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W and WH

The phonograms W and WH are pronounced differently by some dialects.

Here is a fun link to a website where you can try to hear the differences. If your particular dialect pronounces them the same it can be challenging to hear. Listen for more air with the /wh/. This link includes Two pronuncations of when.

To hear other words, search for why, what, where, etc.

Learning Disabilities and Learning Styles

In The World Needs All Kinds of Minds, Temple Grandin shows the images of her brain and how her visual cortex is more highly used than in the control groups. She then demonstrates how this strength is what facilitates her work as an animal researcher and scientist. She believes that most tech geeks, scientists, and engineers fall on the Autism spectrum. Her point is well taken that there are a variety of minds and that as a society we benefit from this variety.

As I have worked with students that would be labeled with a variety of learning disabilities, I continue to wonder if it is not that there is something wrong with the child, but something wrong with the idea of standardization. We seem to value being at or above the mean in everything. But if we stop and think, this is not possible.

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The World Needs All Kinds of Minds

Last week I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Temple Grandin present on The World Needs All Kinds of Minds.

For those of you who do not know, Dr. Temple Grandin has been named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME magazine. As a woman with autism she speaks powerfully about how her mind works and the strengths that she has been given. She is also clear about weaknesses and how as educators we need to consider the diversity of our students and inspire them. Dr. Grandin is an animal researcher and has used her gifts to change how we understand and treat animals. The above link to TED is the same presentation. I highly suggest all teachers and parents take time to listen to what Dr. Grandin has to say.

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What Makes a Great Reading Curriculum?

As I write curriculum, trying to provide a path for teachers, I have been thinking a great deal about the question, "What makes a great reading and spelling curriculum?"

Most of the solid reading methods based upon Dr. Orton's 70 phonograms require intensive and expensive training classes. Though I believe that all teachers will benefit from training of this sort, I also understand teachers' reluctance to spend the time and money.

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The Gift of Struggling Students

As a teacher, the greatest gift I have been given is students who do not think like me. The students who are most different from me have taught me the most. They have stretched me to look from new perspectives, to see the world from new angles and by doing so have taught me more than any of my "formal" education.

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English Spelling Keeps Becoming Simpler

This morning, I woke up early to write curriculum. As I am creating the spelling lists, I have been investigating words further. Each list teaches a rule and also practices the new phonograms.

This morning I began to investigate words that end in UE. In Uncovering the Logic of English, all my examples were words ending in the long U sound. I am so amazed by what I just discovered and how it solves a few words I didn't even realize I still didn't know how to spell or why.

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The Spelling Frequency of Long Vowel Sounds

I have found research on the frequency of long vowel spellings. These are the most difficult sounds to spell in English and require the most rote memorization. The full study is found at the English Spelling Society website.

http://www.englishspellingsociety.org/journals/j12/longvowels.php

Blogger Reviews Uncovering the Logic of English

Check out Cathie Baier's blog review of Uncovering the Logic of English.

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20 Ways to Help Reverse the Literacy Crisis

1. Talk to neighbors, friends, co-workers, and family about what you are learning. "English is logical."

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Logical English and Our Future Scientists and Engineers

I love hearing from people who have read Uncovering the Logic of English: A Common-Sense Solution to America's Literacy Crisis. This weekend, a 70 year old man approached me. He explained he had a successful career as an engineer, solving complex problems using math, science, and computer programming. With tears in his eyes, he said, "When I read your book, I understood for the first time that English is a code and that all these years it was not my fault I didn't understand it. Thank you." He then went on to explain that since retirement, he has been tutoring children in the public schools. Each year, he is paired with a third or fourth grade boy who cannot read. He described each boy he had tutored and their passions and talents. He summarized it this way, "They are all gear heads like me."

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