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Phonics Needs Etymology, Too!

I’ve often encountered the argument that “there is no evidence that teaching etymology helps students.”  Well, I go back to Dylan William’s insights that we need to continue to challenge ourselves to think about “what might be,” about “what could be.” Here’s an  example. Spelling has always come very easy to me. Despite that, a few words […]

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Listen to Language!

  Once I started to realize what a system could teach me, I found some different resources and began to study the written language system itself. I needed to put the system of language in dialogue with the arguments of phonics and then see where I found myself. That dialogue looks something like this: Argument: Divide […]

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Get Close to the System

I’ve been talking a lot about research lately, and how it’s helped me understand my teaching practice in a bigger context. But as Dylan William says–and I agree–teachers should “be seeking to improve their practice through a process of ‘disciplined inquiry’.”  I also like that he says, “Educational research can only tell us what was, not […]

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More Research on Why Phonics Needs Morphology

The more I read, the more research I find to add to the piles of studies supporting the need to rethink phonics as inseparable from and governed by morphology and etymology. Here are a couple of single studies to mention that are of interest to me: In their study, Devonshire, Morris, and Fluck (2013), teaching 5 to 7 year […]

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The Jury is In: Phonics Needs Morphology

For a long time, I stayed with the program and taught common words like often, been, come, move, really, and two as irregular. I got to the point where I couldn’t stand doing it for one more minute. So I got rid of the irregular pile and shifted towards synthetic phonics in the style of the U.K. […]

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Piles of Exceptions

I started to think about word frequency. I began the mammoth project of collecting the 20,000 most common words. Armed with my corpus, I placed as many as I could into the extensive phonics scope and sequence I had been using for many years. I was going to fix this. A year and a half […]

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Word By Word

It was time to pay attention to the words I was teaching. I was carefully curating lists of words so students could practice the phonics rules I was teaching them. I was getting tired of dredging up the same words over and over: cactus, picnic, dentist, locate, remote, Chippendale, badminton and fig. In 2003, Sally […]

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Phonics, Systems, and More Systems

The OED defines phonics as a method of teaching people to read by correlating sounds with symbols in an alphabetic writing system. And therein lies the problem but I didn’t know it yet. For several years I continued to search within phonics, immersing myself in all kinds of  workshops and professional development offerings. The one […]

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When Phonics Made Me a Problem Child

But not me, never one to be too sure. When Kim, David, Brad and Kevin turned into Caty, Blake, Jessie, and many more, I turned my focus away from Whole Language and taught them using phonics. It wasn’t like today. Phonics, in fact, was highly out of favor. I attended a meeting at the same […]

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Don’t Feed Flippy!

Many colleagues in education remain certain. If you hear something about Guided Reading, Reading Recovery, Balanced Literacy, Leveled Literacy, Fountas and Pinnell reading levels, RAZ Kids, miscue analysis, running records, word walls, and probably more that I’m unaware of you might be looking at a similar premise with a new name. Just last week this […]

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