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Wednesday June 22, 2016 at 11:42am Age: 1 year
Category: District, Minisink Elementary

THE SOUNDS IN MOTION: EARLY LITERACY BEGINS WITH ACTIVE LISTENING


Before children are taught about the making of words and how to read and write, they spend their early years passively listening to speech sounds and patterns. What if children were taught to listen in an active way by associating different speech sounds with easy to recall body movements as an introduction to literacy? In the simplest terms, that is the concept behind the early intervening Sounds in Motion (SIM) program, offered to children in transitional kindergarten at the Minisink Elementary School this year.

 

Twice a week, a speech-language pathologist comes into the transitional kindergarten class and works collaboratively with teachers on SIM lessons. The program emphasizes the development of listening skills – the foundation for all aspects of language and cognitive development – through what’s known as “whole body listening.” This method pairs kinesthetic motor movements with phonemes to trigger auditory memory, aid in the processing of sounds and symbols, promote phonemic awareness, and improve articulation and vocabulary skills.

 

SIM body movements are designed to reflect the differences in tension, duration, and placement of sounds in words. Activities also involve phonological awareness tasks such as rhyming, segmenting sounds, blending sounds, clapping out syllables and counting sounds. Lessons are reinforced by games, songs, stories, rhymes and other fun, interactive exercises that help children stay engaged in the task of listening.

 

During a recent SIM lesson with speech-language pathologist Elizabeth DeFrancesco, Mrs. Demberg’s transitional kindergarten students sat in a circle on the rug and took turns demonstrating learned body movement and phoneme combinations to sound out words. Revision, repetition, as well as the introduction of two new movement-phoneme combinations are a constant of each SIM lesson.

 

With the program in its first year at Minisink Valley, Mrs. Demberg has noticed that students moving up to kindergarten and first grade will use the association of body motions in varying degrees as a way to help them with reading.

 

Mrs. DeFrancesco is excited to be working in this setting and to be able to help children before they begin struggling with reading. “This program is not widely available at other schools, but it really makes a difference in a child’s language and literacy development, especially because it recognizes that children have different ways of learning,” Mrs. DeFrancesco said. “Our pre and post assessment results are very encouraging and validating of the positive impact of the program.”

 

Click here to read more about the Sounds in Motion program.