In Jolly Phonics, /s/ is the first letter sound we are going to introduce.
I begin by showing XXM the picture below. These are scanned from Jolly Finger Phonics which I had it printed out and laminated.
Upon seeing this, he will automatically read out the letter. I will go on to explain that s makes the sound “sssss”. Then, I will play the corresponding jingle from Jolly Songs. I love these Jolly Songs. They are so catchy and easy to remember. Makes it real easy for this phonetically untrained mummy to pick up. Thumbs up!
Introduce the action for /s/.
Action: Weave your hand in a S shape, like a snake, and say sssss.
This is another reason why I like Jolly Phonics. The action associated letter sounds makes learning more interesting which I thought would benefit my boys since they are more kinesthetic. However, Xxm surprised me. He didn’t need the fanciful actions to remember the letter sounds. In fact, when I first mentioned to him that S makes the /sss/ sound, like the sound of a snake and simultaneously demonstrating the associated action, he remembered the letter sound without the swaying arms. I believed I caught him when he was developmentally ready to learn. Seriously, when you catch them at the right timing, it really makes teaching and learning easier and more enjoyable.
Jolly Phonics recommends the letter sounds to be introduced in a form of a story. The story provided depicts what is shown on the finger phonics. However, I find that this method is currently not very effective for me as his attention span is very short and he can’t wait for me to finish the story. Besides, I find that delivering small nuggets of information to him at this point in time makes it easier for him to comprehend what I am trying to bring across. However, I do believe if you are dealing with an older kid, a story which they can relate the picture to will enhance the learning experience. For completeness sake, I will include the story here.
It is a sunny morning, and Sam is taking his dog Sampson, for a walk. They like to walk down to the pond. Sam looks around as they walk along. He sees a toadstools, a red and yellow caterpillar, and a blackbird on her nest. When they get to the pond, Sam and Sampson spend some time watching the fish swim around. After a while, Sampson goes off and snuffles around in the grass. He finds a stick, which he brings back to Sam. Then he barks at Sam, and Sam throws the stick for Sampson to fetch. Sampson runs around, looking for the stick in the grass. Suddenly, Sampson starts barking, “woof, woof, woof!” Sam skips over to see what Sampson has found. He hears a “sssss” sound, “sssss!” In front of Sampson is a spotty snake. It is rearing up and hissing loudly. Sam grabs hold of Sampson, and the snake slithers quickly away.
Note the extravagant usage of s sounding words in the story. This really works to emphasize the letter sound.
XXM is now not developmentally ready to write. Although he can grasp a pencil or crayon pretty well (not grabbing but his grip is close to the proper one), I didn’t want to pressurize him and myself by making him do pre-writing worksheets of the letter s. He usually doesn’t follow the dotted lines and rather prefer to scribble whatever he likes. So I decided to practice air writing with him instead. According to Charlotte Mason, reproducing the small letter from memory is a work of mere art, and requires more careful observation on the child’s part. Simply put, this strengthens their attentiveness. Alternatively, you can write on a tray of sand which I think I shall give it a miss at home.
So I hold his finger and go through how the letter s is formed midair.
I do not plan to schedule many craftwork with him. I believe these will be done in school next year so it’s quite pointless if I were to repeat it now. I thought it might be worse if he finds the activities in school boring and dislike school as a result. That being said, there are still some that I find noteworthy to execute at home. I particularly like the build-a-letter crafts. Xxm loves puzzles and in doing these, it will give him a better appreciation of what makes up these letters.
Even though these lesson plans are planned with XXM in mind, XMM is showing some signs of early learning as well. There are days when I hear him saying abc, and as we venture into phonics, he could articulate /s/ and /a/ rather well. My boy is so cute!