I registered for the Florida Literacy Conference on a whim. My rationale went something like this, “Adult and Family Literacy certainly applies to SensAbleLearning, LLC, I’ll go.” It was a very good whim I followed.
Souns® is a hands-on phonemic awareness program inspired by the Montessori Method. Letter sounds are taught before letter names. It’s a simple switch with brilliant results. Brenda Erickson, founder of Counterpane Montessori and creator of Souns® , designed it for ages 0-3, but I have used it as intervention with children in high school and Brenda has used Souns® with adult refugees. (I learned Souns® for my two children, then ages 3 and 4, now 4 and 5. They learned to read so naturally using Souns®, I had the thought, “So many kids need this.” And SensAble Learning, LLC was born.
At the conference, I had my first experience using Souns® with an adult learner. He inquisitively looked at the Souns® symbols (letters) and I explained quickly how the program worked the first time he happened by. I realized quickly that his curiosity was more than piqued as he touched the letters and said the sounds with me. I wondered if he could read, but I did not ask.
He left to attend a workshop but he soon returned and apologized for having to leave. I asked if he would like to sit and work with me for a bit using Souns®. He said yes. We went through each letter sound, just as the program suggests. Most of the sounds he learned very quickly. I have the tracking sheet we used. He did not recognize many of the letter sounds initially, but we practiced and he learned. Next, I began building words with him using Souns® symbols and the objects I have ready in my box of three letter words. With each new word he built, a smile stretched from ear to ear displaying his delight in what I can only assume is a new understanding of this mysterious language code. I wish I had more time with this young man.
I loved every ah-ha moment that came across the faces of trained professionals, tutors and scholars as they “got” how teaching sounds first before letter names removes much of the confusion not needed for a beginning reader. But, the ah-ha that will remain in my heart is the one I saw in the smile of the curious young man.
Founder and Owner of SensAble Learning, LLC
I am a traditionally trained teacher who chose to put my career and doctoral work on hold to stay at home and raise children. Last year, I met Brenda Erickson, founder of Counterpane Montessori and the creator of Souns® . The trajectory of my life has changed as we have joined hands to make sure kids will read, and read well. I tell her she will be the bridge from Montessori to mainstream. She tells me, Souns® will be the bridge from Montessori to mainstream.