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For most fluent readers, it can be hard to imagine how the sight word "have" can be tricky for emerging readers. Yet many parents drilling the Dolch sight words find "have" is misread over and over again, made to rhyme with "gave" and "behave". The child is likely making this mistake because he or she is diligently applying the guidance that a silent final E makes the preceding vowel say its name. And for many English speakers, that's the only purpose known for a silent final E. But, that only explains half of the words with a silent final E and has nothing to do with why there is a silent final E in "have". So, why is there a silent final E in "have"? Check out rule #3 in the list posted here: Rule 3 states that English words do not end in I, U, V, or J. The silent final E in "have" is there to prevent the word from ending in V, just as... read more

Have you ever wondered what spelling bee champs know about spelling? I have, and my research led me straight to the 31 spelling rules as taught in the Logic of English method. These simple yet powerful rules explain 98% of English words when coupled with 74 phonograms. While that may not be enough to win an elite spelling bee, its a huge step forward for everyday literacy. The 31 rules are posted here: While most are remarkably simple, they are quite powerful. Consider how the very first rule explains the answers to these tricky word equations: picnic + ing = picnicking notice + able = noticeable Rule 1 states that "C always softens to /s/ when followed by E, I, or Y. Otherwise, C says /k/." Thus, picnicking gets its K because without it, the word would say /picnising/. Likewise, noticeable retains its E because without it, the word would say /notikable/. I'd love... read more

English is widely regarded as being full of exceptions, and often logical/literal learners struggle with the ways in which it is commonly taught. Fortunately, though, there is logic to our language, and methods have been developed that carefully distill it into a limited number of spelling rules and phonograms. These concepts are quite simple to learn but very powerful in application, transforming English from a confusing jumble of exceptions to a deliciously rich and robust code. An introduction to these concepts is posted at The entire video is informative and inspirational, but if you’re pressed for time and want to sample some of the real meat of the content, jump ahead to the 20 minute mark and watch for about 8 minutes. I'd love to hear what you think. Is this content helpful? Did you learn anything new? Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

My youngest grandson just started Kindergarten this year. As his class was beginning a unit on colors, the students were instructed to wear a different color shirt each day for the first two weeks. His older brother is in second grade and to help the younger ones learn their colors, the older students were invited to join in by wearing the same colors on certain days. Neither one of my grandsons owns a purple shirt, so their mom and dad felt they had to purchase them in preparation for “purple day.” I can understand their thinking, however, I wonder about those children whose parents cannot afford one extra shirt, much less two new ones. Of course, every child wants to fit in and feel like they belong, but I feel strongly that classrooms (and schools) place too much emphasis on the so-called fun activities that usually involve spending. Even though wearing the color of the day is optional, I believe younger students might worry about being different than everyone else, more so... read more

If you have never read, "All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" by Robert Fulghum,  I suggest you get a copy.  The main idea of this book is that we learn most of what we need to know in the first year of our formal education. I can attest to this. My daughter just started Kindergarten last week. As much as this is a change for my husband and I, it is even more of a change for our daughter. Even though I am a teacher and a tutor, I am a lifelong learner too.  Here is  what I have learned about Kindergarten so far:   1) Kindergarteners have an attitude: This attitude varies from uncooperative to cooperative...our daughter has confirmed this fact. Be prepared for any and everything !   2) Your child needs a good night's sleep:  Not only to function at school but in life as well. School buses have an annoying habit of arriving 5-20 minutes later than they are supposed to and if your child oversleeps, you will be... read more

Is your preschooler ready for kindergarten? It seems like every state, school and teacher wants different skills from your preschooler! There are different areas of development that parents need to think about before they answer this question. The first is cognitive, which some people think is the only area of development. They must know the letters of their name, count to 10 and name 8 colors. The next area is motor development. Children should be able to write their first name, cut out a circle and jump with both feet. Next area is social development. Children should have at least one friendship, follow rules and routines. The next area is their self help skills. They should be able to take care of all bathroom needs, be independent from parents and take care of their belongings. This is just a guideline and if you are asking this question then it is better to be cautious. Children start school at 4,5 and 6 years of age. All develop at different rates. Some may have special needs... read more

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