i‑Learner Education Centre

Teacher Diaries

Teacher Diaries – Ms. Lisa

A solid phonics foundation is essential to the study of the English language. i-Learner’s kindergarten courses scaffold the process of building and strengthening this foundation. Letter literacy is followed by recognizing high frequency sight words, after which kindergarten students will focus on letter sounds, consonant digraphs, and blending. This gradual bolstering of oral and reading confidence is important preparation for primary school.

The phonics foundations of kindergarten students in a particular class are often differentially developed, putting those students with a shakier framework at a disadvantage in terms of using a phonetic approach to sounding out unfamiliar words, reading aloud with proper pronunciation, and writing simple words as the building blocks of full sentences. These challenges can potentially deter students in the early stages of the language learning process.

About a year ago, I began teaching a K2 student whose phonics foundation needed further reinforcement. He was experiencing some difficulty with letter formation and recognition, and could occasionally recall some sight words while examining the pages of a storybook. It was especially challenging for him to remember the sounds of individual letters and reproduce the sounds of digraphs that were demonstrated for him. At times, he was rather disheartened that he could not engage with short stories on the same level as his classmates.

The small class size characteristic of lessons at i-Learner enabled me to focus on and repeat exercises that targeted this student’s particular areas of challenge. I brought in extra materials from i-Learner’s vast treasure trove of supplementary phonics resources for in-class and at-home practice. I also integrated plenty of phonics games into our classroom routine. Providing constant encouragement and applauding small successes has helped this student be persistent in his efforts. He is enormously eager to read aloud in class and feels a sense of pride at how many more words he is able to recognize in a text. He feels vastly more comfortable asking questions when he encounters something he does not understand. This student’s hard work and attitude of perseverance are a testament to the progress that is possible when a child receives individualized care and attention.