Phonics Friday Part 2

It’s another Friday and I am continuing on my mission to teach my son to read. In Part 1 last week I showed a simple vowel phonics chart I put up in my boy’s room. This allows me to review with him most night his vowel sounds. This week I am adding to his “bedroom classroom” a configurable word wall.

I decided to create some big letter tiles that I can use to make simple words for my son to sound out. I can also have him practice by making words himself.

I used pages on the iPad to make the tiles but MS Word would work as well. I created a table on a Normal letter-size paper that was in landscape orientation. I used a font that seems better for dyslexics reading. I think Comic Sans is recommended but that wasn’t a choice with Pages for the iPad. Chalkboard font on the iPad seems similar to comic sans so I chose that one. If I set the font size at 120 points to got the letters and spacing shown below.

I made enough columns and rows so each cell would fit one letter with large font size. I printed out the page of letters. Then I finally used my laminator for the first time! I cut out each individual letter and then put a hole in the top.

I decided to use yellow card stock after reading this report about the best background colors to use for dyslexics. I think other colors could be slightly better but yellow was the closest color I have to orange and light yellow.

Once I had enough letters I worked on getting the spacing right. To do this I made the vowel letters a little narrower by cutting off some of both sides. Then I used a simple CVC word to figure out the hook spacing. I used simple teacup holder hooks so I could hang the letters up and make words.

I put up some additional hooks to store the words but I arranged them with the same spacing. Now some of the older boys try and make funny phrases.

The boys have fun coming up with new words or even silly combinations of non-words. In the future, I hope to make blends and other consonant combinations. I also hope to experiment with different background colors. So now every night I can make new words for my son to practice reading.

What do you think of my configurable word wall? If you are interested in making your own here is a free copy of the Letter Tiles I used. Do you have any suggestions for teaching phonics? I would love to hear them in the comments.

Phonics Friday Part 1

I am on a mission to teach my son to read. My older kids eventually learned to read but for my son who struggles with learning difficulties ranging from Dyslexia to auditory processing issues reading is hard! I thought I would share my experiences hopefully every Friday. I also hope to post a free copy of the resource I create for teaching phonics.

While I was casually talking to my wife about teaching our kids to read I asked my wife what she remembered from her school years when she learned to read. To my surprise, she responded with the fact that she didn’t remember and that she just learned. That was an ah-ha moment for me. My wife has always been able to read well. In fact from her description, it sounded like she just picked up a book and started reading.

I on the other hand had to learn to read. It wasn’t always easy. But I remember how I learned to read. I was taught using a structured phonics approach. I attended a grade school where they used A Beka. One of the vivid memories I have from learning to read I still remember it while I am reading to myself or sounding out words subconsciously. What I remember most from my school years learning to read were phonics drills. I don’t remember how often we would work on those drills but I can hear them in my mind. I looked up the charts and they are about the same. You can see a sample one here. I remember it was on a big flip chart at the front of the room. When I think back to learning to read I am convinced that drills helped me learn to read. I decided to go to that method to help reinforce phonics for my son.

So here is a picture from my son’s room of what I am doing.

Wall poster in my son’s bedroom for drilling vowel sounds.

I quickly made this phonics chart last night. I ended up using MS Word but you could do it on the iPad also. In fact, I probably would have used Keynote if I was doing it again. The picture of the Indian I got from a great site for free images here. I let my son pick out the picture so it was something that interested him. I chose vowels since my son keeps mixing up simple words with i and a as a short vowel sound. My goal is to work with him every night before bed. I make him say with me “a-a” in apple “i-i” in Indian. So far it works pretty well. The only change I think I will make to the poster is to put the letter first and then the picture. Also here is another great resource for free phonics charts.

What do you think of my phonics chart? What have you done to help your child learn to read with phonics? What do you remember from when you first started to learn to read? Was it easy for you or hard?

If you would like more information on teaching phonics and teaching boys to read I suggest you check out my post on free reading resources. Also here is a free copy of my phonics vowel poster. If you would like to see more of what I am doing to teach my son to read with phonics check out Part 2.