44 Phonemes Video: Guest Blog by Yvette Manns

Brownieland had the pleasure of working with the Atlanta Speech School’s Rollins Center for Language and Literacy to produce the video, “44 Phonemes” for Read Right from the Start’s Cox Campus. Our talent for this video, Yvette Manns, is a K-3 Facilitator at Rollins Center for Language and Literacy. We are excited to share her guest blog post below which talks about her background as a literacy facilitator and her experience creating this very informative video! 

The Rollins Center for Language and Literacy is a really unique and invigorating place to work and grow as an educator. It is the professional development center that is housed within the Atlanta Speech School, and we spend most of our time in public schools and at partner sites, sharing our research and instructional practices. 

The Content Coordinator at Rollins asked me if I would be interested in filming the 44 Phonemes video as a resource for our Phonological Awareness Course on Cox Campus. Although there are 26 letters in the English language, there are 44 distinct sounds (phonemes) that we use to pronounce words. When we combine the different patterns, they come together to make words that we hear in everyday life. It’s important for us to associate the phonemes with the letter names to assist in reading and writing.

Before this experience, I had no filming experience, but Brownieland made me feel very comfortable. I’ve been a Literacy Facilitator at the Rollins Center for Language and Literacy for four years and my prior experience with Brownieland Pictures had only been work behind the scenes with the “Every Opportunity” video. My typical work revolves around coaching Kindergarten through 3rd grade teachers, modeling reading lessons and helping schools collect meaningful data to inform their teaching. And it’s important for us, as educators, to model the proper phoneme production. It’s great that we have Brownieland as a partner to bring our methods to a larger audience. 

The advice I received (about being in the video) was to be natural and to be prepared for the camera to be close. Really close. It made me a little nervous at first because I grew up in New York and I have a very distinctive regional accent. Luckily, the staff at the Atlanta Speech School was more than prepared. While we were filming, there was a Speech Language Pathologist on set who helped me pronounce the sounds (phonemes), and made sure that my mouth was formed the correct way to model the expression of these letter sounds. After a few takes, and Brownieland’s unwavering patience for constant water breaks, the 44 Phonemes video was complete! We were so excited that this resource was available to teachers, parents and partners on Cox Campus.

Cox Campus is an amazing (and free) website for teachers to take engaging courses, get lesson plans, learn research based strategies and download resources for teaching children and engaging dual language learners (DLLs). We even have lessons on how to develop babies’ language acquisition for hospital and government partners, as well as a discussion forum for users to communicate and share ideas. 

Initially, the phoneme video was created as a tool to help teachers pronounce the sounds of English as they teach letter sound correspondence to their students. We use the video as part of our new K-3 courses on Cox Campus and during our live training sessions. The video has over 219,000 videos to date on YouTube and almost 100 comments from people around the world, who use it as a tool to learn and practice the English language. 

I’d encourage everyone who engages with children to sign up for Cox Campus. It’s free and easy to apply the strategies on the website in day-to-day life. There are over 73,000 users who already love this website, and I hope that you’ll join the community of change agents who are already registered. 

Find out more about Cox Campus HERE.

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