Tongue Twisters

December 13, 2010 at 3:38 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Class, Teaching | Leave a comment

Pronunciation is arguably the hardest language skill to learn. Depending on what your first language is, English pronunciation may often be counter-intuitive. Without accurate pronunciation, it is difficult to spell words correctly. Many of my students requested work on pronunciation, so for the last week, I have been focusing on the sh, ch, and th sounds and on the vowel sounds.

To work on the sh, ch, and th sounds, I gave my students tongue twisters to practice, including the infamous “She sells seashells by the sea shore….” There a lot of laughter as my students (and me) stumbled through “I’m sure she sells seashore shells” and “Three hundred thirty-three thousand therapists thought…”

In order to practice the vowels, I first go over the long and short vowel sounds. Then, we play a game in which the students have to identify the correct vowel sound as I read a list of words. For example, I wanted my students to practice hearing the difference between e and i. Each student got a green piece of paper labeled i and a blue piece of paper labeled e. As I read the words, the students had to lift up either the green piece of paper or the blue piece of paper (or both), depending on whether they thought the word contained an i, an e, or both i and e. The students still need some practice, but it seems to be an effective method of improving pronunciation and spelling.

-Kerrin Epstein, Lead Teacher and AmeriCorps Member

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