Order of phoneme instruction - how to deal with voice pairs

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Kyther
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Order of phoneme instruction - how to deal with voice pairs

Post by Kyther » Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:44 am

Hello, it's Destiny again. So far the open curriculum project is going slowly, though we have a few new members, but for my SP project, I've got the fonts I need now and have found heaps of public domain pics, with some artists willing to draw missing pictures. Before I get very far, however, I do have a question that I'm trying to sort out:

I'm deciding on an order for teaching the phonemes in the curriculum I'm creating, and am unsure whether it's better to put voiced/unvoiced pairs together (to really focus on distinguishing them so kids can tell them apart), or keep them far apart so to minimize confusion (but the children will still have to learn to tell them apart at some point). Does it matter which way? Has anyone had personal experience with children confusing the p/b, t/d, etc. and were the phonemes taught back-to-back or with a lot of other phonemes in between? Can anyone point to scientific basis for one way or another, or is it really a matter of personal preference? Thoughts, ideas, and experience would be most welcome before I get going on putting the official (public domain) curriculum together.

To note: My experience with the preschool children I worked with was that out of the five or so I was able to work with, only two (four-year-olds) had difficulty hearing the difference, and focusing on "is it /p/ or /b/?" seemed to work just fine with them. (Scheduling conflicts--and the swine flu--have determined that to date we were only able to get three phonemes learned with three of them, and two with the other two. I hope to continue working with them after Christmas break.)

Kelly
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Post by Kelly » Fri Dec 25, 2009 1:37 am

Have you used any other curriculums?

Personally, I think that using different existing curriculums will be the only way for you to find out for yourself what the best order is.

Good luck. :smile:

Kyther
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Post by Kyther » Sun Dec 27, 2009 2:55 am

I have looked at some orders from other phonics programs (I can only look at what they declare online, since I don't have the money to purchase anything). Several programs work with the same order of s,a,t,i,n,p,m,d (it must be popular). The program at Phonics International uses s,a,t,i,p,n,c,k, etc., according to a chart I found. Another program just says "short vowels and the consonants (s, m, h, p, b, t, d, f, l, and hard c)." Another program begins with "m - a - s - d - t - i - n - p - g - o - c - k". And yet another program does "c, a, d, h, m, t, s, i". So there are a few commonalities--"s" and "m" appear early on in all of them, for instance, and "a" seems to be a first vowel introduced in most.

But with my particular question, there is definitely some differences between the programs. The Wikipedia page on Jolly Phonics, for instance, mentions keeping b/d separate to keep the visual aspects straight, and the /c/ after the /g/ and /d/. But as you can see in some of the lists above, the p/b are together in at least one program, and the t/d are in the same initial group in several of the programs. Even the b/d are together in at least one program. Not knowing whether the creators of Jolly Phonics structured it deliberately that way (or whether someone just thought so and wrote that in Wikipedia, and no one's corrected that yet--there are no references for that particular section, so I can't check it for accuracy), and if they did, whether that was based on theory or evidence/personal experience, this is why I'm asking for anything anyone here has found.

The most I could find in Diane's book was just to pick an order and stick with it (at least for the basic code consonants up through doubled consonants, blends, digraphs, and only including the five basic short vowels--beyond that, she did have some specific recommendations on whether blends come before digraphs or not, etc.). I had come up with one on my own (that followed the few guidelines she did have), started making lists of words one could spell/read with each new sound/group of sounds, etc., and then it occurred to me that starting with a pair of easily confused sounds might be an issue. I hadn't even thought about it before, since my preschool children seemed to get it OK (but again, I haven't had that much time to work with them, and I want it to be the simplest possible for all kids, not just the really bright ones).

Kelly
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Post by Kelly » Sun Dec 27, 2009 9:36 pm

The thing is, there really isn't one correct answer to your question. It will come down to personal (or commercial ;-) )preference.

It is only through teaching using the different curriculums available that most people find out what they do and don't like, or what works and what doesn't (in their opinion).

Many programmes use the same order as Jolly Phonics. So if you were wanting to stick to an order that has already proven to be successful then go with that. If you are hoping to create your own unique curriculum then I think that can only be done through teaching experience.

I think I am right in that you hope to make a curriculum that will be available free of charge. Is that correct? If so, to save you the time and effort of making your own curriculum, you could just direct people to existing free synthetic curriculums e.g. Mona McNee's: http://www.catphonics.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/ .

Kyther
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Post by Kyther » Mon Dec 28, 2009 5:08 am

Kelly wrote:It is only through teaching using the different curriculums available that most people find out what they do and don't like, or what works and what doesn't (in their opinion).
And since one cannot please everyone, I guess I should just pick something and stick with it. Though the concern about b/d confusion is the only one I've seen mentioned so far, so I'll try to abide by that and separate them a bit. The "bed" trick should be helpful, as long as that's not copyrighted somewhere (anyone know on that?).
Kelly wrote:Many programmes use the same order as Jolly Phonics. So if you were wanting to stick to an order that has already proven to be successful then go with that. If you are hoping to create your own unique curriculum then I think that can only be done through teaching experience.
I'm hoping to stick somewhat with the order I created already, since I did so much work with it, but it is a bit different than Jolly Phonics. I purposely did make it according to Diane's guidelines, but within that there was a good deal of freedom when it came to mixing up the one-to-one correspondences. And as I said above, the only concern I've seen so far anywhere is with the visual confusion, so I'll make sure that is separate.

I do have a few people ready to try my materials on their classes. A 2nd grade teacher I work with in an afterschool part-time job is fed up with the phonics program that's being pushed in their school, and says her students are way behind, many of them, and just don't understand. She might test my program on a fast-forward, get the basics into kids who've been horribly mistaught in K-1st, sort of basis. We'll see how that goes. I'm also hoping to find someone who can test this on kindergarten students, which is the level I'm aiming on starting it at--where they first start really learning sounds and stuff. (Many may attend preschools before that, but since preschool and kindergarten are often in different places, and most preschoolers aren't ready for anything but the sound games, I don't think I'll be able to use them as testers. The unfortunate result of this is that many of the kindergarteners already have enough letter name knowledge to throw the struggling ones off when they try to master what's a name vs. a sound.)
Kelly wrote:I think I am right in that you hope to make a curriculum that will be available free of charge. Is that correct? If so, to save you the time and effort of making your own curriculum, you could just direct people to existing free synthetic curriculums e.g. Mona McNee's: http://www.catphonics.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/ .
Actually, that's not quite true. I want to make a curriculum that will be public domain. This will translate into it being free to download for anyone, but anyone will be able to print it and sell it commercially if they want. I'm also intending it to encompass the standard materials found in typical reading programs here in the US: reading textbook, phonics workbook, picture cards/other teacher materials, and I'm including a handwriting curriculum as well since those need to progress in tandem (I have the EFI font set, so can release materials in various font styles so they are accessible to a wider audience). My eventual goal is to have a package that could be adopted in an entire school without a great deal of teacher work (they could either print out the materials themselves, or pay a small fee to have them printed and shipped to them, once it's way down the road). From what I see of Mona's, it is much sparser than the final result I'm going for, and it specifically says it's copyrighted by her or the publishers, something I do NOT want. This program needs to be free of restrictions in that sense, which is why it will be released public domain. The benefit of that is that it's not limited to me to help create it--anyone can participate, once the systems are set up to share ideas and such. (Of course, any contributions are under the condition that they are public domain, so no one contributes something and then wants to claim copyright for it all because they contributed it.) For now, anyone who's interested is welcome to e-mail me with ideas, questions, suggestions, etc.

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maizie
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Post by maizie » Mon Dec 28, 2009 12:52 pm

The "bed" trick should be helpful, as long as that's not copyrighted somewhere (anyone know on that?).
The 'bed' trick is universally used, so I doubt it's copyrighted. I, personally, don't think it's a particularly useful 'trick'. I still get loads of 11 12 year olds who know the 'bed' thing but still confuse b/d! I think that if you keep them well separate ansd place huge emphasis on forming the two letters correctly, and saying the sound as they are written, most children will have no problem with them.

I like Rod Everson's 'trick' better and it works for p/q confusion too. It's based on the mouth positions used in articulating the sounds.

So, the /b/ sound (and /p/) starts with a closed mouth. The closed lips make a 'straight line' so 'b' = straight line first. This helps with writing or reading the 'sound'. Conversely, /d/ and 'q' (which is just a /k/ sound) start with an open mouth. Therefore, they are read or written with open mouth first.

I find this much more useful than 'bed'.

Kelly
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Post by Kelly » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:50 am

I know nothing about how public domain works. :oops:

My question is: Will you have the authority to reject contributions if they are not appropriate?

Kyther
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Post by Kyther » Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:34 am

Kelly wrote:I know nothing about how public domain works. :oops:

My question is: Will you have the authority to reject contributions if they are not appropriate?
Well, anyone can make a fork of my project if they like--that is, take what I have and split it off and work on their own version with changes and all. That's one of the great things about open source/public domain stuff, you can make a million different versions to suit different people. Mind you, I can't release my materials in any format but pdf thanks to the license on the fonts I'm using (they're not public domain, but as long as I don't let people be able to use them in the regular way I do, I can use them in my project legally and still release it as public domain), so that means they won't be able to do much with editing any of the books, but there's more besides that (and they're welcome to release anything they can with whatever they have access to). And ideas are easy to contribute. Since it's my version of the project, I'd decide what I want to include of that, but I'm definitely going to want any help I can get.

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