Posts Tagged ‘ reading ’

The Challenge of the Squiggly Lines

Jan 11th, 2013 | By

The Challenge of the Squiggly Lines Providing staff development offers many opportunities to interact with educators. Some are willing to share their thinking during the training sessions via questions and statements that call for “clarification”. Some thoughts and/or questions reflect a sense of doubt or skepticism, while some are just searching for confirmation of their thoughts & ideas. One of the concerns that is expressed during Visual Phonics trainings involves the thought that adding written symbols under print will confuse students, more so for those who struggle with the “code” of English and are already confused by the variability of the sounds that letters represent. This concern is logical from the perspective of educators whose concept of early literacy skills is founded in letter knowledge, with letter-sound knowledge in a secondary position of importance. I have given this question a great deal of thought through the years. The fear of confusing students with additional characters in the print field would appear to be valid if students viewed both letters and Visual Phonics written symbols as the same kind of “squiggly lines” on the page. At first glance, both are squiggly lines that represent something and that is where the similarity [...]



We’re Lost But We’re Making Good Time

Jan 13th, 2012 | By

By Dave Krupke The title is one of the many famous quotes from Yogi Berra. I remember watching Yogi play for the storied Yankees of the 50s. Baseball was different then, as were many things. Life was simpler in the 50s, education was pretty basic, and many of us did OK. At least where I grew up in rural America, I would say most of us did OK . . .  because I do remember a few kids in my school who really had trouble learning and there didn’t seem to be any extra help for them. My, how things have changed today. We have Title One, Learning Strategists, Literacy Coaches, Resource Teachers, Reading Specialists, Interventionists, RTI Consultants . . . just to name a few. Education has endured – or should I say that students have managed to survive – numerous shifts in educational philosophy in the 50 years since I was a student in school. I was lucky enough to learn to read easily and have many fond memories of riding my bike to the library and going up what seemed to be an endless and steep staircase to the library – it was above the fire station [...]



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 [...]



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 [...]



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 . . [...]



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 Value of Visual Phonics Training for Pre-Service Teachers

Apr 15th, 2010 | By

Visual Phonics has been an added strength to our Elementary Education program reading endorsement at the University of Dubuque. Today’s preservice teachers are well aware of the latest brain-compatible research for learning. Therefore, they understand the positive impact that VP can have on helping children to learn to read. When they are observing out in the schools, our preservice teachers are now seeing classroom teachers using VP with their early readers. The classroom teachers are very impressed that our students are able to jump in and reinforce the VP hand shape cues. The VP training has also added a unique element to their college resumes, and in some cases, resulted in an elementary teaching job offer! One surprising result of the VP training has been the impact on some college-level readers. In several cases, students have said that it has helped them improve their reading skills, even at this stage in their reading development! One college student preservice teacher said, “I always had trouble distinguishing between vowel sounds when I was learning to read. I struggled back then with reading, but VP has helped me now. I know it would have helped me become a better reader if I had been exposed to [...]



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 [...]



Too Much Screen Time: Cultural Changes Which Affect Reading

Jan 15th, 2010 | By

By Dr. Ann Harvey, Associate Professor of Reading, Western New Mexico University Young children spend much time in front of a screen.  Whether it is a TV screen or a computer screen, there seems to be one result:  the child’s near point vision development suffers.  Even the American Academy of Pediatrics has noticed the problem because they have recommended that no more than one to two hours of quality TV, video, or internet be viewed each day for older children and no screen time should be given to children under the age of two.  Beginning readers need to have all the physical benefits of learning to read with minimal effort.  Since 80% of information gathered is visual, this is an important aspect of learning.  Having both eyes move, align, fixate, and focus as a team enhances the ability to interpret and understand the potential visual information that is available.  Extra effort spent on getting print in focus should be used on comprehension efforts. An emergent reading assessment measures problems with eye movement, as well as cognitive, motor, social-emotion development and concepts of print.  The information that follows will offer simple remediation efforts to correct delay in the eye movement development. [...]