Author: Elaine Kirn-Rubin
Suitable for: 3-8, Secondary, Young Adult, Adult
What They Are: 12 decks of Picture/Word Cards arranged into 156 "Quartets" (sets of four-of-a-kind vocabulary words that rhyme with one another)--at 3 levels of difficulty; also, 3 Activities & Ideas Books containing product rationale and description, pedagogy, prep + activity steps, game rules with variations, follow-up, reference lists, and more
Why You Need Them: After initial consonants, the next significant area of phonics/spelling instruction is likely to be rhyming words. That's because repetition of sounds at the ends of two or more items (known as rhymes or rimes) provide an effective, efficient lead-in to the spellings and pronunciation of vowel sounds + what follows them in the same syllable. "Word families" of rhyming items are not only fun and motivating to work with; they also make it easier and faster to acquire vocabulary.
What They Do:
- Beginning Decks A + B + C + D. Each deck contains 52 one-syllable words in 13 sets of four-of-a-kind "matching" rhymes--each with the most frequent spelling for a different vowel. Most follow the Consonant-Vowel-Consonant (CVC) pattern in 3 to 6 alphabet letters; a few end in "complex" vowels or diphthongs. Most begin and end with single consonants; digraphs, doubled letters, and blends or clusters appear later.
- Intermediate Decks E + F + G + H. Each deck consists of 52 one-syllable words of up to 7 letters each with 13 (out of 16) distinct vowel sounds with regular and alternative spellings. The letter sequences of the four-of-a-kind items in most of the 13 sets is Consonant(s)-Vowel-Consonant(s), but few end in single letters; instead, there are some final silent -e's, many consonant clusters, and quite a few -ed and -s endings that don't add a second syllable. Consequently, not only the vowel-sound but also the final consonant spellings of words within the items of a matching quartet may vary.
- Advanced Decks I + J + K + L. Each deck displays 52 one- , two-, three- or four-syllable words or phrases in 13 sets of 4 matches that sound the same in their last or final two syllables. The grammatical endings -ed and -es sometimes add voiced or voiceless /d t z s/ but more often result in an additional syllable. Primary word stress may occur on the first, a middle, or the final syllable; it's usually part of the rime. There are some compound words and phrases.
What They Can Help You Do:
take another look at the features of sounds, syllables, stress, words, and phrases most significant in the teaching/learning of phonics, word-level reading, pronunciation, and vocabulary. (This information is given in pedagogical summaries with Charts and Reference Lists.)
prepare yourself and others for optimal learning with the shortest (most efficient) of "lessons" possible, with preview activities, and with demonstrations
have fun and motivate learning with educational materials by incorporating them into engaging activity and cooperative/competitive games that do a lot more than "keep students busy." (They also bring people together, instill confidence, and maintain interest in language improvement.)
ensure retention by "going beyond the ordinary" with follow-up "tests," paired quizzes, oral word games, and "brainstorming" activities
set the stage for further learning with "more challenging" lessons, methods, techniques, and materials