PHONICS TALK: The Dorbooks Newsletter
Volume 44 ~ November 2010
by Dolores G. Hiskes

 

Much is new for this issue! We are coming out with a new book, *Phonics Pathways Booster,* as described below:


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NEW PRODUCT!

*WAITING FOR SUPERMAN*

FROM AN ORPHANAGE IN INDIA

PHONICS FROM A BYGONE ERA

BITS & PIECES FROM Q & A

THOUGHTS ON THANKSGIVING

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NEW PRODUCT!

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Around 1850 Samuel Lover observed, *When the itch of literature comes over a man, nothing can cure it but the scratching of a pen." How true that is!

And so I am coming out with a new product: *Phonics Pathways Boosters.* This will be a book containing a distillation of my best games and teaching aids, as well as a complete set of Flash Cards, an all-new product that has been on a number of your wish lists for many years. As a final caveat, it will also contain the CD *Speaking Pathways.*

My publisher is looking for reviewers for *Boosters.* If any of you are interested in reviewing this new book, please let me know!

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"WAITING FOR SUPERMAN"

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*Waiting for Superman* is a documentary that probes the current state of public education in the United States, highlighting the experiences, hopes and dreams of five unforgettable students and their parents as they fiercely and tirelessly fight to get into better schools.

The Academy Award-winning director, Davis Guggenheim,
points out that not only will most of the many kids shown
be barred from a great American education, but that
most teacher unions are front and center as blocking the
kinds of reforms crucial to bringing children a better
education. The sad fact is that most of the many kids shown
in this film will be barred from a chance at what was once
taken for granted: a great American education.

The film has been very well received and is on its way to
becoming a major nationwide success, with a groundswell
of support from all levels of society. Mark Zuckerberg
(founder of FaceBook) has donated millions of dollars to
reform Newark, New Jersey's failing schools, and Oprah
dedicated two full hours of programing to the film.

The AAE (Association of American Educators) is a shining
exception to the negative attitude teachers' unions have
had toward this film, and indeed was formed to offer teachers
an alternative student-centered organization as opposed to
one primarily protecting the status quo. Gary Beckner,
Executive Director of the AAE, commented *Teachers are
stakeholders in education; therefore, AAE encourages all of
our members to see the film and be part of this dialogue.*

It truly does seem as though an important dialogue has begun!

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FROM AN ORPHANAGE IN INDIA

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Katie Wetmore is a teacher at a small school in an orphanage
in India who uses Phonics Pathways to teach her students how
to read. She wrote:

*The kids have been doing great with it! After school I've been
teaching two older students (13 and 14) how to read who have
slight learning disabilities. Because they are both orphans,
no one has ever had the chance to teach them one-on-one
how to read. Up until this week I've been just working on
teaching them the sounds of the letters, and in the last few
days have moved onto words, using your method. It has been
amazing! Because everyone around them has always been able
to read, and they've been overlooked so much at school, they
have so much excitement every time they are able to read a
word. I completely believe in your method of teaching reading,
and am so, so thankful I found your book. Here I'm considered
to be the expert on phonics (which they had never heard of
before) only because of your book. Thanks so much!*

Katie Wetmore
www.indianorphanage.com
(Check out this website for some great photos!)

Kudos to Katie, and all of the great teachers like her. It does
seem as though *Superman* has really arrived for them!

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PHONICS FROM A BYGONE ERA

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There are many explicit phonics books, and here's a
charming excerpt from a long-out-of-print British Columbia
Phonics Primer writing in 1902:

*â?¦It is quite as easy and much more developing to teach /oe/,
/oe/, /ai/, /ay/, /ie/, /ea/, /ei/ at once as to teach /oa/ alone.
It is wise to call the vowels girls, and the consonants boys;
and it is easy to show that, when two girls come together,
the second one often says nothing, and then nearly always
the first says her own name.*

Do you suppose that statement might be considered
discriminatory by today's politically correct standards?

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BITS AND PIECES OF Q & A

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(Excerpted advice given to a query about a very bright eight year
old having fluency issues:)

*Forget about sight words, word walls, etc.--just begin at the
beginning of the book and do play The Short-Vowel Shuffle.
It will really ingrain those short-vowel sounds, which are the
basis of everything. Also do play The Train Game to develop
ease in blending.

*Think of reading the same way you'd learn to play the piano --
one note (or letter) at a time, then two notes (or two-letter blends),
then slowly building and always blending, reinforcing everything
with scales (or decodable reading) until automaticity is established.

*Type up a few sentences from the book and make into a *reader*,
about six pages per reader. Have her read each reader about three
times before making another one.

*Some children simply take longer than others to read well because
their nervous systems or eye muscles aren't quite fully-developed yet.
Our own son was a case in point: I taught him phonics correctly in
kindergarten and he could read any single word just fine I thought
I was home free.

*Oh, no! His eyes simply were not yet ready to track smoothly
across the page, and he was in 3rd grade before he could read
a sentence or a book. Then he began with *The Hobbitt* and has
read a book a day ever since then, and ended up graduating in
Microbiology from U.C. Davis. I had not yet thought of pyramid-type
reading exercises (he is now 53) but in retrospect I know they would
have helped him as well.

*He was also greatly helped by vision training through the granddaddy
of all vision trainers, R. Herman Katz of Oakland (long since gone).
Some exercises were done with the aid of a machine but many were
not -- and those are incorporated in back of 'Phonics Pathways'.
They really helped strengthen his ability to track from left to right
across the page.*

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THOUGHTS ON THANKSGIVING

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Thanksgiving truly is a time to take stock and think of people and things
we are grateful for. It's important to keep an *attitude of gratitude*,
no matter how much or little we may still have, for our own mental health.

I'm humbly grateful for my family and my health, and that I can keep
on writing. I'm also grateful to all of you, who have taught me so much
over the years.

Time and life go by much too fast -- each day is not a dress rehearsal
for life, but it is the real thing: and when the day is over, it is over.
"They are not long, the days of wine and roses: Out of a misty dream
our path emerges for a while, then closes within a dream."

Please have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and may we all continue to stay
well and stay safe!

Thanks, and grateful 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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