On Twitter, I came across a wonderful post about Pronunciation Techniques and discovered the Color Vowel Chart which is AMAZING. When I saw the chart designed to develop learners’ awareness of vowel sounds I realized how valuable it would be in my class.
I have been using colors to teach reading in my literacy class in a variety of ways. I have been trying to find alternative solutions to develop reading skills as not all ESL literacy learners respond well to phonics. One of the ideas working with colors is to associate a color with a particular sound. It worked well with my students and it seems a pretty fair method. The biggest confusion that literacy learners experience at this stage is that first they spend a long time studying the ABC and they finally learn that /ʌ/ is not /ʌ/ as they used to pronounce the letter “A, a” but /eɪ/. As soon as they learn it, they have to learn that /eɪ/ is not /eɪ/ it’s actually /æ/. Isn't it ironic?! In this case using colors for sounds is a less confusing way to do it.
I used red paper in the form of the circle glued to a craft stick so it is easily held when showing sounds and told students that we were going to use it to identify the sound /ʌ/ in words such as “bug”, “mug”, “rug”, etc... They learned it pretty quickly. Then, I introduced a green color as the prompt for /æ/ sound in words such as “bag”, “man”, “cap”, etc... I also used yellow for /ɔ:ll/ in “ball”, “call”, “mall”, etc... and white for /ɪ/ in “kiss”, “miss”, “in”, etc... In the beginning, I introduced sound one by one, but later on started comparing them. Colors sped up and greatly enhanced my learners’ transition from letters to sounds.
Resolution: by September I am going to purchase one poster of the Color Vowel Chart and a teacher’s book to go with it and in the new school year I will experiment using it in developing initial reading skills in literacy learners. I will share as soon as I have any results...