Grapheme-phoneme correspondence cards

SLP Insights grapheme-phoneme correspondence for slps and teachers targeting dyslexia and alexia

Visual aids to teach Grapheme-Phoneme Correspondence

I worked with a man who came in with his skull stapled together after brain surgery. The most he could do was sit up in bed and hold his head in his hands, nodding that yes, he was in fact, in pain.

Speech therapy targeted several goals with this gentleman in the months coming out of his brain fog: word-finding, topic maintenance, attention, memory, problem solving.

A few months after his surgery, he went in for an eye exam. His visual cortex had changed dramatically, and he had spent several months overcoming blurred, double, and distorted vision. The hope was that his new glasses would make all of that a little easier.

But it didn’t. He got his new glasses. He tried to wear them, but threw up constantly. Eventually he just took them off for good.

Then it dawned on me.

He couldn’t read letters anymore.

What good was a prescription from an eye exam that asked him to read the smallest row of letters he could read when he couldn’t tell a B from an S?

Back to the eye doctor he went, this time to identify pictures from a distance in the exam room.

This led us to addressing functional reading comprehension. His case of phonological alexia has fascinated me. I have been in awe of his motivation to re-learn everything. What does letter A look like? What sound does it make? What does a silent E mean at the end of a word? Why do both celery and cat start with a C? Why are certain words spelled with ph and pronounced as an f?

I made these grapheme-phoneme cards for him. I wanted him to have access to something simple, easy to read, didn’t look like it was made for kids, and was versatile enough that we could use them for every therapy session.

See the cards in action

So far, we have:

  • Played the card game Trash, getting the letters A-Z in order (instead of the numbers 1-10, as the card game is usually played). This has allowed him to memorize each letter. Every time we flip over a letter, we say the sound and a word that starts with the sound, resulting in establishing grapheme-phoneme correspondence relatively quickly and without rote use of flashcards.
  • Matched capital to lower-case letters by playing go fish (e.g., “Do you have a capital G?”).
  • Practiced phonemic awareness skills by manipulating sounds (e.g.,  Here is the word “tack,” turn it into the word “take.” Or start with the word “mat” and keep changing one sound to see how many words you can create).
  • Provided instruction of concrete rules, including silent-e, double vowel, phoneme pairs, etc. while allowing him to manipulate the cards.
  • Sequenced cards with blending activities. For example, spell the word lunch, have him read/blend the sounds. Or say the word lunch and have the client spell/blend the sounds with the cards.

Who are these designed for?

These cards are appropriate for both kids and adults working on functional reading skills. They offer people a chance to visually and concretely manipulate sounds in front of their eyes.

What is grapheme-phoneme correspondence?

From Word Recognition in Beginning Literacy
edited by Jamie L. Metsala, Linnea C. Ehri

Note what graphophonic knowledge readers must possess to secure complete representations of sight words in memory. Readers need sufficient familiarity with letter shapes. They need to know how to distinguish the functional graphemic units that typically symbolize phonemes in words. They need to know how to segment pronunciations into constituent phonemes that match up to the graphemes they see in spellings.

It is in performing this graphophonic analysis for individual words that the spellings of words penetrate and become attached to readers’ knowledge of spoken words in a way that links written language to the central mechanisms governing spoken language

Target goals

  • Alexia
  • Dyslexia
  • Phonological development
  • Reading development
  • Phonemic awareness

File includes

  • 472 cards total
  • 2×3 inch cards (1 card repeated 4 times on 8.5×11 inch paper)
  • Graphemes A-Z in capital letters (1 set with pictures and 1 set without pictures) = 208 cardsGraphemes A-Z in lowercase letters (no pictures) = 104 cards
  • 20 phoneme pairs/sets (1 set with pictures and 1 set without pictures) = 160 cards
  • All letter cards contain capital and lowercase versions of the letter in both computer and handwriting fonts.
  • Set of 32 functional words (selected with adults in mind- e.g., lunch, hot, cold, snow, rain, etc)

Phoneme pairs/setsire

  • ire
  • ear
  • air
  • ure
  • er
  • gh
  • voiced th
  • voiceless th
  • ow
  • ur
  • or
  • qu
  • ar
  • oo (boot)
  • oo (book)
  • oa
  • oi
  • ph
  • sh
  • ch

32 high-frequency function words:

  • cash
  • yes
  • card
  • no
  • left
  • right
  • radio
  • best by
  • snow
  • sun
  • rain
  • off
  • on
  • water
  • bingo
  • ice
  • phone
  • fire
  • women
  • men
  • time
  • dinner
  • for
  • to
  • year
  • lunch
  • fact
  • start
  • cold
  • hot
  • enter
  • exit

Related research

Phonological alexia: three dissociations
Authors: M F Beauvois, J Dérouesné
Three dissociations were observed in a case of alexia: a disturbance of reading, without comparable disturbance of oral expression, oral comprehension, writing, or spelling aloud; a disturbance of the phonological reading process, without disturbance of the non-phonological reading process; a disturbance located at the level of the phonological stage, without disturbance of the perceptual and expressive stages. This pattern of results has been called phonological alexia.
J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 1979;42:1115-1124 doi:10.1136/jnnp.42.12.1115

Other Links

  • This book changed how I think about dyslexia. It changed how I talk to people who are dyslexic. I can’t recommend it enough if you would like to both understand the reasons behind dyslexia and positively counsel your clients who have it: The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain
    Did you know that many successful architects, lawyers, engineers—even bestselling novelists—had difficulties learning to read and write as children? In this groundbreaking book, Brock and Fernette Eide explain how 20% of people—individuals with dyslexia—share a unique learning style that can create advantages in a classroom, at a job, or at home. Using their combined expertise in neurology and education, the authors show how these individuals not only perceive the written word differently but may also excel at spatial reasoning, see insightful connections that others simply miss, understand the world in stories, and display amazing creativity.

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