Hear, Sound, Spell

Having already offered information about teaching methods related to visual learning, it stands to reason that any comprehensive spelling program should contain a module concerned with the way that words sound and the different noises located within them too. As pointed out in a previous module, visual cues do not work well for everyone when it comes to learning how to spell effectively and so including this module is essential if you are to make sure that your students get a well rounded education.

There are numerous ways in which the Hear, Sound, Spell module can be taught but school teachers all tend to follow one particular teaching method:

As she teaches basic monosyllable and more challenging multi-syllable words to her first grade class, she encourages them to listen for the syllables and clap their hands or tap their desks for every syllable they hear. Her students learn to rely upon their senses in helping them sound out the syllables of words, which, in turn, will, eventually, aid them in learning how to spell words better. (Angelisi, 2000, p. 5)

Although this is useful for young children who learn by ear via syllables and such sounds, it does little to help the spelling knowledge of older children. As such, you may have to come up with a completely different and unique way of teaching children to Hear, Sound, Spell words out after listening to them spoken out loud.

Using different teaching methods is not actually that difficult for this particular module because you are able to use particular spelling techniques in context. You do not have to isolate words if you do not wish to do so and can help to improve vocabulary as well if you like. The lesson plan and exercises below reflect this so take your time to plan out your lesson well.

Your Lesson Plan

Content – Hear, Sound, Spell via aural recognition of words and their patterns.

Goals & Objectives – The goal of this module is to give children the ability to spell out words after hearing them spoken by breaking them down into easily recognisable components. It is diametrically opposed to the visual cues discussed earlier.

Materials & Resources – None

Introduction – Introduce the Hear, Sound, Spell method of learning by playing a little rap music and asking your students to identify what was said. Discuss the value of sound as a result of that before introducing it as a spelling aid.

Development – Encourage your students to talk about the way they interpret sounds. Are there any words they know that sound different to how they are spelled on paper? Teach them that there are ways to sound out most words to spell them.

Practice – Choose any one or two exercises from those outlined in the next section to help students to practice the skills that should be taught in this particular module.

Notes – Sound is a very useful teaching method and should be completely separated from visual cues during the introduction and development stages. However, if you find that your student is struggling during the practice stage just introduce the worksheet at the end of the module that combines the two to encourage a willingness to learn by this method.

Selected Exercises

Use any two of the following three exercises to encourage learning via the Hear, Sound, Spell method:

  • Focus on the sounds associated with a word via rhythm. Rap music, songs and jingles all highlight specific sounds that your student can benefit from: “Rhythm and intonation are very useful and you might even be able to pick up the rhythms of raps, sports supporters’ chants or jingles which the children are familiar with.” (1998, p. 229). Get your student to make up his or her own jingle using words from the personalised list to highlight sounds before spelling each problem word out.
  • Pair students off or work with your student to sound out individual words. Take it in turns to say a word out loud using every syllable, inflection and individual sound. Over enunciate everything so that the partner can spell it. This is fun but it is also effective because your student will never forget the pronunciation. It is easier to isolate syllables if someone else is saying them as well.
  • Play three songs that are your favourites and get your student to choose one word out of each to spell. It should be a difficult word that he or she has a problem with. Find the word in the song and play just that one phrase over and over until he or she is able to spell using the way it sounds when sung.

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