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A good question about the value of 'environmental sounds'

 
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debbie



Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 2444
Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:41 pm    Post subject: A good question about the value of 'environmental sounds' Reply with quote

I have just received a very good question from one of the sales consultants in South America for Floppy's Phonics Sounds and Letters. I thought the question was a very interesting one and worthy of sharing here:



Quote:
Dear Debbie,

Floppy´s Phonics promotion in South America is doing very well ...

Debbie, I would appreciate your support on the following:

Our Reps have found teachers asking for the importance of the Phonemic Awareness Stage 1. They need in written some arguments of the importance of exposing children to these environmental sounds.

Thanks again for all your support.

_________________
Debbie Hepplewhite


Last edited by debbie on Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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debbie



Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 2444
Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is my reply:


Quote:
Dear Angie,

It's really good to hear from you – and really good that Floppy's Phonics is doing well in South America – all credit to you and teachers there.

Re phonemic awareness:

Many people over-emphasise phonemic awareness (awareness of sounds in spoken words) as a pre-reading skill – but actually phonemic awareness is developed during the phonics programme as part of the phonics programme.

The emphasis on environmental sounds is no more important or less important for children than an emphasis on any of the senses of human beings.

By this I mean we should focus on talking with children about seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, speaking and so on as part of early years work.

In England, people who hold sway in the early years were extremely concerned to focus on 'sounds' beyond just the sounds in our speech and so a great deal was made of pre-school activities based on sounds – body, rhythm and rhyme, music, environment – and so on.

In Floppy's Phonics, we include a lovely range of books (I call them the 'cloud books') which create a focus for teachers to develop language – vocabulary, comprehension – around the pictures and storylines – and in addition the CD-ROM material provides lots of environmental sounds to enhance the language development – e.g. animals making their noises, household noises such as vacuum cleaners – and so on.

The most important aspect of these cloud books and the CD-ROM material is the support it gives the teacher to focus conversation in child-friendly and appropriate themes such as 'At the farm' and so on.

Research wise, with regard to 'phoneme awareness', the best research shows that this is best developed along with letters and letter groups but not everyone fully appreciates this enough.

Now, in terms of English as a second language or new language, as you know there are almost double the number of sounds in the English language compared with the Spanish language.

This means that any speaking and listening – and oral blending and segmenting (even without looking at print) is invaluable to tune in the children's 'ear' to the sounds in the English language beyond Spanish sounds and to help the children articulate the English sounds beyond Spanish sounds.

This, however, is not about 'environmental' sounds – but about quality speaking and listening opportunities and plenty of oral blending and segmenting.

This type of actitivity can still take place even when the phonics programme has started and run alongside the introduction of the phonics programme.

So, if the children were not too teeny, I would simply begin the phonics programme and provide plenty of speaking and listening in the English language in addition.

If the children are really teeny, it may serve them well to begin with speaking and listening and oral segmenting and blending in very simple ways – that decision is up to teachers.

I hope this helps.

I am going to add your question and my answer on to my message forum if that is OK with you as it is such a good question.

If I haven't answered the query well enough, please let me know.

Warm regards to all,

_________________
Debbie Hepplewhite
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