Making Speech Visible
FINALLY! My book, Making Speech Visible, is done and published!  It has been a major preoccupation for the last year.  I have tried to synthesize my 35 years of reading research into a simple and readable book for parents and educators. I am 74 this year, and there comes a time when you want to put...
To Teach Reading, Start with Speech
Speech is the foundation of reading, but we teach from print-to-speech, rather than from speech-to-print. A four or five year old may have difficulty generating natural curiosity about two-letter blends or the number of syllables in a word (as taught by traditional phonics instruction). Likewise, there...
Teach Reading Properly from the Beginning
Recent brain studies are concluding that the automation of letter-speech sound processing takes many years to develop because it is not just the learning of an association, but a neurobiological integration process involving the linking of speech and reading networks. The young reader must combine a...
The Danger of Teaching “Sight Words”
I read a question from a parent yesterday (on “Classroom Talk”), asking how to help her child learn the long list of sight words that the first grade teacher gave her child. This is my response: “Children in first grade should not be given lists of sight words to memorize. They should...
Phoneme Awareness vs Phonics?
The National Institute for Literacy has some good tips for teaching phoneme awareness (being able to identify the separate sounds in words) a critical skill for learning to read. However, they suggest that 20 hours of class time should suffice for teaching phonemic awareness. Since close to 70% of...
A Simple Gift That Lasts for a Lifetime: Teach Your Kids to Read
At this time of gift-giving, when money is tight, why not give your child a gift that won’t cost you anything but time and love, and will last a lifetime.  Here is a recipe for getting started: There are 18 FREE decodable booklets in pdf form on our website. Print out the first booklet “IS IT A...
Are you teaching phonics backwards?
“One of the most fundamental flaws found in almost all phonics programs, including traditional ones, is that they teach the code backwards.  That is, they go from letter to sound instead of from sound to letter.” Louisa Moats, 1998 What do you think about this quote from Louisa Moats? How...
Learning (not memorizing) will make reading FUN
This blog post from Imagination Soup suggests as the first of 5 ideas for kids who hate to read: “1. MODEL. Read the page or sentences first.  Have your child repeat.” This strategy may help a child memorize the appearance of the words.  It does not give a child tools to decipher words on his own. Research...
Assessing Your Child’s Phonics Skills
Children sometimes do well on reading tests in first or second grade because they are good at memorizing the visual appearance of words. You think they are doing fine! However, when they get to third grade, they may start experiencing more difficulty because they encounter many more words that begin...
Storing Reading In the Closets of the Brain
The most common way to introduce children to the alphabet code is to link letters-to-sounds in order to decipher or “decode” words on a page—that is, to read.  Children are shown letters or clusters of letters and are told that those visual squiggles on a page represent sounds or words.  But...
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