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Writing Letters and Sounds

1. When we talk about letters, we put pointed brackets around them, like this: <e>, <l>, <\mathrm{s}>. And we call letters by their alphabet names: “ee,” “ell,” “ess.”

But when we talk about sounds, we put them inside square brackets, like this: [e], [I], [s]. And we call sounds by names that sound just like the sounds themselves:

The sound [e] is “eh.”

The sound [I] is “II.”

The sound [s] is “ss.”

2. Draw a single line under each sound. Draw a double line under each letter:

\underline{[\text{e}]} \qquad \underline{\underline{<\text{e}>}} \qquad \underline{\underline{<\text{p}>}} \qquad \underline{[\text{t}]}  \qquad \underline{[\text{r}]} \qquad \underline{\underline{<\text{m}>}} \qquad \underline{[\text{i}]} \qquad \underline{\underline{<\text{q}>}}  \qquad \underline{[\text{k}]} \qquad \underline{[\text{i}]} \qquad \underline{\underline{<\text{j}>}}

3. In the word enough you see the letters <e>, <n>, <o>, \underline{<u>}, <g> ,and <h>.

4. In the word thought you see the letters <t>, <h>, <o>, \underline{<u>}, <g>, <h>, and <t>.

5. Which is the first sound you hear in surprise - <\mathrm{s}> or [s]? [s].

6. Which is the last sound you hear in could - <d> or [d]? [d].

7. Is [I] called “ell” or “II”? “II”.

8. Is <m> called “em”or “mm”? “em”.

9. In the word else are the sounds you hear <e>, <l>, and <\mathrm{s}> or [e], [I], [s]? [e], [I], and [s]

10. In the word sell you hear the sounds [s], [e], and [l].

11. In the word less you hear the sounds [l], [e], and [s].

Word Changes. Follow the directions very carefully! Each time you make the changes you are told to, you will spell a new word. Write the new words in the blanks on the right. When you get done, you should be able to fill in the blanks and answer the riddle. We've given you a little bit of a start:

  1. Write the word queen in the blank: queen
  2. Take away the last three letters and put <ick> in their place: quick
  3. Change the first consonant to a <d> and take away the vowel in front of the <c>: duck
  4. Change the first consonant to a <t> and put an <r> in front of the <\mathrm{u}>: truck
  5. Change the vowel to the ninth letter in the alphabet: trick

Riddle: If you fool somebody fast, it's called a \frac{\mathrm{quick}}{\mathrm{Word} \ \# 2} \\frac{\mathrm{trick}}{\mathrm{Word} \ \# 5}.

Teaching Notes.

1. It's important that the students understand the two main points of this lesson: The first point is that when we write about letters, we mark them with pointed brackers, but when we write about sounds, we mark them with square brackets. The second point is that when we talk about letters, we refer to them by their alphabet names but, when we talk about sounds, we refer to them by their actual sounds. This is an important distinction: For one thing it is part of keeping straight the difference between sounds and their letter spellings. For another, later on, when we study more of the speech sounds, we need to be able to talk easily and clearly about, say, that short <e> sound, [e] (pronounced “eh”) in a word like bet and the long <e> sound, [\bar{\mathrm{e}}] (pronounced “ee”) in a word like beat.

Apparently not all letters' alphabet names have conventionalized spellings. Webster's Third Unabridged lists the following for the consonants, the letters in parentheses being optional: be(e), ce(e), de(e), ef(f), ge(e) pronounced [\mathrm{j} \bar{\mathrm{e}}], aitch, jay, ka(y), el, em, en, pe(e), cue, ar, es (s), tee, ve(e), double-u, ex, wy(e), zee. The four letters that are always vowels — <\mathrm{a}>, <e>, <\mathrm{i}> and <o> — and <\mathrm{u}> apparently have no regular spelled-out names. (Oddly, oh is listed with the meaning “zero,” due to the similarity between zero and the letter <o>, but oh is not defined as meaning the letter <o> itself.)

2. You may also want to point out to the students that we use the square brackets when we write out the sounds of an entire word, so we would write out the spoken form of the word else this way: [els].

3. This is the youngsters' first Word Changes. The objectives of this reinforcer are (i) as usual, to give the students more and varied work with words and concepts from their current lessons and (ii) to give them some practice in following detailed instructions carefully and in keeping track of precise information, as in phrases like “the ninth letter in the alphabet.” If there is no copy of the alphabet up in the room, it may be useful for the students to have one when they are counting letters for Word Changes.

You may want to point out to them that in the change from quick to duck, the letter <\mathrm{u}> changes from a consonant to a vowel.

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Feb 23, 2012

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Sep 12, 2013
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