PHONICS TALK: The Dorbooks Newsletter
Volume 38 ~ November 2009
by Dolores G. Hiskes


Recently I was invited to observe a middle school special class for 7th and 8th graders who had never learned how to read. I had donated some older editions of Phonics Pathways and Pyramid to the class for a trial.

Teacher Tasia James began working with these children wIth Phonics Pathways when school began in September, and at this point every single child is now reading. Even the mentally challenged student. After only two months!

Afterwards I received a heartfelt thank-you note from all 30 students. Opening these great notes was like opening 32 Christmas presents. I was overwhelmed by their joy and gratitude in finally learning how to read. My eyes teared over and I actually had to stop reading for awhile! Here are a few of these beautiful notes, a teaching tip from special teacher, an announcement about a new product many of you have requested, and a note about the mysterious "disappearing vowels."









Just a couple of very special notes from some very special students:

*Dear Mrs. Hiskes, Thank you so much for coming, and thank you
for writing such a great book which has really helped me with
spelling. I really liked that you put Dewey in all of your books.
Some of those phrases are very funny! Thanks again for coming,*

*Dear Mrs. Hiskes, Thank you so much for writing the phonics
books. Without them I would probably not be as good of a speller
and writer as I am today. Hopefully Ms. James will have other
students that will appreciate the books as much as I do.
Thanks again!* S.

*Dear Mrs. Hiskes, Thanks for coming to my class. The book has
helped me a lot in reading and spelling. I love Dewey and the
quotes. One of my favorites is *To ease another's heartache is
to forget one's own.* K.

*Dear Mrs. Hiskes, Thank you. You are really inspiring. It was
cool that you put those awesome quotes in the book. The books
helped me a lot, so I can read and spell. If it wasn't for you
writing the books I wouldn't be the reader I am today. Thanks*

To paraphrase President Obama, "Y E S T H E Y C A N!"


Tasia James thought of a unique way to reinforce reading skills:

She writes three practice words on a small piece of paper, one for
every student.

Then she draws a popsicle stick from a mug full of them on her
desk, with one student's name on every stick. That student then
comes up and takes one of the pieces of paper, and reads it out
loud to the class. The class then writes the word down.

The students enjoy it because they never know whose popsicle
stick she will draw next! And it's certainly great practice for both
reading and spelling, as well as a lot of fun.


Very soon Dorbooks will unleash a new product -- something
many of you have requested. I expect to have an announcement
soon. For the present, it is under wraps. But I do think you will
like it! There isn't anything quite like it on the market right now.
But for now . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


American English is slowly changing; across the nation. If you
are a New Yorker words like *caught* and *cot* will sound as
different as their spellings, but if you grew up in California you
probably pronounce them identically.

*ScienceDaily" (10-30-09) reports that Christina Esposito recently
tracked this change which is sweeping eastward across the
Midwest into Minnesota, and presented her findings at a meeting
of the Acoustical Society of America in San Antonio, TX.

She discovered every vowel has its own unique frequencies, like a
fingerprint. She recorded words and made a visual representation
of the words using a spectogram. When she dissected the speech
quantitatively she found that 30% of Minnesotans have lost
the distinction between the two vowel sounds mentioned above.


I will be giving a full half-day pre-conference workshop for
the CARS (California Association of Resource Specialists)
Conference at the Town & Country Resort & Convention
Center in San Diego on Thursday, February 18, 2010
from 1 to 4pm.

The first half of this presentation will be on teaching reading
in general, and the second half will be dedicated to teaching
specific reading lessons, using Phonics Pathways as a text.

I would love to see some of you there!


Is it really November? The Holidays are almost upon us! Times are
still tight, gift-giving may be postponed or eliminated completely.
But it IS times like this that remind us of what is really important:

*Happiness keeps you sweet,
Trials keep you strong,
Sorrows keep you human,
Failures keep you humble,
Success keeps you glowing,
But only FRIENDS keep you going!"

(And when some say life is hard--ask them *Compared to WHAT?*)

Once again warm blessings, stay healthy, and stay safe,

Dolores G. Hiskes, President
"Phonics Pathways" - Six 1st-place awards-"Best Phonics Program in The Country"

Copyright Dolores G. Hiskes 2009

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