Phonemic Awareness

It’s More Than Just A-B-C’s

When thinking about teaching kids to read, what comes to mind? Chances are, you think about the alphabet. We teach kids that catchy tune, slap some letter magnets on the fridge, and drag out the alphabet puzzles. That’s a great start! But what kids really enjoy is getting your feedback about how they’re doing with…

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Say No to Guess and Go!

Christy Williams Synthetic Phonics

Every parent in my school community knows about sight words. They may be called star words, snap words, or something else, but we know what they are. Early childhood classrooms feature from 25 to more than 100 words students must know on sight by the end of the school year. That’s not a problem—the fluent…

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Tear Down the (Word) Walls

My husband and I had a flat tire, and both of our phones were dead. (Note to self: Next overnight camping excursion- Bring phone chargers!) And, we had no spare tire. When a police officer stopped to ask if we needed help, we could not recall a single phone number of someone who could lend…

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How Words Work

After about 28 years of working with kids, striving to teach them to read and spell well, I’ve learned this: Our language is complicated . . . But it is teachable. We’ve all (if you’re reading this) learned to navigate the rough terrain of crazy word spellings, pronunciations, meanings, and usages. But, could you explain…

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Say No to Word Families

Teaching kids to read? Do not use word families. Here’s the problem: Let’s say we have a teacher who is spending a whole week focusing on /at/ words. You know— hat, mat, fat…  Next thing you know, the children see the words hated, mating, and father, and what children were taught is hindering them, not…

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