PHONICS TALK: The Dorbooks Newsletter
Volume 42 ~ July 2010
by Dolores G. Hiskes

 

Next month school will begin anew. Will your child be a bright and shining face bounding off to a brand-new school year, or will he be like Shakespeare's "whining schoolboy with his satchel, creeping like a snail unwillingly to school"? A special request, and information about a great new website.

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SCHOOL DAYS OR SCHOOL DAZE?

SPECIAL REQUEST

"WORD CLOUDS"

SUMMER DAZE!

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SCHOOL DAYS OR SCHOOL DAZE?

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A long, hot summer can breed forgetfulness and cover up shaky skills that
may never have been too solid in the first place. Make sure your child is up
to snuff with this quick checklist and tuneup of basic reading skills:

1--Does he really know the short-vowel sounds, or has he just memorized
the words? Here's an easy way to find out: Make up a list of nonsense words
comprised of regular short-vowel sounds such as these: taffy, paz, nude, bis,
void, meck, litchi, gig, and zendy, and see if he can read them correctly.

2--Another excellent assessment tool is to write the short-vowel sounds
across the top of a blank sheet of paper, and draw vertical lines between
each letter. (There is a downloadable master "Short Sheet of Vowels" at
http://www.dorbooks.com/pdfs/PhonicsGuide.pdf on page eight.) Dictate
some words to your child and have him write the word under the correct
vowel heading. You will soon see which vowels he may need help with!

3--For remediation, make up short-vowel flash cards. Put a picture on each
card that begins with that sound -- for example, apple /a/, evergreen /e/,
igloo /i/, octopus /o/, and umbrella /u/. (Or if you have "The Train Game"
use the cards from that game.) A quick one-minute review once or twice
a day is better than a longer lesson only once a week. Think of brushing
your teeth: would they look any better if you only brushed them once a week
for a full half hour, rather than just a few minutes every day?

4--Does he experience difficulty blending words smoothly? The Train Game
was created to address this issue specifically, as do the top sections of
Reading Pathways and beginning lessons in Phonics Pathways.

5--Does he experience difficulty reading whole sentences? Have him read
two-word phrases first, then three-word phrases and sentences, and gradually
work up to longer sentences. Put your own words together, or use the exercises
in Reading Pathways which were designed for this purpose.

6--Does he stumble over multisyllable words? Write words by syllables on cards
and have him read them. Multisyllable word exercises such as those in Reading
Pathways will develop this skill beautifully, as will the "Buiding Blocks" section in
Phonics Pathways.

7--Does he have difficulty comprehending what he has read? Review Phonics-Talk
newsletters Volumes 8 and 13 (www.dorbooks.com, click on "Dorbooks Newsletter"
to see the archived volumes.) These two newsletters discuss Comprehension
issues extensively and offer useful tips for remediation.

These quick-and-easy remedies will soon get your student up to speed, and he is
sure to be one of those shining faces happily bounding off to school this Fall!

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SPECIAL REQUEST

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And now I have a special request of YOU, dear readers!

I would love to hear from those of you who use my games about which levels of
Blendit! and/or WordWatch you may have found especially helpful. Just the two or
three levels of games that you have used the most.

A free CD of Speaking Pathways will be sent to the first three people who submit
their preferences, and winner's names will be published in the next newsletter.
Thank you so very much in advance -- your good feedback is (and always has been)
what helps develop Dorbooks' educational material and make it so effective!

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"WORD CLOUDS"

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"Wordle" is a great new free program that easily transforms text into beautiful word
clouds of endless designs and arrangements, all comprised of the text you entered.
A link to this program and more information about it (including sample Word Clouds)
can be found at http://www.wordle.net. It's one of those rare and creative programs
that is super enjoyable for adults and students alike, as well as potentially very
educational in endless ways. You can enter poetry, or just names of all your friends,
or anything at all!

Susan Ebbers shared this information in her "Vocabulogic" newsletter <http://vocablog-plc.blogspot.com/2010/07/word-clouds-key-concepts-and-historic.html> and has delightful
samples to peek at as well as suggestions on how to use it.

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SUMMER DAZE!

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I hope you are enjoying your summer as much as we are. We relish the long, light days
and warm, lazy evenings!

Soon we'll be off to Ashland, Oregon to see the Shakespeare plays -- an outing we
always look forward to, giving us food for thought and nourishing our souls all year long.
This year for the first time we are attending under the auspices of the Portland Great
Books Association, staying at the college dorms and eating in the cafeteria.

For years we attended as a family, grandchildren and all, camping in our 5th wheeler
up at the lake. But time goes by, life goes on, and everyone is growing up and off doing
their own thing: tennis, rowing, golf, and all the busy whispery things that teenagers do.
("When did she get to be a beauty? When did he get to be so tall? Wasn't it just yesterday,
that they were small?"...)

So now it's just the two of us! Johnny and I look forward to exploring this new stage
of our lives, renewing old friendships and developing new interests and friends at this
always-special event.

You have a wonderful summer as well, and please remember to send me feedback
about the games!

Thanks, and blessings to all.
Dolores

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


Copyright Dolores G. Hiskes 2009- 2010

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