Smallest – my five-year-old granddaughter – is heading back to school on Monday. I’ve been laughing, stressing and sometimes battling my way through our daily ‘lessons’ since mid-March.
Teachers who manage whole groups of little ones on Zoom or similar platforms have my undying admiration. While her eight-year-old brother has been relatively easy to engage with, Smallest often has her own curriculum to follow. I’ll video call her on WhatsApp with all my resources at the ready, and as often as not be told that she is being the teacher today and has a Spell School story to tell me, or I get taken on an extended visit to the rabbit run or the stick insects’ tank, or I get told – very dramatically – that it’s all too much and she just can’t do any more learning!
Of course there have been wonderful days, too. We did the final Spell School story today, introducing er – the last of the Phase 3 phonic sounds. I even wrote her into it, as the very clever girl who could read ‘disappear’. That, after all, was the highlight of our lessons. It appears on the final page of the mini book Bad Bug in three soap bubbles and when she realised that she had read such a huge word by herself, her shrieks of delight reverberated around the house. Her mummy had to temporarily give up her precious work time to hear this new skill.
When she hear that part of the Spell School story today, a slow smile spread across her face and a stubby little finger pointed at herself.
“That was ME!” she breathed joyfully.
Still brimming with pride, she took on the challenge and managed to read all of the loooong words at the end of today’s story.
I’m sadly aware that I’ve neglected this blog recently, while being so caught up in preparing lessons and teaching the little ones.
So printed below is the last of the Spell School Lessons, for anyone who would like to use it and, in celebration of this ‘era ending’ in my family, I’m having a special sale in my Inspiralingo shop, with 50% off all the lockdown-themed mini-book kits. They are supplied as digital downloads and come with a free blank-paged keepsake book, with a choice of two covers, for an older child to write in and construct.
Please go to this link to find the almost free mini-books and other games, puzzles, quizzes and activities for children.
So wishing all things good to Smallest (and her teachers!) as she returns to school, and here is the story of ‘er’.
Note for parents/carers: the er sound should be read as the tiny grunt-like sound at the end of ‘butter‘, ‘shower‘ etc.
Final Spell School Story
The children in Orange Class and Purple Class were looking at the last empty chair.
“Just one more person to come,” said igh. “I wonder what their sound will be.”
“I hope it’s someone who helps us to make big words,” ear said. “I heard about this really clever girl who could read the word disappear! It would be so cool to be able to make big words like that!”
“What, with just one new sound?” laughed zz. “That won’t happen!”
“As a matter of fact,” said e, I think it might. If you all help us, I can do a spell with r to make just the sort of sound you want, ear.”
Now everyone was looking excited. It would be cool to make longer words.
“Come on then, e,” said r. “You stand in front of me and everyone can help us make the spell.”
They closed their eyes and made the shapes of e, then r and when they opened their eyes again, the last person in Purple Class was standing there giggling.
“Hello,” said everyone eagerly. “What’s your sound?”
“er,” she said.
“That’s a TINY sound!” exclaimed oi. “How can you help us make big words?”
er giggled again. “Let me show you. I’m going to give you a test! Can you make the word buzz?”
“Easy!” said the others. b went first, then u, then zz. er came up and stood after them.
“Look,” she said. “Now we’ve made the word buzzer.”
“Wow!” shouted everyone. “That’s a big word, but it’s easy to make. Can we do some more?”
er worked with all the other sounds and you will be amazed when you see all the words they made. You’ll be even more amazed when you see how many of their long words you can read.
butter letter rubber
matter pepper better
tower shower dinner
shiver river summer