Fun with Phonics

Learning to Read while Having Fun! ADHD, Vision, Speech and Dyslexia,


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SuperMan or SuperWomen

Posted by readingbooks52 on June 23, 2013 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (0)

 Superman or SuperWomen

My husband and I went to see Man of Steel last night.  There were familiar analogies between God and Clark Kent –Superman. The coming to earth from another place, the waiting to show who he was until the time was right. When I was watching the movie I kept thinking that we all have super powers that God gave us. 

You may ask yourself what super powers do  I have?  Each one of us is blessed with certain innate talents called treasures. It is these treasures and passions that we share with others.  Our artistic talents, diplomacy we have with other people, or even the ability to teach others. Each of us deep down inside has a superpower just as Clark Kent – Alias Superman does.  When Clark was a boy he had unusual powers that he did not know what to do with. It took time for him to develop these special abilities just as it takes time for us to realize the potential we each has inside us


We are   growing and changing all the while becoming a better person. Courage is an essential ingredient of developing your superpower. To be bold, to take the next step in unchartered waters, and to do it because your gut tells you it’s right. Whether, it’s fine tuning your skills as a writer, speaker, teacher or photographer. Believing in yourself and have the hope, faith and courage to take the first step towards your superpower and sharing it with others is the ultimate goal.


Remember the boy who found a way to send pizza’s to Afghanistan so soldiers could have a little bit of home while overseas?. Or the teacher who saw the plummeting grades in reading and wanted to do something about it. She quit working at the school and developed her own program. For the young boy and teacher it took time to realize what their superpower was: Now that they both realize what their treasure is ,and  they are making a huge difference in the world. Children are being successful in their quest to become strong readers  just as  the boy builds up moral for the soldiers who  desperately miss their families. We all have a superpower so what is yours?


Betty Davis




The Seemingly Revolutionary Idea that Children Can Read By third Grade

Posted by readingbooks52 on May 25, 2013 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (2)

As I previewed this article I fel great sadness for many of our students who feel they are incompetant and that reading isn't for them, They feel they are less intellgent that the fellow students. Those feeling are just not true. Not every child learns in the same way. If your child is not a visual learner than they  will have trouble learning how to read using whole language. Many education experts have figured out that this system does not work. It has been proven n the nations declinng literacy rates. With over 33% of fourth graders reading below basic level. 

Some schools do teach some phonics but not well enough. To truly teach phonics ou must teach the patterns in order for children to feel comfortable with what they are learning.Knownf the patterns instlls confidence and great spellng and writng. A great analogy is when reading with whole language you are tryng to find your way through a jungle and not sure exactly which way to go. While a child who learns through systematic phonics the path s clearly marked so the child is able to be confident and successful in their journey to becoming successful/ Our country needs leaders not followers.

My program adjusts the program to the needs of the ndivdual all through musc, art and games. If something s fun the child wll want to keep dong it at the same time they are learning to read.. To enusre your chld's success or for more informaton press the contact me button.

New Student

Posted by readingbooks52 on May 25, 2013 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)

After four weeks my newest student can not only read fluently but understands the short vowels, digraphs, and some of the long vowel patterns. I am amazed at the progress that this student has made in such a short time. This student could not read when he first came to me. He is presently in seventh grade.

The Eight Splendid Truths of Becming a Great Reader

Posted by readingbooks52 on May 14, 2013 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (0)

The Eight Splendid Truths of Becominga Great Reader

The veryfirst truth for a child to become a great reader is to be read to when thechild is very young or even preborn. The baby in the womb of the mother canhear your voice. It is soothing and comforting and builds on what they willbecome later a great reader.

Reading toyour child everyday builds their listening skills and focus. Children whoseparents did not read to them have trouble listening in a school environment.Children are engaged at the visual detail present in the books. They are ableto connect the pictures with the text and find the books fun and engaging.

The nexttruth is that the child sees the parent reading. The child will want to readand acquire a love for reading when they see their parents reading. Parents aremodeling to their children how important reading is.

The thirdtruth is for your child to actually see what you are reading about. Forexample: if you are reading about farm animals and you take your child to achildren’s zoo. The children is able to feel touch and see the animals. In thatway they are building connections in their brain and better able to understandwhat the story is about.

The fourthtruth is teaching the alphabet starting with lowercase letters beforeuppercase. The reason for this is simply that most of our text is written inlover case. As a parent of two grown daughters now, I enjoyed and loved eachminute of teaching them how to write their letters. This step is so much fun. Iused any material shaving cream, pudding mix, erasable crayons for the windows,sand, and play-doh. Children love swirling their finger in materials andexploring how to write. 

 The fifth truth, once they can recognize thealphabet it’s time to teach the sounds of each letter. Having childrenrecognizing the sound of each letter will help them read worlds fluently andeffectively. Learning the patterns of the words as in cat, bat and sat willmake reading enjoyable and fun.

The sixth truth:as your child grows and matures he or she already knows the patterns of thewords, but what about the blends digraphs, and long vowels. If this is nottaught in your local school please invests in a phonics program or find a localtutor that can assist in teaching the tools. Reading is like a garden, we plantseeds in their brain. But if we do not water the seeds with the proper toolsthe seeds just lay there and they will not take root.

The seventhtruth: Have a family reading night. As the child grows spend time reading achapter or two of a book that maybe two hard for them to read yet but one thatis appealing to them. Many parents I have come to know have read Harry Potteror other such books to their children. Reading builds an imagination so the more they read the smarter theybecome. The more they practice the more they will enjoy it.


The Eight Truthis fun: all the steps I have given you should be employed through fun. Withoutthis key ingredient reading may not be as enjoyable. Play games use an alphabetmat to spell words or recognize letters, scrabble, boggle, hangman, or a hostof other games not mentioned her. Fun is the key to reading success.

Children oftoday are the light and hope of our future giving them the keys to knowledgewhen they are young will give them the seeds that will take root and grow andmultiply into a very smart and passionate reader.

Reading isfun it takes away stress and become smarter because of it.



Reading is like a Garden

Posted by readingbooks52 on April 22, 2013 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (6)

Reading is like a Garden

Every time we read weare planting seeds in our brains. The more we read the more seeds are plantedand our roots begin to expand.

On a bright but windy day in spring seeds are being tossed in the air looking for a new home to sprout and grow. Just as the seeds of knowledge is looking for a home to grow and expand inside of us.

Reading is the root of discovering and exploring what we learn. The seeds are the curious and interesting facts in which our minds can grow and the more we read the more theroots expand.   Reading is expanding on what we read:  drawing on the experience that  the roots expand  an ,leaves start growing off the stem of the plant and more and more flowers continue to grow.

Just think of the beauty of the precious red rose when it  comes to full bloom. In a similar wa ywhen  after  much time and effort  we too bloom intoinnovators, teachers, inventors, and many other professions that we each havethe expertise at.

Reading, discovering,and exploring are all necessary in seeing the beauty in each of us has to offer. As we journey down the unfamiliar trail of knowledge we can become more confident, curious and creative. So yes, reading is like a garden the more we read the more intelligent we become.


Reading is an Adventure

Posted by readingbooks52 on April 9, 2013 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Reading is an adventure for us to discover. It is through reading and comprehending that we discover what the adventure is. Reading gives you the hidden meaning that you may have been looking for.The unanswered question you have been searching for.  Whenever we read we are discovering something new, something unexpected and wonderful. It is the piece that fits tthe puzzle.When we read we gather knowledge, but when we keep reading we build upon the foundation in our minds that will give us the treasure we are looking for. Itis the one piece that makes everything make sense.

Now think about a child you know that does not enjoy reading because he or she does not read well. Children or adults, who can read but cannot comprehend or interpret the message the author is trying to portray, is missing out on the greatest gift and adventure. Just as if you are making a cake but the key ingredient is missing. You and the other guests won’t enjoy is as much as if you had all the ingredients in the cake.

What happens to the child who does not enjoy reading? He or she may think it’s boring and   shows no interest in reading. If a child thinks its too hard and has to struggle they are uninterested. . Reading should be fun and exciting. A recent study concluded that if a child cannot read fluently by third grade that he or she will eventually dropout of school.  We all know that as the child progresses in school the text and reading gets harder and more complex.


What can we do as a community to resolve these problems?

Here are some warning signs that  a child may need help

Read sthe words but doesn’t know what he or she just read.

Ask them to point to the word and tell you what the word is and they don’t know.

Can’ tread the words or stumble over them

Child does not know enough vocabulary words to determine what the author is trying to say.


A Seemingly Revolutionary Idea -- that Third Graders Should be Able to Read

Posted by readingbooks52 on April 3, 2013 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (0)

A Seemingly Revolutionary Idea -- that Third Graders Should be Able to ReadAllan C. Brownfeld Salem-News.comWith the growth of the third grade-retention program, we finally seem to be asking the right questions.



(WASHINGTON DC) - It recently made front page news (The Washington Post, March 11, 2013) that thirteen states last year adopted laws that require schools to identify, intervene and, in many cases, retain students who fail a reading proficiency test by the end of third grade. Lawmakers in several other states and the District of Columbia are debating similar measures.

Advocates of these policies report that social promotion---advancing students based on age and not academic achievement---results in high school students who can barely read. Educators say that third grade is the place where children are no longer learning to read but are reading to learn. If children haven't mastered reading by third grade, they will find it hard to handle increasingly complex lessons in science, social studies and math.

Literacy has declined dramatically among American students. Thirty three per cent of all fourth graders nationwide were reading below basic levels in 2011. For minorities, the picture is worse: half of black and Hispanic fourth-graders were below grade level in reading.

According to a recent study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, children who don't read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of school than those who read well.

The philosophy of third grade retention received a major boost in 2002 in Florida under then-Gov. Jeb Bush, who promoted an education strategy that also featured private school vouchers, data-based assessments for schools and teachers, charter schools and online learning.


Mary Laura Bragg, who ran Florida's third-grade retention program, said it forced elementary schools to get serious about literacy. Principals moved their best teachers to kindergarten and first and second grades, she said. "I saw a sea change in behavior," Bragg said. "It's a shame that it was the threat of retention that spurred these schools into doing what they should have been doing all along."

In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich signed into law the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, which says that starting this year, third-graders who fail a statewide reading test won't be permitted to enter fourth grade. Similar laws are going into effect in Indiana, Iowa, New Mexico and Colorado.

In the years of slavery, it was illegal to teach slaves to read. At the present time, laments commentator Colbert King, who is black, "Nearly 20 per cent of adults in the District of Columbia cannot read the black history month proclamation by our nation's first black president. They aren't alone. Only four in 10 D.C. third graders are proficient readers. Put another way, the majority of D.C. third-graders are not developing the essential foundation for success in life: reading skills....Now, 150 years after the Civil War, our nation's capital, home to a significant number of African Americans, has too many residents who cannot read...the works of Frederick Douglass or the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King...Our city's most basic challenge is to teach children how to read and write and, equally important, how to use their literacy to gain control over their lives, foster their economic well-being and help lift up their community."

The decline in basic skills---such as reading---has been under way for many years, as public school systems experimented with a variety of philosophies which downgraded the teaching of reading, writing and mathematics. There was a time, in the 1960s and 1970s , when educators quite consciously decided to de-emphasize the teaching of intellectual skills in favor of the inculcation of social awareness and the psychological enhancement of the individual student.

Catherine Barrett, a former president of the National Education Association, stated in 1972 that, "We will need to recognize that the so-called 'basic skills,' which currently represent nearly the total effort in elementary schools, will be taught in one-quarter of the school day. The remaining time will be devoted to what is truly fundamental and basic."


Even the time which was devoted to teaching children how to read in these years saw a rejection of the time-tested method of teaching reading----phonics----and replaced it with a new, and far less effective method, known as "look-say."

The look-say method operates on the principle that a child learns to read by reading. Instead of sounding out each letter, the child focuses on the whole word to build his "sight vocabulary." Look-say books include various gimmicks to help a child guess a word. By contrast, phonics concentrates on letters and their sounds before introducing children to words and stories.

Using the look-say method, students guess at words. Using the phonics method, they read them. Use of the look-say method, says Rudolf Flesch, who captured public attention more than 50 years ago with his book "Why Johnny Can't Read," has "produced children who couldn't accurately read unfamiliar words. From the fourth grade up, textbooks in all subjects had to be 'dumbed down' to accommodate them. Grade promotion had to be based on age rather than achievement. High school diplomas were given to functional illiterates. Colleges had to adjust to an influx of students who couldn't read. The national illiteracy rate climbed year after year."

Finally, the fact that large numbers of third graders cannot read at grade level is attracting national attention. Why has it taken so long? Sadly, too many in our educational establishment have had a vested interest in defending programs and "innovations," no matter how well intentioned they may have been at the beginning, which have failed dramatically. The results are so dire that they can no longer be ignored.

In Florida, the third-grade retention program has shown positive results. A study which tracked third-graders retained in Florida found that they showed significant academic gains in the first two years, but those effects faded over time. Still, fewer students have been retained each year since the policy took effect, which suggests the emphasis on early reading is having an impact.

After leaving office, Jeb Bush created the Foundation for Excellence in Education. The foundation has lobbied and provided help to state officials and lawmakers who want to adopt third-grade retention laws.

Mary Laura Bragg, now a policy director at the foundation, says that,"Our mission is to help spread reform state by state, and a K-3 reading policy is one of those that states are very interested in."

When concern first arose about student reading levels, some in the educational establishment blamed the students themselves, rather than the manner in which basic skills were being taught. At that time, Mary L. Burkhardt, director of the Department of Reading of the City School District of Rochester, New York, based upon her own long experience as a teacher of reading, said: " appeared to me that students' reading difficulties were not of their own making and could be solved by improving the reading instructional program within the schools. It is time to stop asking, 'What's wrong with Johnny?' It is time to ask ourselves: 'What must we do to teach Johnny to read?'...The child who is truly reading disabled is very rare. When children are taught to read in a structured, teacher-directed instructional program, they read. When this is not done, many children experience difficulty and are then mislabeled dyslexic, an excuse."

With the growth of the third grade-retention program, we finally seem to be asking the right questions. It is high time.


Creativity without alot of Reading: By Melinda Beck

Posted by readingbooks52 on April 3, 2013 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Dyslexia Workarounds: Creativity Without a Lot of Reading By MELINDA BECK Like this columnist ArticleVideoComments (42)more in Health & Wellness » smaller Larger facebooktwittergoogle pluslinked inEmailPrint Save ↓ More

Office of the Governor Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, seen touring a disaster area, is dyslexic. He says listening to recorded books for the blind helped him get through written material faster.

Actor Henry Winkler was told he was stupid. A teacher labeled Dan Malloy, the future governor of Connecticut, "mentally retarded." Delos Cosgrove recalls "hanging on by my fingernails" in high school and college before becoming a thoracic surgeon and the Cleveland Clinic's chief executive officer.

Each has dyslexia, a condition that makes reading difficult but has little to do with intelligence. Mounting evidence shows that many people with dyslexia are highly creative, out-of-the-box thinkers, and neuroimaging studies demonstrate that their brains really do think differently.

A growing list of entrepreneurs, politicians, writers, actors and medical professionals struggle with dyslexia but work around it. Actor Henry Winkler shares his personal experience, and WSJ's Melinda Beck breaks down the latest research, on Lunch Break. Photo: Getty Images.

That helps explain the long list of entrepreneurs, inventors, scientists, actors and other professionals, doctors and lawyers who have excelled despite, or perhaps because of, their affliction, experts say.

Related: A Gifted Student Learns to Thrive With Dyslexia

"There are people who are dyslexic that you could never imagine," says Sally Shaywitz, co-director, with her husband Bennett, of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity. When they give talks on dyslexia at high-powered gatherings such as the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, she says, "We can't walk down the hall without people pulling us aside and saying they think they have it, too."

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Michael Eric Bérubé PIPER OTTERBEIN: 'They were just drilling things into me that were never going to stick.

Cleveland Clinic DELOS COSGROVE: 'One of the things dyslexics learn is they have to try harder.'

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Everett Collection Henry Winkler (left, with Mark Feuerstein) said 'I was like a terrier biting the mailman's pants.'

Celebrities who have spoken out about having dyslexia: Actors: Orlando Bloom, Whoopi Goldberg, Anthony Hopkins, Keira Knightley, Henry Winkler Director: Steven Spielberg Lawyer: David Boies Writers: John Irving, Wendy Wasserstein, Philip Schultz Politicians: California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy Scientists: Nobel Laureate Carol Greider, Paleontologist Jack Horner Historical figures believed to have had dyslexia: Leonardo da Vinci, Alexander Graham Bell, Albert Einstein, Ben Franklin Source: WSJ reporting

The Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Cosgrove says he relied on memorizing texts in medical school, and reading hasn't gotten easier for him. He says he has never read a novel and told his staff he'd rather hear about any problems in person than read a report.

But, he says, "I frankly think dyslexia is a gift. If you are supported in school and your ego remains intact, then you emerge with a strong work ethic and a different view of the world."

As many as one in five Americans has some degree of dyslexia, according to Yale research, although only about 5% of children have been formally diagnosed. And it clearly runs in families; six gene variations have been linked to the condition to date. Dyslexia was long thought to be a vision-related problem, but there's a growing consensus that dyslexics instead have difficulty associating letters with spoken sounds and blending them together fluidly to make words. Neuroimaging studies can even pinpoint what goes awry.

Reading typically involves three distinct areas of the brain, all on the left side. The parieto-temporal region, just behind the ear, and the inferior frontal gyrus, at the front, slowly analyze words. The occipital-temporal area farther back recognizes the whole word instantly. Scientists think a word's meaning, pronunciation and spelling are stored there too.

Imaging studies show that the best readers have the most brain activity in the rear, instant-word-forming area when they read. Dyslexics have much less activity there and more in the two slower areas.

"Think of the word 'bat,' " says Dr. Shaywitz. "If you are dyslexic, you have to retrieve the B and the A and the T separately each time. It's exhausting."

Dyslexia can't be cured, but imaging studies show that some remedial programs that help children learn sequential sound-letter relationships can rewire those circuits. Without such help, dyslexics may become accurate readers, but they never read fluidly. They often have problems spelling, writing, reading aloud and pronouncing words.

That's why experts urge schools to give students with dyslexia extra time on tests, waive foreign language requirements and grade separately for creativity and spelling. But many schools don't, according to a federal report commissioned last year by the Congressional Dyslexia Caucus.

Among dyslexics who succeed, Dr. Shaywitz says many "give up their social lives and everything else to spend more hours studying. They are very bright, but they are terribly anxious and think, 'I've just been fooling everybody.' "

Other children with dyslexia become discouraged early on and continue to fall further behind their peers, even if their IQs are high.

Helping them access information in ways other than reading can be critical, experts say. Audio books and computer programs that can turn written text into spoken words and vice versa can keep their minds stimulated and vocabulary growing.

Gov. Malloy credits his mother for believing in his potential and giving him a radio to listen to at night. Having to read slowly helped him master complicated issues as he went from a New York City prosecutor to mayor of Stamford, Conn. He was elected governor in 2010. But even now, he says, "I have to stop and call each word up and do the best I can."

At auditions, Henry Winkler memorized scripts in advance or ad-libbed if he forgot. "Some people got upset that I wasn't reading the words, but I told them I was giving them the essence of it," says Mr. Winkler, who played Fonzie on TV's long-running "Happy Days" and many other roles. He is the co-author of 23 books for children in the series "Hank Zipzer, The World's Greatest Underachiever," about a resourceful fourth-grader with dyslexia.

Jack Horner's reading ability is so poor that he says he bought shampoo for dogs instead of people recently. He left high school in the 1960s with all Ds and flunked out of college.

Mr. Horner also made some of the most spectacular dinosaur finds in the Western hemisphere. He won a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant, has two honorary degrees, inspired a character in "Jurassic Park" and is curator of paleontology for the largest Tyrannosaurus rex collection in the world.

How did he do it? He took a low-level museum job and worked his way up. And as he tells his students at Montana State University: "If you're the first to do something, you don't have to read about it."

Other people with dyslexia find that they thrive only outside the world of reading and writing. "Find what you love and enjoy it," says Piper Otterbein, a high school senior from Cape Elizabeth, Maine, whose talk at a TEDYouth conference has become a YouTube sensation. After years of tutoring and remedial classes, she dropped English, math and French and has found her passion, and self-esteem, in art and design. "I decided my creative brain is the one that suits me best," she says.

Many adults with dyslexia say life does get easier, even if their reading skills don't. Secretaries, co-authors, book editors and spouses can take dictation, spell and proofread. "There are very few times when adults are judged on being timed in reading," unlike the standardized tests kids take in school, says Tyler Lucas, a New York-based orthopedic surgeon who realized he was dyslexic after his daughter was diagnosed with it.

The proliferation of smartphones, video chats and other technologies may also make the future easier for people with dyslexia, he adds. "Reading is just one way of communicating—and in the future, I think it won't be as important as in the past.

Where is Your Next Adventure

Posted by readingbooks52 on March 28, 2013 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (0)

According tothe dictionary the word adventure means: an exciting experience or bold undertaking involving uncertainty and risk. Where is your next adventure?  Remember when your little toddler took his or her first steps? They were taking a risk, even though as a parent you reassured them and modeled how to walk. It’s scary for each little one to be bold and take the step towards an amazing experience.  Or remember when your child spoke their firstwords how proud and excited you were?

How about your five year old that runs home to tell you he or she can read or ride their bicycle. Each one of these discoveries takes courage and confidence to achieve.Even though your child is uncertain of the outcome it was their sense ofadventure that is instilled in each one of us that helps us to explore the amazing world around us.

For Children every day is an adventure: they are always learning something new and exciting.but life is an adventure not just for children but for all of us. Just as children say their first words, or walk for the first time we as adults also expand our horizons and through our willingness to succeed despite the risk involved. Each one of us in some way has explored new and innovative ways tomake life better for ourselves and others. Just look at the achievements injust the last 12 years. We have the use of a cell phones, Bluetooth, and I pads and much more.

Another way to experience a sense of adventure is through reading. Reading gives you the knowledge and imagination you need to dream: to discover and visualize as if you were part of the story. Take a trip with your favorite author without ever having to leave your house. But more than that reading gives you a sense o fcontentment.

We should never lose our sense of adventure because without it life would be dull,uninteresting and boring. Reading can give you the ability to dream, to be boldand to undertake difficult challenges, so my question is   where is your next adventure?

Betty DavisAuthor of The Worldly Adventures of Nicholaas



5 Lessons in Life

Posted by readingbooks52 on March 25, 2013 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

1. Today you are you there is no one truer than you

2. Why fit in when you are born to stand out.

3. You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.

4. Be who you say you are and say what you feel because those that mind don't matter and those that matter don't mind.

5.Today I shall behave as the day I will remember.