PHONICS TALK: The Dorbooks Newsletter
Volume 60 ~ November 2012
by Dolores G. Hiskes

PHONICS TALK: The Dorbooks Newsletter
by Dolores G. Hiskes
Volume 60 - November 2012


This newsletter is comprised of a variety of offerings. As always, also check out my blog*, which is enhanced with interactive graphics to demonstrate the lessons, which cannot be done in a newsletter:


(See especially "Fourteen Points of a Good Phonics Program"
which you might find helpful if you are searching for a good
phonics program)









Kids Read is a highly-successful tutoring program in Montgomery
County, Md that has all students reading at grade level by the end
of second grade.

Director and founder Becky Faherty elaborates:

*I have used Phonics Pathways and Reading Pathways since 2006.
I organized a volunteer program in the public school for 2nd graders
who cannot read, and this series brought most of the kids from no
reading to on grade level or above in only 10 months.

I use it with my students who do not speak English, both children
and adults. I start with 5 year olds, and there isn't anything out there
that is as methodic and organized from the small segments of sound
to the larger combinations!*

Read more:




This word game will help develop your vocabulary in a unique
and enjoyable way.

You only compete against yourself, and you can change the level
of difficulty at any time.

Learning new vocabulary will help you better formulate your ideas,
speak more precisely, and comprehend more of what you read.
Be careful -- It's addicting!

Check it out:



Q:- *We are using Phonics Pathways and love it. Thanks for an
amazing book. We are on page 56 and at the bottom of the page
it tells us to read that page until my daughter is able to read
without sounding out each word letter by letter. Does this mean
that we stay on this page until that happens BEFORE we should
move on? Or do we revisit the page each day WHILE we move on?*

A:- Teaching reading is a bit like fishing -- you have to know
when to pull the line in and when to let it out. If it's taking too
long for her to stay on that page and she's getting fidgety, why
then try moving on. But always move on slowly and only when
you can see actual improvement. Revisiting a page WHILE moving
on is always a good idea -- kind of a warmup. Pyramid exercises
are especially useful as warmups! --Dolores

Q:- *On p. 156, have students learned a rule up to that point so
that they would not produce the *u* of *superman* as a short /u/
or the second *a* in *alligator* as a short /a/?*

A:- Yes. On page 119 we learn that long-vowel words are divided
BEFORE the consonant. That's a clue that the /su/ has a long-vowel
sound in *superman*. The same with the /ga/ in *alligator*. How
a word is divided can help a lot when it comes to pronunciation! -




Don Potter is one of the country's experts in teaching phonics,
and here is an excerpt from one of his teaching sessions with a
third-grader who could not read, as well as his kindergarten
age sister:

*I will have all summer to work with this child so I wanted to
choose the one program that would get the best results before
school starts. As the cream came to the top of the milk on my
dad's dairy farm, so Phonics Pathways came to the top of all the
phonics programs I have taught.

"I began yesterday, and what an evening it was! Dewey was at
his all time best. The kindergartner made it through page 39.
She fell off her chair laughing when she saw the picture "ugly"
for the short u! When we got to Dewey's advice on page 39
(*A hug is the perfect gift -- one size fits all, and nobody
minds if you give it back*) she reached over and gave me a big
hug. Then she ran and gave her mother and brother a big hug.
Dewey does a good job teaching hugs, even tutors can use
them once in a while!

*Then I took the boy through to page 44. It was just like
'Constraint-Induces Dyslexia Therapy.' As badly as his
neurological system wanted to guess, Phonics Pathways
prevented it. For example: the exercise on page 42, 'a s-a
sa sa-t.' I covered up the elements to the right so he had to
work from the short a to the s-a to the sa to the sa-t to the
sat. There was no way for him to guess anything.*

*We laughed and laughed as we worked through the lessons.
Their mother was overjoyed to see her children, especially
the boy, enjoying learning!*

Not only a warm and heartwarming story from a great teacher,
but a super-good tip on how to break the letter or word
reversal habit ingrained in so many students! Some students
don't need words broken down that much, but for others this
approach has proven to be invaluable.


Soon we'll be electing a new President, and I cannot remember
when emotions have been so high. One wag said *Why pay
money to have your family tree traced? Go into politics and
your opponents will do it for you!*

Another one remarked, *The Democrats are the party that says
government will make you smarter,taller, richer, and remove
the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that
says government doesn't work and then they get elected and
prove it.*

Only one thing is certain -- we ALL love our country, and hopefully
will gather around whoever is elected and help them in any and
every way we can. It's a scary old world out there -- and I don't
mean just the ghosts and goblins of Halloween!

My best to all of you,


Copyright Dolores G. Hiskes 2014


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