Homemade Rosetta Stone

To be honest, learning the letters like, “ei, bi, ci, di, i, ef, gi, eich, ai, jai….” doesn’t really help when kids then have to jump straight into sounding out words….

So, a few weeks ago I made up a game for the neighbor girl to help her learn the sounds of the English alphabet. She came back the very next day and pretty much had them all memorized. Holly cow – jackpot!

The “game” goes like this: I wrote out all the English letters (capitals next to lower-case) on one sheet of paper. Above each English letter I wrote the Kartuli letter that is the same sound as the English letter.  Parents can then cover up the Kartuli letter and ask the kid what sound the English letter makes. If the kids has trouble the parent can uncover the Kartuli letter and let the kid take a peek to help them learn.

The hardest one’s were the letters where there is no similar sound in Kartuli.  For example, the letter F turned into “vh” and the letter Q turned out as “kua.” Again, this is supposed to help them sound out the letters phonetically so when they start reading “hello, my name is….” or “how many pencils are there?” they’ll have a better shot at actually understanding what’s going on. Especially since English has so many irregular sounds and rules which is very confusing.

So, when I was in Ozurgeti recently, I photocopied a bunch of these “games” to pass them out in my lower level classes. I had my co-teacher write in the instructions in Kartuli for the parents, and also made a little space for the kids to write their name in phonetic English.

In Level 1 class, most of the mothers go to school with their children, so I was able to describe to them how to work with their kids – mainly through hand signals and gestures – but I could tell they understood. They were all very excited about this paper I’d made, and I could see that things were clicking in their heads as well – English isn’t as crazy as it sounds!

It’s still too early to see how well this game will work, but it just seems to make sense, right? Plus, my neighbor is already way ahead of her class from only a two-week head start. I’ll probably be headed back to town to make more copies soon. It’s so cool that I’ve kinda created the Rosetta Stone for English and Kartuli!

Linguistics 101. Takes notes everyone!

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