Sandpaper Letters - Summary


The teacher wants to give the child an idea of how the letters are used in words. She places a letter in front of the child, e.g., "t", and says, "Listen. Can you hear 't' when I say table, when I say Tom, when I say hot , or in kitten?" She suggests a number of words containing the sound of "t." The teacher takes the other letter "s." She asks the child to listen for the sound "s" in the words she says. She uses words like sun, snake, hiss, strong, Sally and vest. She is careful to put the sound in different places in words, not always at the beginning. She finishes the lesson by letting the child know that she, too, can think of words containing the sounds she has learned. She says, "If you think of any words with 't' or 's' in them, come and tell me."
Sometimes the child has learned the names of the letters before coming to school. In this case, the teacher must explain to him that each letter has a name and a sound. Because he knows the names, she will only have to teach him the sounds. At no time in the lessons does she use both.
The phonetic sound of a letter is the sound most commonly used in words. When letters do not have the phonetic value, they are usually following a rule in spelling or may be irregular. In the following words, the letters have their phonetic value:
an, bun, cat, dog, fox, get, hat, ink, jam, kid, log, man, nut, on, pig, quit ("q" is always followed by "u"; together they give one sound), run, sun, top, up, van, win, box (no word begins with the phonetic sound of "x"), yes, and zip.
The phonetic sound of the vowels is the "short" sound.
"a" as in "at"
"e" as in "met"
"i" as in "it"
"o" as in "hot"
"u" as in "hut"
The phonetic sound of each consonant which sometimes has more than one sound is:
"c" as in "cat"
"g" as in "get"
"y" as in yes"

Beginning Writing:

After learning the sound of a letter, children often enjoy beginning writing activites such as feeling a sandpaper letter and then tracing it in cornmeal or colored sand. This pre-writing activity helps the children practice the shapes of the letters they are learning. Initially tracing with just the index finger, the children progress to using a pencil to form the letters.

The eye-hand coordination and skill in holding a pencil gained from working with the Insets for Design transfers well into writing skills.