Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Early Reading and Writing Ideas Using Blends, Part 1

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Oct 5, 2017 4:22:33 PM

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This is a guest blog post by Dr. Geraldine Haggard, who is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. It is the first post in a series about building literacy with early readers.

As I pondered ideas for this blog, I decided to visit my old friend, Marie Clay's Becoming Literate, from my days of training in Reading Recovery. Clay reminded her readers that the young reader is not only learning words or letter-sound knowledge, but they are learning how to use each of the sources of information as they read and write. They can then link new strategies to current reading and writing activities and become more successful.

STATEMENTS FROM “BECOMING LITERATE” THAT DOCUMENT THE ROLE OF LETTER KNOWLEDGE

  • Page 41: “Beginnings of literacy is more than learning letters, words, and letter relationships”.
  • Page 53 contains a caution about ‘decentralization’ of letter knowledge and the need for use of continuous texts.
  • Page 87 encourages teachers to attend closely to features of letters in writing experiences.
  • Page 314 cites that there are two variables used by children to derive sounds and meanings from words: direct visual perception and the use of spelling to sound.
  • Page 320: Clay states that young readers use information from sounds, shapes, and layout of text.
  • Page 87: The importance of writing is stressed because of its providing opportunities for students to access letter knowledge in different ways.
  • Pages 322 and 323 stress the importance of providing learning activities as they read and write that enable them to develop the articulate awareness of phonology and print.
  • Page 325 contains this quote from Clay: “My experience in the longitudinal monitoring of progress of the early instruction was that letters, sounds, words, and word analysis were accumulated gradually over a period of time because the child learned different ways of working with print.”

 

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WHAT WAS CLAY SAYING TO US?

Those of us who have taught for many years have seen many changes in the ways that literacy skills are taught. My teaching experiences began in 1949. Basal readers were my only tools. Real writing and composing thoughts were not present in the early years. In the 80’s children were encouraged to share thoughts in writing, but modeling and child’s ability to proof and the analysis of his writing was not often present.

The national and state standards used now in our schools demonstrate the importance of the language arts’ multiple faceted programs: reading, writing, and even inclusion of content areas. Phonology is still important, but taught as a tool for reading and writing.

We model and help the students recognize and begin to use new strategies as they read and write. Letter knowledge is such a strategy. Letter knowledge involves letter identification, letter formations, phonology, word parts, and all aspects of written language. We should model and provide practice for the child as he combines new and already acquired strategies in real reading and writing activities.

Instruction of a phonetic blend is more than learning to produce the sound slowly. It involves vocabulary development and use of the blend in in various listening, speaking, reading, and writing settings.

The second part of this blog will provide ideas for doing this using Hameray’s Letter Buddies.

>> CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS BOOK <<

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Geraldine Haggard is the author of several books from our Kaleidoscope Collection. She spent 37 years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, teaches in her church, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children. 

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For more information on the books mentioned in this blog post, click the series highlights images below or click this link to visit our webpage for the Letter Buddies series.

Letter Buddies Blends Sales Sheet

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Topics: Letter Buddies, Blends, Letter Learning, Geraldine Haggard, Reading Recovery, Double Consonants, Kid Writing

Dr. Richard Gentry Explains Why Students Can't Write

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Aug 16, 2017 4:29:43 PM

 

Dr. Richard Gentry, "America's Spelling Guru" and one of the authors of the new professional book Kid Writing in the 21st Century, shared a blog post on Psychology Today yesterday explaining why students can't write, what to do about it, and how to use this great new tool to accomplish more in the classrom than you may have imagined possible. Here's an excerpt from his post:

Kid_Writing_Book_250.jpgSo what do educators need?

We need to be child-centered in the context of meeting kids where they are functioning—when they enter kindergarten. We need to motivate children as writers. It’s crucial to teach basic skills like spelling and handwriting explicitly. Children need a dictionary of academic words in their brains that they can retrieve for writing. Children have to listen to or read poetry as well as good fiction and nonfiction literature to feed their brains as writers. Writers have to have academic vocabularies and deep knowledge for thinking. And vocabulary and background knowledge have to be taught—especially for children in low-income neighborhoods and for English Language Learners who don’t grow up in an English language-rich environment.

To accomplish these curricular objectives teachers need proven, evidence-based practices that have grown from both progressive education and basic skills movements.

The not-so-new wakeup call exposes an important education policy problem on which all educators see eye to eye: “The root of the problem, educators agree, is that teachers have little training in how to teach writing and are often weak or unconfident writers themselves.” (Goldstein, p. 8) The problem—lack of preparation for teaching writing at their grade levels and lack of “knowing how to get started”—is evidence-based and reported by educators in both approaches' camps, with multiple studies showing that (1) how to teach writing isn’t taught in teacher preparation programs and (2) teachers in both camps report lack of confidence.

The Goldsteinaug article poses the question: “Could there be a better, less soul-crushing way to enforce the basics?” For kindergarten and first grade teachers or anyone working with beginning literacy, the answer is “Yes, there is a way.”

Want to know more? You can read the rest of Dr. Gentry's Psychology Today post by clicking here.

>> CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS BOOK << 

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Topics: Kindergarten, Teaching Writing, First Grade, Kid Writing, J. Richard Gentry

Writing Prompts for Kids!

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Jun 8, 2017 2:12:00 PM

Writing activities are essential for both the teacher and the student. With creative writing prompts, the student practices language and writing skills while the teacher gets a glimpse into the thoughts of every student, even the shy and quiet ones!

To make sure that writing remains fresh and exciting for children, it’s important to present different writing prompts throughout the year. Kid Writing in the 21st Century, Hameray’s newest professional book, provides a plethora of creative and unique writing prompts for any classroom: 

Kid_Writing_Book_500.jpg1. New Adventure Books. If students don’t know what to write about, encourage them to create new stories about their favorite fictional characters like Mrs. Wishy-Washy or Mickey Mouse!

2. Author Studies. Have students research the author of their favorite book by reading the back flap or looking at the author’s online website. Then, have students compile the information they learned into writing!

3. The Ouch Pouch. If students experience an injury or illness, have them write about their experiences on a paper shaped like a Band-Aid. Place the writing into a bag labeled the Ouch Pouch and allow the student to share their writing with the class.

4. Personal News Stories. Allow each student to make their own newspaper centered on their life: what is good news, bad news, and entertainment news that they think is newsworthy? By creating a multi-article newspaper, children will be writing informational stories about various aspects of their personal life. Journalism also encourages students to think about their audience while writing.

5. Yuck Menu. After reading Mud Soup from the Kaleidoscope Collection, ask each student writes and draws something yucky to add to the soup. Compile their work into one big class book called Yuck Soup!

>> CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS BOOK <<

This blog post only features 5 of the countless writing prompts included in Kid Writing in the 21st Century. For more classroom writing ideas, make sure to check out the book!

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Click the left image below to download information about Kid Writing in the 21st Century, a professional book written by Eileen Feldgus, Isabell Cardonick, and Richard Gentry. 

 Kid Writing in the 21st Century Brochure

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Topics: Creative Activities, Writing Activity, Kid Writing

5 Research-Based Practices for Kindergarten and First Grade

Posted by Tara Rodriquez on Jun 5, 2017 3:35:57 PM

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Kid Writing in the 21st Century authors Richard Gentry, Eileen Feldgus, and Isabell Cardonick have been featured in a guest post over on the Psychology Today blog. The post details some of the research-based, classroom-tested practices and strategies that have been shown to help kids learn to write. Here's an excerpt from the post:

1.  Use invented spelling. We found invented spelling to be joyful, motivational for our students, and wonderful in terms of providing opportunities for scaffolding and systematically teaching almost all important aspects of the kindergarten literacy curriculum including phonics, phonemic awareness, knowledge of the alphabet, writing conventions, and vocabulary development. But perhaps the most amazing discovery throughout our journey was that kids had remarkable capacities to make meaning if we supported them in the process and allowed their creative juices to flow.

2. Abandon teaching letter of the week. Teaching one letter per week was standard practice in kindergarten when we began teaching. We tried our best to jazz up our teaching of the alphabetic principle because we knew it was essential to breaking the code and reading.

3.  Use a developmental writing scale to monitor progress. Even before we published the first book on Kid Writing, we were collaborating with Richard Gentry on how to use a developmental spelling/writing assessment along with a developmental rubric to show how young children’s progression through five phases of developmental spelling revealed—among other things—the individual child’s understanding of phonics and his or her invented spellings as evidence of what the child knew or did not know.

4.  Let go of worksheets! We found that teaching and learning in our classrooms improved when we abandoned worksheets.

5. Teach children to stretch though a word with a moving target. Our stretching through technique helped kids move from l for lady in Phase 2 to lad in Phase 3 to ladee in syllable chunks in Phase 4, on the way to conventional lady. The stretching through technique met kids where they were and supported them in moving to higher levels of spelling sophistication from phase to phase.

(read more)

The book Kid Writing in the 21st Century explains in great detail how to most effectively implement these practices and strategies. It includes reproducibles and a strategy guide to make adopting this process in your classroom quite simple.

>> CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS BOOK <<

For more information on the book, click the image below to view or download a brochure.

Kid Writing in the 21st Century Brochure

 

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Topics: Kindergarten, First Grade, Kid Writing, J. Richard Gentry, Eileen Feldgus, Isabell Cardonick

A Better Path to Reading Success: Richard Gentry Discusses Kid Writing

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Apr 13, 2017 3:42:00 PM


Author Pages_Richard Getntry-1.jpgJ. Richard Gentry, affectionately known as "America's Spelling Guru," is an internationally acclaimed author, researcher, and educational consultant. He is also a co-author for Hameray's upcoming professional book, Kid Writing in the 21st Century: A Systematic Approach to Phonics, Spelling, and Writing Workshop, which will be released in May 2017.

Last week, Dr. Gentry published an article in Psychology Today, "Landmark Study Finds Better Path to Reading Success." The article proves that a young student's reading and writing skills go hand-in-hand. In other words, writing in the classroom will also boost students' reading scores!

In his article, Dr. Gentry cites a study by Gene Ouellette and Monique Sénéchal that was published earlier this year (2017). This study advocates for "invented spelling"—a young writer's "self-directed and spontaneous attempts to represent words in print" (Gentry). Through invented spelling, a student might incorrectly spell a word, like "KN" for the word "can." However, meaningful learning is still taking place—invented spelling requires the child to draw upon phonics and sound-symbol correspondence, which are two essential reading concepts!

Invented spelling even promotes a student's cognitive devleopment:

The human brain generally gets better at whatever it practices—including invented spelling. Reflection about how to spell a word allows the child to actively practice making decisions, rather than passively memorizing. This active practice likely results in synaptic changes in the child’s brain by strengthening neuronal pathways for long term-retention of spellings to be retrieved for reading and writing.

Dr. Gentry stresses the fact that writing exercises are win-win activities for a teacher—they improve writing AND reading skills!

Ouellette and Sénéchal found a direct line from invented spelling leading to improved reading scores at the end of first grade. In their carefully crafted longitudinal study, they found invented spelling to be “a unique predictor of growth in early reading skills, over and above children’s alphabet knowledge and phonological awareness.” Now that’s a huge finding! 

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Kid Writing in the 21st Century further explores the research ideas stated in Dr. Gentry's article. In addition to explaining invented spelling in greater detail, the book also provides example lessons to encourage students to invent spellings. Dr. Gentry, Eileen Feldgus (Ed.D.), and Isabell Cardonick (M. Ed.), share their real teacher experiences and literacy lesson ideas. Incorporating the wisdom of its authors and the newest 21st-century research, Kid Writing is sure to become your go-to professional text!

Kid Writing in the 21st Century will be released in May, but you can reserve your copy today at this product link!

 

 

 

 

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Click the image below to view a brochure about Kid Writing in the 21st Century!

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Topics: Kindergarten, Teaching Writing, First Grade, Kid Writing, J. Richard Gentry

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