What to do
- Some words try to trick you. You can sound them out, just like you’ve been doing, but then you have to say the word a bit differently. Let’s meet a new trick word.
- Write the irregular word on the board in letters at least a foot high or, for a small group, show students the index card printed word. Let’s sound out this word. My turn first. Touch each letter and say the sound: wwwaaasss. But when we say this word fast, we say was. What’s the word?
- You try it. When I touch each letter, say its sound and keep saying it until I touch the next letter. Students: Wwwaaasss (or whatever the irregular word you are teaching is). What’s the word? Correct any student who blends the sounded-out word, e.g., says wass with a short a, instead of was. We say: was. What's the word? Ask them to sound it out and then say it again.
- Write 6 words on the board (arrange them randomly): 2 of the words should be the irregular word you are teaching, and they should be interspersed with 4 regular words that the students already know how to sound out.
- I'm going to try to trick you. When I point to the word we just learned, say the word. When I point to any other word, you have to stay quiet. My turn first. Point to a series of words and either say the word or make a performance of saying nothing, as appropriate.
- Your turn. Ready? Point to words randomly, holding on each one for a few seconds.
- If a student says one of the other words, point to the irregular word and say: You only need to make a sound for this word. When I point to any other word, stay quiet. Ready? Look for individuals who are saying nothing when you point to the irregular word. Have those students try words individually until they have it (but don’t call only on struggling students). Keep going until everyone has it.