It’s Not the Years in Education . . .

Mar 8th, 2010 | By | Category: Visual Phonics

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 basic types of sorting – one based on the concept of inclusion and the other based on the polar concept of exclusion. Inclusion involves recognizing features/characteristics that are the same or associated, while exclusion involves recognizing a feature/characteristic that is different and serves to set one thing apart from a group of others. Sorting can be done in a variety of ways involving the use of pictures, words in print, and Visual Phonics hand shapes & written symbols.

Research tells us that the single most significant factor in student learning success is the relationship between the teacher and the student. Theodore Roosevelt  once said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” The same reasoning applies to students – students don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care.

In closing, consider this two-pronged investment in your students – make the most of their years in education by first showing them that you care and then arm yourself with a variety of brain-compatible/sense-making strategies and activities that will supplement and enrich the curriculum.

© 2010  Dave Krupke  All Rights Reserved

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17 Comments to “It’s Not the Years in Education . . .”

  1. Marcia says:

    I am a resource specialist. I work with learning challenged K-4 students in small groups for about 1/2 hour to 1 hour per day. Some are very weak in phonemic awareness, creating problems in both reading and spelling. I am most concerned about the reading. (These are all hearing students.) Would I be able to implement Visual Phonics with such limited daily contact and would it be effective if mine is the onley setting it’s used in?

    • dkrupke says:


      Yes, implementing Visual Phonics (VP) during just the time you see these students would be effective. While it is true that also having VP used in the classroom would be an even better benefit, we are finding that using VP as a targeted intervention that focuses on phonemic awareness (as well as the phonological awareness skills of rhyming recognition and syllable sense) in a systematic way does bring an uptick in student achievement. As a resource specialist, you can hone in on skills each of your student needs and make the sounds involved in those skills visible & concrete with VP hand shape & written symbol use. The process of mapping sound-to-print is critical to reading, and VP helps remove potential confusions about what sounds the letters represent.


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