I'm sharing more ideas that I learned from my LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) workshop from a couple of weeks ago. The instructor, Carol Tolman, was brilliant and inspiring! She really knows her stuff! Here are more of the things I learned from her:
1. First grade Reading/ Literacy Instruction should be 40% Word Work. The other 60% should be Guided Reading, Writing, Oral Vocabulary, Oral Comprehension, and Handwriting. The word work percentage goes down slightly through the grades as the children get older.
2. Handwriting is 85% linguistics and 15% fine motor skills.
3. Fifty two studies have proved that phonological awareness is essential for reading success. Quite often we need to back struggling readers up to this point. (Phonological awareness are the skills that we could do "in the dark", before we start matching sounds to letters. This refers to "Which word has the same sound as a in hat?" or "Which word rhymes with log?"
4. No word ends in a single s unless it's plural. That's why words like horse and house have the silent e. If house were spelled hous, it would mean "more than one hou". I honestly can't think of any exceptions to this!
5. Words never end in j or v either. That explains the spellings of words like have and huge. Final e has several purposes, besides making a vowel long.
6. The spelling tch occurs after a short vowel, with ch coming after a long vowel or "vowel team". There are a few exceptions like such and much, but most words follow this pattern. I never knew this, and I had a tch in my maiden name! (After a short vowel, of course!)
7. Phonics should be taught through 6th grade (or later, if needed). After 3rd grade, kids respond better when it's called Advanced Word Study or Linguistics, but it needs to be taught daily.
8. When "air writing", have children start with their shoulders, not arm or hand. This makes a bigger neuron trace in the brain.