PHONICS TALK: The Dorbooks Newsletter
Volume 54 ~ March 2012
by Dolores G. Hiskes


CONNECTING THE DOTS

*Connecting the Dots* first appeared in the Dorbooks Phonics-Talk Blog
on March 22, 2012. This reprint has additional material:

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CONNECTING THE DOTS

OTHER POSTS OF INTEREST IN THE PHONICS-TALK BLOG

TEACHING TIP

APRIL SHOWERS

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CONNECTING THE DOTS

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An alarming task force report led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Joel Klein, the former chancellor of New York City’s school system, has just revealed that 30% of young high school graduates don’t qualify to serve in the military because they don’t do well enough in math, science, and English and 75% of young adults are not capable of serving in the military because of inadequate education, criminal records, or are simply physically unfit.

Ms. Rice called this our greatest national security challenge, and said
that leaving large swaths of the population unprepared is a major public
crisis that threatens to divide Americans and undermines the country’s
social cohesion, as well as innovativeness and competitiveness.

But first we must read. Everything else follows. And if we can’t, it doesn’t.
Reams have been written about how to teach reading, but classroom textbooks
remain essentially unaltered. Why is this so?

According to Beverlee Jobrack’s new book *Tyranny of the Textbook,* today’s
textbooks are direct contributors to the country’s mediocre education
performance. They are based on design and superficial features, not because
they are based on how children learn and how well they promote student
achievement. She contends that with only three companies publishing 75% of
the K-12 educational materials, there is little competition. She writes,
*Those three companies are producing similar programs with the same
instructional strategies, none of which require teachers to change their
practices significantly.*

Teachers are struggling to find material that reflects the Common Core
Standards, but current materials fall short and they are finding a rough road.
The principal of one high school said his teachers have banded
together to search for material and share what they've found, but commented
*There seems to be very little out there, or it's just not in places we can
find. To say we are prepared for common core would be a misconception.*

But there ARE ready-to-use, inexpensive texbooks available! They complement
today’s classroom teaching methods, fill in the gaps, and make them much
more effective.! Tutoring programs using these texts with older children
are having spectacular results (see www.dorbooks.com, phonics-talk
newsletters, vol. 30) as are teachers of very young children
(www.dorbooks.com, phonics-talk newsletters, vol. 11). A free checklist
of a good phonics program is available at www.dorbooks.com, Free Downloads,
*Fourteen Points of a Good Phonics Program.*

Isn’t it time to connect the dots and do something about it?
What are we waiting for?

See the Dorbooks Phonics-Talk Blog: http://www.dorbooks.com/phonicsblog

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OTHER POSTS OF INTEREST IN THE PHONICS-TALK BLOG

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Other recent posts of interest in the Dorbooks Phonics-Talk Blog are:

Early Decodable Readers
Phonics or *Phonics?*
Multisyllable Words
Connecting the Dots
More on Fiction
Phonics vs. Whole Language
Supplemental Text
Fiction....or Non-Fiction?
Powerful Speaking
...and last but not least, FAQ

Take a peek at http://www.dorbooks.com/phonicsblog and see what you think!
I will send periodic updates of these posts in the Dorbooks Newsletter, but you
can also subscribe to the Dorbooks Blog directly from the home page of the blog
if you would like to be notified every time there is a new post:

http://www.dorbooks.com/phonicsblog

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TEACHING TIP

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Paul writes, *I want you to know that my son very much enjoys learning to read
with his father. He prizes the *googly eyes* in the short-vowel shuffle game.
He earns a goggly eye for each /e/ that he says correctly. His goal is to have all
the goggly eyes at the end of the game.* Nice going, Paul!

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APRIL SHOWERS

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The beautiful clouds of pink cherry blossoms on all the trees are beginning to fade,
but live on in our memory even as new trees bloom. Things change and grow, as do
those we love.

Just yesterday I taught our little grandchildren how to read, and now young Connor is
applying for admittance to various colleges. When did that happen? Where will he go?
What will he be in life?

We remember the lovely cherry blossoms just as we remember our sweet children
and grandchildren when they were very young. But let us also look forward to the
excitement and challenge that the next stage in our lives will bring -- even (and
especially!) to the very end.

*Let us endeavor so to live, that when we come to die, even the undertaker will be sorry!*

Cheers to all,
Dolores

Copyright Dolores G. Hiskes 2012

 

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