Helping Young Learners Discover a World of Parts and Wholes — Working with Syllables
By Terra Tarango
I recently ordered some plant stands to display my house plants, and they arrived in an unexpectedly small package. When I opened it up, I saw the dreaded “instruction” pamphlet and an array of random parts. Are the people who “write” these instructions deducted in pay for every word they use? Because there were frustratingly few words on these instructions — only some pictures, a few numbers, and a slight air of confrontation.
Undaunted, I laid out the parts, learned the language of the instruction pamphlet, and got to work. In the end, I actually enjoyed the challenge, the sense of accomplishment, and, of course, the final result.
Not everything around us needs assembly, but most everything is made up of some amount of parts. It’s a basic concept we take for granted, but that young children need to be taught explicitly. The idea that parts make up a whole can inspire our budding engineers in a concrete way, but it also underscores concepts across a wide variety of interests and genres. Paintings are made up of many brush strokes. Hours are made up of minutes. Recipes are made up of ingredients. Completed jobs are made up of a series of tasks. And, of course, words are made up of letters and syllables.
So look for opportunities to discover the “parts” in the “wholes” around your classroom. Give children a toy and let them take it apart. You can even lend the use of a tool or two (safely) to get inside and take a closer look. After uncovering the parts in your classroom, guide students to apply the concept to the phonological awareness skill of discriminating separate syllables in words. You can do this by slowly saying and clapping syllables in familiar words or names of objects in the classroom. Ask children to say and clap syllables with you. Then count the syllables together. Want to make syllable work a really fun and engaging exercise? Take a look at these activities from my friends at InvestiGator Club!
I hope you enjoy discovering all the many parts that make up the world around us, even when it comes in the form of a nearly impossible instruction pamphlet. And I invite you to develop children’s phonological awareness with these delightful syllable activities!
Let us know how it goes!
If you liked this sneak peek and want more activities like this, then check out InvestiGator Club’s samplers and components. You can download the Get Ready for Kindergarten! Summer School Sampler along with other samplers and component lists to learn more about InvestiGator Club’s scaffolded programs.