Thursday, November 12, 2009

Soap and Water

I learned something very important during October, also known as Health Literacy Awareness Month. The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA asserts that frequent and effective hand washing is the single most important factor in avoiding the flu. Most diseases, they say, are spread by hand contact.

Of course, good washing also helps prevent other infectious diseases such as coughs and colds. Here is a link to a video for you to watch on your own and/or with your learner. The health educators on the clip speak slowly and clearly and the images help a lot.

So, tutors and teachers, consider a field trip to the sink with your learners. The embedded video suggests washing for the time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice, which for me takes about fifteen seconds. Grade schools sometimes suggest the alphabet-in English, of course. What song can you come up with to keep your learner in the sudsy for the full fifteen seconds? My latest idea is to try doing an alphabet with some phonetic key words. You can print this list on a card and use it if you like:

A ant, B bag, C cat, D dab, E egg, F full, G go, H hand, I ill, J jar, K kid, L lip, M man, N nut, O on, P pill, Q queen, R rug, S suds, T tub, U up, V van, W wash, X ax, Y yellow, Z zipper

I kept the words limited to fairly concrete, easy-to-picture things for the most part, and you may notice that almost all the vowels are short. Short vowels are harder than long and need more reinforcement. As always, thanks for teaching someone.

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