I don’t normally post twice a week, but this post is really an addendum to the previous post What’s in a name? Teaching phonics, syllabification and more! so I decided to break with tradition and share it.
In commenting on the What’s in a name? post, Pamela mentioned the awkwardness of singing and spelling her grandson’s name – Schuyler, a name with which I was unfamiliar. I joked to Pamela that I’d thought of recording a few names, innovating on the tune of BINGO, to show how “easy” it might be. Pamela suggested I should, even though I explained that my singing voice is anything but, and she told me the pronunciation for Schuyler: Skylar. Well, I couldn’t help myself. My head started racing with ideas of incorporating Schuyler’s name into reading and writing lessons teaching phonics and spelling skills. The result is the resource Let’s read, write and spell with Schuyler,
and the recording.
Although the activities in the resource (outlined below) are based on Schuyler’s name, they are intended as examples only and can be easily adapted to the names of children in any class. There are too many suggestions for just one lesson, and activities should be spread out over a number of lessons.
Grapho-phonics: matching letters and spelling patterns to sounds
Brainstorm words that begin with ‘sk’ like Schuyler and write them on a chart. Some words begin with ‘sch’ like Schuyler and school, some begin with ‘sk’ like skill and skate, and some begin with ‘sc’ like scar and scream. Do not comment on the spelling at this stage. Wait until all suggestions are exhausted, then read the words to the children, asking them to join in. Ask children what they notice about the way the words are spelled. Hopefully someone will notice and comment on the three different ways of spelling ‘sk’. The words can then be listed accordingly.
Writing with Schuyler and ‘sch’
Write a sentence on the chart using words that begin with ‘sch’ like Schuyler; for example:
“Schuyler had a scheme to change the school schedule.”
Note: If you don’t pronounce schedule with the ‘sk’ sound, you may wish to use a different word. Alternatively, depending on the children’s development, it could be introduced as an irregular spelling pattern.
The sentence could initiate quite an energetic discussion about what the children, starting with Schuyler, might like to change about the school schedule and why. The discussion could lead into some very excited and purposeful writing. You never know, the children may come up with some wonderful suggestions like, “I would make time for more play because it’s fun and we need it.” (Early childhood teachers and children unite!)
A story starter incorporating all of the ‘sk’ spelling patterns
The process of writing following discussion could be repeated with a sentence containing words beginning with each of the ‘sk’ spelling patterns; for example:
“Schuyler was in the skate park near the school when he heard a scream.”
This time the scream would be the discussion starter for children to brainstorm ideas for writing; for example: who may have screamed, what may have happened, why did the person scream, what will happen now. Children will come up with wonderful ideas for stories they can write and illustrate.
Children could also be encouraged to use words from the lists to construct other sentences containing at least one word with each spelling pattern. These could be written on the chart as a class activity, or children could write and illustrate their sentences independently, even using their own sentences as story starters. How creative could they be?
What rhymes with Schuyler
The resource also suggests activities involving rhyming words, including the words beginning with ‘sk’ in the previous sentence. Once again, children could be asked to compose sentences containing two or more of the rhyming words; for example:
Schuyler and Tyler visited the hair styler.
These and other suggestions in the resource are just a few to get you started and demonstrate that it’s really not that difficult to teach literacy skills using names of children in the class. I’m sure you will think of many more ways to do so.
readilearn resources are more than worksheets;
they are lessons made by teachers for teachers, designed to lighten your workload.
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