History of the Screenboard
The Screenboard was designed in the spring of 1998 to help one child learn her sounds. This child had beenstruggling with all her sounds for many months but had finally learned all but “g.” We worked and worked using many different strategies.
Naturally, I had used a few tactile strategies including sandpaper and a sandbox. What prompted my search for another method was the messiness of the sandbox. We kept the sandbox behind my desk. First graders being first graders, it was often hit and sand was spilled. I had to come up with something else.
It just so happened that at that time, we were rescreening our porch at home. One day, as I was walking past the mess in our back yard, I noticed some screen laying on the ground. Because I had been thinking so much about a neater way to allow my student to practice the sounds of “g”, the screen came to me as the answer.
There was scrap wood laying around in the same area so I conceived the idea of attaching the screen to the wood and slipping a piece of paper with the letter “g” on it under the screen. I had my rough surface for my student to practice with. No more messes!
I didn’t think anything more of the screenboard until midway through a later school year when I began teaching the 70 phonograms of the Language Arts program The Writing Road to Reading to my fifth graders. Some students were struggling with the phonograms so I made a few screenboards and brought them to school. They were such a hit, I decided to try marketing them.
The Original Screenboard