[ReadWrite 560] Phonemic awareness and ESL learners

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Michael Gyori tesolmichael at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 2 17:52:32 EDT 2010


Greetings all,

A work partner of mine who is a literacy specialist and I have both used Joan Knight's Starting Over. 

I have most recently used it with a Cambodian lady who, beyond pretty much knowing the Latin alphabet (and who has basic Khmer literacy), could barely decode the simplest of three-letter words. After thoroughly covering the first 13 of 169 lessons with her, I stopped using the book. One reason for that was that she was attending a beginning-level adult ed class for the 3rd time - and while she could participate in the oral interactions, continued to make no sense of the textbook being used.

In light of that, I decided to start using a pre-decodable and decodable book series being used at an elementary school.  I was frustrated with the strong phonemic emphasis and strict sequential design of Starting Over and the use of rather difficult words for L2 learners.  Now, we are working with the ESL text she is using in her adult ed class, and she is making steady progress.

In the case of ESL-literacy, at least, my experience is that decoding already orally/aurally familiar words makes for a much more meaningful and fruitful experience.

Michael


Michael A. Gyori
Maui International Language School 
www.mauilanguage.com




________________________________
From: Maureen Carro <mcarro at lmi.net>
To: The Reading and Writing Skills Discussion List <readwrite at nifl.gov>
Sent: Fri, April 2, 2010 7:50:03 AM
Subject: [ReadWrite 558] Re: Reading, spelling and social disadvantage

I agree with Stephanie that attention needs to be paid to phonemic awareness.  Some programs take a good deal of training, and expense though.  One program that I think is good, multi-sensory, and not expensive is one called "Starting Over" by Joan Knight.  It consists of a series of lessons.... with accompanying guide for each.  Each lesson begins with simple blending exercises, such as /a/  /m/.... and on the teachers page, several words are included that are intended to spark discussion and build vocabulary.  A sentence can be  written, for example, with ambulance, amber, mammoth, or mammal, or marinate, or manners, etc.  Students can construct the sentences, and the teacher can write on board for copying or students write themselves, depending on the level.   The program also includes handwriting and alphabetizing.... which I  state is an "organizational system needed in lots of jobs."    Students with language difficulties often have
difficulty with the sequence of the alphabet.  It also has a very good "screening" that includes a guide to an interview and a battery of 10 short tests.  You will see right away who needs this based on the tests.  They are included in the manual.  I think the program is good, especially if you want to get in some "background knowledge"  and vocabulary in preparation for the GED subjects.  The vocabulary words they suggest, or ones you can decide on yourself, can develop background in  the "content areas" through discussion.  I think it allows for some variety and depth while concentrating on a single phonemic concept.  You can build a nice lesson around what is given to you.  

"Starting Over" is available through Educators' Publishing Services, epsbooks.com.  Not expensive and sometimes they provide samples to download.  If you want "something in a nutshell" , this could be it. 


I do like Wilson also, but it is more expensive and requires more training. 

I also like a program called Reading Horizons... it has both workbook and computer lessons that the student can practice individually after a concept is taught.  It is not too expensive to get a license for a few computers....It works practice in decoding and encoding. 

If you have a bigger budget, Lexia puts out some good, but more extensive, and expensive software.  Students reading so low, need LOTS of practice....  BUT, the concepts should be taught first.... the computer is for re-enforcement and practice which helps move things along and stay interesting to the students.    




Maureen Carro, MS, ET
Academic Learning Solutions
Alamo, CA 
mcarro at lmi.net



On Apr 2, 2010, at 8:01 AM, Stephanie Moran wrote:

Wilson is a good program—any true multi-sensory program including Lindamood-Bell/Orton-Gillingham. IMO, without serious attention paid to phonemic awareness, we only band-aid most reading problems. Keep the faith and definitely incorporate Wilson faithfully as well!

>Stephanie

> 

>From: readwrite-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:readwrite-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of kate maloy

>Sent: Thursday, April 01, 2010 4:33 PM

>To: The Reading and Writing Skills Discussion List

>Subject: [ReadWrite 556] Re: Reading, spelling and social disadvantage

>

>What great ideas!  I am in charge of creating curriculum for a pull out program for low level literacy students in a "GED Prep" class ( in a cohort of 30 students in my program, I am sicovering that at least 1-2 students are reading below a 4th grade level).  The idea is to take these students out of class for at least an hour in order to work with them individually or in groups.  I know we must work on fluency and decoding, but what I would really love is if you all could share lessons, activities and programs that work (should we use Wilson?).  Are there books out there that you like?  I need all the help I can get. 

>

>

>

________________________________


>From: "Luffman, Tina" <Tina.Luffman at yc.edu>

>To: The Reading and Writing Skills Discussion List <readwrite at nifl.gov>

>Sent: Wed, March 31, 2010 11:20:51 PM

>Subject: [ReadWrite 552] Re: Reading, spelling and social disadvantage

>Hi Kate,

>

>

>I have made PowerPoint presentations of the first two minutes of oral reading of a text. Then I record these PowerPoints in Jing with my voice narrating the text. I play these for the students, and then I have them read the same text from the beginning during class immediately after listening to my modeling example. I have them choose who goes first, and the first reads to the second for 30 seconds. Then we switch partners, and the second person reads the same passage for 30 seconds. Then I repeat, so students have read the same passage 4 times before we are done. Students are then to read the remainder of the passage and do the homework afterwards. This activity is one I heard about at the SWADE Conference in Phoenix.SWADE is the Southwest Adult Developmental Education version of NADE. Students like this better than when I have them read aloud in class one at a time to the entire group. It creates a better safe zone for those who are not proud of their

reading ability. If you are interested, you can create a Jing account for free atwww.jingproject.com.

>

>

>Here is a sample of a reading of A Mother's Answer from New Worlds http://www.screencast.com/users/tluffman/folders/Jing/media/d701713e-b17f-4358-bb5f-6413f0741908

>

>

>Tina Luffman

>

________________________________


>From: readwrite-bounces at nifl.gov [readwrite-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of Val Yule [vyule at labyrinth.net.au]

>Sent: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 3:16 PM

>To: The Reading and Writing Skills Discussion List

>Subject: [ReadWrite 551] Re: Reading, spelling and social disadvantage

>Kate, 

>1. Have you tried paired reading with a student?  This sort of paired reading can work - First pages of a book/article  are read mostly by you, but gradually the student reads more words-  http://home.vicnet.net.au/~ozideas/lpaired.htm  until you are reading paragraph about.

>

>

>2. Phonemic cribs, such as 'sed' for 'said' - either underneath words or in another transcription on the page or on a separate page.  Students might end up spelling phonemically, but at least they can read, and can be understood writing.

>http://home.vicnet.net.au/~ozideas/litreadingcribs.html

> 3. Academic success.  If you can find out about people of the same ethnicity or social class who made good, give your students these stories. Then they know that literacy is not being imposed upon them.

>val yule

>

>

>

>On 31/03/2010, at 10:40 PM, kate maloy wrote:

>

>

>

>Good Morning Masha,

> 

>I appreciate your comments about spelling.  I work with young adults in the S. Bronx who were involved with the criminal justice system and spelling is a huge barrier to literacy.  When students come across a word that they cannot sound out, I will prompt them by reading the word.  The reaction is generally, no attempt to repeat the word followed by the comment, "What you said."  In a neighborhood where being academically sucessful is considered a character flaw, stumbling over a word because of spelling can result in avoiding the word in the future. 

> 

>Kate

> 

>

________________________________


>From: "Mashabell at aol.com" <Mashabell at aol.com>

>To: readwrite at nifl.gov

>Sent: Mon, March 29, 2010 7:31:59 AM

>Subject: [ReadWrite 546] Re: spelling

>

>

>

>Dear Heather

> 

>I cannot resist making some comment on your observations.

> 

>Many words in English are spelling phonetically, and for those that aren't, there are often rules we can learn to help guide us. 

>- The number of such cases is minute in comparison to those which are randomly unpredictable.

> 

>homonyms can be difficult to spell, but they make reading easier.

>- That is a myth. We cope perfectly well with 'U did not mean to be so mean'  or 'much of the ground coffee was left on the ground' and 'he had nogrounds to keep complaining about the coffee grounds'. '

>The main effect of the likes of 'there/their' and 'it's/its' is to make learning to read and write harder and to add enormously to the marking load of teachers, without real benefit to anyone. 

>

>...I do think that spelling is a major obstacle for many students. I don't think it's a major obstacle for the majority of students in general, but I do think it's a major obstacle for most of the American students who come to our adult ed program, and I wonder whether there's a cycle going on here -- that it's both a symptom and a cause of students' problems in school.

> 

>It is undoubtedly not just a cause but the cause of many students' problems at school, as I have been trying to explain onhttp://englishspellingproblems.blogspot.com since January. At the end of last year I talked mainly about how English spelling differs from the writing systems of other languages.

> 

> I know now, having taught in adult education for a while, that some people will never be good spellers.

>- And I know that all English-speaking countries have far higher percentages of such people than countries with better spelling systems.

>If we improved the regularity of English spelling, so that reading and writing became more teachable and easier to learn, far more people would learn to read and write and become better educated during their time in compulsory schooling. 

>Leaving it to drift along, as been the case for at least 350 years, since roughly 1650,  has cost billions and will continue to do so until it gets improved.

> 

>Masha Bell

>Independent literacy researcher

>www.englishspellingproblems.co.uk

>http://englishspellingproblems.blogspot.com/

>and Youtube video http://www.youtube.com/user/spellmender

> 

>On 25/03/2010, at 1:40 PM, Heather Moore Wood wrote:

>>

>>

>>

>>I think I'll finally respond to the spelling conversation with these thoughts:

>>

>>1. Stephanie Moran, I consistently find myself agreeing with your posts. English IS a vibrant language, and I appreciate you reminding us of that (in a style of writing that is coherent and compelling, an example of beautiful writing in English). And I agree that texting has its place, and so does a well-written, correctly spelled essay or work of fiction.

>>

>>2. Many words in English are spelling phonetically, and for those that aren't, there are often rules we can learn to help guide us.  Some words are not spelled phonetically, but we might not want them to be for semantic reasons (because they help us to get the meaning of the words): for example, hymn and hymnal; crumb and crumble. There is a meaning connection between the words in each pair that is signaled by the spelling. (And there's another one: sign and signal.)  And there are certain benefits to some other of the aspects of English spelling. For example, homonyms can be difficult to spell, but they make reading easier.

>>

>>3. Having said this, I do think that spelling is a major obstacle for many students. I don't think it's a major obstacle for the majority of students in general, but I do think it's a major obstacle for most of the American students who come to our adult ed program, and I wonder whether there's a cycle going on here -- that it's both a symptom and a cause of students' problems in school. Perhaps it's a symptom of (or related to) trouble with decoding, which explains a student's trouble with reading and school. And perhaps, because they are not naturally good spellers, they have felt stupid all along in school because of the emphasis placed on spelling, and so their poor spelling is also a cause of their trouble in school. (It's hard to learn when one feels stupid. My heart went out to the person who posted here a while back about her daughter's dyslexia causing her greatest sadness as a mother.)

>>

>>4. So I think we need to teach the rules that will help students, and we need to teach some common "trick" words using a multi-sensory approach for those who need it, and then we need to teach students to be good users of technology to help them correct their spelling. But we should also teach that "intelligence" does not equal "ability to spell." I know now, having taught in adult education for a while, that some people will never be good spellers. They need to be taught to use their resources well. This will be true more and more as students use technology more; here in Maine, all middle-schoolers and all the high school students at many schools have laptops. They do so much of their writing directly on the computer and can therefore use it to help with things like spelling. (Of course, we in Adult Ed do not have laptops, but perhaps some day the technology will trickle down to us!)

>>

>>Thanks for reading.

>>Heather Moore Wood

>>Portland Adult Education (Maine) 

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>----------------------------------------------------

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