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Phonics Match

Target: Vocabulary, Phonics, Agreement words
memory
focused
discussion
Age: Kindergarten Age & Up
Duration: 5-15 minutes
Class Size: Any
Energy Level: Moderate
Type: Memory Activity
Equipment: Flashcards

This is a simple memory game. It uses flashcards with pictures on one side and letters on the other. The cards are placed picture-face down on the table, one card is chosen at random to start off with and the group tries to remember what the card is. Once the group has agreed the card is turned face up. If right the card remains in place, otherwise it is put to one side. How many cards can the group remember correctly?

Variation

For large groups use a see-through plastic wallet that contains enough pockets, for example, a wallet to display CDs. Hang the wallet using hooks. I use hooks with suction cups that stick to smooth surfaces. The alternative is to use magnets, but I find using pockets much more convenient.

Comment

With children who have little or no experience of English I like to teach them to read through phonics. My approach is to get them to decode a word and read it in the first session. I want the children to feel that learning phonics is fun and useful. I use a variety of activities when teaching phonics - this is the game I use first.

My usual target word for the first session is CAT, so I use C, A, and T cards. I check that the children know what a cat is so that later when they decode and read the word it will make sense to them. A good starting number of cards is nine. Older children can cope with more, younger children with less. I use words that are likely to be known. I introduce the cards one at a time, beginning with the letter and then showing the picture. I pronounce the sound twice and then show the picture. C - C - (wait for a guess) - CAMERA for example. I go through the cards and place them face up so that the letters are in columns.

A variation of this is to play a game and have a grid drawn on a piece of paper. Tell the children it is a puzzle and Invite them to put the cards face up on the grid. The trick is that the cards must be placed in a column and when turned over it will be possible to read the target word. So in the case of cat C words would go in the left column, A words in the middle and T words on the right.Make silly noises to accept and reject words.

When all the cards have been played we turn them over and discover the pattern. We can read the cards one at a time down and then across. Now comes the challenge. Can the children remember what each card is? I point to a card and get them to name it. A good way to do this is to say the sound twice and make a turning motion with the hand. If the children don't catch on then ask directly "Is it a....." and make a guess. The guess may be right or wrong - it might even be a word that isn't there!

Before revealing the card I get the children to agree what the card is before we turn it over. This agreement is important. If the group cannot agree what the answer is then select from the choices they provide randomly.

After Phonics Match is over I get a bag containing plastic letters, C, A and T (several of each). I reach in and try to identify it by feel - no peeking! The children have a go at this. After a few goes each I tip the letters out and give each child an A and a T. I ask them to make AT. Then I make the word CAT and get them to read it. I give them encouragement and positive feedback but I don't read the word for them. I have a toy cat in a can near by. When the children read the word correctly I produce the can and we open it to find the cat. Then mix up the letters and the children can make the word CAT for themselves. If this is very easy I challenge them to make TAC and ACT.

I like to use the plastic letters because I like to engage as many of the senses as possible. If you are familiar with Multiple Intelligences or NLP will understand why. Learners learn in different ways. Different learners have differing learning strategies. It is a good idea to present a concept in as many different ways as possible. The way that 'clicks' with some children may not be helpful to others. There really are no stupid children, only stupid teachers...

 

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