So the Summer Challenge comes to an end.. I am most thrilled to see that this experimental run with the new teaching method is surely successful.. yayyyy!!
As of today, Mahnoor can read most words and small paragraphs of Urdu text even though we could not spend as much time on learning Urdu as I had hoped we could. There are still bits missing here and there – some alphabets yet to be introduced, some sight words still to be taught but in all I am fairly satisfied with the outcome my husband is most thrilled that I seem to be giving up on my perfection hang up!
Work on the Lets Learn Urdu website – www.letslearnurdu.com is underway, albeit slow, and we should see it go live in some weeks inshallah!
Mahnoor starts her big school today and is most excited about it
Wish us luck!
So the summer challenge took a bit of a back seat most of last month, we had other things in the foreground – Pakistan was struck with disasters and calamities one after another and we decided to make a short trip to Pakistan to help in whatever way we could and in time for “Pakistan’s Birthday” so Mahnoor could develop that sense of belonging and love for the homeland despite all the things that seemed to be going wrong.
Keeping in line with Ramadan’s spirit of helping the needy, Mahnoor was taught the importance of giving away things she could really do without and she went through her toys, clothes and other stuff to sort out the ones she would take with her to Pakistan to “share” with the less fortunate children.
She boarded the plane with a carton of belongings she bravely decide to part with, a tiny green and white flag proudly pinned to her shirt. Many a people she encountered along the way were duly informed
“I am from Pakistan, I am going to Pakistan’s Birthday“
We just returned from a rather eventful trip, much lighter luggage but heavy hearts, hoping there was more we could do to help the country. It was only on the way back that I realised the summer challenge is really screwed unless we got back and got raring with it!
During all of last month, Mahnoor had been introduced to the consonants ک گ م ٹ which I have unfortunately not been able to document as it happened. she is most annoyed at the “funny” shape that ک and گ turn into when they join alif to make کا and گا maybe I am not teaching her the right way.. let me think of another way to join them.. maybe more like the Naskh-like script instead of the way we are taught to write it in school, my focus after all is to help her read, I dont really expect her to be writing Urdu script in the future. Lets see.. Ideas welcome.
Back to the Summer Challenge, this time on afterburner so help me God
So I am hard at work putting illustrations together for the letslearnurdu website. Here’s the very first printable worksheet and the great job Mahnoor did at reading and joining the words to their pictures.. she got a shiny gold star for getting them all right too
The printable worksheets will be available at the lets learn urdu website for download to supplement the learning games and I have to thank Sonia Baweja, a student, graphic design enthusiast and a wonderful person who got in touch with me offering design help and she is the one who put together vectors for all the alphabets and their “half shapes” you see on the worksheet. Thanks again Sonia, you’ve been a HUGE help
Oh and in case any of you homeschooling people are following Mahnoor’s steps at learning to read Urdu and would like the printable worksheet right now, you can email us at letslearnurdu[at]gmail[dot]com and I will be happy to send it across.
While reading the words Mahnoor struggled a bit at recognizing ن، ر، چ so I put my plans of introducing three more letters on hold for now and have cleared the fridge of all the other flash cards except for these three, I think its important that they don’t get lost amidst the clutter and be the only three alphabets she finds in sight as she goes about her stuff. I am pointing them out to her on and off during the day. She should be ready for the new letters in a day I think.
The big school ticker is relentlessly ticking away and I have to say I am getting a bit stressed about how little time we have left to get the two of us through the Summer Challenge as an accomplished reader and a successful teacher.. The good news is, our lesson plans say we will be moving on to simple sentences pretty soon.. phew!
So Mahnoor was told when Alif wears his “mudh” hat, its “a” sound turns into a long “aa” sound. A concept she took to rather comfortably (thankgod!) and managed to read words like
آپا – aapa
آجا – aaja
آتا – aata (with the soft “t” sound)
آنا – aana
On a separate note, I have started work on the printable worksheets and am really excited about letting Mahnoor use them tomorrow
So mahnoor wanted to make her own little flash card for words beginning with پ
she jotted down a neat looking پ, drew a patta, pyjama and pani.. in a sudden realisation, her eyes twinkle as she exclaims “phuphuuuuuuu!”
..a few deft strokes and there we have it, the cutest looking phuphu with the huuuugest smile, crazy hair and black spec frames!
The thing with these part-firangi kids is the slight accent they have, they cant really make much difference out of the “ph” sound versus the plain “p” sound.. oh well, until we reach the “do-chashmee hay” ھ, pani, phuphu and patta are all “puh” words with the slight accent to it.. go figure!
Just before the weekend we found some more alphabets joining their buddies on the fridge door. this time it was the letters
ر – r
ل – l
ت – t (with the soft t sound )
The few words Mahnoor suggested were – “r” rickshaw and “l” laddu! Her fascination for laddus come from the king-sized laddus that were the highlight of her bismillah ceremony. with laddus THAT size, who would ever forget them!? and those who know her know of her fascination with rickshaw rides I think I did a darned good job with the freehand rickshaw sketch too.. it did resemble the real thing
The day after Mahnoor was introduced to the new letters we made a personalised coloring book for her. How? Very simple! folded a bunch of A4 printer sheets in half and stapled them together, added a nice colored sheet as cover and hastily sketched some pictures with their alphabets.
The coloring activity kept her busy through the entire afternoon and by the end she was able to read more words like
We just hit a milestone people.. Mahnoor read her first word list today mashallah.. all by herself.. I am thrilled *pats self on back*
When Rashda Aunty and myself got thinking about the learning modules, our focus was on achieving quick results.. we figured it would be best not to dwell on learning and recognizing the entire Urdu alphabet before moving on to connecting them into words. it just makes it more fun for the child to be able to figure where he is headed.
Mahnoor, armed with the knowledge of 6 consonants and a single vowel managed to read a fairly large number of three and four letter words today.
I pulled out my grocery reminder white board from the kitchen; the one she owns has all these cartoon characters cluttering the corners and would have surely distracted her from reading. yes,the kid is fickle that way!
I went ahead to write a big half shape of the consonant in blue followed by a friendly red alif ا and prompted her to read.
Familiar with the phonetic method of reading that she has been using to read English it didn’t take her a minute to be able to figure how sounds put together form words. Her excitement, the look of triumph at being able to spell out words that she actually knew of was a such a treat! Some words did need to be explained though.
We went at a furious pace, I wrote, she read, I erased and wrote again; stopping only to talk some about the new word or to haul the little sibling out of the corners and weird places she’d had crawled to in this while.. yup, never a dull moment!
Mahnoor earned herself a star for every word she got right at the first go.The best part was that she even managed to read the word شاباش “shabash” that I scribbled in the end to reward the brilliant job she had done at reading!
Just as we we were done reading the final list of words, Umar walked in and Mahnoor put together a repeat performance for a very thrilled dad. Of course بابا (baba) was the favourite word for both of them on the list
So the printer ink ran out on me and till I go get a new cartridge, Mahnoors worksheets will have to be free-hand scribbled by yours truly.
Nobody laugh at how funny the ش(sh) shair looks or the ب (buh) – baal look.
So yes, here’s another way to help connect alphabet sounds to things. The worksheet on the left is a simple see and join activity
The one to the right requires the child to say the names out loud and think if the beginning sound matched that of the alphabet. You are required to tick or cross the picture based on that. For those of you wondering what sound is what, starting from the top, here’s how it goes:
- buh - ب
- juh – ج
- nn – ن
- sh – ش
- puh – پ
- ch – چ
we now have پ ش and چ snugly stuck to the refrigerator door with their other buddies. At this rate, we might be running out of space on the fridge door sometime soon!
ch – چ
sh – ش
puh – پ
So we were doing “sh” words and and just for kicks I put together this lame “sherry ki shadi mein shaam ko sharara pehn kay hum shamiyane mein sharbat peenay gaye” she has it on repeat since then, and that evening, we even had an imaginary shadi party in the shamiayana where we all got to drink sharbat.. how cool (not) is that!
So yesterday I was grrr-ing over where she got the idea for “ب سے بھوت” (buh for bhoot). Here’s the story: This thing for making a conscious effort at teaching Urdu to Mahnoor has been close to my heart ever since we moved away from Pakistan. I knew I would have to do it myself given that schools will not be offering Urdu as a subject.
I went around collecting Urdu story books, looking for websites educational programs, games and other study aids.. I found some awesome stuff thanks to BookGroup but this particular interactive Urdu Qaida CD leaves me so maaad at them!
Gorgeous colorful graphics, amazing sounds, well thought storyboard and SO much effort that went into putting it all together is all so evident but if only they actually had brainstormed some on the learning aspect too! sigh.. the entire Quaida is riddled with unnecessary “scary” sutff.. right from ghots to witches and ogres and dancing skeletons.. sigh.. bay say bhoot, chay say churail, daal sey deyo, dhaal se dhaancha, you name it! It is only after Mahnoor started on this quaida that her series of nightmares and scary dreams began.. and they are here to stay!
A little digression but this goes entirely against the phonetic way of putting words together too!
a “bh” sound is distinctly different from a “buh” sound. so essentially we can never have boot, phool, dhancha etc begining with ب پ or ڈ.
oh well we need a new digital urdu quaida… we are working on it and guesswhat, it will be one kick-ass compilation of colorful graphics, fun sounds and all the right kid-friendly stuff.