Posts Tagged ‘ learning ’

How to Facilitate Children’s Learning

Apr 6th, 2012 | By

By Dave Krupke and Jeff Knox Education is generally a series of adults asking questions – this has been so since the time of Socrates. Questions are asked with the hope or even expectation that the children will respond with answers that adults have pre-conceived, either by their own thoughts or based on what a subject-area curriculum tells them the answer should be. It can also be said that adults don’t ask questions for which they don’t know the answers. For adults, “sameness” is important – we want children to have the same answers as we do. Some educators feel it is important for children  to be able to explore their world and come up with their own reality. For this to happen, in the home or in a classroom, there must be a sense of shared learning – a perception on the part of both adult and child that curiosity and discovery are fun and have utility for making sense of the world. Shared learning, especially with young children, occurs when adults limit the number of direct questions they ask, such as “what’s this called . . . or what color is that?” When adults ask pointed questions, there [...]



There’s More To Learning the Alphabet Than Letter Names

Apr 3rd, 2012 | By

By Dave Krupke During four decades of service as a public-school speech-language pathologist in the mid-west, I have been in many preschool program settings – both regular education and special education. I have seen many focused attempts to teach letter names to 3, 4 and 5 year old children, ranging from making letters in sand tables, in shaving cream, with Elmer’s glue, with chalk, with large crayons, with markers, and by tracing a letter made from sandpaper. There were many teacher attempts to associate these letters with student names in the class and with common objects, but it dawned on me just a few years ago that there was one thing missing – there was little or no purposeful attempt to associate the letter sound with the letter name! As a result, I began asking teachers about why they did not specifically facilitate letter-sound knowledge and the typical response was that they thought that letter names needed to be taught first and the children would learn the sounds later. It struck me that this was a stark example of an unintentional instructional mismatch – the adult concept that letter names should be taught first in a systematic, linear way in [...]



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 [...]



Sleep On It

Apr 24th, 2011 | By

Found in a recent issue of AARP Magazine: our brains recall new information better if, after learning it, we get a good night’s rest or take a nap – this is according to recent research by Harvard Medical School.



Trouble Shooting for Early Literacy Struggles – The Role of Phonological Awareness Skills

Jan 17th, 2011 | By

Some students have difficulty acquiring emergent literacy skills in preschool and continue to struggle after entering Kindergarten. Both reading and writing are born out of the child’s awareness of the sounds of oral language, the association of sounds to letters, and the subsequent ability to map sound to print. Having the adequate literacy foundation skills of phonological awareness is a necessity. Research tells us that phonemic awareness is critical for reading and writing (especially blending and segmenting), so what is the difference between phonological awareness and phonemic awareness? Phonological and phonemic awareness are interdependent, with phonemic awareness being a subset of phonological awareness. Simply put, phonological awareness involves patterns and all units of sound (the chunks), while phonemic awareness deals with the phonemes or sounds (the pieces). Phonological awareness is innate – our brains are hard-wired for pattern-seeking. Phonological awareness involves the ability to hear/recognize and manipulate the patterns of oral language – words, syllables, rhymes, onsets, rimes, and alliteration, and is an auditory skill (no print involved). It also involves the sense of beginning, end and middle parts of words, as well as word play and the understanding that spoken words consist of sequences of phonemes. Phonemic awareness is [...]



The Gift of Inner Knowing

Dec 31st, 2010 | By

At the beginning of July, 2010, I spent a week with a group of educators from Ontario Canada – what an enriching and inspiring experience! We were there as Performance Learning Systems (PLS) instructors to share and learn more about collaborative inquiry, differentiated instruction and classroom management. When a group of experienced and passionate educators gather, discussions are never limited to the specific topics on the agenda . . . and such was the case at Brock University in St. Catherines, Ontario. Much of the discussion in the sessions and beyond involved teaching and assessment. To a person, the consensus was that real change needs to happen in education in Canada and the US in the ways we engage students in learning and in the ways we assess their learning. For our students to survive and thrive in a global society, more emphasis needs to be placed on thinking vs. regurgitation of information . . . and the assessment of thinking needs to move beyond “paper & pencil” methods. A traditional teacher role has been to impart knowledge as the expert and to have students parrot back information as “proof” of their learning . . . usually in “paper-pencil” assessments [...]



Neural Systems for Reading

Nov 26th, 2010 | By
Neural Systems for Reading

As more educators come to understand learning and the brain, teaching practices and strategies improve, benefiting all learners. The following is a brief summary of information from the work of Dr. Sally Shaywitz and Dr. J. Richard Gentry relative to brain systems for reading. Broca’s area (area A in Gentry’s diagram of the brain) is the Phoneme Processing Area. This is where subvocalization occurs . . a process that is slow and analytical and most likely to be used in the beginning stages of learning to read, according to Shaywitz and Gentry. This area might be activated when a K teacher has children shouting out the rhyming word in a nursery rhyme as they repeat a part in unison. Broca’s area is also the “speech” area, dealing with articulation . . . how sounds are formed in the mouth. The second area of importance is the Word Analysis Area in the parieto-temporal area of the brain (area B). This is where words are pulled apart and put back together, in essence, linking sounds to letters. It is my belief that the use of Visual Phonics hand shapes helps to activate this area. This is also slow and analytical . . [...]



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 [...]



The Movement-Brain Connection

Jan 16th, 2010 | By

Movement is the only thing that unites all brain levels and integrates the right and left hemispheres of young learners. Neuroscientists have discovered that the brain’s cerebellum, involved in most learning, operates at a high capacity during times of movement. Neuro-imaging studies have also shown that activity in the cerebellum is significantly reduced when people are in a negative state of mind – the result of stress, worry, or anger. © 2010  Dave Krupke  All Rights Reserved