Learning the Alphabetic Principle By D. Timberlake Our English Language The English language is like a pot of soup because it is made of many different languages. Each language has a different set of rules for how we read words. However, about 80% of the words we use every day in reading and writing are decodable if you know the rules. How we learn to read: About 4 out of every 5 people learn to read easily with ordinary instruction and practice. That means that about 1 of every 5 people learns to read in a different way. Sometimes, this makes them feel they are not as smart as the others who learned more quickly. But, almost all people can learn to read if they are taught in the way their brains learn language. Different doesn’t have to be bad. What do these people have in common? George Washington, Thomas Edison, Tom Cruise, Thomas Jefferson, Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Pablo Picasso, Leonardo daVinci, Steve Jobs, Cher http://www.dyslexia-test.com/famous.html They all had difficulty learning to read by the usual methods, but they are all brilliant in some part of their lives. Some would even say they have a kind of genius. Multi-sensory Learning People who have difficulty learning to read need a different type of instruction. They need a structured, sequential program where they learn specific ways to deal with letters in words. They need instruction to be provided in a multi-sensory way: using all the senses to learn and make reading automatic. Multi-sensory reading instruction is visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. V A K The Alphabetic Principle Words are made of letters, and letters are used to represent sounds. There are 26 letters in the alphabet, but there are 44 sounds in the English language. So, you can see that some of the letters must make more than one sound. Sometimes, a group of letters work together to make a sound. Let’s name the letters of the alphabet. AB C DE F GHI J K L MN O P Q R S T U V WX Y Z Things to know about the alphabet: There are 26 letters in the alphabet. A is the initial letter of the alphabet. Z is the final letter of the alphabet. Letters in between are called medial letters. I, M, F Cheer: Initial means first. Final means last. Medial means anything between first and last. Medial Initial Final What are your initials? Catherine Anne Town C.A.T. Daniel Owen Gifford D.O.G. ________ _________ ________ Let’s learn more about the alphabet. There are 2 kinds of letters in the alphabet: Vowels Consonants What are syllables? A syllable is a word or a part of a word made by one opening of the mouth and one beat of the voice. Words can be made of one or more syllables. When a word has more than one syllable, the first syllable is usually accented. What is an accented syllable? When you accent a syllable, you open your mouth wider and your voice is higher and louder. Most English-based words are accented on the first syllable. Say your name and your friend’s name and see if you can tell which syllable is accented. Practice counting syllables and hearing accents! Tom` my Bob` Mol` ly (2 syllables) (1 syllable) (2 syllables) Tab` i tha Lin` da ho tel` ??? (3 syllables) (2 syllables) (2 syllables) ??? What are vowels? Vowel sounds open your mouth and turn on your voice box. The five vowels are A, E, I, O, and U. Every syllable has at least one vowel sound. Vowels can have more than one sound. Most vowels are usually either short or long. Some vowels have even more sounds. What are consonants? Consonants are sounds that close your mouth. Consonant sounds are blocked by your teeth, your tongue, or your lips. Some consonants also turn on your voice box. See if you can discover which ones will do that. B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, Q, R, S, T, V, W, X, Y, Z Consonant sounds: (Use picture cards if available.) b - balloon (b) c - cat (c) or (when followed by a, o, u, or any consonant) c – circle (s) (when followed by e, i, or y) More about Consonants: d – dog (d) f – fish (f) g – goat (g) or (when followed by a, o, u, or any consonant) h – hat (h) g – giraffe (j) (when followed by e, i, or y) More about Consonants: j – jet (j) k – kite (k) l – lion (l) m – monkey (m) n – nut (n) p – pig (p) r – rabbit (r) s – sun (s) or (in initial position or after an unvoiced sound) s – rose (z) (after a voiced sound) More about Consonants: t – turtle (t) v – vest (v) w – wagon (w) x – fox (ks) y – yoyo (y) (Remember that y in final position makes vowel sounds!) z – zebra (z) Consonant Clusters: Some consonants work together to make a new sound. Practice these with the cards, too. qu wh th th More Consonant Clusters: sh --------------------------------------------------------------ch ch (sh) ch (k) More Consonant Clusters: Initial position Final position after a long vowel, Final position after a short vowel 2 vowels, or a consonant ge gentle ch chair ge cage, stooge, range ch beach, church dge badge tch catch More Consonant Clusters: Ghost letter digraphs wr gn (wreath) (gnaw) kn (knife) Syllable type #1: Open syllables Vowels love to run out the door and say their names. If the door is open, that is what they do. a e i o u More about open syllables: Open syllables end with a vowel. They make a long vowel sound. When a vowel makes a long sound, it just says its name. We code this kind of vowel with a mark called a macron. a, I, we, so, mu / sic, ho / tel Nonsense words: Sometimes, we practice reading new words that aren’t really words at all. We call these kinds of words nonsense words. Some people even call them Ootian words. What if we lived on a planet called Oo? We’d probably speak Ootian. Practice with open (long) syllables: Practice reading these words. Some are real words and some are nonsense words. a fa ta ja me be we de I hi fi zi go fo no ko fu mu cu lu Syllable type #2: Closed syllables Vowels love to run out open doors, but consonants close doors. What happens when the door is closed? ??? Closed syllables: When a vowel is followed by a consonant, it makes a short vowel sound. You must learn the sounds that short vowels make. The best way to learn these short sounds is to tie a picture of a word containing that sound with the sound itself. That gives you a multi-sensory way to remember. Your teacher will show you some cards with short vowel sounds. Practice saying these aloud. Short vowel sounds: Short vowel sounds are coded with a breve . a Letter name apple (a) picture sound More short vowel sounds: e elephant (e) More short vowel sounds: i igloo (i) More short vowel sounds: o octopus (o) More short vowel sounds: u umbrella (u) Practice reading short syllables: am act ag at af Al add an az ab ap ask Syllable Type # 3: VCe Syllables a.k.a. Sneaky e’s When a vowel is followed by a consonant, the sound is usually short. But, when the vowel is followed by a consonant and an “e”, the vowel usually makes a long sound. The “e” is silent – it doesn’t make any sound. cap cape So sneaky!!!! e C V Remember: Vowels love to run out the door and say their names – long sounds. But, consonants close doors and cause vowels to say short sounds. Sneaky e does not make a sound. He sneaks over and quietly opens the door, then the vowel runs out the door, making a long sound. Sneaky “e” practice words: mat cub rid rob pet rip strip mate cube ride robe Pete ripe stripe tap man bit cut cop can fin tape mane bite cute cope cane fine Syllable Type # 4: Vowel + r Some people call this type of syllable the bossy “r” syllable. Vr This type of syllable looks like a closed syllable, but the “r” controls the vowel’s sound. Practice with bossy “r”: You have to learn the sounds for each vowel when followed by a bossy r. In accented syllables, these vowels have typical sounds when followed by “r.” Look at the pictures on the next pages to learn these new sounds. Typical Bossy “r” sounds: ar ir er or ur More Bossy “r” information: In unaccented syllables, all vowel r syllables make the (er) sound you hear in “butter – (er)”. Listen to the (er) sound in each of these words containing an unaccented ar or or: dollar collar doctor tractor Practice reading with Bossy “r” in accented syllables: farms herded shirt born turtle cars fern birth cord hurting art letter girls fort fur Practice reading with Bossy “r” in unaccented syllables: tar’ tar mo’ lar dol’ lar fa’ vor doc’ tor tu’ tor Syllable Type # 5: Vowel Pairs Back in the day, many of us were taught: “When 2 vowels go walking, the first one does the talking.” The problem with this rule is that it only works about half the time. Learning the different sounds vowel pairs can make will help you decode words. First you try… if that doesn’t work, then you try… More about vowel pairs: What are digraphs & diphthongs? Digraphs are two letters that make one sound. That means that one of the letters is silent, or the two letters form a new sound when paired together. Diphthongs are two letters that make an unexpected, blended sound. Your mouth makes two really quick sounds for the vowels. Diphthongs are the easiest! There are only two diphthongs, but they have two spellings each. Let’s start with the first one – (oi). The (oi) sound is spelled oi if it is found in initial or medial position. The (oi) sound is spelled oy if it is found in final position. Sound for diphthong oi and oy: oi (oil) oy (toy) Practice reading diphthong (oi): Initial Medial Final oil oink oint / ment coin foil broil boy enjoy deploy Digraphs: 2 letters - just 1 sound Two letters that make one sound are called a digraph, pronounced (di-graf). We underline digraphs to code them. The best way to learn digraph sounds is to practice with the picture cards – your brain will begin to connect the sound to the digraphs by relating them to a picture that soon will begin to “pop” into your head! Common Digraphs starting w/ “a”: Initial & medial positions Final position ai (as in aim, sail) au (as in saucer) ay (as in hay) aw (as in paw) Common digraphs starting with “e”: ea (It makes 3 sounds!!!) (If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again!) 1st try: long e (as in eat, mean) 2nd try: short e (as in bread) 3rd try: long a (as in steak) More digraphs beginning with “e”: ee (as in eel, beet, tree) ei (1st try: as in receipt, 2nd try: as in veil) ey (as in key) eu (as in Europe) ew (as in pew, blew) Even more digraphs: ie 1st try: long i (as in pie) 2nd try: long e (as in thief) ue long u or (oo) (as in blue) More and More Digraphs: oa oe ou ow (long o as in soap) (long o as in toe) (oo) as in soup) *** (long o as in bow) *** *** ou and ow can also be diphthongs, so be sure to try both to see which sound makes a word. Syllable Type # 6: F.S.S. Final Stable Syllables A final stable syllable (F.S.S.) is just what it says it is. It is found in final position - right at the end of the word. It makes a syllable all by itself, and it makes the same sound every time. We put a half-bracket [ in front of the F.S.S. Common final stable syllables are found on the next slides. More on Final Stable Syllables… [ble (as in bub [ble) – says “bul” cle (as in un [cle) – says “cul” dle (as in fid [dle) – says “dul) fle (as in ruf [fle) – says “ful” gle (as in an [gle) – says “gul” kle (as in wrin [kle) – says “kul” ple (as in pur [ple) – says “pul” Even more Final Stable Syllables sle (as in tus [sle) – says “sul” tle (as in bot [tle) – says “tul” zle (as in puz [zle) – says “zul” tion (as in lo [tion) - says “shun” sion (as in man [sion or as in ex-plo [sion) (shun) (zhun) age (as in cott [age) – says “ij” Syllable division rules All words are made of these different kinds of syllables. We have to learn syllable division rules to help us separate the syllables and apply the rules we’ve learned. Stay tuned for syllable division rules.