Orthographic Awareness Activities

1. Magic “e”

The teacher draws a chart on the board with the words ‘mad’, ‘win’, ‘hop’ and ‘cut’ on the first column. The teacher and the students read the words together, paying attention to the vowel sounds. Then the teacher asks the students to write these words again adding the ‘e’ at the end of each of them in the corresponding rows of the second column. The teacher reads the words from the second column, next the minimal pairs and asks the students what spelling pattern they can see in the words from the second column: We add the e after the final consonant and this makes the vowel long.

Other examples:

 

2. The /ai/ sound spelled with ‘i-e.’

  • The teacher writes the following words on the board: ‘white’, ‘time’, ‘write’, ‘five’, ‘nice’, ‘pine’, ‘like’ and reads them. The students are asked what spelling pattern they can see in these words. The teacher highlights the ‘i-e’ pattern in all the words and writes the ‘i-e’ rule on the board: When we hear the sound /ai/ (i saying its name) in the middle of a one-syllable word followed by a single consonant sound (e is silent), we most frequently spell it with the letters i-e.
  • Auditory / Visual integration: The students are given charts with the ‘i-e’ pattern, they listen to the teacher reading the words and fill in the missing consonants.

ie

3. Spelling the /ai/ sound at the end of a word with the letter -y.

The teacher writes the following words on the board: ‘try’, ‘cry’, ‘spy’, ‘fly’, ‘by’, ‘why’, ‘sky’, ‘rely’, ‘reply’, ‘shy’, ‘my’, ‘July’, ‘dry’, ‘deny’ and reads them underlining the ending ‘-y.’ Then he/she asks students whether they can observe any spelling patterns. Finally, he/she writes the rule on the board: When we hear the /ai/ sound (i saying its name) at the end of a word, we most frequently spell it with the letter y. Exceptions: high, sigh, thigh, nigh, tie, lie, pie, die, eye, buy, bye. When adding a suffix to a word ending in a consonant:  -y, change the -y into i, e.g.: skyskies, try – tries, spy – spied.

4. Hands on activity.

The students are given movable devices (slides, tokens) with letters or group of letters and manipulate them to form words. They are asked to read and write the words down. Colour coding is used to enhance visual perception.

5. Spelling the /ai/ sound followed by the letter twith the letters igh.

The teacher writes the following words on the board: ‘night’, ‘light’,  ‘sight’, ‘bright’, ‘fight’, ‘fright’, ‘might’, ‘right’, ‘tight’, ‘slight’ and reads them underlining the letters ‘igh’. Then he/she asks the students whether they can observe a common spelling patterns in all the words. Finally, he/she writes the rule on the board: When we hear the /ai/ sound (i saying its name) followed by the letter t, we often spell it with the letters igh. This spelling pattern is most commonly found followed by the letter ‘t’ but it also appears as a final vowel sound in the following words: ‘sigh’, ‘high’, ‘thigh’.

6. Bingo game and auditory/visual matching.

Every student is given a different bingo board and a set of little white cards. First the students look carefully at their bingo boards and try to remember the position of words, then they listen to the teacher reading a word, find the word on the bingo board and cover it with a card. The first student to cover all words in one column and one row says ‘bingo’ and wins the game, e.g.:

White

Right Try Time

Cry

Might My Crime
Fright Nice Shy

Bright

Write Flight Slight

Fly

 

7. Find the odd one out.

The students are given sets of words, they are asked to listen to the teacher reading them, to look at them and to choose the odd one out. They cross out the word that does not belong to the group, write it down and indicate the spelling pattern that all the other words contain, e.g.:

WORDS

ODD ONE OUT COMMON PART

white,  time,

try, crime

 

try

‘i-e’
right, nice

fright, bright

 

nice

‘igh’

fly, sky, cry

slight

 

slight

‘-y’

 

8. Consolidation: spelling board game ‘Battleships

Players choose the words with the /ai/ sound they worked on (or any other sound or pattern) and put the counters with letters on their boards or write them down into a grid vertically or horizontally.

They are supposed to shoot and immerse the word-ships of their adversary, to read and write them down. The student who manages to immerse all the word-ships of his/her adversary first is the winner. They shoot giving a possible position of the letter, for example, 3B or 9K, and a letter can be either missed or hit.

More activities and tips for English teachers with dyslexic students: coming soon!

Source: Dyslexia in the  Foreign Language Classroom, by Joanna Nijakowska

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