Today I will be engaging my students in a discussion about sounding out a word to read the word. We have been learning the word families and now we are going to learn how to use Elkonin boxes to help us spell the words and then read the words. This is another basic skill that is necessary for my students to master before they can read and write.
My students are seated on the carpet ready for our reading lesson.
"I want to warm up your brains by doing some Phoneme Segmentation of our word families. Would you get your sounding arm ready? Remember we are going to tap our sounding arm every time we say a sound. Ready? Tell me all the sounds in man, /m/, /a/, /n/. Good."
Our district uses the DIBELS assessment for reading skills. PSF is one of the assessments. I have taught my students to use their sounding arm to touch each time they say a sound. I found my students will separate the individual sounds in a word better and faster when the motion is added to the sounds said. We review a few words and then go to our tables.
"Now that we are warmed up and can say all the sounds in a word, I want you to put a letter to the sound you are saying. I will show you on the document camera. You will all have this template of the Elkonin boxes and a pile of letters. See my template and letters? If I say the word man, what are the sounds again? /m/, /a/, /n/. What was the first sound? /m/, what letter makes that sound? Yes, the "m". So I will put the letter "m" on the first box. What is the second sound? /a/? What letter makes that sound? The letter "a". I will put the letter "a" in the second box. What is the last sound in the word man? /n/. What letter says that sound? The letter "n". I will put the letter "n" on the last box. All our boxes are filled. I will put my finger under the letters and say the sounds of the letters as my finger moves under all the boxes. Say the sounds with me. mmmmmmmaaaaaaannnnnn. Say it fast, man. What is the word? Man. That was fun! Did you see what you just did? First you spelled the word then you read the word. WOW! You are so smart. Now let's tip toe to our tables quietly and you can play the game."
Once my students are seated at their tables and all have their Elkonin boxes and letters I begin the lesson.
"I call this game; Pick, Place, Point & Read.
"I want you to take all your letters out of the little baggie and turn them over so you can see all the letters. Put your Elkonin boxes right in front of you. This particular set of letters reviews the at, ap & an word families. I will say a word and we will say all the sounds together. If I say the word "cat", what sound do you would hear first /c/. What letter make that sound? Yes, it is a "c". PICK the "c" and PLACE it on the first box. What is the second sound in the word, /a/. What letter makes that sound? Yes, it is an"A". PICK, the A and PLACE it on the second box. What is the third sound, /t/. What letter makes that sound? They would say, "t". PICK the T, and PLACE it on the third box. Take your reading finger and POINT and touch each letter as you READ the word. First we just bump the sounds, saying them by themselves, /c/, /a/, /t/. Slide your finger along the arrow under the boxes and stretch the sounds smoothly together. We smooth the sounds faster, what word? CAT! Yes, you just spelled the word by saying the sounds and the read the words by saying the sounds again. You are readers now!"
We repeat the process with each student using there own letters and elkonin boxes. We do as many words from the an, at & ap word family that there is time for. This first lesson takes longer to do. Each time we do it they get faster.
It is important that my students know the letter name and letter relationship in order to read and write. This activity helps them put the knowledge of letters and sounds together to help them accomplish the reading and writing. Knowing the sounds of letters helps them read the word and knowing the letter name helps them write the words. Using the Elkonin boxes are very helpful in this activity.
As an extension I have them write the word changing the game to; PICK, PLACE, POINT, READ, WRITE.
I place this in a small group reading station when I feel they can do this independantly.