Hands-On Phonics A to Z
Using a Magnetic Letter Board to Teach Phonics
by Elaine Ernst Schneider
Objective: To become familiar with upper and lower case letters and their corresponding phonics sounds; and to develop an understanding of one-to-one unique matching.
Magnetic Board Activities:
1. Mix up all the letters. Allow your child to pair upper case and lower case on the magnetic board. Ask, “What helped you to know which letters matched?” Discuss similarities between confusing letters; for example, a lower case “b” can be made into an upper case “B” by simply adding the upper portion. This will help to differentiate between lower case “b” and lower case “d,” which are often confused.
Discuss other one-to-one unique matches. For instance, the upper portion of a window uniquely matches the lower window and this is what allows us to open and close the window. The upper window must match the bottom window perfectly – you cannot match it with a door or a chair cushion, any more than you can match a lower case “w” with an upper case “C.”
2. Mix up the letters. Ask your child to close his or her eyes and draw a letter from the pile. Look around the room and help your child select a word that emphasizes the phonetic sound that letter can represent. Concentrate on nouns – persons, places, and things. For instance, for the letter “d,” you might name dog, dollar, dot, desk, and door. Continue until all letters are placed on the magnetic board.
Variation: Play the game with all lower case letters. Then play with all upper case letters.
3. Mix up the letters. Play a game where one player selects a letter,
then must act out a word that corresponds with the sound. This game concentrates on verbs. For example, verbs that could be acted out for the letter “d” might include dance, dig, dive, dip or darn (like “to darn” a sock).
(Teacher’s note: Any magnetic letter board with a full set of upper and lower case letters will work for this lesson. I use the one offered by Amazon. You may order it by clicking on picture below.)
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