Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Explorar las expectativas: Isolate the initial syllable

Living with two preschoolers and working with ReadyRosie, we spend a lot of time developing phonemic awareness by chanting nursery rhymes and playing all sorts of word play games.  I have been amazed by how these activities so quickly helped my girls acquire an ear and an awareness of sounds in words.  My husband would tell you that it is ALMOST obnoxious!  You can't have a conversation with either girl without one of them telling you that you said two words that rhyme or that one word you said sounds similar at the beginning to another word they know.

As my four-year-old is in the very early stages of reading and writing, I see how her phonemic awareness provides the foundation she needs for confidently working with text.

This week, we look at the next Spanish-English correlation for phonological awareness.  This one focuses on the ability to isolate initial syllables in Spanish or initial sounds in English.

Beginning Reading Skills/Phonological Awareness
Spanish Language Arts and Reading TEKS:  2(G) isolate the initial syllabic sound in spoken words (e.g. /pa/ta, /la/ta, /ra/ta)
English Language Arts and Reading TEKS:  2(H) isolate the initial sound in one-syllable spoken 

English Language Arts and Reading TEKS:  2(E) isolate initial, medial, and final sounds in one syllable spoken words

Some thoughts on why this is an important expectation:
  • From the Tejas LEE Training Notes:
    • Although Spanish is a syllabic language, research shows that a student’s ability to manipulate syllables and phonemes are equal predictors of reading success in Kindergarten and the PHONEME knowledge is a better predictor starting in first grade.
    • Phoneme knowledge helps students with difficulties blending.
    • Phoneme knowledge helps with the later transition to English.
  • The language used on several assessments of this skill is something like to "Si a "____", le quito /_/, ¿qué queda?"
  • When it comes to reading, one of the first strategies we teach to beginning readers is "Get your mouth ready to say the first sound." or "Prepara la boca para decir la primera sílaba."  As they do this and look at the picture, they are cross-checking what word would make sense based on meaning and visual cues.  
When it comes to activities for isolating initial syllables, here are some resources to get you started:
  • This website has a lot of resources available for purchase for developing Spanish reading.  You can see a free sample of one of their blacklines here.   

  • This site lists pairs of words where removing the first syllable of one words leaves the remaining second word (cometa-->meta, helado-->lado, etc.).  It would be a great reference to print out and use during circle time or at transition times.  
  • Aprende Aprenda also has some Smart Board resources for practicing this skill!

Since some Spanish assessments require flexibility at the sound level and because we need to have an "eye towards transition" for English, here are some FREE cards you can cut apart to practice with your class while standing in line.  Once your students understand how to play, they can play as partners in a center.

Activities like classifying according to initial sound (here and here) can be revisited as you ask students to really stretch the word by exaggerating the initial sound (mmmmmm...esa, mmmmm...ano, etc.).

As always, feel free to let me know other ways that you build this awareness with your own students! You are welcome to include a link to your TpT store resources as well!

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