PHONICS TALK: The Dorbooks Newsletter
Volume 57 ~ June 2012
by Dolores G. Hiskes


A FATHERS' DAY SURPRISE!

Recently I submitted an article to Slate online publication, in response to their invitation for readers to submit articles on how to improve science education, and . . .

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A FATHERS' DAY SURPRISE!

THE MATH/READING CONNECTION

RECENT BLOG POSTS

A JUNE MOON GRADUATION

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A FATHERS' DAY SURPRISE!

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. . . just in time for Fathers' Day I heard my article was accepted, and
is now up online!

Readers are invited to vote on their favorite submission. Take a peek, and
see what you think: <http://hive.slate.com/hive/american-science-education/the-math-reading-connection>

This article is an updated version of the poster I had exhibited at the February, 1995
international meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
(AAAS) in Atlanta.

Here is the article:

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THE MATH/READING CONNECTION
<http://hive.slate.com/hive/american-science-education/the-math-reading-connection>

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Currently, reading is thought of as an innate, inborn skill such as walking or talking.
It is believed that students will pick up this skill automatically if they are taught a few
letters, but words are learned randomly, as a whole. Students are encouraged to guess
at unknown words.

Skill-based instruction and precision in reading are thought to be redundant to reading
and comprehension. Statistics on illiteracy rates clearly show otherwise. There is increasing
evidence that systematic, skill-based instruction is indeed vital not only to the reading
process but in our very ability to think logically and reason clearly.

Sometimes it’s the brightest students who experience the most difficulty because they need
to perceive patterns and relationships, and see how things fit together. Their minds rebel
against a system that has no logic.

On the recent *News Hour* a savvy teacher said students don’t fail in high school, they fail
in second grade because they have not been taught explicit phonics and are subsequently
just carried along through school. She is absolutely correct!

When students learn the sounds and spelling patterns comprising over 95% of the English
language in an incremental, progressive fashion math scores frequently improve without
tutoring. Spelling improves dramatically. (Example: Why are some words spelled with -able
and others with -ible: “readable, visible, crushable, edible,” etc.) One simple rule covers
over 90% of these words. Reading and reasoning develop simultaneously and synergistically.

Moreover, brain imaging shows that dyslexia frequently disappears after students are taught
how to read correctly—-eye tracking strengthens and eye span increases. And direct phonics
is vastly superior to randomly-taught phonics.

Skill-based reading instruction is urgently needed and long overdue, but for the most part
has not even been included in teaching colleges for over 50 years. Most of the old phonics
texts have long been out of print. Once we provide this missing link in today’s reading
curricula math/science skills will easily follow as has been demonstrated, because students
have been taught to think logically and sequentially.

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RECENT BLOG POSTS -- http://www.dorbooks.com/phonicsblog

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June 7, 2012 -- Spelling? Hmmm…
A discussion of various scenarios about how to teach spelling,
and when to teach it. Should all spelling rules be taught at once?
Should spelling be taught with reading, or afterwards?

June 13, 2012 -- The Math-Reading Connection
The ability to think clearly, logically, and sequentially is an
absolute prerequisite for success in math or science. Is this skill
innate or can it be acquired? A dyslexia surprise!

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A JUNE MOON GRADUATION

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Recently, under a full June moon on a lovely evening, we watched the beautiful high school
graduation ceremony of the senior class of Mt. Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, which
included our own beloved grandson.

How our hearts swelled with love and pride, watching all those innocent young faces so
eager for a bright and shining future! And how our hearts also ached for those who may
not find the jobs, schooling, or training they had hoped for. We wish them all godspeed,
each and every one.

Here's a proverb I found many years ago on a wall of a small cafe while we were on our way
to Yosemite to celebrate Thanksgiving with our son, who lived there while teaching
rock-climbing at the Yosemite Mountaineering Center:

LOOK TO THIS DAY
Yesterday is but a dream,
and tomorrow is only a vision.
But today, well lived,
makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
and every tomorrow a vision of hope.

All we can do is put one foot in front of the other, take one step at a time, and keep on
going. After all, the highest mountain in the world is still climbed by taking only one step
at a time and keeping on going!

With those thoughts I bid you farewell for the present, with heartfelt wishes for a safe
and fun-filled summer.

Warmest regards,
Dolores

Copyright Dolores G. Hiskes 2012

 

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