Posts Tagged ‘ hand shapes ’

Sorting Things Out – An Update

Jun 24th, 2012 | By

Organizing is hard-wired into our brains – our brains love patterns and repetition.  The concept of similarity, or sameness, is a basic organizing strategy . . . a way to be aware of and recognize common characteristics of things seen, heard, or felt.  With the awareness of sameness comes the awareness of difference, another basic organizing strategy. Information that is sorted out through the process of comparing & contrasting (thinking about the similarities and the differences) has high storage strength, and as a result, also has high retrieval strength. The underlying cognitive constructs of polarity, category inclusion and exclusion, are part of the brain’s hard-wired organizational default.  In education, we use the terms “alike”, “same”, “go together” and “not different” to teach and reinforce “sameness”, while the terms “different”, “don’t go together”, and “not the same” teach and reinforce “difference”.  Other ways to express the idea of inclusion include “goes with” and “belongs”, while exclusion can be expressed by “doesn’t go with” or “doesn’t belong”. These very basic concepts of inclusion and exclusion can be infused into the literacy process of connecting sound to print through the use of Visual Phonics hand shapes and symbols, beginning as early as pre-school.  [...]



Utility Is the Key

Apr 7th, 2012 | By

Utility directly impacts the lasting recall of Visual Phonics hand shape cues and written symbols. Thoughtful and purposeful use of hand shapes and written symbols can be plugged in to daily dynamic routines of review, daily reinforcement activities involving coding with Visual Phonics symbols, and the use of visual references/charts. Utility is established for teachers when the Visual  Phonics cues become an effective teaching tool . . . and for students when the cues become an effective learning tool. Teachable moments – those unexpected instances when students appear confused, provide a “wrong” answer, or perhaps just don’t know -  provide excellent opportunities to connect sound and print with either Visual Phonics hand shapes or written symbols, and are often more powerful learning experiences than planned lessons. The decision about when, how much and how often to use Visual Phonics is based on how well teachers know their students and how observant teachers are relative to student understanding and response. Visual Phonics written symbols can be easily integrated into Word Walls, Sound Walls, Word family posters, and Sight Word displays. Specific information on implementation ideas can be found in a collection of articles under the Visual  Phonics tab on the Home [...]



Get Contagious!!

Nov 13th, 2010 | By

One of the joys I experience in teaching children and their teachers about Visual Phonics is to witness the “ahas” – those light bulb moments where you can almost hear the “click” of a connection being made. It is heartwarming to witness the excitement of a child when the connection between letters and individual sounds or chunks of sounds finally arrives after being elusive or confusing in the past. It is just as gratifying to see or hear teachers (no matter whether new to the teaching profession or experienced veterans) learn new ideas and strategies that change their teaching and how they look at literacy development. As a part of Visual Phonics courses I teach through Professional Development, teachers are required to write a paper and reflect on the questions with which they are provided. One of the questions deals with what teachers have noticed about the impact of Visual Phonics on their students – frequently, there are comments about students being excited, more involved in their learning, and showing more confidence. Since we’ve all heard “nothing motivates more than success”, I decided to share examples of comments I get to read on a frequent basis. One teacher shared what [...]



Preservice Reading Teachers in the Differentiated Classroom: A Rationale for Visual Phonics – by Marta J. Abele, Ph.D.

Sep 20th, 2010 | By

Editor’s Note: The author teaches reading courses at the University of Dubuque in Iowa. After becoming an enthusiastic supporter of See the Sound/Visual Phonics, she was asked to relate her experiences with her college students and their reactions to STS/VP. The following is her response, which includes a review of current research and a rationale for all teachers to include STS/VP in their reading programs. Background I love my job! For over 25 years I have either helped children learn to read, or taught aspiring teachers how to help children learn to read. As many teachers tend to do, we teach what we were taught. For example, I learned to read primarily by using phonics. My teacher stressed phonics as a useful strategy for figuring out new words, and it worked well for me. At least, I don’t remember struggling with the reading process. Therefore, I teach phonics in my college courses for the elementary reading endorsement. Even though phonics instruction was controversial for many years, I continued to think it was important and included it in my reading courses, rebel that I am. I begin each semester by asking my students, “How many of you were taught phonics as [...]



It’s Not the Years in Education . . .

Mar 8th, 2010 | By

I really enjoy ancient wisdoms and thoughts that cause us to stop and think, such as: It’s not the years in education . . . it’s the education in the years. Making the most of our collective and individual time with students is so important, especially when some of our learners struggle with literacy skills that come easily for their classmates. As a very wise colleague once said, “we need to have a variety of brain-compatible/sense-making strategies and activities readily available at all times”. Having a variety of ways to teach and learn touches all of the various combinations of learning channels, a very important consideration for struggling learners. We must find numerous, creative, unique and “fun” ways to connect sound and print, and we need to do that on a routine basis.  Multisensory strategies/methods can open windows of learning that had remained limited or even closed through traditional teaching/learning methods. Visual Phonics, a multisensory strategy for connecting sound & print, is opening windows of learning and helping to make sound-letter connections and “break the code” for many struggling learners. Since the brain loves repetition and patterns, the activities of gathering and sorting are naturally very “brain-compatible”. There are two [...]



We Do What We Are Immersed In

Mar 8th, 2010 | By

If we immerse our students in activities that connect print and sound utilizing Visual Phonics hand shapes and written symbols, they will use these “tools” when they are processing print without being told to do so (especially the visual-kinesthetic learners).  When the teacher models hand shape & written symbol use throughout the day and embeds VP hand shape/written symbol use into learning centers, the value of the method shows up due to  frequent, intense & dynamic implementation. Consider this piece of ancient wisdom: If you give a man a fish he eats for a day . . .  when you teach a man to fish he eats for a lifetime. When we immerse our students in Visual Phonics hand shape and symbol use, they will use them more often, and will do so independently. What a truly great way to empower our students!