Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Teaching Reading

I am currently in the process of completing a PhD in English/literacy education from the University of Maryland, College Park.  This being my background has caused me to have an intense passion for developing strong readers.  I am pretty “old school” when it comes to this and my views on literacy education come from time I spent with a lady by the name of Sylvia Brown.  It was a very long time ago and I was just out of college.  You may not have heard of her, but she has a company called Simply Phonics.  She travels the country teaching educators that the best way to develop strong readers is to simply teach phonics.  That being said, I do not push sight reading. It is necessary, but I do not make it the emphasis.  Of course it may take a little longer for you to see the fruit, but if a child has a strong grasp of phonics, they will be able to attack most words…no matter how long the word is!  I have seen it happen with my current class.  Most are in early readers, but I often will present them with a longer word or more challenging literature.  At first they will frown up and feel insecure, but I just simply say, “You know each letter in that word.  Sound it out.  Use what you’ve learned.”  And before long they are working on it and figure it out!  I love the look of pride on their faces when they do it! 

There are two main ways that I teach sight words.  One way is by using the word wall.  As we are reading our books throughout the day, if we see a word that fits the phonics rules but still is difficult for the kids to remember, I will place it on the word wall.  The second way is I have created The Word Jail!  All throughout the day, when students and I find words in our everyday reading that do not fit any rule, then we write it on index cards and throw it in a crate.  About two times a day, I pull the cards out of the crate and we read them off.  Then I have the kids tell me why it is a “criminal word” (criminal words are words that break the phonics rules). 

In the months to come, I will share more ways that I teach reading, but hopefully this gives you a nice snap shot…


  1. Discover a Surefire Method to Teach Your Child to Read

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    It is the combination of synthetic phonics and phonemic awareness. Most have probably heard of phonics, but phonemic awareness is a concept less well known and ?it's not something you hear about often. Certainly, phonics is absolutely necessary to develop fluent reading skills; however, there are different types of phonics including embedded, analogy, analytical, and synthetic phonics. While using some type of phonics is better than not including any phonics instructions at all, you will achieve FAR BETTER results by employing synthetic phonics, which is by far the most easy and effective method for teaching reading. Multiple studies support this.

    In a 7 year study conducted by the Scottish Education Department, 300 students were taught using either analytic phonics or synthetic phonics. The results found that the synthetic phonics group were reading 7 months ahead and spelling 8 to 9 months ahead of the other phonics groups. At the end of the 7 year study, the children were reading 3.5 years ahead of their chronological age.

    Very impressive!

    Through their amazing reading program, the creators (Jim & Elena - parents of 4 children and reading teachers) have taught all of their children to read phonetically by 3 years old and have helped thousands of parents to successfully teach their children to read as well! Some are small 2 or 3 year old toddlers, others are young 4 or 5 year old preschoolers, and still others at ages 6, 7, 8 or even older.

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    The Children Learning Reading program works so well that many children will achieve reading ages far ahead of their chronological age.

    Take Jim & Elena's children as an example: their oldest child, Raine, was reading phonetically at 2 years 11 months old, and by the time she entered kindergarten at 5 years old, she was reading at a grade 5 level with a reading age of 11.9 years - almost 7 years ahead of her chronological age. Their second child, Ethan, learned to read phonetically by 2 years 9 months, and at age 3, he was reading at a grade 2 level with a reading age of 7.2 years - progressing at a similarly quick pace as his older sister. Find that hard to believe? You can watch the videos posted here.

    There are many different phonics programs out there, but rarely do you ever hear a mention of phonemic awareness (PA), and PA is absolutely an equally critical component to developing reading skills in children. What makes the Children Learning Reading program so unique and amazingly effective at teaching young children is that it seamlessly combines the teaching of synthetic phonics along with phonemic awareness to enable children to develop superb reading skills.

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