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Supplemental Phonics?
Old 03-12-2014, 09:20 PM
 
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There has been talk of getting a supplemental phonics program at my school. We're looking for something that would provide explicit instruction and could be used from K-5 in the general education classroom and for interventions at all 3 tiers.

Continuity has become an issue and we are finding lots of gaps for our kids. We are not looking to ONLY teach phonics, it would just be a component of a balanced literacy program. We are not looking for a new basal program either.

Reading Horizons is one program being considered. I was wondering if anyone has used it and can give some feedback. Or if there are any other programs you all might recommend or strongly discourage. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

TIA


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Ewwwww.
Old 03-13-2014, 03:40 AM
 
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Not everything about a phonics program will be bad, but the overall message of such a thing is that sound above all is the most important thing about reading and spelling. And I know ... that's how most everyone in any school system has been taught. It's why we as teachers perpetuate that thinking.

The truth is that putting sound first as the most important thing also perpetuates the myth that our language is crazy and irregular and spelling makes no sense. Words like does, goes, love, jumped, and a hundred others are NOT spelled based on pronunciation. They are spelled based on their meaning, their relatives, and their structure.

The truth is that we should look at a word's meaning first and its relatives second and its history third and its sound fourth.

Example: Why is there a 'g' in 'sign'? Sounding out the word won't tell you it's supposed to be there, but looking at the word's meaning and relatives will. 'Sign' means to mark. It's related to words like signing, signal, and signature. The 'g' in 'sign' is an etymological marker. It's there to show that this family of words that share meaning are related.

Example: Why are 'reel' and 'real' spelled the way they are? The 'ee' in 'reel' has only one pronunciation. The word 'reel' doesn't need the vowel sound in the middle to be flexible like in the word 'real'. The 'ea' in 'real' can represent a second sound as we see when we look at the relatives of 'real' (reality).

This is the stuff I am teaching my students this year. I'm sorry to say there is no manufactured k-5 program out there that teaches this stuff. I have attended workshops and learned through reading teacher blogs from around the world. My students and I use dictionaries and online resources to research our hypotheses.

Our staff will be offered training this year. My principal is most impressed with the success I have seen.

We're adopting a basil reading/writing/grammar/spelling series for next year! My principal has already said I can replace the spelling instruction since it will only continue to net mediocre results as our spelling programs in the past have.
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Old 03-13-2014, 03:55 PM
 
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Firebelly - that sounds very interesting. Can you give me an example that could be used/appropriate in kindergarten? I can't wrap my head around it!

MsMonkey - we don't have a systematic program but it would be really nice. I'm interested to hear if you find one.
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Check these out...
Old 03-13-2014, 04:27 PM
 
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Sbkangas5,

Here's a video of a lesson in kindergarten. The children are being exposed to word families (base + suffix).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VW8in...share&index=10

And here's a link to a blog in which the teacher talks about doing something similar with 4 and 5 year olds. I recently did this lesson in a kindergarten class. The students had absolutely no problem with reading and creating a word web.

http://wordsinbogor.blogspot.ca/2013...-to-young.html
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phonics
Old 03-13-2014, 05:24 PM
 
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While I agree with Firebelly that learning about word families is important, I have to disagree that spelling makes no sense. Unfortunately, many teachers don't have the depth of knowledge needed to understand the complexities of spelling. Once we get Kindergardeners & First Graders through the single stable consonants, short vowels, and VCe, phonics instruction stops because we're busy focusing on comprehension. This is why so many middle schoolers can't figure out long difficult words. Every day I work with teenagers who can't figure out how to pronounce -tion or -ious in words, or how a root might change when certain prefixes or suffixes are added. While sound isn't the most important thing about reading, students can't comprehend on their own if they can't read the words off the page because they only have basic phonics skills. My campus is 5th & 6th grade, & we've had good success with System 44 & the multi-sensory Dyslexia intervention program from our local Service Center.


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Very interesting
Old 03-15-2014, 11:12 AM
 
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I really appreciate you sharing, Firebelly. I watched the video and am looking over the blog. I am searching for other sites and information as well. I think it's great that the kids are learning about more than just sounds. I wouldn't dream of ONLY teaching sounds to my kids, but I can't say that nearly enough time is spent on etymology and morphology. What you've shared has really got me thinking about how to provide more well-rounded instruction to my students and how to help guide my school in creating a more well-rounded curriculum.

beachygrl - I used to teach 5th grade, so I can relate to what you are saying. Our middle school teachers have been saying the same thing. Hopefully, we can develop a better system for our kids.

Sbkangas5 - The rep from Reading Horizons is coming out to meet with some of us on Monday. I'll let you know how that goes.
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If you're interested...
Old 03-15-2014, 12:29 PM
 
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I can share more. Recently, I noticed that a student spelled 'said' as 'sead'. I wrote it on the board and asked why a person might spell it incorrectly. The response was that the person was trying to sound out the letters as he/she spelled the word. This is no doubt true. I'm pleased that my students are starting to recognize that sounding out words in order to spell them (as a first step)is a mistake.

Instead, I asked for the word's relatives. The students named 'say'. I asked if any could think of a relative that might have been used in the Bible. One person thought of 'saith'. There was the proof we needed that the word 'said' needed to be spelled 'said'. Even though it is a small family of words, (say, said, saith) they all share the same meaning and have in common the 'sa' sequence of letters. Two of the three words have 'sai' letter sequence.

Here is a link to my blog. You can see the kinds of things I do when we study Orthography. In the blue bar below the title of my blog, you'll see a page of 'Word Investigating Classrooms' doing this same word work. Choose a link and check out what other classrooms are doing. It's exciting stuff!

I also recommend watching the video my students made called, "Can You Prove It?" It makes a case for 'tion' and 'sion' being named syllables and NOT suffixes. Since we made it, my students have no problem pronouncing those syllables in unfamiliar words.

http://mbsteven.edublogs.org/

Last edited by Firebelly; 03-16-2014 at 05:54 AM..
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Old 03-15-2014, 08:05 PM
 
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Thanks for sharing!
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About teaching young students to read...
Old 03-16-2014, 06:13 AM
 
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I've made a couple statements about students not relying on the sounds of letters when reading. Let me clarify. I was taught that letters make sounds. They don't. They represent sounds. And often letters represent more sounds than we teach about.

How about this. Instead of teaching students to spell out 'play' as "p-l-a-y" we teach them to say " p-l-ay". In this way they see that the 'ay' is representing one sound. Each individual letter in this word does not represent an individual sound. Kindergartners have no problem with this. But when they believe that the only letter that represents long /a/ is the letter 'a' itself, we set them up for misspellings, mispronunciations, and struggling when reading.

Another example: spell out 'night'. It should be "n-igh-t". The 'igh' is a trigraph and is another way to represent the long /i/. Kindergartners and First Graders who know this trigraph have no problem reading words like 'bright' or 'high' or 'light'.

The same kind of spelling out can be done with suffixes and prefixes. Take the word 'playing'. Spell it as "p-l-ay-ing". If you tap one finger on the back of the other hand for each phoneme in the word, this word would have four taps.
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Aha!
Old 03-17-2014, 02:29 AM
 
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Thank you for clarifying, Firebelly. The examples you've given really make sense to me. I am definitely going to be keeping this in mind.


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