Friday, January 6, 2012

AI Sound Bin

This is our "AI" sound bin. It includes a letter search, a sound booklet, and some "AI" objects.  Me Too has been reviewing the "AI" sound bin. It is part of our review of the sandpaper letters before I go ahead and put out the movable alphabet for him.

 Remember, Sound bins will look different depending on where your child is in the language sequence.  (I think my original post on sound bins is here.)  Sound bins can be very useful right from the beginning when you are introducing the sounds and/or playing "I Spy."  Just keep in mind that if you are trying to stay true to the Montessori principle of having only one new idea at a time you would not have any materials that include the symbol for the sound at first.  Rather than learn two things at once the child would first learn the sound and learn the symbol for that sound later with the sandpaper letters.  Whether you are able to do this "by the book" will depend on your child's existing knowledge base.  Some children (such as Kal-El) will already know the symbols at an early age.  Some will know lowercase, but not uppercase.   Me Too has already learned the sounds and the lowercase sandpaper letters so you will see both in his sound bins at this stage. You will also see uppercase in some of his sound bins because Kal-El uses them and Me Too has been frustrated that he doesn't know them too.

It can be very tricky to find objects for some of the double sandpaper letters, particularly if that sound usually only occurs in the middle of a word. If you are at the stage where you are NOT using the symbol yet you have a lot more flexibility.  If we were just practicing the long "A" sound without the "AI" symbol we could use a lot more objects (such as "cake", or "steak", or "clay", or "grey" for example).  However, if you are using a symbol the spelling of the sound in the name of the object should match in case the spelling should "stick."  You probably cannot in good conscience present a sound bin for  middle sound until the child can identify "a middle sound" of course.

I found our situation to be further complicated by regional pronunciation.  It seems in our area that we do NOT use the "long A" sound to pronounce words in which the "AI" spelling is followed by an "L" such as "mail" or "pail."  The majority of "AI" words end with "L" so a lot of words were not available to me.  I don't know how to describe the sound we do use other than that it is somewhere right in the middle between the "a" in "cat" and the "e" in "bet."  I see a lot of posts on Playschool6 in which mom's get really concerned about doing it "just like Dwyer" or get upset about the objects or pictures some people use in their materials.  Just take a deep breath and do what is logical in your geographical area.  If you try to force the child to use the materials unaltered and they don't match your regional pronunciation you are setting them up for failure.  Sometimes it is different, but so close the child will alter it automatically without noticing.  Also be aware of possible regional differences before you criticize language materials for purchase or on blogs.  Most of the time this will explain the discrepancies.

These are the objects I was able to use in the "AI" sound bin.  As always, with the difficult to demonstrate sounds I will print and laminate a few pictures to fill out the bin.  Here we have:  paint, train, brain (small beige blob under the train, from our human body kit), afraid, rain, chain, and stain (coffee stain on the paper towel).

Just a note on how I rotate these on the shelf:  I don't keep out all 40 sound bins at once.  I start with one.  Then, I add a second one.  Then, I dump the objects or pictures from those two together and the child can do a sound sort.  To increase the difficulty, one can wait until 3-4 baskets have accumulated before dumping them together for the sound sort.

I have started a separate page on the blog for storing links to our sound bins posts.  You can find a tab for it on the top of the blog just under the header.  I haven't gotten very many of our sound bins up there yet, but check back later to find the rest.

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  1. Thank you for sharing! What is in the little AI book?

  2. Anon,

    In this case the book has pictures that are repeats of the objects in the bin. That is okay because we keep his collection of little books out all the time. He likes to read through them all in a sitting every few days. That way, when the objects are gone he can still practice.

    Other times, the book can be an opportunity to add some pictures of things that are possible to find a photograph of but not an object (such as "rain").

    If your region would allow for "ail" words you could find quite a bit that would be in that category.