Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Two Language Works

Me Too started writing with the movable alphabet today!  We selected both alphabets from the shelf.  I told him that the movable alphabet could be used to write words and asked him if he could think of any words that he would like to write.  He sure could!   He wrote quite a few regular words and a few nonsense words that he invented.  Check it out!  (Translation of the phonetic spellings below.)

  • dog
  • nonsense word
  • bear
  • cat
  • nonsense word
  • pen
  • nonsense word
  • go
  • grow
  • gross
Anyway, this was Me Too's FIRST DAY EVER writing with the movable alphabet.  I thought those of you who also plan to use the Dwyer method would like to see what the first day can look like after learning all 40 sandpaper letters and full aural prep through the sound games.  I didn't tell him what to write.  Prior to this, he spent one week with the movable alphabet simply matching the letters in the box to the sandpaper letters and figuring out how to put them away again.  It took a week because he only had the attention span to do five or so each day.

Kal-El had some fun with an activity I put together to practice words with different spellings of long-u.  I found this suggestion in The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. I made 9 cards using words that used either the "ew", "ue", or "u-e" spellings of long-u.  I made 18 other cards on which I had written words that Kal-El could use some practice on (words like: eye, piece, please, buy).  Then, I formed a long column with the cards that made a "river" flowing from our kitchen to our fireplace.  The column had 9 rows and each row had three cards in it.  In each row, one card was a word that contains the long-u vowel sound and two cards were from the other group of words.

I told Kal-El he to get from the kitchen to the fireplace  by walking across the "river." The river is covered with stones (the cards), but the only safe stones have words with the long-u vowel sound.  If he hops on the wrong "stone" he must go back to the beginning and start over.

Edited to add:  I just want to be clear that I am experimenting with using two colors of movable alphabets right from the beginning.  Dwyer doesn't specify colors in her pamphlet.  Some sources say to "match your sandpaper letters" but remember the sandpaper letters are three colors, not two.  I would love to have a green movable alphabet but I draw the line at four movable alphabets in our house (yes, we have two other alphabets in the basement).  Just know that my use of these two alphabets this way right from the beginning isn't "usual." I just think it theoretically might make sense with the type of aural prep that Me Too has had.  If I find out what the official "Dwyer party line" is I will let you all know.  

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  1. Way to go Me too! It is rewarding to see all the aural prep work pay off. He wrote some pretty complex words for his first use of the moveable alphabet. So cool that he used lots of blends! I look forward to using The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading with my son when he is ready. I am impressed with how far Kal-El has come with his reading this year.

  2. I JUST LOVE ME TOO WORK!!!! There you go!!! What a great idea on Kal-El "river" LOVELY!!

  3. This is exciting! Kal-El and Me Too are doing very impressive works!! Before finding the Montessori Method I used Hooked on Phonics, it worked but it was BORING! Now that I kinda got a grasp on the PBG Schema I do a Happy Dance when the kiddos make strides. The Dwyer Method really appeals to me. Would the switch over cause more harm than good? I am willing to try.

  4. Wow!!!! What amazing work!!!!! Me Too is a rock star! ;) Kal-El is doing an amazing job too! I cant wait until Bunny is able to read! There are so many things that we can do! Thanks so much for sharing!!!!!

  5. I love those words he made! I wish I'd kept a sample of my son's first movable alphabet work, but alas, I didn't :(

    The "matching the sandpaper letters" is just the basic set of the blue and pink (or red), rather than the green ones - just so the vowels are a different color from the consonants. I keep forgetting statement ("match the sandpaper letters") is a bit ambiguous :)

  6. Jessica,

    Yes, I realize that matching just the blue and pink is what is meant by that statement. However, all of the sources that state that are teaching single letters first and introducing phonograms later. My point is that Dwyer method introduces phonograms right from the beginning from the first or second day using sandpaper letters. If the child has that kind of preparation, I don't think it theoretically makes sense to ignore the "green" of the sandpaper letters. I don't have any albums that introduce the phonograms alongside the single sandpaper letters. The sources I do have that specifically use a Dwyer scheme are vague regarding the alphabet colors. So, I am wondering if the color of the movable alphabets should be reassessed for my situation. The few sources I know of that used the Dwyer method used the pink/blue alphabet but I don't know if that was a theoretically thoughtful decision or just using what was available on the shelf.

    Why would we prepare the child with three colors of sandpaper letters and go to the trouble to teach them to treat the phonograms as a single sound and then remove that color and concept at the movable alphabet stage?