In Resources in English: “Read Write Inc.: My Reading and Writing Kit”, I reviewed the amazing Read Write Inc. phonics cards by Ruth Miskin to teach phonics in English. These flashcards have played a key role in teaching my eldest daughter to read in English. Her reading skills in that language are now blooming.
The counter-effect of this success, however, is that she is frustrated with her Majority Language (ML) reading skills, which I have entirely left to her school to teach. They use a different method which is slower, besides the fact they are also teaching 25 kids simultaneously. She is frustrated to see a bilingual classmate read well in both French (our ML) and English whilst she cannot.
So I decided to step in and help her by using the same strategy I used to teach her to read in English:
- Reading a couple of pages every day – for this purpose, I borrowed ML early reader books from the local library,
- Learning phonics using flashcards – problem is nothing similar to Read Write Inc. exists in the ML. So I decided to create my own! And this experience is worth sharing as it could inspire you to do the same with your minority language (ml). 🙂
- Having lots of different coloured felt-tips
- A4 paper
- Your computer
- A colour printer
- A list of phonics (for French I used this one though with hindsight I am not convinced it was the best one)
- Glue stick
- Loads of felt-tips of different colours
- Cut your A4 sheet in 4 and repeat as many times as necessary to have one little paper card for each phonic.
- With a different coloured felt-tip write a different phonic on each card that you will have got from your phonics list.
- At the bottom of each card, write in black a word or short catchy phrase using this particular sound (e.g: for the sound ou “Roule ma poule!”). Use the same coloured felt-tip as for the phonic to write that sound in the word/phrase.
- Colour-print clipart illustrating your word/sentence. Tip: copy and paste all cliparts you will need on a blank word document and print in one go. It saves time and trees!
- Cut out cliparts and stick on matching flashcard.
- You can use index cards to save yourself time with the cutting out of A4 sheets and so as to give a more polished, sleek look to your flashcards.
- Let your child participate by sticking the clipart, it gives the opportunity to discuss the phonics and for him or her to pick them up as he or she goes.
- Use the same colour of felt-tip for letters/letter combinations that belong to the same family; for instance in French you have three different letter combinations (f-ff-ph) to make the sound fff.
- If your language has various combinations to make a sound, you can play Happy Families with your flashcards (separate post to follow on this).