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Archive for October, 2012

Do you know when “s” sounds in words are spelled with a single “s” instead of a double “s”? I explain the three basic guidelines that will get you the right spelling for the vast majority of English words.

Have a look at these words:
haste, pass, messy, harness, nest, jester, lost, loss, send, post

Can you figure out how to tell whether a word (you haven’t learned before) is spelled with one “s” or two?

I also expand a bit on the “l vs ll” phonics pattern from before. Finally, I give examples of the kinds of words my former students could spell after practicing the patterns from Phonics Fridays 1 through 5, and what kinds of expectations I had for them. My students were mostly elementary school aged native Mandarin speakers.

This time, I go over the various “R sounds”, both syllables starting with Rs (e.g. rad, red, rib, rob, rub), and vowel + R combinations (e.g. bar, bare, fern, fear, fir, fire, ore, oar, cur, cure). For most non-Native English speakers, the North American R is very difficult to pronounce. I talk break it down and go over some phonics patterns that many native speakers, including myself before moving to Asia, miss.

I hope this is useful for your classes. A world with more second language English speakers who can pronounce my name would be great!

If I were to make a list of my very favorite things about living abroad, the opportunities for making lifelong friends would be very near the top. Katya Berry, a long-time expat herself, has published a piece I wrote about the topic. She coaches and mentors women who are living abroad or planning to move to a different country. She’s been living the experience herself since the age of 15 and has written a great deal about juggling responsibilities of career and family.

Katya Berry

Check out the piece here:

Have you wondered why some words such as “hill” are spelled with a double l, while others such as “hail” use a single l? This Phonics Friday covers the “-l vs -ll” spelling pattern.

I talk about diphthongs, which are crucial to be aware of when helping students with vowel pronunciation problems. As an example, I go over the dreaded “What’s your name?” pronounced as “Whas your nem?” problem.

Links mentioned in the video:
The Cot-Caught Merger

Do you know when “k” sounds in words are spelled with a “ck” instead of just “k”? If not, make sure to see the end of the video!

I also go back and explain in a bit more detail how I taught phonics to absolute beginner ESL/EFL students. I talk about the basics of an oral spelling quiz, how I graded them and few other odds and ends.

If any of you have had experience using a similar system in the classroom, I’d love to hear your feedback.