Bird, Bird, Worm: Pronunciation Game

Are your YLs learning to distinguish between closely related sounds? In the Spotlight this week, we’re featuring our Phonics lesson on ir, er, ur, and or. Words with these letters can be difficult for learners to pronounce and write because they look different but sound the same.

One fun way to practice commonly confused sounds and spellings is to play an adaptation of Duck, Duck, Goose. We’ll call it Bird, Bird, Worm to start, but you can change the name of the game to whatever word pair you’re working on. (more…)

Phonics Lesson: ir / er / ur / or

The English /r/ sound can be difficult for non-native speakers to produce. But learning the pronunciation of words with the /ər/ sound is only half the problem—there are different spellings to learn as well! The
/ər/ sound can be spelled ir, or, er, and ur in English. In this week’s phonic lesson, students will get practice with this sound and the common spelling variations. (more…)

Phonics Lesson: G to L

Sprout’s Phonics Cafe section offers many lessons to help improve low-level English learners’ printing, writing, spelling, and pronunciation. This section starts with the alphabet and works up to letter combinations and words that are difficult to pronounce and spell. This week’s Spotlight lesson is on the letters G to L. Your students will love the colorful illustrations and engaging activities! (more…)

Numbers: Phonics Lesson

Are your young learners learning to count? The Numbers lesson in our Phonics Cafe section gives students fun, engaging practice with both the numerical and spelled-out forms of the letters one to ten.

This seven-page phonics lesson begins by presenting the numerical and written forms of the numbers one to ten. This is followed by a variety of activities that will get your students reading, counting, and coloring. (more…)

“th” Words: Phonics Lesson

The /th/ sound (/θ/ for the voiceless sound and /ð/ for the voiced sound, written phonetically) is not common in many other languages, so English language learners usually struggle with this sound. I’ve found that encouraging students (both children and adults) to “stick out their tongues” (put their tongues between their teeth) is a fun way to get them to practice making this sound. Our phonics lesson on “th” words will have your students pronouncing and spelling words like month, thanks, these, and father in no time! (more…)

Telling Time: Pronunciation

What time is it?

Everyone needs to know how to tell the time. Even if English language learners know how to express clock time in their native language, they might not be familiar or comfortable doing so in English. As a follow-up to our new, kid-friendly Telling Time lesson, I thought I’d record the pronunciation of the times in the lesson so that learners can clearly hear and practice how to express them. I hope this will make your students feel more confident the next time someone asks them, “What time is it?” (more…)

Reduced Pronunciation: Gonna

What are you gonna do on New Year’s Eve?

Though speaking quickly in another language can seem overwhelming at first, learning common language reductions (such as whacha, wanna, or gonna) can give students confidence in their speaking and listening abilities. My students always enjoy practicing reduced pronunciation—we’d have a lot of laughs together even when they’d get tongue-tied. Two things help learners feel more confident when practicing reduced pronunciation: guided practice with lots of modeling and handy tips to help them, and plenty of encouragement along the way. Remind students that even though reductions may sound like a whole other language at first, practicing reduced pronunciation means they’ll be able to better decipher quick, natural speaking when listening to native speakers, and they’ll sound more natural when speaking, too. (more…)