In the last edition of POUCH we mentioned the phonemic symbols. This
time we have included a complete list of the symbols and example words
to help you get used to the sounds. As you know, English words are often
not pronounced like the spelling. This makes it very difficult to learn
how to say a word correctly, unless you have heard it. Many learners of
English find these symbols very useful with this problem. All good dictionaries
will include the phonemic spelling of a word like those below between
the two/slashes/. If you know the sound for each symbol, you can pronounce
a new word quite easily.
Learning the Symbols
- Teachers usually find that drilling games are a good way to help students
learn the sound for each symbol. One example is to make up flash cards with
each symbol on the front of a different card. Write the example word on the
back of the card. Students then call out the example word followed by the
individual sound as the teacher holds up a flash card. For example, the teacher
holds up a card and the students can see i: so they shout out the sound of
this symbol “eeee”. The teacher says that’s correct and
then shows another card with I. This time the students shout “ih”.
- When the students have practiced oral drilling like this many times the
teacher can change to a writing activity. For example, the teacher shows the
students the example word and the students write the symbol. Next, the teacher
can show the students a symbol and the students write the example word and
so on. Later teachers should use a similar activity to show and practice the
difference between two similar sounds. The two sounds above i: and I are good
examples of this.
BINGO is a really popular pronunciation
game. Bingo seems a little complicated at first but it’s actually really
easy. Students love bingo when they know how to play it. It is great fun.
Example one - bingo card for vowel sound
Example two - bingo card with phonemic symbols
- The teacher prepares a list of words with similar sounds like those
in bingo Example one. You will need 25 words or more.
- The teacher or the students can make up bingo cards like the ones
in Example one. Each card should contain 16 of the words on the teacher’s
list. There should be one card for each student. The cards should not
all be the same, if they are all the same ALL the students will win
the game! But it’s okay for a couple of students to have the same
card. The ones in example one are to practice vowel sounds.
- When each student has a bingo card the teacher calls out the words
from the list. When the students hear one of the words on their card
they cross off that word. If they hear all the words in a line they
are the winner. The line can be up, down, across or diagonal. If a student
thinks they have won they have to shout “BINGO!”. The teacher
can check to see if the student has heard all the words correctly by
looking at their list of words.
Another good variation is if the students have bingo cards with phonemic symbols
in the boxes instead of words (see Example two). The teacher calls out words
and the students have to cross off the symbol for the vowel sound in the word,
if they have it on their card. For example, if the teacher says “feet”
the student cross off one of the i: symbols on their card.