When/how do you introduce long vowel sounds?

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by cml88, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. cml88

    cml88 Companion

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    Jan 26, 2013

    My curriculum (Journeys) has me focusing on a letter per week. I'm not especially fond of this method, especially since it's January and it's only had me introduce 9 letters. I focus on all of the letters daily, but do "extra" activities to focus on the specific letter the curric. wants me to. However, I've noticed this series gives no time for long vowel sounds. Do you teach these at the same time as the short sounds? For example, Monday we're starting /i/...Should I also focus on the long i? Thanks for your help! This is my first year in K, and I'm just not sure what the best method is for introducing long and short...I know it can be very confusing for the little ones!
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 26, 2013

    Current wisdom is that one starts with the short vowels, or to be precise with CVC words (consonant-vowel-consonant): a vowel sandwiched between two consonants with no silent e is almost invariably short, and the regularity helps kids gain confidence in their decoding skills as they're getting the hang of recognizing and decoding the consonants. Long vowels vary much more widely in their spelling, so it makes some sense to hold off on those until kids have the consonants pretty well mastered.
     
  4. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    TeacherGroupie's comments would be my thoughts as well. I would be concerned that your curriculum has only introduced 9 letter sounds, although I see you are in Pre-K, so maybe that has to do with it. Typically curriculum-pacing should follow mastery of material, not a set time frame, so I would think it should be appropriate to move on to new letter sounds if the class demonstrates mastery of the existing letter sounds.
     
  5. cml88

    cml88 Companion

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    Jan 26, 2013

    No, I'm actually in K..I was a pre-k teacher when I joined the board awhile back. Like I said I don't follow it..We review letters everyday and do a variety of activities with our names so that we are practicing the sounds constantly. Right now all but 3 of my kids have mastered all sounds...so maybe it's time to move onto long vowel sounds.
     
  6. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I would try to get your hands on a scope & sequence related to phonics and make sure it's well constructed. The order of introduction can be important, so I would be careful about just jumping right into it. For example, the S.P.I.R.E. program has a scope & sequence that sequences the order of introduction:

    http://eps.schoolspecialty.com/downloads/other/spire/SPIRE_scope_and_sequence.pdf

    Even if you don't use their materials, it can be helpful to use the scope & sequence.

    Another thing to consider is that "long vowels" is really a category, not one singular skill. For example, "long a" could be spelled C-A-C-E (consonant, "a," consonant, "e") or /ai/ as in "braid." Often times these are separate lessons, as opposed to just one unit on "long a."

    In terms of order, sometimes it's important, sometimes its not. For example, ordering the introduction of two similar combinations close to each other could create a state of confusion. There are also certain combinations that naturally tend to appear more frequently earlier in a child's educational career - like "th" - so starting with those may be better than waiting a while. Still, some letter combinations aren't worth teaching at all because the probability that said letter combination will represent a particular phoneme is low enough that it's not worth teaching a rule.

    Just some thoughts for you as you move forward...
     
  7. mkbren88

    mkbren88 Comrade

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    Jan 26, 2013

    Mastering the sounds is different than being able to read and decode CVC words. If you introduce long vowels, I fear that they won't understand the difference between CVC words and CVCe and it will hinder their decoding. I wouldn't touch on long vowels until the last month or so of school.
     
  8. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Jan 26, 2013

    I actually introduce the long sound right after I teach the short sound. When we start doing various spelling patterns I get specific on the 2 vowels like ai, ay and the silent e.

    There are fabulous video clips on Electric Company (my kids' personal favorite is 'Silent e Is a Ninja') and PBS kids that could help you introduce it.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    A point of order: "CaCe", without hyphens, is correct for referring to words of four letters that are spelled with some single consonant, the vowel a, some single consonant, and silent e: "rake", "tame", "babe", and "pace" are CaCe words, but "brake", "time", "babes", and "peace" are not. Note that the capital letter stands for a category (vowel V or consonant C) and the lower case for a specific member of the category: so "peace" could be CVVCe or CeaCe or CVVce or even Ceace, depending on what one wants to highlight about it.

    In teaching phonemic awareness, it makes sense to begin with a few continuant consonants (that is, choose from nasals /m n/, sibilants /s z "sh"/, and liquids /l r/) before launching on stop consonants (/p t k b d g/), because children are getting the hang of attending to the sound and it's easier if the sound can be, um, continued. When it comes to teaching letter-sound correspondences, there's much less linguistically defensible support for the existence of one right order of introduction to the exclusion of all others, however, and practically none for there being one right sequence of consonants (or vowels, for that matter) with which to teach decoding. What makes a fair bit of sense, however, is the concept of teaching the CaCe pattern one phonogram or word family at a time: that is, if one teaches "gate", one should probably work through the rest of the Cate words ("date", "fate", "hate", "late", "mate", "rate") and a selection of CCate words ("skate", "plate") before moving on either to a different second consonant ("mane") or a different vowel ("dote" or "lute").
     
  10. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Thanks for the correction on the referencing teachergroupie. I will disagree about teaching phonetically similar sounds in groupings, though, as they are so topographically similar that they might be confused. This is generally supported in phonics instruction texts, and I'm assuming research as well, though it may simply be the rationale of teaching two discrepant items back to back to allow for easier initial discrimination between stimuli, though it would be important to provide opportunities for more topographically similar items once relatively fluent with each letter so as to allow for more precise discrimination.

    In terms of consonants, again I there are several defensible reasons for particular ordering, ranging from frequency to discrepancy with adjacent skills. You mention there being no linguistic support - I'm not as familiar with that area, but typically teaching beginning reading would draw more heavily from reading research, which is what I'm referencing.

    I agree with you about teaching word families together as those are essentially the same or similar skills, just in different contexts.
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    "Topographically similar"? That term might have meaning with respect to graphemes, EdEd, but it makes none with respect to phonemes: it surely refers to shapes and contours, and neither phonemes nor phones have shapes or contours in any sense that would be recognized outside of an acoustic-phonetics laboratory. From what source did you acquire it?

    Let me restate my point about the teaching of phonemic awareness. It makes more sense at the very beginning of modeling phoneme identification, which is the first task in phonemic awareness, with the name "Sam" rather than with the name "Pete" - not because of the difference between the vowels, and certainly not because of the spellings, since phonemic awareness does not and should not presuppose knowledge of the alphabet, but for the highly practical reason that the consonants /s/ and /m/ in "Sam" are continuants, so one can stretch the name out, sssssss-aaaaaaa-mmmmmm, long enough for young children to begin to latch onto each sound. One needn't necessarily begin with /s/, however; one could just as well begin with a different continuant: nnnnnn-oooooo "no", for example. The consonants /p/ and /t/ in "Pete", in contrast, are stops: they simply can't be stretched out, so it makes more sense to save them till the kids have begun to get the hang of the identify-the-phoneme game.

    As to letters, the classic examples that invite confusion - this might possibly be what you intended by that phrase "topographically similar" - are surely <b d p q>, which are flips and rotations of each other.* Worse, the phonemes /b d p/ are all stops, and both /b/ and /p/ are labials, and both /b/ and /d/ are voiced. I agree that the three probably ought not to be taught in a row to most students. That is by no means the same thing, however, as saying that the letter <b> should always be taught earlier than the letter <d> or that <p> should always be taught after <b>. (As to <q>, of course, there are practical reasons to delay teaching it until quite late: it's weird, since it requires a following <u>, and it's blessedly rare in comparison to its shape-mates.)

    *A reminder: the convention is that phonemes are written in slashes and graphemes or spellings are written in angled brackets: the first phoneme in "psychology" is /s/, though the first letter is <p>.
     
  12. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Jan 27, 2013

    It's more of a behavioral term. Literally, yes - it means what you've said, but it often used to describe qualitative elements of a particular behavior.

    I apologize - I went back and read your post and you did mention phonemic awareness. The OP was referring to teaching letter sounds - not phonemic awareness - so I assumed you were talking about that too. Yes, what you are saying makes sense for the purpose of teaching phonemic awareness.

    Yes, I think this resonates with what I've said previously. There are some letters that should probably be taught earlier rather than later, and some similar letters that should be taught apart, but in other instances exact order doesn't matter. If you look at a variety of scope & sequences related to phonics instruction, you'll find some similarities and differences, which highlight that some things are generally accepted best practices, whereas with other sequences its simply what the curriculum designer thought best.

    That's interesting - I have seen the use of slashes, but not brackets. Seems to make sense. I wonder if that's another difference between fields of reading and linguistics?
     
  13. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jan 27, 2013

    I teach that the vowels and some consonants have two sounds. We talk about which sound is most common (the short vowel sounds). It usually works well, because students know many things that begin with our letter of the week. So if they say a word like igloo (we can highlight the short i) but they will usually also throw out icecream (so we highlight the long i as well). I do not teach the spelling patterns yet. Only that some letters have multiple sounds.
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    A diligent Google search for uses of the phrase "topographically equivalent" has turned up attestations all of which appear to be by writers who seem shaky on the distinction between topography (-graphy generally has to do with representing things, in this case land surfaces and their altitudes) and topology (which is the field of mathematics that studies (-ology) the properties of three-dimensional forms). I know mathematicians who will assert that Mount Everest and the hill behind my house are topologically equivalent, because both can be generalized as solid cones, but I have yet to meet the mountain climber who would agree that Mount Everest is topographically equivalent even to Mount Whitney, let alone to the hill behind my house.

    Slashes for phonemes have been standard in linguistics since no later than the 1930s, and there's no doubt that linguistics is where reading researchers got them. Angled brackets for graphemes, especially for graphemes of other languages, are standard in linguistics and certainly appeared in a number of studies of reading processes published up into the 1990s. For studies of English, another convention is to cite written words and letters in italics (though one risks confusing the letter whose upper-case version is <L> with the numeral 1 or, in some fonts, even capital I); angled brackets are less misinterpretable, and are considerably more robust on a site like A to Z that automatically italicizes every word in a quote or reply. As for slashes used for letters, especially when they're also used for phonemes, I've never seen that done by anyone who fully appreciated the distinction between the two. Now students, especially young students, probably don't need to know that the sounds they identify are called phonemes, provided they can map them onto letters and vice versa. If current reading instruction methodology isn't preserving that distinction in materials for teachers, however, then it's probably not being made sufficiently clear to those teachers, and one can depend on them running into difficulty.
     
  15. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Jan 27, 2013

    I can certainly appreciate your desire to have a more precise term. I suppose I will apologize on behalf of the field for selecting it :).

    I appreciate you clearing it up. I suppose I had seen the CaCe type abbreviation before as well, but hadn't known the particular rule. That's very helpful, and will save me time when abbreviating in the future!
     

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