Posts Tagged ‘ patterns ’

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.  [...]



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 [...]



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 [...]



Sameness and Difference – The Brain’s Sorting Processes at Work

Mar 5th, 2010 | By

Organization is hard-wired into our brains – our brains love patterns and repetition of interesting and meaningful information.  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. At the foundation of how we organize is the strategy of sorting. Sorting involves reasoning about “belonging” and “not belonging” . . . or inclusion and exclusion. 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”. The sorting process can be as basic as “is” & “is not”. For example, when teaching young children about the color “red”, it is “brain-friendly” to use a variety of real objects, some of which [...]



Won’t the Students Be Confused?

Feb 2nd, 2010 | By

It is not unusual for a teacher or administrator to ask this question during a Visual Phonics training, workshop, or class: “Won’t students get confused by the Visual Phonics written symbols when they are trying to learn their letters?” This line of reasoning appears to come from the observation that learning the letter names is not always easy for students and that the letters of the Alphabet are also “symbols” . . so if they are unsure or confused by letters, why wouldn’t they be further confused by Visual Phonics written symbols? At first glance, that would be a logical conclusion . . . however, with a closer look at the characteristics of letters and the characteristics of the Visual Phonics written symbols, a different picture appears. Consider this – a symbol is consistent in what it represents – it represents the same meaning no matter where it shows up. Letters can be described as “squiggly lines” which are not consistent in what they represent. Sometimes they represent their “default” sound(s) (the typical sounds that are taught in preschool and Kindergarten) and sometimes they don’t. For example, the letter A can sound long in “ate”, short in “apple”, like a [...]



Teaching & Learning Routines

Jan 16th, 2010 | By

Some thoughts on routines: žDaily routine of review – tailored to what needs to be learned or reviewed . . . involves teacher & student use of hand shapes along with visual display of written symbols associated with print žOnset-rime pattern routine – Gentry’s “hand spelling” žCoding routines – “tricky parts” – teacher or student-led žDifferentiating – “This is how it sounds . . This is how it looks.” žSyllable type recognition – melding sound to letter patterns ž ž ž



Brains and Reading

Jan 16th, 2010 | By

Our Brain – a Pattern Synthesizer Brains love patterns and repetition, and are hard-wired to copy. Our brains actively search for patterns to categorize, organize, synthesize information, code them into memory, and then retrieve them. Language is full of patterns, including rhymes, syllables, words, sentences, songs, and poems. Language also has patterns of sound, known as alliteration. Phonics is the patterns of print. As there are many phonics “rules”, it isn’t necessary to memorize the rules but to recognize the patterns and apply them. . Richard Gentry (Breaking the Code, 2006) states that “the brain of a literate person has an enormous capacity to sort through the thousands of letter combinations on a page of print and find the regular patterns within it by chunking. . . . The reader/writer/speller must learn to chunk strings of letters into discernable patterns . . . Without recognition of the patterns, skilled and automatic reading cannot happen.” . In a 2008 article in Educational Leadership – “Why Phonics Instruction Must Change”, Jeannine Herron states that “early instruction determines how the brain organizes itself for reading . . .  and “for most children, the first experiences with letters and words dictate how the brain [...]