PHONICS TALK: The Dorbooks Newsletter
Volume 79 ~ November 2016
by Dolores G. Hiskes

PPHONICS TALK: The Dorbooks Newsletter
Vol. 79 - November 2016 - PHONICS FOR OLDER STUDENTS?
by Dolores G. Hiskes




This is the time of year when I begin getting messages from desperate parents whose older children still cannot read well. They struggle and guess, and are falling farther and farther behind, despite extra tutoring and help along the way.

Only 37 percent of all 12th graders make the grade in reading, and only 17 percent of African-Americans reach reading proficiency! Not only are these troublesome statistics on their own, but what’s even worse is that the U.S. continues to lag behind other countries, putting our nation’s well-being and economic security at risk.

How can we think intelligently if we misread words which can then change the whole meaning of the sentence?

To illustrate: A Mom wrote to me about her 10-year-old son.
She thought he could read because he was one of the top readers
in his class, and had been taught with *phonics.*

One day they were walking in the park, and he threw his candy
wrapper on the grass. She berated him, and asked him to read the
sign to her. He read “Dumping Permitted” — but the sign actually
said “Dumping Prohibited!”

She taught him all over again with Phonics Pathways, and while
there were some bad habits to break he was able to do so with ease,
and is an excellentreader today.

Students today are taught *phonics* by reading the beginning and
ending of words, and to guess at the middle part. They are then
taught to *take a good guess* at what a word means through *context
clues*. Since either phrase would fit, the student could guess
forever and still never get it right!

Only by reading the sign accurately, by syllables, would he ever
know the sign specifically said *pro-hi-bit-ed.* Students absolutely
must be taught to read with accuracy and precision! *Guessing* and
*context clues* when reading are NOT true phonics!




One teacher taught a 7th and 8th grade class of non-readers, who
had not been able to learn despite a lot of help. They learned with
Phonics Pathways, and I visited the class I was mightily impressed!
The whole class wrote me letters of thanks afterward, and this is
typical of what I received:

*Thanks for coming to my class. I wish you could have stayed longer.
The book has helped me a lot with reading and spelling. If it wasn’t
for your book, I wouldn’t be the reader I am today. Phonics is
helping us all! I really like the quotes also: One of my favorites
is *To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own.*

(Can you imagine the heartache of not being able to read until
8th grade?)




Here’s how I teach older students:

(1) Use the review pages as a test, and begin with the very
first review on page 16. They should be able to read these
short-vowel sounds easily and accurately. After they are
able to read them, try dictating these sounds and have
them write the letter under the correct heading on a copy
of *The Short Sheet of Vowels* on page 256.

(2) The next review page is *Two-Letter Blends* on page
37. Students need to be able to blend these sounds together
smoothly, and write the blend from dictation under the
correct heading on "The Short Sheet of Vowels"

Proceed in this manner with every review page in the book.
Keep going until your student begins to slow down or struggle.
That is the place to begin lessons!

(Note that many review pages double as games as well. Playing
these games is an excellent way to reinforce learning, and is
fun besides!)

(3) If you don't have Reading Pathways I'd suggest trying it.
While Phonics Pathways is a complete text that stands on its
own, Reading Pathways was written to provide extra practice
and develop fluency while you are learning with Phonics Pathways.
Check out *Free Downloads* at and print
out the guide for how to use both books together.

(4) Finally, print out a copy of *The Short-Vowel Stick* on
page 4 of Phonics Pathways. All five short-vowel sounds are
pictured and illustrated. Students should have one face up
on their desk at all times until this knowledge is auto-
matic. (It's a bit like having name tags for adults-—
something I always appreciate when I'm meeting new people!)




Which of us has not had to do two (or maybe three!) things
at once? Partial attention is what happens when people's focus
is continuously split.

But when we pay attention to one item while constantly scanning
for other things it results in mental exhaustion. Trying to do
too many things at once has a debilitating effect.

A study done at the University of London found that constant
emailing and text-messaging reduces mental capability by an
average of ten points on an IQ test.

The problem isn't doing two things at once so much as doing
two conscious mental tasks at once. When people do two cognitive
tasks at once, their cognitive capacity can drop from that of
a Harvard MBA to that of an eight-year-old!

This wear and tear from fight-or-flight stress hormones creates
an artificial sense of constant crisis. It's great when tigers
are chasing us, but how many of those two hundred emails a day
are tigers?




The German language has its own share of wonderful, untranslatable
words that cannot be described in any other way. For example,
*schadenfreude* means taking pleasure in someone else's misfortune.

The word *Zeitgenossen* is particularly apt for the moment. On a
simple level it means *contemporaries,* those who happen to live
in the same day and age. The spirit of the time. The taste and
outlook of a period or generation.

But it means much more than that. it means a shared responsibility
toward one another as well as toward the age we live in. It's an
attitude that sees languages and states as complementary, not
competitive, and sees the world as a continuum of cultures rather
than a set of distinct borders.

*Zeitgenossen.* Translated, *Why can't we all just get along?*

Enough said!


Is it any wonder that I love what I do so very much? What joy and
satisfaction those letters brought me!

Think of this: today is the oldest you’ve ever been, yet the youngest
you’ll ever be. So enjoy this day, and this life...while they last.

And always remember: the darker the world, the brighter your own
light will seem!


Copyright Dolores G. Hiskes 2016
May be reprinted in entirety with reference to author




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