Signs for Sounds: Steps
In each lesson, the teacher teaches the featured phonics element, the sound-out words (words with a regular spelling pattern) that use the phonics element, and one or more spell-out words (high-frequency words with irregular spelling).
- Teach the Element
The teacher teaches the phonics element by saying the sound that the element makes, writing the corresponding letter(s) on the board, and presenting a few words from the sound-out word lists so students can practice the featured elements.
- Teach Sound-Out Word(s)
Students listen as the teacher dictates a sound-out word. On the lesson form, students circle the letter(s) that represent each sound or syllable in the dictated word and then write the word. Having defined letter choices increases students’ chances of success. The teacher immediately writes the word on the board so each student can check and correct his or her spelling of the word.
- Teach Spell-Out Word(s)
The teacher introduces each spell-out word by saying the word and saying each letter as he or she writes the letters on the board.
- Practice Spell-Out Word(s)
Students independently practice writing the spell-out word(s). For each spell-out word on the lesson form, they say and spell the word quietly as they trace the gray letters and write the missing letters. The student checks and corrects his or her spelling of the word.
Before continuing with the next phase, the teacher tests the students to make sure they’ve learned the new skills.
- Test Sound-Out Words
Students fold their lesson forms to hide the practice words. The teacher then dictates each sound-out word from the teaching phase as students write the word on their lesson forms.
- Test Spell-Out Words
The teacher dictates each spell-out word as students write the word on their lesson forms.
- Correct the Words
Students unfold their lesson forms to check and correct their tests. Students record their scores on their score sheets. If students score 80 percent correct or higher on the sound-out words, they are ready for the dictation phase. Otherwise, they repeat the teaching and testing phases with an alternate list. Using alternate word lists, students repeat lessons as often as needed to ensure mastery of target skills.
In the dictation phase, students write more spell-out words and sentences from dictation. Teachers focus on words that are difficult for students based on the results of the testing phase.
- Review/Test Spell-Out Words
The teacher dictates each spell-out word in the dictation list as students write the word on their dictation forms. The teacher writes the word on the board so each student can check and correct his or her spelling of the word.
- Dictate Sentences
Students fold their dictation forms to hide their spell-out words. The teacher then dictates sentences as students write each sentence on their dictation forms. The teacher can choose the short or the long dictation sentences.
- Correct the Sentences
The teacher collects and corrects the sentences, and students record their scores on their score sheets.