Last week I introduced the idea of “vowel teams” to one of my students - two vowels that, together, make one sound. We started with the vowel team, <oo>.
Our lesson involved some explicit teaching, naturally, but I like to quickly move to application of new sounds in words, using multisensory activities that target underlying phonological processing.
So we pulled out the “Sylla-boards” (available at https://www.reallygreatreading.com/). The kids love writing on the “sylla-boards” instead of the regular white board, because they are little and cute (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love anything in miniature form?). Here are the rules of “Sylla-boards”: Each board can hold a single-syllable word, but if the word has more than one syllable, it must be split across the boards. The syllaboards are wonderful for practicing targeted sounds while also ensuring the child is reading and writing across their syllables and using strong processing skills!
My student picked a marker color, and I dictated <oo> words while she wrote them on the boards, pronouncing each sound out loud simultaneously with her letter formation. And then we got silly…
We chose our favorite words, and attempted to make sentences using all of the words. Naturally, when working with a 10-year-old, practicing difficult phonics skills is only fun when it involves bathroom humor and British accents! Thus, the following sentences were generated (see image).
Strong phonics work can be both explicit and fun! In fact, a little silliness is often necessary when doing concentrated practice of challenging skills.