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Uncovering the Logic of English Wins IPPY Silver Medal

Uncovering the Logic of English was awarded a silver medal in New York City on May 23 at the IPPY Publishing Awards!

What Are Phonograms?

Phonograms are the most foundational element to learning to read and spell. The 70 basic phonograms described by Dr. Orton are the most basic elements of written English. A phonogram literally is a picture of a sound. Each letter or combination of letters represents one or more sounds in English. Knowing the phonograms is key to learning to decode written English.

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Cursive Font

Our new open type cursive font is almost ready! This cursive handwriting font is the best in its class. Each letter connects beautifully as it is typed. Styles with top and bottom guides, with a mid-line, without guides, with arrows, and bold are included. David Occhino Design has worked with us to create a set of characters that follow the recommendations specific to our new Cursive Handwriting program. The font will be available in our store. [2015 update: the font is now available for purchase directly from David Occhino Design.]

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Tips for Dividing a Word into Syllables

There are five types of syllables in English:

  1. Open Syllables - include a single-letter vowel which occurs at the end of the syllable. This syllable pattern follows the spelling rules: A E O U usually say their names at the end of the syllalble, and I and Y may say their long or short sound at the end of the syllable. For example: me, cry, ta-ble, pro-tect.
  2. Closed Syllables - A closed syllable includes a single-letter vowel but the syllable ends in a consonant. In this case the single letter vowel says its short sound. For example: duck, patch, hap-pen, din-ner

  3. Multi-Letter Vowel Syllables - Multi-letter vowels are two or more letters working together to form a single vowel phonogram. (igh, ea, ui, oa, etc.) For example: night, read, fruit, boat.

  4. Consonant + le Syllables (or Consonant + re) - These words have a final syllable with a silent final E. They follow the spelling rule: Every syllable must have a written vowel. For example: ti-tle, puz-zle, un-cle, drib-ble, a-cre, mas-sa-cre.

  5. Vowel + R Syllables - The consonant R often distorts the vowel sound of the preceeding vowel. These syallables include the phonograms: ar, er, ir, or, ur, ear, wor. For example: car, her, bird, born, surface, early, word.

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Phonograms and Spelling Rules

Phonograms and spelling rules are the foundation to understanding English spelling. Together the 74 phonograms and 30 spelling rules explain 98% of English words. Learning the phonograms and spelling rules is far more efficient than learning sight words. The English lexicon is comprised of over 1,000,000 words. A well educated adult knows up to 200,000 with the average adult knowing about 60,000. Learning the phonograms and spelling rules which describe each of these words is a far more efficient path than attempting to learn thousands of sight words, and it revolutionizes spelling and reading.

The End of Cursive?

I know I am fighting an uphill battle when I tell teachers and parents to teach cursive first. A recent article in ABC news states that 41 states have adopted standards which do not require cursive. This is contrary, though, to what we know about the importance of teaching handwriting. To learn more about why to teach cursive first see my article Beginning with Cursive.

The Relationship of Handwriting and Reading

New studies have linked handwriting with stronger letter recognition and reading development. Since the advent of the computer, people have been arguing that handwriting should play a less central role in education since most communication will occur through keyboarding. This argument though is not supported by recent studies by Associate professor Anne Mangen at the University of Stavanger's Reading Centre and neurophysiologist Jean-Luc Velay at the University of Marseille. By examining the research, they have confirmed that learning handwriting plays a significant role in learning to read.

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The Relationship Between Handwriting and Reading

New studies have linked handwriting with stronger letter recognition and reading development. Since the advent of the computer, people have been arguing that handwriting should play a less central role in education since most communication will occur through keyboarding. This argument though is not supported by recent studies by Associate professor Anne Mangen at the University of Stavanger’s Reading Centre and neurophysiologist Jean-Luc Velay at the University of Marseille. By examining the research, they have confirmed that learning handwriting plays a significant role in learning to read.

Read more ...

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