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Author Topic: Phonics works...even in the ESL classroom  (Read 18123 times)

Offline travelinpantsgirl

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Phonics works...even in the ESL classroom
« on: March 07, 2012, 06:16:53 PM »
 I know it seems like an obvious thing to say but...it really does. I just wanted to share my experiences on this from today.

Last school year I decided that my (3rd grade) students needed to be taught their ABCs and phonics. The books, when they even attempt the alphabet, do a crappy job. My poor kids (quite literally) were frustrated and unhappy with English class; because honestly how much would you like a subject when you can't understand anything except listen and repeat??? So, last term, I made an ABC workbook covering 3-4 letters per lesson. Finishing the book in one term. Interspersed in between were phonics worksheets and activities showing them the connectivity between letters - sounds - words. The result: An extraordinarily enthusiastic grade 3 with a fever for English. They loved their workbooks, and they would ask whenever we came to class, "Is it ABC time?"
Now that same grade 3 is now grade 4 and we will now teach them full on phonics. They have phonics workbooks that I got from here: http://www.funfonix.com/
We started the books today and to my CT's and my amazement they knew the words right off and they did the work no problem. They could read them and what's more they understood my instructions in English. They have also had the advantage of having 85% English classroom, where only complicated instructions are translated and the difference is amazing.
If you are teaching really low level and are struggling for them to understand classroom content, my suggestion is introduce the idea of phonics to your school...my students couldn't be happier and more well behaved.
It is a lot of work though and requires a good relationship with your CT. You also have to condense your book lessons to leave one class open per lesson to teach it.
If you choose to do it... I wish you luck and happy students!
If anyone needs any help or advice on this, just msg me!
« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 06:19:57 PM by weirdgirlinkorea »
Ignoranţa este adesea o boală fatal şi cretin nu poate fi vindecata.

Offline erin.stauber

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Re: Phonics works...even in the ESL classroom
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2012, 11:36:17 AM »
Thanks for the website. If you are teaching phonics and want them to read books that are on their level, readinga-z.com is a great site for tons of books. The only drawback is that there is a subscription :( but there are some websites with other printable books or books you could turn into a powerpoint for class reading.

Offline Joltz

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Re: Phonics works...even in the ESL classroom
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2012, 08:08:00 AM »
I know it seems like an obvious thing to say but...it really does. I just wanted to share my experiences on this from today.

Last school year I decided that my (3rd grade) students needed to be taught their ABCs and phonics. The books, when they even attempt the alphabet, do a crappy job. My poor kids (quite literally) were frustrated and unhappy with English class; because honestly how much would you like a subject when you can't understand anything except listen and repeat??? So, last term, I made an ABC workbook covering 3-4 letters per lesson. Finishing the book in one term. Interspersed in between were phonics worksheets and activities showing them the connectivity between letters - sounds - words. The result: An extraordinarily enthusiastic grade 3 with a fever for English. They loved their workbooks, and they would ask whenever we came to class, "Is it ABC time?"
Now that same grade 3 is now grade 4 and we will now teach them full on phonics. They have phonics workbooks that I got from here: http://www.funfonix.com/
We started the books today and to my CT's and my amazement they knew the words right off and they did the work no problem. They could read them and what's more they understood my instructions in English. They have also had the advantage of having 85% English classroom, where only complicated instructions are translated and the difference is amazing.
If you are teaching really low level and are struggling for them to understand classroom content, my suggestion is introduce the idea of phonics to your school...my students couldn't be happier and more well behaved.
It is a lot of work though and requires a good relationship with your CT. You also have to condense your book lessons to leave one class open per lesson to teach it.
If you choose to do it... I wish you luck and happy students!
If anyone needs any help or advice on this, just msg me!

Just out of curiousity what age range are your kids? I'd love to teach phonics to my kids but I'm scared that they'll see the material and dismiss it because it looks to childish. (I am teaching middle schoolers) Any advice?

Offline travelinpantsgirl

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Re: Phonics works...even in the ESL classroom
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2012, 08:59:27 AM »
I know it seems like an obvious thing to say but...it really does. I just wanted to share my experiences on this from today.

Last school year I decided that my (3rd grade) students needed to be taught their ABCs and phonics. The books, when they even attempt the alphabet, do a crappy job. My poor kids (quite literally) were frustrated and unhappy with English class; because honestly how much would you like a subject when you can't understand anything except listen and repeat??? So, last term, I made an ABC workbook covering 3-4 letters per lesson. Finishing the book in one term. Interspersed in between were phonics worksheets and activities showing them the connectivity between letters - sounds - words. The result: An extraordinarily enthusiastic grade 3 with a fever for English. They loved their workbooks, and they would ask whenever we came to class, "Is it ABC time?"
Now that same grade 3 is now grade 4 and we will now teach them full on phonics. They have phonics workbooks that I got from here: http://www.funfonix.com/
We started the books today and to my CT's and my amazement they knew the words right off and they did the work no problem. They could read them and what's more they understood my instructions in English. They have also had the advantage of having 85% English classroom, where only complicated instructions are translated and the difference is amazing.
If you are teaching really low level and are struggling for them to understand classroom content, my suggestion is introduce the idea of phonics to your school...my students couldn't be happier and more well behaved.
It is a lot of work though and requires a good relationship with your CT. You also have to condense your book lessons to leave one class open per lesson to teach it.
If you choose to do it... I wish you luck and happy students!
If anyone needs any help or advice on this, just msg me!

Just out of curiousity what age range are your kids? I'd love to teach phonics to my kids but I'm scared that they'll see the material and dismiss it because it looks to childish. (I am teaching middle schoolers) Any advice?
Yeah that might be a challenge. Mine are 3rd grade elementary. I guess you could take the books I linked to and make up your own with less juvenile pictures. Also, though it may initially seem childish, but if as a group they all know they can't read English, they will get over it feeling childish when they discover it's hard but rewarding. The only way I think it will work in your situation is for ALL your students are not able to read. I understand in most middle schools, they are split by level, if this is your situation, ask the lowest level students if they would like to learn how read using a method (phonics) that makes it easier. Giving them the choice might make a difference. Thankfully, my students are so little they are still very compliant. Good luck! 
Ignoranţa este adesea o boală fatal şi cretin nu poate fi vindecata.

Offline lynnj33

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Re: Phonics works...even in the ESL classroom
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2012, 11:12:22 AM »
Hi there, thank you for the advice but at my school, I don't have a CT. I have to work alone and from a syllabus given by the school. The students have their Korean teacher and then me as the foreign english teacher. The problem is I have suggested ways to improve as I have  2 struggling students but the Korean teachers firmly believe in their syllabus. When there is spare time left I make them practice as a class words that they struggle with.

Offline travelinpantsgirl

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Re: Phonics works...even in the ESL classroom
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2012, 11:33:05 AM »
Hi there, thank you for the advice but at my school, I don't have a CT. I have to work alone and from a syllabus given by the school. The students have their Korean teacher and then me as the foreign english teacher. The problem is I have suggested ways to improve as I have  2 struggling students but the Korean teachers firmly believe in their syllabus. When there is spare time left I make them practice as a class words that they struggle with.

Lynn: I don't know what grade you're teaching, but if it's Elementary and you're new, it's going to be like that for awhile. My 1st 6 mos, I was just the listen and repeat speaker. I have been at my school now for a little over a year and a half and now it's a completely different picture. I don't know your CT or your relationship with them or what their past experience with NETs is, so that of course gives it a lot variables to the situation, but I do think it's possible to convince them to consider your ideas. I had a great CT (who is now a really good friend) when I started this and she really supported the idea. You only need one person's support to get there.  Happy teaching!
Ignoranţa este adesea o boală fatal şi cretin nu poate fi vindecata.

Offline dgarms

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Re: Phonics works...even in the ESL classroom
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2012, 10:21:27 AM »
I teach grades 2 and 3 phonics.  They are very beginner and we have a book but I am suppose to cover 4 pages a day in 30 min and I usually don't have enough time.

Offline sedna273

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Re: Phonics works...even in the ESL classroom
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2012, 10:07:43 AM »
I certainly agree-without learning phonics, which is the basis for literacy, my students are forever stuck in either "listen and repeat", dependent on hearing a word to know how it sounds (and if your co-teacher constantly speaks Konglish, that's what they'll learn) OR they will Konglish-translate with hanguel next to the vocabulary.
I'm trying to break my elementary students of these habits, so I've been teaching phonics and banning the use of hanguel as much as possible.
I try to convey the importance of this by telling my students/coteachers that when I was learning Japanese and Korean, I forced myself not to romanize the words as soon as possible-it's tough but well worth it, and why I am told by native/fluent speakers of both languages that although I might not be anywhere close to fluent, my pronunciation of what I do know is really good. 

Offline travelinpantsgirl

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Re: Phonics works...even in the ESL classroom
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2012, 07:58:35 PM »
I certainly agree-without learning phonics, which is the basis for literacy, my students are forever stuck in either "listen and repeat", dependent on hearing a word to know how it sounds (and if your co-teacher constantly speaks Konglish, that's what they'll learn) OR they will Konglish-translate with hanguel next to the vocabulary.
I'm trying to break my elementary students of these habits, so I've been teaching phonics and banning the use of hanguel as much as possible.
I try to convey the importance of this by telling my students/coteachers that when I was learning Japanese and Korean, I forced myself not to romanize the words as soon as possible-it's tough but well worth it, and why I am told by native/fluent speakers of both languages that although I might not be anywhere close to fluent, my pronunciation of what I do know is really good.

Yeah, I agree.  I definitely don't give the hangeul equivalent (for letters) unless it is an absolute equivalent. The worst culprits for mispronunciation are: ㄹ(for r), 이(for i), ㅂ(for v), and ㅍ(for F) And now that we're into phonics and not the alphabet anymore we do not use any hangeul in the classroom.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2012, 02:43:11 PM by travelinpantsgirl »
Ignoranţa este adesea o boală fatal şi cretin nu poate fi vindecata.

Offline cherrrski

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Re: Phonics works...even in the ESL classroom
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2012, 08:40:27 PM »
I am hav ing to teach phonics once a week for each grade level.  it is a challenge for both me and the students.....so I am hoping to find some tips on this website, and i also hope to have the same success that you have had.  thanks for sharing

Offline travelinpantsgirl

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Re: Phonics works...even in the ESL classroom
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2012, 09:19:46 PM »
I am hav ing to teach phonics once a week for each grade level.  it is a challenge for both me and the students.....so I am hoping to find some tips on this website, and i also hope to have the same success that you have had.  thanks for sharing

Definitely consider using the books I liked to above in my original post, that have worked wonders with my students. I do caution though they must have a real good grasp on the alphabet first. We worked on that for almost a whole school year before introducing those books.
Ignoranţa este adesea o boală fatal şi cretin nu poate fi vindecata.

Offline nzer-in-gyeongnam

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Re: Phonics works...even in the ESL classroom
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2012, 08:17:04 AM »
weirdgirlinkorea, would you be interested in sharing the alphabet workbook you made for your students? I'd be very interested in trying to implement this in my elementary classes, and try and get my grade 1-3's into this... I've been searching for something that would promote 'fun' for my students, but I've been struggling so far.
"It's better to have tried and failed, than never to have tried at all!"
Teach this to your students... they'll thank you for it later!

Offline travelinpantsgirl

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Re: Phonics works...even in the ESL classroom
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2012, 11:34:23 AM »
weirdgirlinkorea, would you be interested in sharing the alphabet workbook you made for your students? I'd be very interested in trying to implement this in my elementary classes, and try and get my grade 1-3's into this... I've been searching for something that would promote 'fun' for my students, but I've been struggling so far.
nzer-in-gyeongnam,

I'll have to scan it in, because I created it from a hodge podge of different things I found. I got the basic book from here, but I have to tweak it to suit my needs. I'll post it as soon as I can.

 ;D
Ignoranţa este adesea o boală fatal şi cretin nu poate fi vindecata.

Offline nzer-in-gyeongnam

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Re: Phonics works...even in the ESL classroom
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2012, 07:48:14 AM »
weirdgirlinkorea, would you be interested in sharing the alphabet workbook you made for your students? I'd be very interested in trying to implement this in my elementary classes, and try and get my grade 1-3's into this... I've been searching for something that would promote 'fun' for my students, but I've been struggling so far.
nzer-in-gyeongnam,

I'll have to scan it in, because I created it from a hodge podge of different things I found. I got the basic book from here, but I have to tweak it to suit my needs. I'll post it as soon as I can.

 ;D

If you can, that'd be great, if not, thanks anyway. It sounds like a great resource. I've tried using things like Starfall but my students just see it as a game, so I wont use it with them now, because they are too easily distracted by the pictures. I've tried making games using letters, and all sorts, but they just count through them on their fingers or guess, so I'm trying to find something more to encourage learning.
"It's better to have tried and failed, than never to have tried at all!"
Teach this to your students... they'll thank you for it later!

Offline sonicmail

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Re: Phonics works...even in the ESL classroom
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2012, 09:45:17 PM »
I definitely need to start focusing more on phonics. My third and fourth graders (it's a combined class) are very sharp, but they're taught spelling by rote--listen and repeat, "Goat" "Goat!" "Spell it" "G O A T". They know how to spell it and they know how to say it but they have no idea what the relation between the two is. It was easy to miss at first because they CAN do both. X|

They're pretty quick to declare just alphabet activities "not fun", though. I wish I knew a song for every letter that's as fun and catchy as "Vowel Bat" :P

« Last Edit: September 10, 2012, 12:25:40 AM by travelinpantsgirl »

Offline travelinpantsgirl

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Re: Phonics works...even in the ESL classroom
« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2012, 07:02:27 AM »
I definitely need to start focusing more on phonics. My third and fourth graders (it's a combined class) are very sharp, but they're taught spelling by rote--listen and repeat, "Goat" "Goat!" "Spell it" "G O A T". They know how to spell it and they know how to say it but they have no idea what the relation between the two is. It was easy to miss at first because they CAN do both. X|

They're pretty quick to declare just alphabet activities "not fun", though. I wish I knew a song for every letter that's as fun and catchy as "Vowel Bat" :P

Are you kidding? Here's is the most awesome video ever! My kids ate it up! ATE IT UP! They begged for it for over a year now they're a little tired of it but still ask for it. It's a challenge at first so only do three letters and then stop. I used to it with whatever letters we were teaching. If we were teaching ABC, I would stop at C and and restart and repeat until they could do the signs. Children love to be engaged and challenged physically and mentally and this video does that. :-)
« Last Edit: May 10, 2012, 07:05:52 AM by weirdgirlinkorea »
Ignoranţa este adesea o boală fatal şi cretin nu poate fi vindecata.

Offline travelinpantsgirl

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Re: Phonics works...even in the ESL classroom
« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2012, 07:18:01 AM »
weirdgirlinkorea, would you be interested in sharing the alphabet workbook you made for your students? I'd be very interested in trying to implement this in my elementary classes, and try and get my grade 1-3's into this... I've been searching for something that would promote 'fun' for my students, but I've been struggling so far.
nzer-in-gyeongnam,

I'll have to scan it in, because I created it from a hodge podge of different things I found. I got the basic book from here, but I have to tweak it to suit my needs. I'll post it as soon as I can.

 ;D

If you can, that'd be great, if not, thanks anyway. It sounds like a great resource. I've tried using things like Starfall but my students just see it as a game, so I wont use it with them now, because they are too easily distracted by the pictures. I've tried making games using letters, and all sorts, but they just count through them on their fingers or guess, so I'm trying to find something more to encourage learning.
I've scanned them but I need to merge them into one PDF binder. I'll probably post tomorrow or Saturday.  ;D
Ignoranţa este adesea o boală fatal şi cretin nu poate fi vindecata.

Offline ahess.wisc

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Re: Phonics works...even in the ESL classroom
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2012, 09:14:55 PM »
I would also reccomed the alphabet videos from havefunteaching.com (http://havefunteaching.com/videos/alphabet-videos/). They get extremely tiring to me (as they are all the same), but my kindies first and second graders don't seem to mind that they lyrics are extremely boring. When it comes to the vowels I think they are a bit lacking, but I think they do a very good job at showing the different sounds the consonants make.

Offline ilovelanguage

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Re: Phonics works...even in the ESL classroom
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2012, 08:30:08 PM »
I know it seems like an obvious thing to say but...it really does. I just wanted to share my experiences on this from today.

Last school year I decided that my (3rd grade) students needed to be taught their ABCs and phonics. The books, when they even attempt the alphabet, do a crappy job. My poor kids (quite literally) were frustrated and unhappy with English class; because honestly how much would you like a subject when you can't understand anything except listen and repeat??? So, last term, I made an ABC workbook covering 3-4 letters per lesson. Finishing the book in one term. Interspersed in between were phonics worksheets and activities showing them the connectivity between letters - sounds - words. The result: An extraordinarily enthusiastic grade 3 with a fever for English. They loved their workbooks, and they would ask whenever we came to class, "Is it ABC time?"
Now that same grade 3 is now grade 4 and we will now teach them full on phonics. They have phonics workbooks that I got from here: http://www.funfonix.com/
We started the books today and to my CT's and my amazement they knew the words right off and they did the work no problem. They could read them and what's more they understood my instructions in English. They have also had the advantage of having 85% English classroom, where only complicated instructions are translated and the difference is amazing.
If you are teaching really low level and are struggling for them to understand classroom content, my suggestion is introduce the idea of phonics to your school...my students couldn't be happier and more well behaved.
It is a lot of work though and requires a good relationship with your CT. You also have to condense your book lessons to leave one class open per lesson to teach it.
If you choose to do it... I wish you luck and happy students!
If anyone needs any help or advice on this, just msg me!

So, when they were 3rd grader did you start them off with the intro to phonics first so that once they hit the 4th grade, you did the FULL phonics book?

Also when you said you were showing them the relation between word-letter-sound with activities, just what kind of activity did you do? All I can help thinking about is reading! :(  LOL. Sorry, first time teacher here and spanking new at this.  Thank you for your clarifications! :D Btw, I know you asked that we message you, but I wasn't sure how to do that on waygook.  Sorry! :D

Offline Lawrence

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Re: Phonics works...even in the ESL classroom
« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2013, 10:57:29 AM »
I would also reccomed the alphabet videos from havefunteaching.com (http://havefunteaching.com/videos/alphabet-videos/). They get extremely tiring to me (as they are all the same), but my kindies first and second graders don't seem to mind that they lyrics are extremely boring. When it comes to the vowels I think they are a bit lacking, but I think they do a very good job at showing the different sounds the consonants make.

Thanks for this site. I've seen this on Youtube before and I am subscribed but I haven't taken a look at it in a while. It is perfect for me to be sure that I am pronouncing the sounds correctly.