Sounding Words
The Diary of a First Grade Teacher

Sounding words is usually studied after the children have mastered sounds of letters. This is a fun time because while learning these sounds, the kiddos delight me with their unique remarks.

Letter Sounds

In first grade we’ve been studying the beginning sound of the letter b. I told the class …

“B has the same sound that you hear at the beginning of these words: b–b-boy, b–b-bird, b–b-bus, B–B-Boston.”

I wrote these words and other examples on the board. Then, we read them aloud, together.

Next, the students took turns naming other words that start with the b sound.

When it was Loegan’s turn, he pointed outside …

Through one of our classroom’s huge windows, we can see the faculty parking lot.

And at that moment, we saw Mr. Benken, our school principal, stepping into his Volkswagen and sitting down.

“LOOK,” Loegan said, “there goes b–b-big Mr. B-B-Benken in his little b-b-bitty b–b-bug.”

B-B-Brilliant! I thought, I love that! And then, I told him so.

Dolch Sight Words

Parents, whenever you help your child with reading, you should know that SOME words should be "sounded out" and some should not.

Many words are taught as sight words. The most famous list of sight words is called the Dolch Sight Words. They're important because they are the words most commonly found in books for beginning readers.

Sight words should NOT be broken down into seperate sounds. They are taught as WHOLE WORDS.

For example, let’s look at the word, “ONCE.”

The word – ONCE – is an example of a "sight word." It should NOT be divided and sounded out.

First graders are taught this. And with time and practice, they learn what they need to know.

Here's a good example. Today, whenever Weesie began reading a story to me, she sounded out the sight word - "once."

“ON KEY upon a time …"

See what I mean? I'll never forget her saying that ... It was so cute, and it's a perfect example for me to share with you.

To help you with sight words, I've provided a list of the most common first grade sight words here ... visit Sight Words Dolch.

The ch Sound and The sh Sound

As you know, it’s imperative that your child has paper, pencils, crayons, and ALL of the required supplies at school.

Every time a student doesn’t have the necessities, he or she will have a difficult time completing the assignment.

While some school districts may provide materials for students, many don't. And I'm sure a teacher would loan a child supplies IF the teacher had extra. But sometimes we "run out" too!

So every day, please BE SURE your children have what they need, so they can always do their very best.

Also, remember crayons are needed in the primary level classrooms for many different LESSONS throughout the school year.

Really, they're NOT for just "playing-and-coloring."

Today, crayons were needed, but that wasn’t the problem. It was something else.

We were working on a phonics worksheet that compares the sounds of the digraphs, ch and sh. I read the instructions to the class …

“First, look at each picture on your worksheet ...

"If the name of the picture begins with the ch sound, color the picture ORANGE.

"If the name of the picture begins with the sh sound, color the picture BLUE.”

We worked the examples together. Then, they worked on their own.

In one minute, Ema – who’s very competitive - handed me her worksheet. “I’m the FIRST ONE finished!” she announced.

I looked at her work. “How can I check this, Ema? You haven’t colored any of the pictures.”

She smiled knowingly. “Look close,” she said, “my PENCIL colored ALL of the pictures for you.”

“Oh, I see ... but tell me, HOW do I know if you know the difference between the ch sound and the sh sound? Where are your crayons?”

Sighing heavily, she reached for her worksheet.

“Oh, I bet you need some crayons. Is that it?

“Nooooo,” she fussed, “my crayons are over there.”

Suddenly, she stood erect and spoke boldly, “But there’s ONE THING I like about this pencil ... It knows CH. And it knows SH. And it knows them BOTH in a HURRY!"

* * *

My firsties are adorable all of the time, but I have to admit one of the times I love the most is whenever they are sounding words!

Sounding Words: The ch Sound and The sh Sound

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