Writing Happy Birthday

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In this episode, Alexandra writes “Happy Birthday” on a card for her grandfather with the support of her teacher. On occasion, two of her classmates help to figure out what letter comes next. Their interaction invites us to explore how young children are challenged by the frequently arbitrary relationships in the English language between letter names, letter sounds, and letter forms (graphic representation). We examine when the strategy of “sounding out” effectively helps a child to determine the next letter in a word. And by studying the teacher’s choices and speculating about her reasoning, we consider which nuances of the English language to exploit, and when it might be helpful to take a more didactic approach.

Keywords: fives, markers, child-teacher, digraphs, phonics, letters, spelling, writing, teaching
Length of stand-alone master video clip: 5 minutes 18 seconds