Phonics are the basic building blocks of phonemes (sounds) and graphemes (letters) that combine together to make words. Studies have shown that providing systematic and imaginative phonics teaching has a significant impact on children's reading and writing progress. Using a series of games on the interactive whiteboard offers a multi-sensory experience to engage children as they develop the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding for becoming literate.
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Sound bubbles are created by drawing a series of small circles on the board and linking them to different sounds. Children take turns pressing a bubble and identifying the sound. In the earliest stages of phonics development, these can be simple sound effects which the children have to describe. For older children the sounds can be changed to voice recordings of words with certain blends or vowel phonemes.
Trash or Treasure
For this activity the whiteboard is set up with a picture of a dustbin on the bottom left corner, a picture of a treasure box on the bottom right hand corner and a button in the top left corner which says "get a word." Each time the button is pressed, a word appears for the children to read. They must decide if it is a real word by dragging it to either the dustbin or treasure box. The advantage of this game is that it can be adapted to suit different grapheme-phoneme correspondences. For example, word sets can start with simple CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) patterns. More advanced versions of the activity can be used to target words with consonant digraphs (such as ch., th, sh) or vowel digraphs (such as ai, oo, er).
In this game children rehearse discriminating between vowel phonemes that sound the same but are spelt differently, for example oo and u. The whiteboard has a row of sandcastles along the bottom.In the middle of the board is a set of words with the vowels blanked out, such as b_k. The children are in two teams and take turns choosing the correct vowel phoneme for the word on the board. Every time they choose correctly, they may move a sandcastle to their side of the board. The first team to collect a tower of five sandcastles is the winner.
Segmenting and Blending Activities
Children need lots of practice at segmenting (identifying the smallest units of sound in a word) and blending (putting those sounds together to make the word). A simple whiteboard activity involves creating a page with a range of initial sounds on one side of the board (such as m, h, t, sh, ch.) and a regular word ending (such as op) on the other side. The children take turns creating words, saying the sounds in the correct order as they drag them together on the board. There are several programs set up to deliver this kind of activity, such as "Slides" and "Sound Blender." The voice-over characters model and reinforce correct pronunciation of sounds.
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