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From: Marie Cora (
Date: Thu Jun 09 2005 - 11:15:12 EDT

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Subject: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:1095] FW: [AAACE-NLA] Basic Question on reading instruction
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Hello everyone,
The following post is from George Demetion.  He is interested in hearing
what your thoughts might be on his variation of the Wilson Reading
System structure.
As part of our Basic Literacy program we utilize the Wilson Reading
System, which is a phonemic-based instructional program.   We also
provide a contextual session per week where students work with a broad
range of topics through what is commonly referred to as a balanced
approach to reading development.
 One of its advantages of the WRS is that it provides a systematic
sequential approach to sound-sight mastery.  One of its disadvantages is
that it provides a systematic sequential approach to sound-sight master.
Currently, students in Books I and 2 don't get exposed to long vowels
sometimes for 2-3 years, as it may take that long for a fair number of
very basic new readers to progress through the materials.
Here's my thought to which I would appreciate some feedback:  maintain
the sequential approach for those working in Books 1 and 2, but save
10-15 minutes per session for comparing and contrasting one or two
syllable words with short and long vowel sounds.  This way, there is
some exposure to long vowel sounds in the phonemic-based program, which
students encounter in the other session anyway, but on this approach
they would do so in a more intentional comparative way.  Then, based on
my theory, when they encounter syllables and words with long vowels they
will have developed at least an informal knowledge base to build on in a
more systematic way when they're ready.
My argument is based on the assumption that learning to read combines
routine practice with already developed skills with the capacity to make
inferences and learn by association as well as through more overtly
stimulus-response mechanisms.  While staying with the general systematic
framework of the WRS sequential system, it also allows for some
adaptation to accommodate learning needs that would not otherwise be
I pose this as an open-ended inquiry question, which I anticipate will
stimulate a fruitful exchange.
George Demetrion

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