Spalding Phonogram Hand Signals

I LOVE this video for teaching the spalding phonograms with hand signals.  Isn’t she cute?  I do however have some edits for use with my children.  Since we use Spalding for spelling, not so much decoding, I want to be able to say to my kids, “Listen to the word ball,  what phonograms make the ah sound?”  So, I adapted some of her signals to make that possible.

Phonograms 1-26

  • at :26 she uses her left hand for the “d” sound.  The right hand makes a d and the left makes a b when you look at them yourself.  And a kindergarten teacher I know never teaches the right hand “d” anyway, just the b so the child doesn’t get confused.  It works best for right handed kids, “Hold your pencil.  Now, your b is in you pocket. It’s always there.”   So, for “d” I do a thump on the forehead, like “duh”.
  • at 1:02, she uses her right hand for the “b”. I use the left.  “Your b is in your pocket, it’s always there.”  This helps with reversals.
  • at 1:20, Spalding leaves out the ee sound of “i”.  We add it in and point to our knee like she did for “e”.
Phonograms 27-54 (2:53)
  • at 3:24, for the phonogram “ou”, she uses some signals that are used for other sounds.  I go back to the originals for OW. ow on the arm, long o is an “o” with the right hand, oo is the binoculars, uh is pointing up.
  • at 3:52 for the ch phonogram, I like the choo-choo signal, but it doesn’t help with identifying all the phonograms that share those sounds.  So, I do a train wheel chug circle with my right hand for “ch”, then the scissors for “k”, and the finger over the mouth shushing for “sh”.  I think it cuts down on confusion for spelling.
  • at 4:47 she uses two different hand signals for “oi” and “oy”.   I don’t know why I picked it, but I make dimples in my cheeks with both fingers for “oi” and then add a second signal.  The one for “point” is the same as the symbol for long u.  I changed it to “oil” and rub my fingers together like I”m feeling something slippery.  So this is how it goes:  “Oi(dimples) as in boy(ball cap motion).”  “Oi(dimples) as in oil (rub my fingers.)”
  • at 4:56 we start all the “er” sounds.  I use the “r” signal from earlier with a scratching, finger motion and then add her symbol to designate which one. I changed her “first” symbol since it’s the same as “uh”.  I clasp my hands and stick up my pointer fingers up together and move it from one side of my head to the other in the motion that performers use when thanking the crowd for applause.
  • at 5:50, she uses a yawn type signal for the aw/au phonogram.  I use the “ah” signal she used for both the third sound of a and the first sound of o.
  • at 6:30, she uses the right hand for the “d”sound, which makes me think that signal really were reversed at :26 and 1:02, illustrating why the teacher I know only teaches one, the “b”.  It’s confusing.  Anyhoodle, I use the forehead smack instead.
  • at 6:35, I love that signal for ew, but I use the binoculars for oo like the third sound of o and point for long u.  I may do “oo(binoculars), you(point) as in oo-you(her signal)”  It’s just so cute.
  • at 6:58 for oa, I make the long o signal from the beginning and if I like use her signal for the “as in boat” part.
Phonograms 54-70  (7:12)
  • at 7:15, I make the original guh sound from the beginning.  You can toss in hers for “as in guess.”
  • at 7:19, I make the original “f” signal and use hers for “as in phone.”
  • at 7:41, she does the last two sounds ah, ow for OUGH like she did for OU.  I do the signal for the third a sound “ah” and the signal for “ow” like OW, that arm touch.  We also change the order.  ah, oh, oo, uff, off, ow.
  • at 8:07 I make the long o signal and then point to my toe when I say “as in toe
  • at 8:26, I use the long i signal from earlier then hers for the “as in high
  • at 8:32, I use the original “n” signal and then hers for “as in knot”
  • at 8:45, I use the original “n” and then hers for the “as in gnaw”
  • at 8:54, I use the original “r” signal, then hers for “as in wrap”
  • at 9:07, I use the original “j” and then hers from “as in bridge
  • at 9:22, I use the original long a signal then hers “as in neigh
  • at 9:28, I use the original sh motion and then hers “as in action”
  • at 9:41, I use the original sh motion and then hers “as in facial”

It’s a lot, but it’s easier than it looks. And once your kids know the signals, they can tell you every phonogram that says “n” or “ow” or any other sound you like.