Sound Segmenting & Blending
Skills: auditory processing, eye-hand coordination
Materials: empty boxes, small ball or other object, spatula (optional), beads (optional)
Before we begin:
This activity can be used for all ages to teach sound segmenting and blending. Don’t forget, this is not about spelling, it is about hearing the sounds in words. The ability to discriminate between sounds is the skill your child needs in order to become a master speller.
What to do:
- Prepare a list of Ramadan or Islam related words (tweaked depending on age of child)
- Determine the word on your list that has the most sounds. For example, the word “Ramadan” has 7 sounds, the word “date” has 3 sounds, the word “salah” has 4 sounds, etc. This is where you need to make sure you don’t confuse number of sounds for number of letters.
- Set up the number of boxes you need in a row or circle. If the most sounds in a word on your list is 7, set up 7 boxes.
- Give your child a small object or ball that they will use to throw in each box. To build their eye-hand coordination, let them use the spatula to balance the ball and place it in the right box.
- Say a word from your list out loud. Then ask the child to identify the number of sounds in the word and place the ball in the corresponding box. For example, you say “Quran”, the child should put the ball in box labeled #5. Or if you say, “date”, the child should put the ball in the box labeled #3.
- This activity can be modified, where you say a sound in the word out loud, and your child puts the ball in the box that the sound corresponds to. For example: Using the word “fast.” Ask the child to identify the second sound (in which case they would say “a”), OR ask them which box the “a” sound should go in. They should then throw their ball (or use the spatula) in the box labeled #2. Remember, when you or your child says “a” sound out loud, it should not be said like the letter A, it should be pronounced like the “a” sound when you say the word “apple.”
Instead of using boxes, you can use beads to create a bracelet or necklace. Give your child a word, and have them place a bead on the string as they say each sound in the word out loud. To switch it up, you can say the separate sounds out loud and then have them blend the sounds together to give you the word it makes, while also putting on the correct number of beads based on the number of sounds.
For example, using the word “Fanous” (lantern): Say the sounds out loud (“f”, “a”, “n”, “u”, “s”). Your child will then say “Fanous” and put 5 beads on the string.
Skills: early literacy, language development, sound discrimination
Take your traditional children’s songs, nursery rhymes, and lullabies to the next level and create your own Ramadan lyrics to match to the melody and rhythms of songs your child loves.
Songs play a valuable role in early literacy and language development by building a child’s vocabulary, developing sound discrimination and honing listening skills. Learning these skills are key for your child’s future literacy growth and development.
Infants and toddlers are more receptive to hearing their own parent’s voices rather than a recording or music video. That means this activity involves some memorization building on your part as well!
Aside from one song I listed below, by Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), I wasn’t able to find truly engaging or catchy Ramadan’s children’s songs. I recommend mixing and matching lyrics from the options listed below and singing them to the tune of traditional songs like The Itsy Bitsy Spider, or Mary Had a Little Lamb, etc.
Try to incorporate rhymes, and be sure to emphasize those rhymes as you sing them. Don’t stop at just singing the song, try to take some time to talk about the vocabulary words within or the message conveyed.
If you can’t be bothered to mix the lyrics into a traditional song, I recommend memorizing the song as is and singing it to your child. If you child is older, encourage them to sing along with you, or to create their own Ramadan song!
Ramadan Moon by Yusuf Islam
Ramadan by Maher Zain
Ramadan (AR) by Maher Zain
Arabic, English, French:
Ramadan by Meshari al Afasi