Here's a nifty yard-sale find: A 1941 set of "Phonic Talking Letters" produced by Ideal School Supply Co. of Chicago. The system is copyrighted in the name of Edith E. Stephens. According to the instructions:
"The sounds of letters should be taught after pupils have begun to read by word and phrase memory. If they stop to think about sounds before acquiring the habit of quick eye-movement, they will likely become slow readers. Any person who knows a little English can learn the sounds taught by these cards, if they are taught to him by one who believes in the pupil's ability to learn. Without this faith in him, a pupil can learn little (and he will know whether his teacher believes he can learn)."I don't know about the first part of that paragraph, with regard to teaching the sounds of letters after students have already started to read. But I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment of needing teachers who believe in the student, and express that belief in their interactions.
Each Phonic Talking Letter is accompanied by a short story (on the reverse side) intended to help the student learn the sound associated with the letter. Here are a few of the cards -- which I chose for their interesting illustrations -- and accompanying stories.
"(11) One day Little Lady went swimming. She went under and got her mouth full of water. Then she caught onto her big ball. The ball held her up out of the water except for her legs. Whenever you see her holding onto the ball and with her legs below the 'water' line, you know she is trying to get the water out of her mouth, making a 'p-p-p-p' sound. Are you smart enough to make that sound without spitting? We shall see. Play you are Little Lady in the water."So, to be clear, you learn about the P sound by pretending that you just nearly drowned.
"(3) Little Man and Little Lady have many pets. They have this big cat who is always angry. See his big tail is always curled up high above his head! He says 'f-f-f-f.' Play angry cat. Put your hands out from your head like his big ears and say 'f-f-f-f.'"
"(10) Mother made the children a doughnut with a face, and raisin eyes. The hole in the middle was his round, open mouth. He surprised them and grew in the hot grease until he was as large as the pan. When mother took him out, he was so glad to cool off that he said, 'Ahh ...!' (As a sigh of relief.)I guess that all makes sense. But it seems there might have been a better way to teach those two sounds than with a creepy talking doughnut.
1. Come out of the hot pan 'Mr. Doughnut.' (Children say 'Ahh ...!')
- 1. 'Ah ...!' was all he ever learned to say excepting
- 2. 'Oh,' which is his name.
2. What is your name, sir? (Children say 'Oh.')"
Drowning, angry cats and doughnuts with faces. Learning is fun!