How will I teach phonemic awareness to my students?
Phonemic awareness or phonological awareness?
Phonemic awareness is defined by Souza as "Phonemic awareness encompases understanding that words are made up of individual sounds and that these sounds can be manipulated to create new words."
Phonological awareness is defined by Souza as "The awareness of any size unit of sound, including the ability to separate words into syllables, to count syllables, to identify phonemes in words, and to generate and recognize rhyming words."
I don't see how phonemic awareness and phonological awareness can really be separated in lessons as I plan my teaching.
How important is phonemic awareness and 2nd graders?
Included in my 29 students are 10 who are reading above grade level, 6 are reading just at or slightly below grade level, 5 are reading well below grade level and are being served on an IEP, and 8 are reading significantly below grade level. Of those 8 several received remediation services in 1st grade.
The breakdown of the reading ability in my classroom indicates just how important teaching them phonemic awareness will be. Phonemic awareness encompases understanding that words are made up of individual sounds and that these sounds can be manipulated to create new words. (Souza, 2014) These lessons will include hearing and orally manipulating the sounds of words.
My lessons include both phonemic awareness and phonological awareness as I see them as inseparable and equally important.
Lesson plans for my students.
Lesson Series #2: Making Sense of Phonics: Use of this text allows me to meet students where they are. Students are able to make words and manipulate sounds. They recognize that changing just the beginning of a word helps them make a new word. It reinforces the work they have done with the word families/eggs.
Lesson Series #3: Words Their Way: Use of this text and these sorts allow students to discover spelling rules as they work through each of the sorts. By using the DSI - Developmental Spelling Inventory - students work at their individual developmental stage. This creates a learning environment that supports each student and builds a solid base for them to use as they grow and develop as readers.
This is a picture of how "eggs" can be used as a teaching tool. This is a perfect way to teach word families as a choice during The Daily Five. Students are able to use a series of eggs that specifically address their individual needs. Groups of eggs are created and used for independent work, in partners, and in small groups.
I'm using this text to work with students at their particular skill level. Students have letter cards and they build words. We explore how words can be changed by simply changing one letter. Students use the cards to discover how many letters are needed to form words.
Sorts taken from Words Their Way
These sorts allow students to sort words at their individual developmental stage. It allows them to sort the words in various ways: 1) open sort on the Smartbaord, 2) open sort on paper in journal, 3) discover the spelling "rule" attached to the sort, 4) find words in their independent reading that match the rule they are exploring, and finally 5) use the words in writing workshop.
Sorts taken from Words Their Way
How do these activities support literacy growth for my students?
Making Sense of Phonics uses formative assessment frequently and permits students to move easily through the word building exercises at their own pace.
Words Their Way is also easily adapted to formative assessment. Students are able to move from one group to another to address their individual needs.
Using word family "eggs" allow students who have gaps in their learning to practice these basic skills in small groups that have their same needs. Students are able to work at their developmental level in word building and using word sorts while simultaneously closing any gaps they have in learning spelling patterns.
How is this connected to brain research and brain development?
Some brain research states that it is best to begin with encoding - speech to print - rather than decoding - looking at print and decoding the sounds. (Herron, 2008) This makes sense to me when you pair that information with Sousa when he states that "Speaking is a normal, genetically hardwired capability reading is not." (Souza, page 35)