PHONICS TALK: The Dorbooks Newsletter
Volume 49 ~ July 20, 2011
by Dolores G. Hiskes

Summer's finally here -- at last! We can sit back, put our feet up, and just relax. We need not worry about those day to day tasks and deadlines that make up most of the year. (Or can we...?)

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SCHOOL DAYS OR SCHOOL DAZE?

SCHOOL CHECKLIST

REVERSALS

SHORT MEMORY

MULTISYLLABLE WORDS

*PHONICS PATHWAYS BOOSTERS*

MEMORIES FOR A LIFETIME

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SCHOOL DAYS OR SCHOOL DAZE?

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Rumblings of school loom on the horizon, and those *reading muscles* must once again flex to be ready for the new year. Will it be a bright and shining face bounding off to a brand-new school year, or will it be Shakespeare's *whining school-boy with his satchel, creeping like a snail unwillingly to school*?

A long hot summer can breed forgetfulness, and cover up skills
that may never have been too solid in the first place.

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SCHOOL CHECKLIST

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Here is a quick checklist to help determine if your child's reading
skills need beefing up before school begins:

1--Play the *Short-Vowel Shuffle* game in *Phonics Pathways*
to teach the short-vowel sounds. It's fun, and it works!

2--Use the "Short Sheet of Vowels" to check knowledge of these
sounds. (Master sheet on page 256 of the new *Phonics Pathways*
or make your own: Write the five vowels in large letters on top of
the page, going horizontally across the page.) Dictate a sound (or
blend, or word) and have students write the letter (or blend, or word)
in the proper column under the correct vowel. You'll soon see which
vowels need extra practice!

3--When checking spelling, don't forget to go beyond just dictating
words -- dictate phrases and sentences as well! It's more difficult for
students to spell a word out of context from a word-family list, but a
truer test of how well they know that particular spelling rule.

4--If your student's eyes glaze over at the thought of reading a whole
page of word lists or sentences, transfer the information on the page
into a different, smaller form: make sentence strips and put them in a
*reading box* to draw from, or simply make smaller booklets with
just a few sentences on a folded-over page.

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REVERSALS

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5--Does your child reverse letters or words? Try some of the the eye
exercises listed in back of *Phonics Pathways.* They have helped many
students, and can really make a huge difference!

6--Use The Train Game exercise in *Phonics Pathways Boosters* for
intensive left-to-right eye tracking exercises. One reading specialist
felt it actually rewired his students' brain, enabling him to read from
left to right for the very first time.

7--*Reading Pathways* will definitely help with reversals. Several
specialists always begins their tutoring session by having their students
do a *warm-up* with one of the pyramid exercises before beginning
the lesson itself.

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SHORT MEMORY

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8--Play *Memory.* Find a box with a cover, and let your student help
you collect things to put into it (such as a pin, ball, eraser, sock, etc.)
Have them choose one item, feel it, and put it in the box. Close the
cover and ask them what's inside. Keep repeating this process, adding
one item at a time, until they can no longer name the objects in the
same order. They will get better with time, and this game develops
concentration, memory, and ability to recall images sequentially.

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MULTISYLLABLE WORDS

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9--The exercises in *Reading Pathways* will help develop the ability to
easily read multisyllable words. Especially challenging is the *Brainbusters*
section using many multisyllable words in full-sized pyramids. Also
included are intriguing and exciting games to play with multisyllable words,
and a completely indexed summary of multisyllable words in back of the
book for quick and easy reference.

10--Check out the new multisyllable word game in *Phonics Pathways
Boosters*! It's a fun game which takes you by the hand to show you
exactly how to read these challenging words, using them in a
Bingo-type game to enhance learning.

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*PHONICS PATHWAYS BOOSTERS*

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At last *Phonics Pathways Boosters* is here, it's beautiful, and it's in
stock now! It turned out even better than we'd hoped, with gorgeous
illustrations and delicate spot color accents.

Sample pages are now up on our website (http://www.dorbooks.com)
Note especially the flash card samples. These flash cards are different
from others in that there is only one sound per card, with the various
spellings of that sound listed on the reverse side. (Most flash cards
show the letter and list the various ways that letter can be sounded.)
It will help a lot with spelling. Take a peek -- see what you think!

We are thrilled with this new addition to the Dorbooks' collection,
and hope you will be as well.

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MEMORIES FOR A LIFETIME

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We recently celebrated our 60th anniversary with a Mediterranean
cruise. We brought our whole family, and along with our daughter
and her husband renewed our wedding vows while on board. The
Captain officiated with lovely words that brought tears to my eyes,
and sent me back in time to that day when we first spoke those vows.
It seemed like yesterday. Sixty years! When did that happen?

This trip fulfilled a long-time dream for us. It strengthened our
family relationships, and we saw amazing and wondrous sights
together, such as Zeus' temple in Olympia (with faint echos of the
cheering crowds attending these first olympics); Bernini's
incredible statues in Rome (especially *The Ecstasy of St. Teresa*),
and the little-known but amazing "Veiled Christ" statue in Naples.

To this day nobody knows for sure how it was done -- the veil
is so fine one can easily see right through it. Some think it must
have been made from human skin which was then put over the
statue and treated to be marble-hard, but I got within six inches
of it and could clearly see that the whole thing is carved out of a
single piece of Carrera marble. It is an inspired, beautiful, and
unbelievable piece of art!

The *Veiled Christ* rests in a dilapidated old broken-down church
deep in the slums of Naples with piles of garbage everywhere.
Our taxi driver didn't even want to take us there, but agreed to
if most of us stayed in the car with him and if I went in alone
and only stayed for a minute. I did, and found true beauty within.

So it is with life, and with people as well. If we look deeply enough,
we can find true beauty in everyone, and almost everything!

That's it for now -- I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer!

Warmly, Dolores
Copyright Dolores G. Hiskes 2011

 

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