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Introduction To Early Education

What's it all about?

Alphabet dictionaries are a familiar early literacy strategy. There are many commercial produced alphabet-picture dictionaries available from retail outlets. Moreover many students in their first year of school experience making their own picture dictionary using magazine picture.

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The surfing sounds dictionary is different. It teaches the essential prerequisite concepts for competent literacy development. The focus of this dictionary is early letter-sound awareness. It is designed to help children learn about the alphabet, the letters and the sounds they make. It also helps the adults, teachers and parents, by giving them a variety of strategies and resources that reinforce the concepts in this dictionary.

Students, who experience difficulties in early literacy, need a consistent and predictable approach to learning, supported by as many auditory, visual, kinesthetic and memory-linked cues as possible. Surfing sounds provides this, helping to simplify the complex process of spelling and reading.

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Who can use the dictionary?

This dictionary is designed to be used by parents, teacher aides, and teacher with pre-school and year one children who want a head starts to literacy development. It has also been developed for student who may be working with the support teacher, reading specialist or speech pathologist because they are having difficulty learning the sound-letter relationships and the alphabet.

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How do you use it?

In the surfing sound dictionary each of the letters of the alphabet are listed in order. The child carries out activities that explain how to read and write the letters, how to make the sounds, and how to develop letter-sound awareness. The child is further encouraged to add their own drawings, to paste magazine pictures or to write in words for each letter. The more the child personalizes the dictionary, the more meaningful it is for him or her.

Strategies and activities for enhancing children's learning are presented in this manual. There also a number of games and charts, and sample lesson plan to support this strategy.

Remember to follow up the daily work in the dictionary with environmental literacy experiences such as choosing a book to read: looking for words around the home: helping with shopping by reading' labels or watching adults read and write.

Providing consistent language model

This may appear to be a minor point, however, it is important that all adults use the same terms of literacy when talking about spelling, reading and writing. Inconsistent use of terms confuses children. This manual includes a set of pages (which can be enlarged as charts), provided in the appendix, for adults and children to refer to when working with the surfing sounds dictionary. They are clear and consistent in using terms and language that are important for children's learning.

Important words describe the key literacy terms that are used throughout surfing sounds dictionary. The chart is provided so that term can be understood and used consistently. Some practical suggestions for using this chart are:

. To encourage other adults to use these terms consistently
. To refer to the chart when working with children to reinforce these terms
. To encourage children to refer to it when hey use the wrong term

How sounds are made reinforces a total approach to letters and sounds. Children learn in a variety of ways. This chart supports the auditory and visual learning modes by presenting kinesthetic cues of sounds. Suggestions for this charts includes:

. Use it to show children how the four aspects of sound production work together

. Practice saying sounds, focusing on each of the four aspects and referring back to the charts.

. Ask children to make different sounds and explain how each aspect is working.

. Refer to the chart when encouraging children to use these kinesthetic cues for learning the sounds as you work through the dictionary.

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Hooks to remember provides a tool for children to personalize their learning. These associations are powerful because they help children to remember. Try the following activities for the chart:

. Ask children if they already use something which helps them to remember a letter name e.g. M is for McDonalds

. Explain that these hooks are good reminders and can be used for all letters
. Work through the charts encouraging children to come p with their own ideas for each letter.

Helper's, takers and changers present a way of talking about the letters which don't follow the unusual rules. It uses the terms helpers', takers' and changers' with associated visual cues. The terms are used for dealing with the inconsistent spelling by providing explicit information about these letters. Use the chart to:

. Explain that some letters can make different sounds by helping, taking or changing when used with other letters in words.

. Refer to chart in place of using the word tricky', e.g. don't say- that's a tricky one

. Encourage children to use the visual cues to assist their memory e.g. h' is a helper. Remember it's like the surfboard that helps you catch a waves

Meet the surfing sounds dictionary introduces the format of the dictionary pages. The organization of the page has been designed to encourage consistency in the use of terms and the language of instruction. The chart helps you to:

. Develop consistency in your talk on each page e.g. The letter is�. The sound is�.s
. Use the same language at other literacy times through out the day.

. Introduce and explain the dictionary to children, working your way through each concept.

Surfing Sound Dictionary

Providing consistent language model

Who can use the dictionary

How Sounds Are Made

Language Skills