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Reading and writing for very young learners 
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MES-Zealot!

Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:38 am
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Location: Italy
Post Reading and writing for very young learners
I'm currently putting together a program for teaching reading and writing to kids ages 6 to 8. They're Chinese speakers, and will have done one year of pretty much exclusively oral English.

It's tough to know how much I can expect from them. How fast can they master the basics of forming characters and reading words/very short phrases?

And does anybody know of any activities connected with reading and writing which are more fun than doing endless variations on letter formation and puzzle-type reading/writing task?

Any suggestions would be very much appreciated!

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Thu Feb 05, 2009 3:57 am
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
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Location: Nagano, Japan
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I guess it depends on what that one year or oral English actually consisted of and for how many actual hours, but here's whatI do with my students - www.funfonix.com

The Intro Book starts with really basic letter writing introduction and then works on phonics skills/sound recognition.

Book 1 focuses on short 3 letter (sometimes 4) words with short vowels.

(There really should be a book between on consonant blends)

Book 2 focuses on consonant digraphs/combinations: ck, ch, ng, sh, th, qu, and wh.

Before the students start any of the books, they will have already learned and been able to read these words. I use the books just as further practice and to instill both reading and writing competence. I think it's very important for the students to feel that reading and writing are easy (and hopefully enjoyable.) I've just seen too many EFL students completely frustrated by the whole reading/memorization approach that's most commonly used where I am.

So, these books flow (in general) from
sound recognition --> vocabulary building --> sight recognition/reading -->
word building --> reading --> writing

Anyway, I hope some of that is helpful.

You might also take a look at a very successful series here www.starfall.com

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Last edited by mesmark on Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Feb 05, 2009 9:14 am
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MES-Zealot!

Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:27 pm
Posts: 191
Location: South Korea
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Mark that Starfall site is awesome.

I am so excited about it. So many of my students have trouble reading, this should be a big help.

They just hooked up a big screen tv to my computer in the new English room.

I was trying to create my own reading material for beginnners, but I was far from pleased with the result. I had tried making copies of some of the books in the library, but that onlu had so-so results.

This site will be a big help. I'm very excited. : :D

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Thu Feb 05, 2009 12:53 pm
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Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2007 4:33 pm
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Location: Ibaraki, Japan
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I was going to suggest Starfall, but Mark beat me to it!

At that age, you might be able to use materials made for native speaking kindergarteners and preschoolers (I'm teaching 10-12 year olds to read, and mose native materials are too babyish.). Another site that I use sometimes is http://www.first-school.ws/ . This is more of a teacher's research site, where you can print off mini-books and worksheets. She has a lot of theme activities tied into the alphabet- you might find something helpful there.


Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:18 am
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MES-Fanatic!

Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2007 4:34 pm
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Location: Japan
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I've had pretty good success getting young kids to read using phonics. There are all kinds of activities you can do with simple phonics (alphabet) flashcards: matching games, touch games, find the letter games. This helps them get a basic understanding I think.

Since were speaking of reading... I actually just put up a new site with free printable books for kids. They may be helpful in your classes, though the ones we have at the moment might be a bit advanced for absolute beginners. We are working on those though.

Anyway, the site is http://www.kidsenglishbooks.com you can print out the books, read online, and listen to an audio narration. Maybe this will help a bit.

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Fri Feb 06, 2009 4:02 pm
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MES-Zealot!

Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2006 1:36 pm
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Location: Tohoku Japan
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excellent stuff there Matt

you are a dream! (Pun intended)

LOL


Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:24 pm
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MES-Fanatic!

Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2007 4:34 pm
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Location: Japan
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Hi Kiwione,

Thanks for checking it out :D ....life is but a dream :lol:

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Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:19 pm
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
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Location: Nagano, Japan
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Matt Dream wrote:
Hi Kiwione,

Thanks for checking it out :D ....life is but a dream :lol:

Yeah, Matt has the website bug! :-D

Not even a year ago he had just one site. Now ... he owns 4 and collaborates on 2 more.

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Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:34 am
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Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2007 4:34 pm
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wow! that many sites... I wonder where I caught the bug :D

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Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:12 pm
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MES-Zealot!

Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:38 am
Posts: 128
Location: Italy
Post 
Many thanks for all that excellent advice. I knew I could rely on you guys!

A bit like Matt, perhaps, a little over a year ago I didn't know HTML from my elbow, and now I have three ESL websites, and have started doing others for friends and family too.

For anybody out there wanting to go the same route, I recommend SeaMonkey (http://www.seamonkey-project.org/). It's a free website building program which is easy to use for beginners, but can be taken to a more professional level as well. It's up to date, and, in geekspeak, "the code validates". That means the websites it makes meet the latest technical standards, which won't usually be the case with older programs.

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Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:01 pm
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MES-Addict

Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:10 am
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Location: France
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Thank you for the tips - the link you all gave are just great !
I've joined only a couple of minutes ago, and I'm already addicted !
Thanks!

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Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:25 am
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