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How to teach students to spell the homonyms: there, they're and their: ' 1)THERE:  THERE contains the word HERE.  If you can substitute the word HERE in the sentence, use THERE.                 Example:  Put the chair over there.  ("Put the chair over here" makes sense. Therefore, use THERE in this instance).    2) THEY'RE:  Contraction for "THEY ARE".  If you can substitute "they are" in the sentence, use they're.                      Example:  They're going to a party. ("They are going to a party" makes sense.  Therefore, use THEY'RE in this instance).   3)THEIR:  THEIR contains the word "heir" which denotes ownership. Make sure the student understands the definition of the word "heir".  Use "heir: in a sentence. (The prince was HEIR... read more

One of the difficulties with the English language is that there are often multiple ways to represent the same sound. For example the long a sound can be seen as <ai> as in rain or <ay> as in play. It can also be spelled as just an <a> or in the combination of <a> consonant <e>, such as lane. Then there is the allusive <eigh> as in neighbor or weigh. The process of spelling is hearing a sound, then making a choice on what graphic representation (letter, or letters) will spell that word correctly. Sometimes we choose incorrectly.    There are two methods I use that help with spelling. One is the Orton-Gillingham method. This looks at syllables to determine pronunciation. They are rules, such as <ay> is used at the end of a word, like play, way, say. The other method focuses on looking at the meaning of a word and determining the pronunciation after the meaning is gathered. This method addresses all the words we can "weird"... read more

Yes, there is a cure for dyslexia. However, the cure is unreachable for most students. Every child facing the dyslexia label needs an individual "toolbox" with unlimited learning supplies. Those "toolbox" supplies need to be (1) whatever teaching methods (even sometimes) make learning easier for that child, (2) unlimited access to educators whose primary concern is raising the student's self esteem, (3) a waiver from having to read aloud or do math problems in front of the entire class, (4) unlimited access to pictures, stories, and hands-on activities, (5) unlimited access to appropriate technology, (6) information broken into smaller parts and/or color-coded, (7) notes, formulas, word-banks, mnemonics, modified assignments, and (8) a total acceptance of outside the box (giving the student the benefit of the doubt) types of problem solving.   Educational challenges come in about as many shapes and sizes as there are children in schools. The "One... read more

Handwriting is a kinesthetic activity. Kinesthetic memory is thought to be the earliest, strongest, and most reliable form of memory within the human language learning experience.   Research results support the importance of learning handwriting, letter and word-forming skills activity as a factor in learning to read. Handwriting is thought to aid (spellers) in remembering orthographic patterns.   Specific frequent spellings are used for each of the consonant and vowel phonemes in English. Handwriting develops recognition for the patterns and application of the rules, increases fluency, improves legibility and assists in organization of thoughts.   Spelling typically improves with increased handwriting legibility. Letter tracing and copying aid fine and gross motor skill(s) development and promotes necessary skills for reading and writing. Instruction in writing and spelling often comes before instruction in reading thus efforts to promote... read more

EX: New Feature: Spelling /ay/ at end of word, as in play or stay.   Engaging guided discovery using magnets. Teaching spelling for a sound unit that has more than one spelling option requires imprinting with specificity. Guiding the student in a discovery experience, rather than ‘talking’ an explanation can accomplish this.   For example: There are many ways to spell the phonemic sound: long/a/. Where long/a/ comes at the end of a word like play, guided discovery technique using magnets is one recognized method for demonstrating to the student where the sound falls within the word, and on that basis, how to spell the sound when in that position.   In the word /play/, student pulls down one magnet for each phoneme (sound) heard (not the letter name). Student pulls down 3 magnets saying their individual sounds simultaneously to the movement of its corresponding magnet as follows: One magnet for /p/, one for /l/, and one for the long /a/ sound.... read more

i. Individual instruction: O.G. approach typically pairs teachers with students on a one to one basis.   ii. Diagnostic and prescriptive: As a warm-up and review at start of every lesson consisting of letters and sounds already taught: The process of learning to read goes from symbol to sound, thus symbol recognition must be the first drill segment engaged for instructional emphasis. Inclusion at the start of an O-G lesson plan provides the basic foundation for the remaining lesson plan. This Visual Flash-Card Phonogram Drill develops students' decoding ability through the constant random repetitive visual recognition of all the individual letter symbols while simultaneously performing the repetitive exercise of verbalizing their corresponding phonemic sounds. This is a support action, which serves to consistently reinforce cumulative integrated learning.    iii. Automaticity directed: As students confirm accuracy in decoding they move toward automaticity... read more

Developmental dyslexia is characterized by an unexpected difficulty in reading experienced by children and adults who otherwise possess the intelligence and motivation considered necessary for accurate and fluent reading. Dyslexia is a specific languagebased disorder affecting an individual’s ability for acquiring proficiency with different language forms including reading, writing and spelling. It is characterized by difficulties in single word decoding, usually reflecting insufficient phonological processing abilities owing to a congenital neurological disorder. These difficulties manifest in varying degrees and are typically unexpected in relation to age, cognitive and academic abilities.

Today, I overheard a little boy tell his mother, " I be going to play with my friends," and I almost jumped out of my skin. Over and over again, I have heard small children speak grammatically incorrect and their parents do nothing to correct them. The adage, "The children are our future", is more important than many know. The next generation that is being raised and groomed will be the future leaders of the world, the ones who will decide the important moves that the world will make, and by speaking grammatically incorrect, they are being hindered from reaching their full potential. What is worse, I have heard other children on several occasions completely eradicate the verb (as well as other important parts of speech) from their sentences, or completely destroy the entire structure: "She ready...He finna go...I be at my daddy house...Him tired." All of these instances are from not only the lack of not being properly taught, but picking up on the parent(s),... read more

Are you frustrated with homework nightly wars, confused about your smart child who can't spell, amazed by your child's brilliance despite his low reading ability?  View this newsletter and video seminar from Bright Solutions for some support.

After spending hours learning about vocabulary, verb tenses, adverbs and adjectives you're probably wondering when you will ever have use for it in the real world. I was always pretty good at grammar and spelling and have found those skills to be invaluable. Something as simple as writing an email requires proper grammar. Have you ever cringed at something written on the internet where someone incorrectly used there, they're or their? Having good writing skills and being knowledgeable about grammatical syntax will set you apart in job applications, reports for your bosses and supervisors, articles about how to perform the latest skateboard tricks, and even speeches and presentations. Incorrect spelling can be very costly for a business. I once went into a bank where they were running a special promotion. I pointed out that they had incorrect spelling on their posters. Posters are not cheap to produce and therefore it probably cost that bank tens of thousands of dollars to correct that... read more

Education subjects:     Computer programming subjects:

Identify all 20 consonant letters of the alphabet. (Consonant letters make the sound.)   Identify 2 for 1 consonant combinations (two letters one sound). Highlight all consonant combinations one color.   Identify 6 short and long vowels of the alphabet.  Highlight short vowels one color and long vowels a separate color.   Identify vowel combinations.  Highlight all vowel combinations one color.   Highlight silent letters with your choice of color.   Highlight "c" when it has an "s" and a "k" sound.   You can only hear a sound, but you can't see it.      

Poetry is one of those literary genres that instill a fear in students, particularly in the middle school arena. Metaphor, sonnet, acrostic, haiku, rhyme, prose, or free verse are examples of hundreds of poetry terms and forms. Confusing for a young impressionable mind to absorb, poetry is often a subject to avoid, and if unavoidable, often solicits a desire to cheat to succeed. Throughout the internet, are sites where students ask questions soliciting someone to explain or write them poetry to complete a homework assignment. Poetry is not a written or spoken form to be feared, rather should be the educational tool that teaches reading, writing and the arts as no other single genre is capable. Writing poetry ought to be fun allowing students to express their feelings, beliefs, and experiences without the restriction of initially teaching them to write and interpret forms of poetry that are difficult for most to understand and usually result in a lifelong hatred of... read more

Five tips for surviving the summer slump! 1. Spend time getting physical exercise - it keeps the brain active. 2. Read as much as possible - choose books that interest you, not just what might be on your school's summer reading list. 3. WRITE - write a journal about what you did during the summer, places you went, reflections on books you read. 4. Limit the time you spend on computer games. 5. HAVE FUN.

For parents who are trying to do any of the following: 1. Engage your child in reading 2. Increase your child's reading skills (fluency, comprehension, rhythm, expression, tempo, etc.) 3. Increase your child's language acquisition, vocabulary, grammar skills, and spelling skills This blog post is for you!!! There are some really unique ways to help your child become a "reader." I myself wasn't a "reader" until about the age of 10. Up to that point, though I loved books and collected books and asked for books for birthdays/holidays, I was not a reading self-starter. However, I loved being read TO! At the age of 6, I took a great interest in Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books. Not only, was I fascinated with the time period (late 1800's), I also found a kindred spirit of sorts in Laura. She stood up for things in which she believed strongly, she was stubborn, and she was short! I found a heroine that was very much like me! So... read more

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