS - So the rest of the page stays blank? "e, I, o, u" has nothing with it? That's what I can't wrap my mind around. We only wrote "sat" yet there's still four empty slots.
Yes, just like you don't use all the vowels on the blend ladder yet (or at least you're not directed to in the manual at this point). Why did they leave the extra spots when you don't really need them? Possibly for consistency with the blend ladder which has all the vowels, convenience/cost of not having to customize those pages beyond a change of the unit information. It's also more exposure to "these 5 letters are vowels" and also decision making for the kids as far as picking which one out of the list is the one they know/need.

If your son is already familiar with the sounds the other vowels make, you could give him other words. The one word was enough of a challenge for my daughter starting out, but she's pretty much mastered it now. We're in unit 21 and every time one of the words had a b she got super excited.
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Re: Blend Ladder Help

Unread post by gratitude »

It was in the yellow pages in the appendix of the old TM. Like Kelly mentioned it is only one word early on and builds to 5 as you learn the vowels. I used the new TM the second time I did it. I am not remembering; is the chart for it still in the back for all 26 units or just in the weekly notes? I remember the chart simplifying it for me with all 26 units in one place that shows the progression. Appendix in the new????
MunkyWrangler wrote:gratitude - It's in the yellow pages. I was having a severe case of the Monday Brain. I need more coffee, or sleep, or something. lol

Thank Y'all so much!
Yes, for now you would just write sat and the rest of the page would stay blank for now. It won't stay blank though for long; soon enough you will do 5 words each week.
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Re: Blend Ladder Help

Unread post by MunkyWrangler »

Thank you a ton! For some reason my poor mind just couldn't grasp leaving the rest of the page blank. It makes sense, though, about the convenience/cost of not having to alter pages. I think I got it now. ;)

Yep, I'll be back next week. :P
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