1st through 3rd Primary, we are focused on Phonics, the individual sounds in English. We can break words up into individual sounds or put them back together!
In ESO last year, some girls made some lovely storybooks that we use to introduce the new sound in Primary 1 and 2. No doubt, your daughter has brought two of these home by now! I'll explain how we use them in class as we work on each sound for 3 weeks.
Each book starts with a picture dictionary, with eight new words that each have the special sound. The girls draw their own picture of the word to make their own index. This helps them identify the meaning of each word.
When we introduce a sound, we commit it to memory with a little song and dance. We often sing the song many times and in many funny ways - low, high, slow, fast, for example. This way, if a student gets stuck on how to pronounce a letter, it's easy to reference the song. The lyrics to each little song are in the back of each book.
The last page is the tongue twister, my personal favorite activity.
The tongue twister uses each sound a number of times because practice makes perfect! After reading the story, I invite each girl, one by one, to read the tongue twister to the class. They can get pretty playfully competitive over who can read it fastest!
We also play a lot of games. I think that everyone's favorite is when I hide the week's words and ask them to find them. Once they understand the meaning of the word, I tell them the definition and they find the word. Their intellect and their problem-solving skills never cease to be impressive.
Primary 3 is a little different. We are just about to begin working on vowel sounds, especially the difference in pronouncing short and long vowels (pin vs. pine, for example), and the many different ways to spell the long sounds. We will do some worksheets, but mostly there are a lot of games to look forward to in the future!
Primary 3 and 4 are also doing a lot with tricky words, although I'm helping Primary 1 and 2 get the basics of these (often short) words that are used quite often and don't adhere to the laws of phonics I teach! We play games to recognize these strangely spelled words and use them in sentences.
In Primary 5 and 6, the girls are already so great with speaking that we are working on simply making it come more naturally. These levels do a lot of exercises in pairs that follow along with the topics of their books and a lot of conversation games. At this level, they are also very interested in my American culture, which I am truly honored to share!
So, we do a lot in these early years, but we all have a lot of fun in our hour together. I hope you're enjoying the tunes of the Jolly Phonics jingles - they certainly get stuck in my head!