Russian Cyrillic Alphabet
Did you watch the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics? We sure did! My son loves watching the parade of countries. He likes seeing how many Olympians each country has and listening to the names of countries you rarely hear about. But what sparked our curiosity this year, was seeing the Russian Cyrillic alphabet showcased in the introduction before the ceremony which highlighted the historic icons of the country. That is how this next activity came to life! I cannot take credit for this idea; it was my husband’s brainchild! But I did get witness how much fun my son had trying it out, and how much fun my husband had creating it.
Using Wikipedia to find the unique 33-letter Russian alphabet, my husband found the phonemes, or sounds, that each letter made too. From this, he created a way to demonstrate the sounds so he and my son can practice them. I had flashcards that show what we call blends and digraphs in the English language. Blends are two sounds that when you put them together you hear both sounds, such “st”. You clearly hear both the “S” and “T”. A digraph is when you have two letter sounds together that create a new sound, such as “ch”. You could easily make blend and digraph cards from index cards. He wrote the Russian letters on pages of a memo pad so that he could easily flip between letters of the alphabet. As he turned to each letter he placed the blends or digraphs flash cards next to it. For example, the Russian letter that looks like a “Y” was placed next to the flash card that says “oo”, as in “boot”. A more advanced example is the Russian letter that looks like a “W” with a tail, which sounds like the combination of “sh” and “ch” as in “pushchair”. It was fun trying to say that sound! Together, he and my son practiced a couple and I loved overhearing my son ask all sorts of questions, such as, “How many letters do they have in the alphabet?” He was so interested, especially in discussing new sounds that Russians use that we do not, and noting what sounds we use that they do not, such as the “th” sound. After they were done having fun, my son came to me and asked, “Mom, does a backwards N say, ‘EE’?” He was excited to share what he learned with me. That’s definitely a sign of a good lesson!