Posts Tagged ‘phonograms’

A Key Strategy

October 22, 2012 Leave a comment

In working with Ella on sounding out the phonograms, we discovered that blending is much more effective than sounding.  When Ella sounded out, each phonogram was sounded out separately, i.e.,  S – a – m.  She was not able to catch the word from this method because she was hearing three independent sounds rather than a word.  Listening to her do that I could see why she struggled a bit, although I don’t remember either Lauren or Hayden having the same problem.  I guess this is why I was concerned that Ella would struggle with reading.

I told Ella to draw out the sounds she could and allow them to blend together, like this,  Sss – aaaaa – m.  When doing this, she got the words quickly and easily.  It was difficult to get Ella to make a habit of blending the sounds this way, but she is much more consistent now.  For a while, every time she did this her face would light up when she realized she had read the word.  More benefits to teaching Ella to read.

The phonograms are awesome!

Birth to 20 Months #2

January 24, 2010 1 comment

Quick review of #1:  Read to Ella in the womb, started reading lots of books right after she was born, recited nursery rhymes.

During this time we also sang the ABCs to Ella quite a bit.  Did some counting as well.  Basically, it is important to talk and sing and it doesn’t really matter what you use because the baby doesn’t care.  She just loves to have you close and making sounds.  We did quite a bit of gibberish as well, having fun with sounds and goofing around.

I also recited the alphabet-letter phonograms to Ella.  Over time you will hear a lot about the phonograms because that is what we will be using to teach Ella to read.  If you would like to learn more about them right now, visit

To Ella in the early months the phonograms were just sound a lot like all the other stuff we were using.  They did have a calming effect with her many times, though, when she was upset about something.  I would begin reciting the phonograms and she would calm down and listen closely.

It has been my hope that hearing the sounds of the phonograms over and over in the early months will trigger something when it comes time to learn them as part of the reading process.  I have nothing to back that up but didn’t think it would hurt to include them along with reading, nursery rhymes and singing that we were doing anyway.

I uploaded pictures of each of the phonograms to my phone and we occasionally go through them.  She seems to enjoy doing that for a while.  I stop showing them as soon as she loses interest so I don’t teach her to dislike phonograms.  That would be a disaster.

In recent weeks, Ella has been pointing at letters in words and expecting me to make sounds.  This is the beginning of her understanding that words are made up of phonograms and each phonogram has a sound.  One of the most important parts of learning to read is understanding this.

If you are not familiar with phonograms, I’m not surprised.  In my third year of teaching 1st grade I started using them after learning about them in a newsgroup on the web.  There was one person in the newsgroup that went on and on about how awesome they are for teaching reading (just like what I’m doing here!).  I researched some more on my own and ended up writing a grant and started using a program called The Writing Road to Reading in my classroom.  It is not too strong to say this was a turning point in my life not only as a teacher, but as a parent.  There is fallout even to today because of Ella and teaching her to read.

I was trying to hold off for a while exposing my passion for the phonograms in teaching reading, but it just forced its way in.