Yesterday, we set up our binder categories. Today, we introduce our first diphthong! Have no fear, this is actually an old, familiar friend, one who becomes more interesting when we realize that he isn’t a sight word after all, but has a rule peculiar to himself that will come in handy from now on.
I often use white computer paper in the special sections of my binder. Part of this is because I like to use different colored markers for this part, and I don’t like them to bleed through flimsy lined paper. You can use whatever you like because you’re the teacher. For me, I use markers. I find that color coding the words a little bit helps the children remember them better. The color stands out and acts as a mental cue while they’re getting their bearings concerning the new rules.
Begin by writing a little chart, something like this:
Yes, I underline and use color. This is because during subsequent lessons I wean them off of colors and use only underlines. For the sake of efficiency, using a single color with simple underlines works best. But I can’t bring myself to give up the color during the introductory lessons because I think it helps so much.
Today, we have a new sight word: down.
Instead of introducing it as a sight word, we’re going to use it as a jumping-off point for the first diphthong. So now say something profound like, “we have a new word today that follows this rule!” Then, add your new rule to the list without telling the child what the word is.
Your updated chart will look like this:
Now, encourage the child to use what she’s learned to sound out the new word. If she can do it on her own, great. If not, help her out a little, but without feeding her the answer. Sometimes I cover up part of the word with my fingers to force the student to work through the word letter by letter to begin with, especially if she’s trying to hurry through it and the hurry is causing mistakes.
At this point, you have options. You can simply move on and complete the rest of the lesson. Or, you can decide to play with ow a little, adding words you know the child can read: how, cow, bow, and even clown. With my current student, I decided to just move on and read in the book. She had frogs on her mind and was itching to go outside and find some.
Regardless of what you decide to do with your own student, don’t forget this chart. In the future, you’ll have more ow words that you’ll be collecting, and you can add them to your chart. I often reserve the whole page for new words, just so we don’t run out of room as we collect new words.
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