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Sound-Spelling Cards

Reading teachers know the value of picture mnemonics to help students master phoneme-grapheme relationships. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. Sound-spelling cards can make the sound to print connection for beginning and struggling readers.

Sound-Spelling Cards

Animal Cards

In my set of sound-spelling cards, the Animal Cards each have a picture of an animal which features the focus sound, the /sound/, the mouth formation for proper speech articulation, and the common spellings of the phoneme (the speech sound). When students learn the phoneme-grapheme (sound-letter) correspondences with embedded mnemonic pictures (see the research of Ehri and Wilce), the cards are useful tools for building phoneme awareness because the abstract sounds and symbols are now tied to concrete representations. Dr. Tim Shanahan also emphasizes the importance of sound-pictures.

The animal theme is accessible to both younger and older students, and the photographs are less juvenile than illustrations. With most of the cards, the initial sound of the animal name corresponds to the most common spelling. For example, eagle is the picture for long /e/.

The blank line in a spelling indicates that a sound-spelling appears in that position of a syllable or word. Examples: On the cow card, the blank in “ou_” shows that the “ou” with that sound begins a syllable and must have an additional spelling or spellings in the blank, such as in “ouch.” The “_ow” indicates that the “ow” with that sound ends a syllable, such as in “plow.” On the eagle card, the “_ie_” means that spellings must come before and after the “ie” with that sound, such as in chief. The “e_e” signals the consonant final “e” spelling, such as in “discrete.”

Brackets indicate optional spellings. For example, on the goose card, the g[a, o, u] shows the hard g spelling options of words such as gas, got, or gut. On the jackrabbit card, the g[e,i,y] indicates the soft g spelling options of words such as gentle, ginger, or energy. Note that the soft g spellings are not found on a gerbil card, because the Animal Cards represent the phonemes.

The cards are color-coded. Green borders indicate short vowels; red is for long vowels; black is for consonants; blue is for consonant digraphs; purple is for diphthongs (two-sound vowels); and yellow is for r-controlled vowels.

Students are introduced to the names, speech articulation, and corresponding sounds of all 45 Animal Cards within the first two weeks of instruction. Videos and songs help students learn the key components of the Animal Cards.

Audio files lead students through the practice with the card names, mouth positions, sounds, and spellings. Accompanying videos and audios explain the mouth positions for proper articulation through silly songs. For example, check out the “Consonant Stop Sounds Song.”

Intervention Program Science of Reading

The Teaching Reading Strategies (Intervention Program) is designed for non-readers or below grade level readers ages eight–adult. This full-year, 55 minutes per day program provides both word recognition and language comprehension instructional resources (Google slides and print). Affordable, easy-to- teach, and science of reading-based, featuring the Sam and Friends Phonics Books–decodables designed for older students. The word recognition activities and decodables are also available as a half-year option in The Science of Reading Intervention Program.

PREVIEW TEACHING READING STRATEGIES and THE SCIENCE OF READING INTERVENTION PROGRAM RESOURCES HERE.

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