Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kinesthetic Phonics (TM)

Kid Garden (.com) has an interesting take on the role of movement in learning the sound "side" of learning how to read: "We practice Kinesthetic Phonics by flashing letter cards to students. They respond with the action/sound, standing for vowels and sitting for consonants. This emphasizes the vowels' sounds." That use of movement, not even remotely connected to the form of the language but employed simply to add salience or attention to a form (in this case a letter-sound correspondence), is not all that different from much of what goes on in pronunciation instruction today with movement, e.g. clapping hands on stressed syllables or stretching a rubber band on lengthened vowels. HIPoeces work assumes some isomorphism between the sound process and the haptic "action" that anchors it. (For example, moving upper torso in a nodding gesture on key stressed words very much like a native speaker will move in conversation.) I must admit that I do kind of like the idea of "sitting on" consonants (a la Lessac) . . . and, I suppose that at least metaphorically we do "stand" for the central importance of vowels!!!

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