My aim was to talk about Texte dictée today, but... of course, I forgot to take pictures of them at school this week! So, they will have to wait for next week. Instead, I want to talk to you about how I teach my students blending - la fusion - or, how to "sound out" words. This strategy corresponds to the "serpent", if you use my animal reading strategies.
We all know that being able to sound out/decode words is key to being able to read. While it is not the first strategy I teach, it is definitely an important one, and you may find that many of your kinders are ready for it at this point in the year. The big question is, how can you teach decoding in a fun, effective way?
Decoding can be stressful for kinders to practice only when they are reading books. There are so many other things going on in their brains while they are reading! I find it works best to isolate the strategy and practice it using games. That way, my students already know that they can do it, and don't hesitate to give it a try in context. I can also control which letters and how many letters they are trying to blend at a time, and can adjust depending on their level of ability. By practicing in a relaxed, fun environment, my students don't always even realize that they are practicing something that is actually pretty tricky!
Read on to see a few of my favourite games and activities to do with my kinders who are ready to practice blending.
I like to practice blending using both nonsense words and real words. Nonsense words are fun and silly, and real words are obviously very important, as they are what my students will actually be reading in their books ;)
NONSENSE WORD ACTIVITIES
1. SPEED READING
My students love, love, LOVE speed reading! It is a really simple but really effective activity. All you need is a list of 2-3 letter nonsense words (ma, mi, mu, mo, me, sa, si, se, so, se, etc.). You can just write them on a white board if you want, or prepare them ahead of time. Your students will read the words as fast as they can. If you have a stopwatch, you can time them, and use it to show how they get faster and faster each time they practice!
I like to take this game up a notch and send it home in their reading bags to practice at home as well. I prepare a page with 6 columns of nonsense words (2 or 3 letters), and add either a spinner or images of dice faces. Students spin the spinner or roll the die, and find the column that corresponds with what they rolled. Then they read it as fast as they can, and spin or roll again!
I have a few boards like this in my Mots sans sens pack on TPT. And, if you are a newsletter subscriber, you can also grab a FREE version with a spinner in my new French Free Resource Library. It is in the "Conscience phonologique" section (Not sure what I'm talking about? Just hit the button below, enter your email, and I will email you all the info you need to get EXCLUSIVE access to all of my freebies!).
2. NONSENSE WORD BOARD GAMES
I have a couple of these in my Mots sans sens pack as well! They are super simple - students roll a die or spin the spinner, draw a card, and if they can read the nonsense word, they can move that many spaces. There are cards for 2 and 3 letter words.
Check out these videos of two of my sweeties playing. They loved it so much that they didn't want to end the game and are working on making their way back across the board. So sweet!
REAL WORD ACTIVTIES
As I said above, we definitely want our students to practice decoding real words as well! I find French tricky sometimes with real words - so. many. words. have letters that don't "talk", and "sons composés". I have made a couple of games to help us out!
1. LIS ET COUVRE
This one is pretty simple. Students draw a card, decode it, and find the picture on the board, which they cover with a cube. Whoever covers the most pictures wins. I like this game because they can easily self-correct - it gets them to think about both decoding AND using the picture to make sure their guess makes sense. The game in the first picture is the "original", and I teach that one before the other themes, because I did my best to find words where all of the letters "talk". Or, if there are letters that don't talk (like in the word lit, I made the silent letters grey.
I also have seasonal and holiday games as well, but I save them for my students who are into the chunking strategy - you can see in the picture below that the words are trickier. You can find these game boards in my TPT store, by clicking RIGHT HERE or on either of the pictures.
2. FAIRE DE LA PIZZA EN FUSIONNANT
This game is a huuuuuge class favourite!! I play it when I am getting ready to transition a reading group from decoding all of the letters in a word into getting ready for reading words in "chunks".
It's also pretty simple - each student in the group gets a pizza, and I spread out all of the toppings (Note: I don't use ALL of the cards at once! I have mine divided into three groups - easiest, medium, and most difficult. I choose the cards that work best with each group). I draw a card, and students race to decode the word and find the picture as fast as they can. The first student to find the right picture gets to put that topping on their pizza.
Sometimes, I also get one student to read and the other to search, and then they switch jobs. Some groups have a harder time than others with competition ;) This is a great transition from sounding out all of the letters to reading words in chunks, because I have already divided the words into chunks for them - all they have to do is decode them!
If you want Faire de la pizza en fusionnant for your students, CLICK HERE to see it in my TPT store!
The above four activities are definitely my go-to's. Students beg to play them again and again! I like to have a variety of games so that I can switch it up each session. I do my best to play a game with each group after we read our new books, so we get lots of games in.
You could also have these games as independent centres if your kids are a little older/more capable, but with my kinder groups I prefer to be there with them when they play, making sure they are decoding properly and getting the most out of their practice!
Do you do any other activities or play any other games with your students to practice this important skill? I would love to know! Tell me what you do in the comments below. And don't forget to subscribe to my French Free Resource Library so you can have access to that freebie... as well as every other freebie I have ever made, and ever will make! Here is that button again: