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Bytesize 5: Getting Hands-on with Sounds and Letters

What is this about?

This NET Section Bytesize will look at some practical examples of how teachers can invigorate the teaching of sounds and letters though playful activities.  Rather than merely being a superficial device to jazz up lessons, research has indicated the need for explicit, hands-on approaches to teach emergent literacy skills. Incorporating a variety of hands-on materials and manipulatives can increase student understanding and participation. Tactile and kinaesthetic activities support a multi-sensory approach for deeper learning.

Technology can provide engaging ways for students to build phonemic awareness through interacting with sounds and letters. However, teachers are aware that two years of on-again/off-again class suspensions and resumptions have left students starved of face-to-face and tactile experiences. The novelty factor of screens and technological solutions has long since dwindled and the importance of social interactions has become paramount.

If we consider sociocultural theory, “…children’s development of literacy grows out of their experiences, and the views and attitudes toward literacy that they encounter as they interact with social groups…” (Goodman, 2001). Through tactile and social experiences, teachers can consider the role of students as active participants interacting with one another in social situations and tackling phonemic awareness with a sense of joy!

Click here to view a refresher on phonological awareness, phonics and the importance of getting hands-on.

Click here to discover the nine tactile activities.

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