As you bring closure to your year (or term) let’s reinforce a key concept of English orthography - that letters usually represent more than one phoneme. As it’s close to the end of the year, <close> seems an appropriate word to contemplate because the grapheme <s> represents a number of phonemes in related words in this family.
The letter <s> and its pronunciation in words in the <close> family
Start by thinking about two ways we pronounce <close>. ‘Feel’ the difference in the way we pronounce the <s>. What’s happening in your mouth? Focus on your throat and whether the phoneme is voiced or unvoiced. Think about the similarities and differences in the meanings of how we use these words. Take a moment to think of, or even sketch, something to depict the differences in meaning. Next consider the related word <closure> and how the pronunciation of the <s> changes again.
Both /clōs/ and /clōz/ have derived from the Latin clausus, the past participle of claudere - "shut; block up; make inaccessible; put an end to; shut in; confine".
The pronunciation of <s> in the <close> family
How does the pronunciation of <s> differ in these related words?
Is an <s> followed by <ure> always pronounced /ʒ/?
Consider these words: <treasure> and <sure>. The first <s> is pronounced /ʒ/(/zh/) while the second is pronounced /ʃ/(/sh/). Think of other words that have a final <sure> letter sequence. Feel the phoneme linked to <s>. Which phoneme is the most frequent? This video might be helpful for non-native speakers (although I am not advertising for you to buy her product).
Can the letter <s> represent any other phonemes?
Feel what’s happening with the letter <s> in these words. What do you notice?
Closing the year with some reflection
As the school year closes we are used to asking our students to contemplate their time together through questions such as:
- What were some of your favourite things about our class?
- What is an area you really grew in this year?
- What was something kind someone did for you this year and something kind you did for someone else?
- If you could change something about the year what would it be?
Extend the challenge to use a word from the <close> family as your students share their reflections on their year. Brainstorm some sentence starters together.
- As the year comes to a close …
- As we get closer to the end of the year I have been thinking about …
- The closest I have come to … has been
For many of you this has been your first year delving into orthographic inquiry. Closure of any type provides an opportunity to consider areas where we have grown, so take a few minutes to ask yourself these questions specifically in regard to your teaching of word inquiry:
- What did I do well this year?
- Where do I need to grow?
- What things will I challenge myself with next year?
- How will all of these answers impact the learners I serve?
(questions courtesy of George Couros: https://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/8267)
I know I am asking them of myself in regard to the work I do helping you and have already set myself challenges for the year ahead. I am so thrilled with the great work I see happening with so many learners (of all ages!) and am excited to see the progress we’ll make together next school year.
Teacher Resource and Student Sheets
As always any sheets I produce are intended as starting points for your inquiries. Turn them into cards to sort or weave your magic to use the content in a myriad of ways.