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Stories, Games and Articles for EL, Issue -- Experiential Learning 16
June 22, 2016

Experiential Learning 16 - Can phonics be learnt at any age?

One of the questions that I get asked frequently, when I am training teachers to teach English Phonics to pre-school / primary school children is: How about older kids? or How about me?

Generally, I answer their question by introducing the IPA - the International Phonetic Alphabet - chart to them.

However, that didn't seem to be enough, because they still did not get a hang of it. So I decided to create a game to demonstrate. A good way to use this game is to play it once a week in the classroom, so that the group with the highest points wins that week's phonics contest

The game involves dividing the class into groups of five members each. Each group is given the graphic above and one sound to work with.

For example let's say one group is given the sound 'i' as in Ship - the first sound in the chart above. The task for the group is to list out on a sheet of chart paper, as many words as possible which have this 'i' sound, within five minutes.

Like this each group is assigned one sound and the accompanying task.

At the end of five minutes, all the groups stop and take turns to present their lists.

A common mistake that groups make is to write words which have the letter 'i' in them irrespective of whether it makes the same sound as in 'ship' or not.

As the teacher you will have to identify the words which don't fit the bill - criterion - and have them mark it wrong. Finally, they have to score themselves - 1 mark for every word with the correct sound.

Once all the groups have presented and scored themselves, the winning group will be acknowledged in some way that you decide.

The charts of student work can be displayed in the class until the next week, so that students can practice the sounds that they have learned.

This way the class can learn all the sounds in the above chart within a period of seven weeks.

It might be good idea to vary the game, with regard to sourcing of the words. For instance, the next time they might use the dictionary to come up with their lists.

Go to ELT page and check out some games and activities to teach grammar.

I would like to hear your comments about my website and/or about this e-zine. You can tell me about it by replying to this e-mail

You'll find more games and activities - in my e-book "New Training Games". If you purchase the e-book, you'll also get a bonus e-book on creativity techniques. You can use these to create games of your own.

To order your e-book and get the bonus go here. It will cost you just $7. Buy it and add the games to your training repertoire. Get a free e-book on Creativity too.

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