Letter Sounds

Teaching Spanish can be different from teaching English. In my experience, as a teacher, when I would teach students English in the classroom we would always begin with the letter sounds in English where I would chunk alphabet letter names and sounds in small groups. I would start with m, a, p, s, and t. After learning the first group we would move on to the next 5 letters from one of the reading programs my teacher team and I followed. The one we followed at the time was called Learning Dynamics, a very good program to follow. After learning the sounds, students would learn how to connect letter sounds to form words. We would start with two letter words, real and not real to get students to get use to connecting consonants and vowels,  for example: an, at, be, me, so, go, etc.

Consonants and Vowels

One way to help students remember consonants and vowels is to create an Anchor Chart. Give each student a sticky note and have them write the first letter of their name. Have them come to the carpet in front of the anchor chart. Call each student up to place their sticky note and place it on the side that their letter belongs: Consonant or Vowel (See Anchor Chart Example Below). One of my favorite Youtube Videos to show Spanish Learning Students Initial Sounds, are the following Estrellita Video:

Reviewing words labeled as CV=Consonant Vowel or VC=Vowel Consonant, will help students remember which letters are vowels and which are consonants. The next step after this is CVC = Consonant Vowel Consonant words like man, can, pet, jet, and so on. Learning Spanish is a little different than learning English. My experience with Teaching Spanish has been a little more different than that. This is how I would teach it: 

  • Teach the Consonant Letter Sound
  • For example /m/ 
  • Then teach the Consonant letter add each vowel sound
  • Ma, Me, Mi, Mo, Mu
  • After practicing Syllables, we would move on to Joining Syllables
  • Mama, memo, mono, mimar, mucho
  • Then practice short phrases using words created with syllables
  • Mi mamá me ama. 

This is a combination of teaching the Phonemic and the Syllabic Methods. The most common method is the syllabic method where the vowels are taught first and then the consonants to form syllables. It will help your littles learn Syllable Segmentation efficiently.

Resources: Syllable Segmentation

Visuals and worksheets are very beneficial when teaching syllables. Here are a few of my favorite resources: 

Strategy + Game For The Classroom

When it comes to teaching, the more fun you can make learning the better response you will get from students. A fun strategy that I have used in my classroom is “Quiz, Quiz, Trade”. Before playing a game it is important to model how to play a game before playing so students know what your exact expectations are to be followed. Quiz, Quiz, Trade is a strategy I learned from Kagan:

  • Pass out one Card to each student
  • When everyone has one card, they may stand up and push their chair in to avoid accidents
  • Tell them that when the music starts they will walk around
  • When the music stops, students raise their hand and find a partner who also has their hand raised
  • Partner one asks “What syllable do you have?” Partner Two Responds “I have /ma/, What syllable do you have?”
  • Partner one responds “I have /be/”
  • Partners give each other a high five
  • Then the partners trade cards and wait for the music to start again to find a new parter.

You don’t have play music, it just makes it a little more fun and energetic.

Another Game idea for Syllable Segmentation, would be to play:

  • Memory
  • Go Fish
  • Fat Cat
    • Fat Cat is like Hangman, except you draw a Fat Cat instead (see picture below)
The Word is “mapa”. The “g” and “e” above are letters that were guessed incorrectly.

Syllable Segmentation

After you have taught the sounds, letter combinations, and words with syllables, then you can move on to Segmentation. Students can clap, stomp, tap their arms, or tap shoulders knees and toes. These type of movements will help kids get up from their seat and get moving to get oxygen into their brains and promote learning. The Syllable words below are examples of words that you can say to students for them to listen and determine how many syllables they hear. Before asking students to distinguish syllables, I would have a list of words handy and model how to listen to the syllables in a given.

  • 1 Syllable Words
    • sal
    • pez
    • sol
    • dar
  • 2 Syllable Words
    • foca
    • cama
    • jugo
    • vaca

For more resources go visit Bilingual Classroom Resources.

I hope that this information is useful for you. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask below. Please check out the links on the the margin. If you are interested in starting your own blog, Click on Yo Quiero Dinero! If you are looking for more teacher resources, click on Kinda Sorta Teacher.

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