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Sound Waves

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How pronunciation influences segmenting

Some words have more than one widely accepted pronunciation in Standard Australian English. This won’t affect communication but may affect how your students segment words during spelling lessons.

For example, do you say often with /t/ or without? Your answer to that question will determine the number and type of graphemes you end up with when you segment the word.

Variation in pronunciation commonly occurs when either a consonant phoneme or a schwa is dropped from a word, resulting in different – but equally correct – segmented answers. Let’s look at some common examples of alternative pronunciations, how they affect segmenting and how to discuss this topic with your students.

Segmenting practice (for teachers)

Segmenting is a key component of teaching spelling and it’s a skill you work on with your students time and again. But have you ever practised segmenting with your colleagues?

Practising with other teachers ensures you’re all on the same page when it comes to segmenting (which is especially beneficial for any new staff members). It also allows you to share best practice and classroom experiences, such as how to answer curly questions that students ask during Sound Waves brainstorming sessions.

Sound Waves and synthetic phonics: The facts

Systematic synthetic phonics has been in the spotlight lately, with the trial of a Year 1 Phonics Check in South Australia and the New South Wales government allocating funding for decodable texts. So what exactly is systematic synthetic phonics? What evidence is there for its effectiveness? And how does Sound Waves fit into the picture?

The foundation of reading and spelling success

The first year of school is a big deal for students, full of excitement, change and a new beast called written language. While we have a natural capacity to learn speech, we must be taught explicitly how to read and write. This makes the first year of school a big deal for teachers too, as it’s the opportunity to lay the best possible foundation for students’ reading and spelling success in the future.