I finally got around to photographing the Phonogram Dictionary I made for Kal-El. What is it for? Throughout the process of working with sound games, sandpaper letters, the movable alphabet, object boxes, etc., the child has become quite familiar with the 40 key sounds. The reading folders introduce him to the alternate spellings for those key sounds, but he has not necessarily memorized them (he will eventually do so through continued work with the reading folders and extensions). At the same time, the child is excited about reading and is ready to read words as he finds them, not just in carefully prepared readers. The phonogram dictionary is designed to give him that independence.
At any rate, this is how it works. When you open the front cover there are approximately 13 phonograms (or single letters sounds that can also be represented by other spellings that involve two or more letters) listed under the word "key."
These phonograms are the same spellings that are found on the double (or in some cases, single) sandpaper letters the child learned from the beginning and are the original spellings for that he has learned for those sounds. For example, while there are two ways to make the "f" sound (f, ph) the child originally only learned "f". He was introduced to the "ph" spelling in the reading folder exercises. However, when he runs into "ph" together in a book he's reading he might not remember what sound it makes. So, he can now pick up his phonogram dictionary, find "ph" written on one of the tabs down the right-hand side, turn to that page and see the "key" spelling that represents the same sound:
Words that use the long vowel sounds due to the silent "e" is represented by showing the vowel within used within the word followed by a hyphen and then the silent "e". For example, if the child found the word "here" he would look up "e-e" on the tab and would find the key spelling "ee".
I forgot to take a picture, but some of the spellings will have more than one key spelling listed. For example, if the child finds the word "happy" and looks up the "y" he will find "ie" (as in pie) and "ee" (as in tree) listed. He will have to try them both and choose the one that makes sense.
The dictionary was simple, but tedious, to make. So tedious that my husband approached me halfway through and told me to "just buy it!" I told him that there is only ONE place I know of to buy one (Nienhuis) and he could feel free to look it up on the computer. Here is a link to the Nienhuis package that bundles the 13 reading folders (I made mine nearly for free), the Dwyer pamphlet ($7 plus shipping from NAMTA), and the phonogram dictionary (made myself for free). They are asking $350! Even if I estimate generously for my materials costs, this is at least a $330 markup. He told me to "keep cutting tabs!"
To make our dictionary I used my paper cutter to cut white cardstock to the appropriate size according to the Dwyer pamphlet and carefully planned my tabs so I knew how many pages I would need. I bound the pages (uncut) together with a red cardstock cover using my inexpensive comb binding machine (which I am really enjoying now that Kal-El is at the age where he likes to make booklets again and again). Then, I did a little division to determine how tall my tabs needed to be and cut each one with a scissors by hand leaving one page at the front without tabs to be the "key". Finally, all I had to do was write each of the spellings on a tab down the right hand side and write the key spelling(s) next to it further in on the page.
There you have it! If you have any questions, please let me know! As always, I love your comments!
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