Archive for May 2011

What In the World Is a tuopuh?

May 31st, 2011 | By

There are two kinds of sounds in English – sounds that are voiced (the voice is on) and sounds that are voiceless (the voice is off). There are 16 single consonants and consonant digraphs that are voiced: /b/, /d/, /g/, /j/, /l/, /m/, /n/, /q/, /r/, /v/, /w/, /y/, /z/, and /th/ (as in “the”, “this” & “their”) There are 8 single and 3 consonant digraphs that are voiceless (just air as if whispered): /c/, /ch/, /f/, /h/, /k/, /p/, /s/, /sh/, /t/, /x/ and /th/ (as in “thumb”, “birthday” and “mouth”) It is essential that teachers NOT do two things when teaching the sounds of letters: Voiced sounds, by the nature of being “voiced”, already have an /uh/ (aka – schwa) after the letter sound. For example, the sound of the letter B sounds like “buh” and the hard G sounds like “guh”. The key is that the “uh” needs to be very short, so teachers should NOT hold on to the “uh” sound. Actually, the only voiced sounds that have the hint of “uh” would be B, D, G, J, Q, W and Y. The M, N, R, V, Z and voiced TH letter sounds do not have [...]

Do We Have to Go Back?

May 17th, 2011 | By

What needs to happen when a student is struggling with the application of phonemic awareness skills needed to establish the neural connections for reading and writing? If we look at early literacy skills as being somewhat sequential, one could pose that these students need to “go back” to re-establish the foundational literacy skills of phonological awareness. That may mean going to Title One Reading or Tier 2 RTI targeted interventions or a reading support program and just focusing on phonological awareness, with the hope that these targeted interventions would transfer back to what is being done and expected in the regular classroom.  While that may seem logical on some level, consider whether the focus of the process is to teach “lessons and concepts” in isolation, with the hope that they transfer, or “discover” those same concepts within the text of reading stories, social studies, science, math, or better yet, in environmental print. Should we take students back to work on shoring phonological awareness skills up as a separate lesson or set of activities? During a recent conversation with Randall Klein, Founder of Early Reading Mastery, this very question came up and resulted in a lengthy and invigorating exchange of thoughts [...]