Phonics & Funk Vocab Builder “P”

Here’s the latest Genki English project for you, the high school Phonics & Funk Vocab Builder!

It helps with …

1) Phonics sound recognition (you hear the “p” sound so many times without realising)
2) Very fast review of vocab (great for cramming high school tests)
3) Helps with spelling (as the words are almost all in alphabetical order)

But which do you prefer, the fast or slow version?

Normal “Fast” Version

Slow “Teachers” Version

These songs came about because I get a lot of people asking when I’m going to do the next Genki Phonics CD to cover the rest of the alphabet. I promise I will … eventually! The thing is that it’s really difficult to write a good song that only has one sound. Hence this new type of track.

The fast version is the speed I used to do this at when I was in high school cramming French vocab and it’s what learners tend to respond better to. If you can understand it all on the first go then it’s not much use! The idea is you sit down in front of it and play it over and over till everything is well and truly stuck in your head. But of course it’s teachers who buy and choose what materials to do in class, so I’ve also done a slowed down “teacher version” for this song to see which people prefer.

But what do you think? Would your students find these useful? Would you like me to make some more? And which speed do you think is best?

I’ve been working on this project for 6 years now so I’d very much appreciate your opinion! : )

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...

18 Responses to “Phonics & Funk Vocab Builder “P””

  1. Julian-k

    I love them!!! Much much more than the old phonics songs. IV used a few from the phonics cd in classes, but actually I find them a little too difficult to teach.

    Personally id go for the fast version. I think in class the fast pace as well as the challenge would go down well.

    Are there going to be more/ available as mp3’s?

  2. richard

    Hi Julian,

    Thanks for the feedback!

    I’m just putting feelers out at the moment to see what everyone thinks. If people do like them then I’ll certainly try and do more. All the vocab lists are written, so that’s half the battle.

    Ideally I’d like it to be a CD or DVD or something, but I’ll probably put all the test mp3s in the CD Owners Club as we go along!

  3. Flossy

    I like both!!!! It was good to hear it more slowly and then hear the fast version afterwards. I think it is the same as learning the songs at a slower pace before using the cd so the students can hear the pronunciation more clearly. I also like the idea of setting a challenge so the students can then sing the next song quickly.

    I really think there should be lots more focus on phonics. There are lots of ideas for younger students, however I agree it is so difficult, with older students. I do think this is a more ‘cool’ way of learning! The GE phonics song is also great for the intial sounds.

    Good Luck Richard!!

  4. Julian-k

    That’s cool. Iv got to say, i think getting though a full 26 at elementary level would be a stretch, but i guess it’s not really for them anyway! How about a one-letter-one-word track as an introduction? Like the whole a-a-a-apple, b-b-b-butterfly thing that the Japanese teachers tend to be so fond of. Just not so drab! Anyway, sounds great/ ill look forward to hearing more. As I’ve said before – I’m always happy to see good adult material that i can apply to my 6th grade.

  5. richard

    @Flossy: It might be an idea to have two versions if we label the slow one as “to learn” or something. Then it wouldn’t matter too much if the sound quality wasn’t quite as good on the slow one (it gets all squnshy when it slows down!) Hmmmm, interesting…

  6. Carol

    I agree wholeheartedly with Flossy, I too like both versions!! The slow version is great for learning the vocabulary/pronunciation and then once the words are mastered, the students increase the speed. I think this is a great idea and I like the music and the beat!

    Plus I think a dvd is best. Even older students need the visual support. I really enjoyed the pictures and I’m a native speaker!

    Can you do this for vowel sounds and what about consonant blends like “ch” and “th” for example? Even a crazy one on the “ough” … I think they are the hardest for the teens. (What about stress? Play around with the accented/unaccented syllables?) Yes, the older kids need something too! Thank you Richard for your great ideas!

  7. Yumiko Kusunoki

    I think this is a great idea to teach phonics to high school students and adult students.

    But I’m afraid it’s a bit too much for non-native learners even if it’s a slow version. Before it sticks, their brains might burst. (I admit I felt so while listening to the songs…)

    I’m not teaching older students at present, but if I were teaching them, I wish the slow version had intervals so that they could repeat what they heard. eg. They hear three words, then they repeat them. They would enjoy it because the rhythm and the choice of the words are great.

    After they get accustomed to the pronunciation, it’s a challenging time with fast version.

    They could feel their achievement and get confidence.

  8. richard

    Hi Yumiko,

    Thank you very much for the comment. I think I should have explained a little better in my introduction as there are a couple of important points you’ve mentioned.

    The first one is of confidence. It’s high school/adult non-native speaker level and it’s a high level technique. It’s designed to be effective at cramming, rather than being easy. But of course the first step to that is knowing that it can be done and not giving up! So try it again, but this time relax, just stare at the screen, don’t worry about “learning” the words or memorizing, just let the music, the sounds do all the work. When I was learning French I use to do each one at least 20 times! The slow version doesn’t work as well because after two or three listens there’s no more challenge left.

    Having said that, these aren’t designed to actually learn the language, the point is that it’s a review of stuff they already know the meaning of, but just need to memorise. Hence there should be no place for repeated, that should have happened in the previous lessons or other materials, it’s purely a vocab review technique. Plus the phonics part at this age is listening. We need to give them much, much, much more input than with younger kids who can hear the sounds straight away. I know that’s different from the usual way we do things, and I’d love to work together to figure out an easy way to explain this so that other teachers aren’t scared off!

    Be genki,
    Richard

  9. Yumiko Kusunoki

    Oh, I should have read more carefully too. Now I see.

    In that purpose and at that stage of the learners, I will go with the fast version. Students will like it and want to try more.

    I have studied English only in the narrow frame work of English education here. Everything you show me is new and unique. So it often takes time for me to understand things.

    Thank you for your patience.

  10. richard

    Hi Yumiko,

    No need to apologise, it was my fault for not explaining it properly!

  11. Freda

    Hi Richard,

    I’m a new ALT this year in Japan and its always interesting to check out your site. I wasn’t able to apply too many of the ideas to my classes (although I adapted a few) as I am teaching high school level and I also go to an adult english club once a week.

    I have been waiting for your high school section to ‘open’. The fast version is the best for review in my opinion. My mind started wandering a little with the slow version.

    I’ve found it hard for high school kids to get motivated (especially if they have a negative view of english). Phonics is really important but I feel it should have been covered earlier in their schooling. At high school they should be able to spell correctly based on their pronunciation of the word. However, they pronounce words incorrectly and therefore spell it incorrectly. Not good when the university entrance exam has excerpts from sociology and anthropology that make my brain spin!

  12. mitsuru

    hi Richard

    oh,no! i’ve watched the two movies, totally been fascinated, & downloaded the mp3 version of phonics, & hey!, the new ones are far more interesting than the phonics one. the reason seems simple;phonics is just sound but your new one conveys meaning.

    i cannot wait you finish covering all the sounds.
    hurry up & please sell them handy.

    be genki!

  13. Agnès

    Is the funk vocab builder still one of your idea, Richard ? It could be a very good start for a Junior High lesson : this phonic vocab builder (sligthly slower than the slowest pace) to warm up, then a song (a coherent syntax and grammar point), games and dialogues to practice and an idea for a project per term or per month. You are not that far from having all the ingredients ! The speedy funk vocab builder would be very motivating and udeful in the JH homework package . Or your funk vocab builder could be the genky element of a traditional class. Have you done other sounds ?

    Agnès

  14. Agnès

    Hi again,

    I’d like to be more accurate on what I mean as a warm up : it would be good for the class to hear first the quick version (for them to enjoy and wake up) then a slow paced one (to learn).

    Agnès

  15. Yolanda

    Congratulations Richard. Indeed you must have worked hard to get so wonderful results. I like the fast version. It makes us to concentrate in pronuntiation to understand the meaning.
    Thank you for sharing with us your knowledge.
    Best wishes

  16. Robert

    Hi Richard.
    In my opinion and for the level that it is aimed at, I think that the fast version would be far more effective, especially when combined with the visuals.
    Having said that though, I do occasionally work at an institute for the blind and they may eventually request a slower version, but would definately enjoy the rhythm of the fast version.
    Great work!

  17. Jaynie

    I do really like both versions. Just wonderful! Nothing else needs to be said!
    I think for someone like me, I would prefer it on old school form of CD / DVD!
    You are SO busy and I think it would take up alot of your time but I feel even after listening to just these 2, I would buy it for sure. It would help alot of my students, no doubt.
    Thank you.

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