Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Laying a Path: Phonics & Spelling Syllabus

Our mission? To help ALL kids progress in reading and writing, and that starts with training the parents!

Ergo, we are teaching an online parent training course starting March 31st called Laying a Path: Phonics and Spelling! 

This course will be three 90-min sessions (March 31st, April 7th, and April 14th) with lecturing by Rita and I, and Q&A from participants. Parents will be taught the best strategies to help their children (across all age levels) progress in the language areas of phonics and spelling.

Each week, we will demonstrate how to teach the phonics/spelling lessons, then provide strategies for practice of those concepts. 

The schedule will be as follows:

WEEK 1 - Short vowels, blends, short vowel spelling rules, Closed syllables, Open syllables


WEEK 2 - Long vowels, long vowel spelling rules, Silent E syllables, vowel team syllables


WEEK 3 - Jobs of the Silent E,  Double/Drop/Change rules, C+le syllables, R-controlled syllables


Sign-ups close on SUNDAY March 26th. If you are still interested in joining the class, visit www.rootedinlanguage.com and click on the ad on the home page to register!

~Moira


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Letter Reversals


Which picture is wrong?

When we look at the first picture, we see a horse.

And when we look at the second picture, we see a horse.

But when we look at the last one, we see an upside-down horse!

This is because when it comes to visual images, our brains do not distinguish left-to-right mirror images of most items. But, we are good at distinguishing the vertical dimension!

At a conference in Florida, Rick Wagner (from the FL Center of Reading Research) challenged the audience of Speech-Language Therapists and reading specialists to identify mirror images of the Mona Lisa or the Statue of Liberty. We failed to notice the error.

English speakers only need to distinguish mirror images of these particular symbols: <b> and <d> (and sometimes <p> and <q>). Not only are <b> and <d> mirror images of each other, they also share auditory features that make them sound alike, too!

The only way to help children sort through <b> and <d> confusion is through repeated pairing of each letter to its distinct sound! We do this best when we say the sound aloud as we form the letter in writing. Letter reversals are common in kindergarten through 1st grade as children. <b> and <d> reversal problems persist in 2nd graders with dyslexia because these children have weak sound processing skills, NOT because of weak visual processing skills!

Likewise, the only reason English speakers distinguish between the words “no” and “on” or “was” and “saw” is because we have learned to track sounds from left to right. 

Children with dyslexia demonstrate these word confusion errors because they are NOT TRACKING SOUNDS from left to right! Instead, they look at a whole word and make a guess…because, after all, a horse is a horse, of course. 

~Moira

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Intentional Copywork and the Emerging Reader: Suggested Schedule

In the preface of my book, Trees in the Forest: Growing Readers and Writers through Deep Comprehension, I introduced the teaching model, I do it. We do it. You do it. The model is helpful for understanding how to incorporate all of language arts into your copywork and dictation practice.

However, Intentional Copywork with young readers and writers looks a bit different because they are learning to read and write, not using reading and writing in order to learn. For new readers, the model looks like I do it. We do it. We do it. We do it . . . You do it. Each week of Intentional Copywork focuses on learning to read, so phonics practice is repeated throughout the week.

If you would like guidance on how to best implement your current phonics and spelling program, combined with Intentional Copywork and Dictation practice throughout the week, consider my online webinar Laying a Path: Phonics and Spelling. Moira and I will teach you our strategies for all your phonics and spelling goals: improving your child’s phonological processing skills, teaching vowels and vowel spellings, practicing multi-syllable words, dealing with “sight words,” and incorporating affix usage. We teach strategies that are the most impactful and ensure the greatest “stickiness” (our word for ideas kids remember and use)!

Intentional Copywork is intentional for both you and your child.

The intentional parent

              • attends to the child’s reading and writing level,
              • selects a phonetically controlled passage,
              • creates mini-lessons for phonics practice, and
              • focuses on child-centered skill training.

The intentional child

              • notices the letters and their relationship to sound,
              • practices Say it while you write!,
              • engages in skill-based mini-lessons combining phonics and spelling,
              • connects with text through hands-on story activities, and
              • consolidates skills in writing.



Here is an example of my Intentional Copywork Schedule for the new or developing reader:


Monday:            Phonics and spelling

I do it.              Select words from the passage and create a spelling and phonics lesson.

We do it.          Use Welcome to the Forest and Laying a Path: Phonics and Spelling videos for strategies to supplement your phonics and spelling program.

Practice building, reading, and writing target words and phrases from a small set of pages from a phonetically controlled reader. Say it while you write!

You do it.         Cut out pictures or draw pictures from the story.

Tuesday:            Grammar, word study and vocabulary

I do it.             Look at the text and create a grammar lesson, using early suffixes of <-s> or <-ing>. Use Welcome to the Forest webinar for word-building activities appropriate for the young reader.

We do it.          Read the passage together, emphasizing the grammar lesson. Build, read, and write words using suffixes. Say it while you write!

                           Notice and discuss punctuation.

                           Sing the vowel song or practice the vowel sounds.

You do it.            Look through a favorite familiar picture book and tell the story in your own words.

Wednesday:      Phonics, spelling, and handwriting

I do it.              Select letters from the passage and create a handwriting lesson.

We do it.          Use Welcome to the Forest for strategies to supplement your handwriting program. Practice writing letters while saying the letter name.

Practice building, reading, and writing the same target words and phrases from the same pages of the phonetically controlled reader. Say it while you write!

Point to target letters and say the sound for each letter, both vowels and consonants.

Read a small set of pages from the phonetically controlled story. (Repeat pages from Tuesday if needed.)

You do it.         Answer these questions about your picture book: where is the story taking place? Who or what is the story about (the characters)? What is the problem? How does the problem get solved?

Thursday:           Copywork and Intentional Editing

We do it.             Review and practice phonics, spelling, and punctuation. Sing the vowel song or review vowel sounds.

                           Reread the passage carefully.

You do it.            Copy the passage. Say it while you write!

We do it.             Edit together and correct errors.

You do it.            Listen to a read aloud story.

Friday:               Dictation 

We do it.          Review based on copywork errors. Point to target letters and say the sound for each letter, both vowels and consonants.

                         Dictate passage while your child writes.

                         Edit together.

Read a small set of pages from the phonetically controlled story. (Repeat pages from Tuesday if needed.)

You do it.         Use the characters you drew from the story to dictate an original story.


~Rita