How to have grace when your child says "gwace". (Hint: Poetry comes to the rescue.)

by Babs Hadjusiewicz June 16, 2009

It's TALKing Tuesday! But, you say, you TALK with your child every day. Yes! But on TALKing Tuesday, we focus on a particular way to help your child build his/her personal storehouse of language and knowledge. Why? Because those are the two critical pre-requisites for success in reading and writing. WOW! Graceful Gracie Gratefully Grinning So, on this TALKing Tuesday, we'll begin by harking back to a post one day last week here when we met one of three Gracie ladies I know. There she is, grinning gratefully with her grinning smiley-face basketball. I’ll pause here a moment to give a real shout-out to this Gracie lady since she's my dear mother…and since she’s likely the reason I am a writer today. You see, I grew up watching her read the daily paper each morning at the breakfast table…where she’d also pen a letter every day to some one of our many far-off relatives (Some lived just ten miles away, but that was far away in those days!). I also share today that bit of personal backstory because I want to emphasize to you the huge importance of modeling for your child. WOW! Your child is always watching! So, model reading for enjoyment! Model reading to learn new information! Model writing notes, lists, letters, what-have-you! [caption id="attachment_781" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Gracie grinning gracefully!"]Gracie grinning gracefully![/caption] And you're also getting to meet the other two Gracie ladies today. We'll pause here to give a big shout-out to young Gracie, a rising 1st grader whom I met while at Lilac Elementary School in Valley Center CA last month. Our third Grace, grandmother Grace Viola Smith 1883-1944of Lilac Elementary teacher Jeri, lived in 1883-1944 and resided in areas of Indiana and Illinois. WOW! Wouldn't you agree you've just met three Gracie ladies who are full of grace! Okay, I'll bet you've figured out by now our TALKing focus for today. Yes, it's to focus on the sound of /gr/ as in grin or Grace. So let's look at a couple of /gr/ poems that you’ll want to read aloud to your young child. When you help your child focus on repeatedly hearing and saying a particular sound of language, your child is building an awareness of that sound. This phonemic awareness practice prepares your child for phonics, when we ask the eyes to read and the hands to write letters that represent that sound. So, read aloud and then reread these three poems to help your child build oral awareness of the sound of /gr/. Then we'll look at a couple of fun ways you and your child can play with the sound of /gr/ today and every day this week, or longer. By the way, as long as your child is engaged and having fun, it's never too early to introduce individual sounds orally. And you'll find your child who's older than age 8 will enjoy the humor and the repeated sound in these poems. When in doubt, try it out. Your child will let you know if you're on track...or off. Growing . . . Graying . . . Gone!Phonics Through Poetry by Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz, available at My sister groans, "My hair won't grow!" My mother groans, "It's gray!" My grandpa grins, "Be grateful, Folks. Mine grew and grayed . . . away." Copyright © 1999 Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz First published in Phonics Through Poetry: Teaching Phonemic Awareness Using Poetry by Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz. Good Year Books. Grins or Groans? When Gregory loses and Gracie wins, Gregory groans, but Gracie––she grins. When Gracie’s the loser and Gregory wins, then Gracie’s the groaner while Gregory grins. When Gregory wins and when Gracie—she wins, Then nobody groans! And everyone grins! Copyright © 2004 Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz. First time published. And a third poem to emphasize the sound of /gr/! This next rhyme is from one of three poster sets titled Listen! Listen! Letter Sounds in Rhyme. I designed these classroom kits to give children easy rhymes to sing or say while building phonemic awareness skills, and then to be able to call upon a familiar little song when, in phonics, they meet the sound's corresponding letter(s) in print. Yes, in these kits there’s a poster and a new rhyme for every sound in our language! And all can be sung to familiar tunes, “Miss Lucy Had a Baby” or “Eensy Weensy Spider.” When using the latter tune, you’ll notice, the song begs to be sung again and again. This particular /gr/ rhyme keeps with our sound focus today to help your child notice the sound of /gr/ in words. It also builds on your child’s ability to discriminate between sounds, in this case between the sounds of /gr/ and /gl/. [caption id="attachment_801" align="alignright" width="336" caption="Listen! Listen! Letter Sounds in Rhyme"]Listen covers[/caption] I hear this sound in grapefruit I hear this sound in grapefruit, Grandpa, groom, and grass; And grandma, grapes, And graph and grill, But is this sound in glass? Copyright © 2000 Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz From Listen! Listen! Letter Sounds in Rhyme: Blends and Digraphs by Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz. The Wright Group/McGraw Hill. More Fun with the Sound of /gr/ As you and your child journey through your busy days, occupy yourselves to challenge one another to name words in which you hear the sound of /gr/ as in grin. Later, add to the challenge to name two or more /gr/ words, such as green grass or graceful grey grandpa, that go together to make sense. A behavior-managing tip: Try substituting your child's name in the Grins or Groans? poem when you sense a groaning loser or you want to help remind a winner who may be grinning in a...well, bragging sort of way. And remember: The more you and your young child play orally with a sound of language, the more success your child will experience later in reading and writing words that include the letters gr. WOW! Have fun with language sounds! Tune in tomorrow on Wacky Wednesday to see what turns up being all wacky!

Babs Hadjusiewicz
Babs Hadjusiewicz


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