Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tongue Twisters As Phonemic Awareness Tools

Kids love tongue twisters. They are catchy and giggle-inducing. Most importantly, they present a challenge. As a result, tongue twisters can be an easy way to help children learn various literacy skills.

Here, we'll talk about phonemic awareness. Any activity that encourages students to isolate or repeat small sound units can help with phonemic awareness. Tongue twisters, especially alliterative ones, can be an easy way to accomplish this.

For example, here's one I hadn't heard before from The Tongue Twister Database. Imagine using this to reinforce a student's concept of the "b" sound:

Betty Botter had some butter,
"But," she said. "this butter's bitter.
If I bake this bitter butter,
it would make my batter bitter.
But a bit of better butter--
that would make my batter better."

So she bought a bit of butter,
better than her bitter butter,
and she baked it in her batter,
and the batter was not bitter.
So 'twas better Betty Botter
bought a bit of better butter.

Tongue Twister Collections:
Here's a set of lesson plans from a group of elementary school teachers in West Virginia. Tongue twisters are only a small part of this unit; there's a lot to like here.

And I can't resist; here's Steve Martin showing off for Bernadette Peters.

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