Saturday, 22 September 2012

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English Phonetics, Writing and Reading Curriculum

We are slowly getting more organized and I think it is about time that we follow a curriculum to ensure that all grounds are covered. As I mentioned in the last School Time post that I bought the Brillant Minds Montessori Reading and Writing Kit Program. Here is how the curriculum overview and order go with phonics, writing and reading:

1. Lowercase Sandpaper Letters

• Trace the lowercase Montessori sandpaper letters daily using 2 fingers and saying its sound "k".
• Do this one set at a time preferably in this order: cmf, pta, wno, hgz, jib, rkl, suv, dye and qx.
• Move on to the next set when your child has mastered a set.

2. Letter Sound strips

• After tracing the set of letters, present the corresponding sound strips for cmf.

• Starting with the letter c sound strip, point to the c and say "k"; point to the picture of the cat and say "k... cat"; point to the cow and say". Do the same for the rest of the pictures, ending by pointing to the cursive c which for Joshua, it is easier for him to grasp the concept of cursive if I say, "dancing... k".

• Repeat for the remaining sound strips of the set (m and f).

• When your child has mastered a letter sound, place the sound strip on a key ring.

3. Uppercase Sandpaper Letters

• Introduce the capital sandpaper letters by encouraging your child to trace and match them to the lowercase counterparts.
 

4. Pre-handwriting Skills: Drawing Lines

• Have your child draw lines within the boundaries with 5 different fat-tipped markers.

• Encourage your child to concentrate on staying within the provided lines.

• The program advises that this exercise should be repeated daily, and provided a CD of worksheets (As it is copyright protected, I could not share them here).


Here is a good video on how to demonstrate pre-handwriting activity:


5. Pre-handwriting Skills: Spatial Orientation & Fine Motor Development

• After drawing lines, use the same sheet to paste pasta, another handwriting preparation spatial orientation and fine motor development lesson in the program.

• You can prepare such a worksheet by drawing two lines and assisting your child to place the glue line on the worksheet until he is proficient in doing this himself.

• Have your child paste pasta, beans, etc. between the line by following the glue line.

• Joshua counted all the way to 24 while pasting the pasta. It has been fun for him:





• After Joshua has finished, I find it helpful to file his work up as follows:
  

 6. Tracing Letters with pasting stickers

To reinforce the letter C, trace the letter C today  from 1+1+1=1. You can use stickers, stamp, pebbles, petals, play dough, etc. to trace the letter:




 
 

7. Sound-to-Letter Matching & Writing

• Prerequisite skills are the sandpaper letters and sound strips activities.

• Present the letter c worksheet for the child to identify the picture of the cat by name of the letter:


• Have your child choose and circle the correct starting letter of the word (help him if needed).

• Repeat this worksheet several times until mastered, but it is ok to present the other worksheets in the set before mastery on the particular worksheets occurs, but remember to rotate the unmastered sheets.

8. Letter-to-Sound Matching

• Prerequisite skills are the sound to letter matching worksheets.

• Present the letter c worksheet and ask your child to choose and circle the pictures which start with the letter c sound (help him if needed).

• Repeat this worksheet several times until mastered, but it is ok to present the other worksheets in the set before mastery on the particular worksheets occurs, but remember to rotate the unmastered sheets.


9. Writing Letters

• Prerequisite skills are the mastery of the level 2 Handwriting Preparation activities and at least introductory experience and practice on the Level 3 materials.

• Introduce the worksheet in the following sequence: l, v, x, z, w, i, k, t, f, h, m, n, u, o, b, d, c, e, a, r, s, j, y, g, p and q.

10. Writing the First Letter of a Word

• Prerequisite skills are the worksheets in Part 1 and the Writing Letters Activites.

• Present the first worksheet and ask the child to identify the first picture by writing the correct first letter for each word (help him if needed).

• Repeat this worksheet several times until mastered, but it is ok to present the other worksheets in the set before mastery on the particular worksheets occurs, but remember to rotate the unmastered sheets.

11. Reading Stories with Short Vowels

• Prerequisite skills are strong knowledge of the phonetic sounds of the alphabet letters.

• Read to your child the book "The Rob and Max Story Collection for Early Readers":



• Prior to reading, the program recommends a review of the following letter sounds for each story respectively:

Story 1: w, o, h, i, p
Story 2: t, s
Story 3: r, b, f, a, l, u, n
Story 4: m, x, q, e, d
Story 5: j, k, v, y

12. The Silent e Rule

• Prerequisite is basic writing skills.

• Introduce the Silent e Rule worksheet, explain the rule that when words end with an e, the first vowel of the word says its name, and the ending e is silent e.g. bike.

• Encourage your child to write the correct vowel sound in each of the words in the worksheet.

13. The 2 Vowel Rule

• Prerequisite is basic writing skills.

• Introduce the 2 Vowel Rule worksheet, explain the rule that when 2 vowels appear together in a word, the first one says its name and the second one is silent, i.e. when 2 vowels go walking, the first one does the talking, e.g. seat.

• Encourage your child to write the correct vowel sound in each of the words in the worksheet.

14. Reading Stories with Long Vowels

• Prerequisite is completion of the first volume of "The Rob and Max Story Collection".

• Read to your child the book "The Rob and Max Story Collection for Early Readers Volume 2: The Long Vowels":



• Prior to reading, the program recommends a review of the following letter sounds for each story respectively:

Story 1: a
Story 2: e
Story 3: i
Story 4: o
Story 5: u

Additional Information:

At 89 USD, the Brilliant Minds Montessori Reading and Writing Kit is expensive if you consider only the tangible items contained in the kit - only the sandpaper Letters. But I think that value comes from the thought and concept behind it, the tons of worksheets included in the CD and its effectiveness.

I find it simple to implement and I am glad to have a well-organized curriculum that is not too complicated to follow.

I sometimes get confused by all the activities when I read in blogs and books - they are all very good, but rather ad hoc and haphazard. However, I find that the author's ability to design a concise, systematic and simple program that take into account the most important elements is of great value to me. Everything is served nicely as a kit with 190 worksheets, making my life easier as a working mom.

I will try to follow the systematic approach to phonetics, writing and reading as suggested by the curriculum and work towards having Joshua completing the program. It nevertheless still requires self-discipline and determination from me as well as self- motivation and desire from Joshua, so please pray along with me in our journey towards English literacy.

You can have a glimpse of the Brillant Minds Motnessori Reading and Writing Program from Amazon:



I wish there is something similar in the market available for teaching Chinese effectively to early readers. However, there isn't. Currently, Chinese is taught to children in a very traditional Chinese way that does not quite inspire love for learning. It is more about discipline and rote-learning. I will have to develop the Chinese curriculum myself. It is exciting, and I have lots of ideas, but I am constrained by time as a working mom.

I will give an update to this curriculum in this post after we have completed it.

We also bought the Brilliant Minds Maths Curriculum (only the CD, but not the materials, as we bought our Montessori materials elsewhere), and I am looking forward to try it once our Montessori materials arrive (the packages are currently at the Danish customs).

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