Teaching Phonics To ESL students

The students in the second  term are now becoming more confident in speaking English. I am now spending a lot more time focusing on making sure they are confident with English phonics, a topic which is tricky for anyone learning English. English is not a nice language for phonics, as the same sounding word can be spelt in different ways (read and red), or the same spelling can be said in completely different ways (read (pronounced reed) and read (pronounced red)).

I am now building up a collection of different phonic resources to help me out and help students become a lot more confident in English phonics.

The first way I am doing this is to focus on the basic alphabet – Alphabet Lesson 1 – introduces the students to the first 6 letters of the alphabet. This is a wonderful starting point. Every week there is an additional lesson, introducing the next 6 letters. The lesson includes a basic introduction to the letters, and then some simple phonics games associated with them.

I also admit to having fallen in love with a website called http://film-English.com , which provides a different ESL based lesson on a different movie each week. This week I will be showing this lesson – http://film-english.com/2011/10/01/alphabet-lessons/ – which comes complete with a wide range of different teaching ideas about how to learn and use the alphabet.

In addition, I am just starting to explore the different phonic tests produced by the British government. They have released the last 3 year’s worth of tests. There is a mix of real words and made up words, all matching the basic phonic rules. Student need to then read each of the words correctly. The lessons are nice as they involve lots of colourful funny monster characters. The students can read and re-read the different words in different lessons to build up their phonic knowledge.

For the older students, I am now starting to explore the old British Keystage 1 (good for British 7 year olds) and Keystage 2 (British 11 year olds) spelling lists. These are again a good way to build up a student’s knowledge of phonics and spellings in a fun and exciting way.

Another source of spellings and phonics I use is http://www.anglomaniacy.pl/ as they have good spelling tests, games and teaching resources for almost any ESL topic I decide to use. They offer their spelling tests in a range of different forms. You can either get all the letters and need to put them into the right order or they present the key spelling words with 2 letters missing. The children enjoy these tasks and again they do help to boost the students’ phonic and spelling knowledge.

Early learning HQ site is another wonderful phonics resource. They present the three different phases of learning phonics. Each phase builds on the previous one. There are lesson plans and lots of high quality resources to help any ESL teacher. The resources are a mix of official resources and resources created by enthusiastic UK teachers. The site is every easy to use and it does make teaching English a little bit easier.

Teaching phonics is the key to a student’s success at mastering English. I would highly recommend any teacher to look at the sites I have listed and to suggest some more of their own.