In this paper, I would like to speak about one of the instructional techniques described in the readings. The authors describe the lesson developed by Mrs Firpo, who illustrates a set of techniques that can help children see the connection between graphemes and sounds. This topic is of great interest to me because I may also work on the development of students’ literacy skills. Mrs Firpo introduces the classification of words that end in the same letter, but sound in different ways. For instance, she prompts students to classify such words as “funny, my, try, happy, shy, fussy, very, sticky” (Tompkins, Campbell, & Green, 2012, p. 143).
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Moreover, this teacher encourages learners to add other examples that show the different pronunciation of words ending in y. She introduces a set of words which illustrate the specific correspondence between sounds and graphemes. For example, one can mention such words as “pay, may, lay, ray” and “pray” (Tompkins et al. 2012, p. 144). Additionally, she develops exercises that can make learning activities more engaging. Students are also encouraged to use magnetic letters to “practice the phoenix and word pattern” (Tompkins et al. 2012, p. 145). Moreover, students are asked to do reading and listening exercises. Furthermore, her lesson provides students with opportunities for group work which is also important for the development of literacy because they are able to identify the errors of one another.
I think that the methods and ideas of Mrs Firpo are relevant to students. For me, the most important aspect is that she can teach phonemic awareness with the help of engaging exercises that can keep students interested in their activities. This issue is critical for Mrs Firpo because she does not want children to be bored with the tasks that are assigned to them. To some degree, their activities can be compared to cracking the “alphabetic code” which is challenging and thought-provoking (Tompkins et al. 2012, p. 146). The learners can see the patterns or rules which one should follow while reading or writing. Furthermore, a student can determine whether there are exceptions from the rules or not. Certainly, I know that there are many methods that can be used to teach phonemic awareness; however, the techniques described by Mrs Firpo are more productive because they support the creativity of children and they’re problem-solving.
It is possible that in the future, I will use some of the methods developed by Mrs Firpo. In my view, phonic awareness is one of the most important literacy skills, and it is vital for later academic achievements of students. I have learned that a teacher should design learning activities that can capture the attention of children. Moreover, one should give examples that can eloquently demonstrate the connections between sounds and graphemes. Admittedly, it may be necessary to modify the approach described by this educator because one may have to teach other phonemic patterns that were not mentioned in the reading. Nevertheless, these techniques should not be overlooked by students.
Tompkins, G., Campbell, R., & Green, D. (2012). Literacy for the 21st century. A balanced approach. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.