Phonics International Forum Index Phonics International
an International Online Synthetic Phonics Programme
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

The CORE Sounds Book Activity Sheets

Post new topic   Reply to topic    Phonics International Forum Index -> Guide to using the programme
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message

Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 2469
Location: UK

PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 8:39 pm    Post subject: The CORE Sounds Book Activity Sheets Reply with quote

On visiting schools and speaking to a number of programme users, I am finding that some people are underestimating the effectiveness and importance of the core SOUNDS BOOK ACTIVITY SHEETS.

These activity sheets are essential and not 'optional' - otherwise I cannot be accountable for the success of the programme!

Some teachers are telling me that they don't 'fold up' the sheet for the spelling-and-editing activity. Then this is to neglect the power of the activity sheets and the full range of the skill-development which the sheets should regularly ensure.

Also, my experience is that learners really love these sheets and part of the engagement of their interest includes the folding up of the sheet and the final spelling-and-editing activity.

These sheets need to be used two or three times a week for a beginner and around twice a week from about unit 6.

In between the lessons with the SOUNDS BOOK ACTIVITY SHEETS, teachers can use the other types of resources such as the SENTENCES and I CAN READ texts.

In fact, once the routines are established for the SOUNDS BOOK ACTIVITY SHEETS, learners can immediately move on to another resource such as those mentioned above or some other game or activity as an extension to the SOUNDS BOOK sheets - IN THE SAME LESSON!

In other words, pack in the 'content' of the teaching and learning opportunities.

In some cases, I am finding teachers follow the order of introduction of the Phonics International's 'units' - but 'make up' little games and activities and texts themselves. Sadly, these are often lacking in 'content' and challenge and may be trying to 'draw out' words and spellings from more able children instead of focusing on 'putting in' good content.

The Phonics International programme provides teachers with a great deal of 'content' in a systematic way. Teachers are not really 'using' the programme if they dabble in following 'the order of introduction' but then do lessons with little content and at a slow pace.

As teachers, be 'time efficient' but allow 'sufficient time' for learners to learn the focus alphabetic code and to practise their sub-skills and core skills.

Please, if you are a user of the PI programme, make the most of the wealth of systematic resources - it will be worth it.

Of course you do need to spend some time to get to know what is available - but it will be worth it.

Teachers cannot expect NOT to have to invest some time into studying the resources and the methodology.

Also, teaching reading, spelling and writing is far too important NOT to invest the time. Confused
Debbie Hepplewhite

Last edited by debbie on Sat Jul 27, 2013 2:40 pm; edited 2 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 2469
Location: UK

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whilst the core SOUNDS BOOK ACTIVITY SHEETS are very easy to use for individual children to have their own programme of work in a tutoring or home setting, the SOUNDS BOOK ACTIVITY SHEETS are also ideal for whole class and whole group teaching.

They have been designed with whole classes and groups in mind.

These activity sheets always have a variety of cumulative words of different lengths and complexities.

This provides differentiation for all the pupils. The teacher is aware that his or her pupils will 'access' each Sounds Book Activity Sheet at a personal level.

Some pupils, for example, may be slow to sound out - and much of their effort is in recognising and sounding out the letter/s-sound correspondences they have been previously taught. These pupils may not be able to 'hear' the target word at first, or they may be able to 'hear' the word only when an another person does the sounding out.

Or these pupils may find that they can recognise and blend some of the easier words but not the longer words. Sometimes it is the longer words which trigger an ability to 'hear' the target word. It is actually important not to prevent such beginners or strugglers from being exposed to longer words and word endings (plurals and verb endings for example).

Other pupils may find it relatively easy to sound out and blend the cumulative words and quickly go on to the handwriting and drawing parts of the Sounds Book Activity Sheets. The fact that there is more than one activity to complete on the sheets allows for differentiation also. Whilst the adult is supporting weaker readers (but don't 'over' support because the learner never gets chance to do it for him or herself if over-supported!), more able readers can press ahead with the next activities.

When the teacher thinks the time is right, he or she can stop all the independent activities to gather all the learners together to 'go through' the vocabulary element of the cumulative word bank. The learners should have been trained to 'circle' any words that they blended but did not know the meaning of. It can be great fun clarifying the meanings of the cumulative words. The learners can give their own definitions and put the words into spoken sentences.

The class or group can do some 'actions' to remember what the words are. This helps to remember the 'spelling word bank' of those specific words. In a recent lesson on the /k/ sound and 'ch' grapheme, the class sang a 'chorus' to remember 'choir' and 'chorus' in their 'word bank'. They did the 'Incy Wincy Spider' rhyme to remember 'arachnid'. They acted out having a 'stomach ache'. They created a bit of 'chaos' and they acted out the life-cycle of a butterfly which included the 'chrysalis' stage. They acted out an 'archeological' dig and pretended to be a 'chemist'.

All of this multi-sensory and fun side of the PI programme helps children to remember new information. Within a short space of time, this group of learners were really good at recalling the words for the 'ch' and /k/ word bank. This needs to be in their long-term memory of course.

When learners are ready for their spelling-with-editing routine on the folded-up parts of their Sounds Book Activity Sheets, the teacher can provide words of different degrees of difficulty across the class as appropriate. One group of learners may get longer words or more words in between the teacher giving everyone simpler words. Some learners may get simple sentences to write as well.

Older learners are perfectly capable of giving themselves their 'own' spelling words. All they have to do is to recall their 'word bank' and then segment each word, count the tallied sound fingers and then write the sound dashes, write the graphemes all-through-the-word and then edit the word by blending the graphemes from left to right of the spelt word. In other words, learners do not need the adult to call out which words to spell on the folded-up part (or the reverse side) of the Sounds Book Activity Sheets.

Another way of providing differentiation is for the class to be trained in what activity to continue with once they have completed their Sounds Book Activity Sheet. They might, for example, have a piece of 'I can read' text ready to do a grapheme search and read. Older learners also have the 'Questions' resource which goes with each piece of text from unit 7 to unit 12.

[When learners are trained in the routines for the Sounds Book Activity Sheets and other resources, no time is wasted describing to learners what they need to do lesson after lesson.]

Or, learners can simply give a 'self-dictation' - where they read the 'Sentences' resource or the 'I can read' text, then re-read from the beginning and hold the first sentence in memory to write on lined paper or in a lined exercise book. Then they return to the text to read and write the next part.

This is not quite a 'dictation' but it is excellent training for 'holding words in memory' and for spelling and handwriting. It also means that learners can work at their own pace.

So, when using the Sounds Book Activity Sheets, the teacher starts with an introduction of revision of past graphemes for the whole class and then introduces the day's 'new learning'. A few example words are blended and segmented. After that, the teacher provides the next Sounds Book Activity Sheet for students to do independently.

At most, use no more than two different Sounds Book Activity Sheets for two groups. Where possible, keep learners using the same sheets which can be differentiated as described above.

If the teacher has created two groups, BOTH groups sit and listen attentively whilst the teacher describes to each group in turn which sound and which grapheme they are going to study this time.

In this way, each group benefits from a bit of teaching or revision for the 'two' correspondences being studied (a different one for each group).

Please don't get into a teaching situation where you have assessed all your pupils and you try to give each one a Sounds Book Activity Sheet of a correspondence they don't know as individuals. The teacher dilutes her teaching if she has to deal with many different graphemes on the same occasion. It doesn't really matter if a grapheme is revision for some pupils and new to others if there are just some gaps in code knowledge.

Keep your teaching and classroom management arrangements as simple as you can. Very Happy
Debbie Hepplewhite

Last edited by debbie on Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:38 am; edited 4 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
fluffy bunny

Joined: 08 May 2009
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very Happy
Thanks Debbie this is a really useful description.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 2469
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On reading my posting above about whole class use of the core SOUNDS BOOK ACTIVITY SHEETS, I received this really lovely email from Marg so I asked her permission to post it on the PI forum. It's always great to get feedback and to know that I'm not just 'talking' into the abyss!

Hi Debbie and PI team!

Thanks so much for that clear explanation of how we might differentiate the learning while doing the same sound with the whole class. This is one of the main criticisms of systematic, explicit phonics teaching. I can hear the questions from the doubters ringing in my ears:

“But, why do you teach everyone the same thing, when we know the bell curve shows that very few will need the same level of instruction. Most of the kids already know that grapheme!”

Your PI resources are unique in that they allow for this spread of abilities within the class. All children can work on the same sound but at very different levels of sophistication.

Secondly, and most importantly, this spread of abilities is significantly reduced if all the children in your class have been taught systematic, explicit phonics from the start of their schooling. Sure, some children will have ‘learnt’ some sounds before they get to school and may even be reading quite fluently. However, the first year students' phonics understanding is rarely embedded and usually cannot be automatically recalled. Automaticity is a key to the students’ phonics development. If they cannot instantly recall the sound or the grapheme, then much of their cognitive load while reading is being taken up with word reading, leaving little ’space’ for comprehension. Also, these ‘word memory’ readers have often taught themselves to read and do not understand how they do it. So they are unable to decode non-words and therefore unfamiliar vocabulary. Many of these students struggle with the rules of English and cannot apply the rules to new situations. It is important learning and revision for the more advanced readers. However, this learning may not need to be repeated as often and over-learnt to the same extent as the more dependent, slower learners. I remember my brighter students would be fascinated by the rules of English and the way the sounds are applied in different situations. They loved to learn why this sound is spelt this way in one word, but another way in another word. Every child learns so much about their language and feels much more confident in their ability to read and spell new words.

I also appreciated your description of the multi-sensory approach to building word meaning. Teachers find it hard to develop their students’ vocabulary in a fun way. Our knowledge of brain research has empowered teachers to do fun things with their kids with a valid educational purpose. Phil Beadle’s work in 'Can’t Read, Can’t Write', while flawed in some respects (largely through his lack of knowledge and experience in this area), was a great demonstration to his students that they weren’t stupid, they just needed to learn differently. And if we are to prevent another generation of illiterate adults, we need to alert teachers to the importance of systematic explicit phonics and multisensory learning experiences that cater to the needs of all. (For those of you who have not seen the program 'Can’t Read, Can’t Write', you MUST Google it. I have watched it 10 times and am absolutely inspired by it every time.)

I love this ability to discuss reading and writing with such an experienced and passionate group of teachers from around the world. Keep up the fight everyone. We will prevail!

Cheers from Oz,


Debbie Hepplewhite
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Phonics International Forum Index -> Guide to using the programme All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group