The Teaching of Reading & Spelling Starting from Square One by

The Teaching of Reading & Spelling
Starting from Square One
The Only Handwriting/Keyboarding Curriculum that
Teaches Reading & Spelling
AS the Alphabet is being Taught with
All Decodable Words.
by
Don McCabe
2
Dedication
This book is dedicated to:
All the members of the AVKO Dyslexia Research Foundation,
and especially to the memory of two of its earliest members,
Mary Clair Scott
without whose work and devotion to the cause of literacy
the AVKO Foundation might never have gotten off the ground and
Betty June Szilagyi
who was my first and by far my most important teacher and
Devorah Wolf
without whose encouragement and commitment to the ideals of AVKO
this edition would not be possible
and to my family
Ann, Robert, Linda and Brian McCabe
all of whom have sacrificed much
of their time and energy helping AVKO grow
and to you, the user of this book,
may this book help you help others improve their reading and writing skills.
Copyright © 2007 AVKO Dyslexia Research Foundation.
Printed in the United States of America.
Permission is hereby given to individual teachers, tutors, and educators to reproduce any page for
that individual’s classroom use. Reproduction of these pages for entire schools or school districts
is strictly forbidden.
Publisher's Cataloging in Publication Data
McCabe, Donald J.
1. Reading–Miscellanea 2. Spelling–Miscellanea 3. Handwriting–Miscellanea
4. Curriculum–Miscellanea.
Library of Congress Subject Headings: Reading, Spelling, Handwriting, Curriculum
Library of Congress Classification Number: LB1050.2F79
Library of Congress Card Number: To be determined
Dewey Decimal Classification Number 428.4
ISBN: 1-56400-000-1
3
Table of Contents
Unit 1: Mastering the A, B, C and D ...................................................................................................... 4
Unit 2: Mastering the R, S, and T ......................................................................................................... 15
plus the br, cr, dr, sc, scr, tr, st, and str blends2548
and the kn digraph plus the ay vowel digraph review of
consonant blends with the ending y sounding as long I and
as a long e.
Unit 3. Mastering the Y
................................................................................................................ 24
Plus the vowel y and the ay vowel digraph
Unit 4: Mastering the E
................................................................................................................ 32
and ee, ea, er, ey and the -ed endings
Unit 5: Mastering the F
................................................................................................................ 45
plus the fr beginning blend and the ft ending blend
Unit 6: Mastering the G
............................................................................................................... 54
plus the ge digraph and the gr blend
Unit 7: Mastering the H
................................................................................................................ 64
plus ch, sh, and th and the gh digraphs and igh, eigh, ight, eight.
Unit 8: Mastering the W
................................................................................................................ 72
plus wh, aw, ew and the dw and tw blends and the wr digraph
Unit 9: Mastering the I
................................................................................................................ 79
plus the i_e, ib, id, if, ig, in, ai, ie, ei, igh, and eigh vowel digraphs
Unit 10 Mastering the N
................................................................................................................ 89
plus the sn blend, the gn, and the nd, ng, nt, nth, nce, nts endings
Unit 11: Mastering the J and K .......................................................................................................... 105
plus the ck digraph and the sk blend
Unit 12: Mastering the L
.............................................................................................................. 120
plus the bl, cl, fl, and gl blends and the –rl and –lt ending
blends, the ddle, ffle, ggle, nkle endings.
Unit 13: Mastering the M
.............................................................................................................. 145
plus the sm blend and the rm and lm endings
Unit 14: Mastering the O
.............................................................................................................. 159
plus the o_e, oa, oe, oo, oy, oi, or, wor, and ow digraphs
Unit 15: Mastering the P
.............................................................................................................. 198
plus the pl, spl, sp, pr, spr blends and mp and pt endings
Unit 16: Mastering the QU .............................................................................................................. 219
plus the u_e, ue, eu and –sque (sk) and –que (k) trigraphs
Unit 17: Mastering the V
.............................................................................................................. 251
plus the f/v switchy-switchies and the lf/lve endings
Unit 18: Mastering the X
.............................................................................................................. 268
Unit 19: Mastering the Z
.............................................................................................................. 278
Rationale for AVKO’s Concept of Teaching Reading, Writing, Keyboarding and Spelling
AS the Alphabet is Taught Rather than AFTER ................................................................... 287
Rationale for AVKO’s Sequence of Letters to be Taught: ABCD (RST Y) EFGH (W)
I (N) J K L M O P Q U V X Z.................................................................................................. 288
AVKO Techniques for Teaching Phonics as manuscript and cursive is taught. ................................ 290
Rationale for Exposing Students Immediately to a Variety of Fonts Including Cursive ..................... 293
A Handwriting Overview by Bill Morelan ............................................................................................ 294
Teaching Letters of the Alphabet, Single Words, Phrases with Flashcards ...................................... 300
Teaching with Sentences ................................................................................................................... 302
Decodable Words Available by Units an Overview ............................................................................ 303
General Lesson Plans with Measurable Behavioral Objectives......................................................... 306
Possible Regular Daily Activities ........................................................................................................ 307
Directions for combining Keyboarding with Handwriting .................................................................... 309
Directions for making the letters......................................................................................................... 312
4
Unit 1: Mastering the A, B, C and D
Unit Objectives See p. 303
Unit 1, Lesson 1 Letter A "AY" Word ("uh")
Set your timer for 15 minutes. When it dings, stop. Do something else. Return to the
lesson later on during the day. Please never do more than four 15-minute sessions
during one day.
At your dry erase board where you have your alphabet strip which could look like this show
the letter A:
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z
a
b
c
d
e
f
g
h
I
j
k
l
m
n
o
p
q
r
s
t
u
v
w
x
y
z
Well, the alphabet strip should look almost like this. However, each letter should be covered.
The reason is simple. You want your students to keep focused on what they are learning. You
do not want them to react to the alphabet strips the way they do to wallpaper. So now, you just
uncover the letters A and a.
This strip happens to be D’Nealian® but it could just as well be Getty-Dubay Italic,
Barchowsky Fluent Hand (BFH), Abeka, Peterson, Palmer or whatever handwriting system you
intend to teach. As our D'Nealian® font may not be one of your fonts, you can always change it
to the manuscript or cursive font you wish to teach. The important thing to do WHEN you first
start to teach is to cover ALL the Letters except the letter A so that it looks like this:
A
a
The name of this letter is "AY." What is the name of this letter? (Get a good loud response of
"AY!")
Now, when this letter (whose name is "AY") is all by itself, it is a word. Does anybody know
what this word is? If the student you call on answers, "AY," tell the student that his answer was
a good guess, but wrong. Tell him it is "uh."
You can then hold up pictures that you have made and put on cards that might look like this:
ab
ah
al
am
A book
A hat
A ladder
A mouse
You can print on the back of the card the word so that you know what the students should be
reading. You might ask your students to answer the questions and hold up the appropriate card.
5
What is this? They should answer "This is a book.” Or you can have them fill in the response
when you ask, "Would you like to read ________?” Please point out that if they say "AY" book, it
means that one book is all they would like to read. When we say "AY" instead of "uh" the
meaning of the word does change.
The name of the letter is "AY." The word is "uh."
You can now have your students practice writing the letter A. It might be wise to have paper
especially made so the students can connect the dots or go between the dotted lines or trace
the letter. The exercise should look something like this:
A A A A A AAAAA AAAAA
or
or
1. Writing the Manuscript Letter, Upper Case and Lower Case. You may
use the scripted directions or use your own. You're the teacher. You know your students.. Use
the directions for making the letters according to the method you are using.
You can use fonts from http://www.educationalfontware.com/ and find links to all the major
publishers of handwriting systems. You might also want to check out the Pencil Pete's animated
illustrations of how to make a letter at: http://www.jjmdesigns.com/ Your kids just might love
them.
2. Keep the accent on legibility.
If, for example, you decide to use D'Nealian® and your student finds it difficult to make the
start of a "monkey tail" or "hook" at the end of a letter, don't make a scene. Just have it end
straight down at the line just as Getty-Dubay does it. If you or your student don't like the Capital
Q in the system you're using because it looks too much like the number 2, don't use it. There is
no law that says if you teach Palmer that you can't slip in a letter formation from Getty-Dubay
Italic, Peterson, or D'Nealian® or any other recognized system of handwriting.
Make sure that your students are all holding their pencils correctly and making the correct
strokes to make the letter A. If, because the student has a physical deformity or disability, a
student cannot hold the pencil properly, you might want your student to use Don Thurber's glass
cutter pencil grip. The pencil lies between the index and middle finger with the thumb going
underneath.
The following are the directions for the "AVKO" manuscript which is very close to D'Nealian®.
"Start at the top. Slant back down to the bottom. Lift and go back to the top where you started
and then slant forward a little and go to the bottom. Lift and go to the middle of your first line. Go
straight to the right and stop when you get to your second line.”
If you are working with very beginning students, you might want to read from Dr. Seuss's
ABC book, which goes: “BIG A , little a, What begins with A? Aunt Annie's alligator A a a.” If
you’re working with older students who need to improve their handwriting, don’t even think
about doing that.
You are the teacher, do what you know works the best. What we are doing is providing you
with a scientific ordering of the teaching of the letters and providing 100% decodable words
available as the lessons progress.
You can also have your students practice a letter connecting search in which they circle or
highlight all the Big A's (Upper Case A's or Capital A's) and/or draw a line through all the other
6
letters. The search and destroy mission should not have too many letters. For this unit we
suggest just using ABCD. The letters can be in different fonts such as those found on page 294.
When you are working one to one and have a portable dry erase board, you might want to
make the letter for a small student very large like this:
A
The square represents an 8½ x 11 inch dry erase board.
Remember you can whatever handwriting font you choose. For a source of all major
handwriting fonts go to http://www.educationalfontware.com/ and find links to all the major
publishers of handwriting systems.
Have the student trace over it with a different color dry erase pen. Work for doing it smoothly
and rapidly. When the student has the large upper case A and the lower case a down pat,
reduce the size a little and have the student trace over a slightly smaller large A and a. Continue
tracing until it is done smoothly and rapidly. Then keep reducing the size until it becomes the
normal size for the printed A and a.
Aa
If you would like to have computer animation and have your student see what it looks like to
make the letter a, you might want to check out several different websites that you can reach
from (here we go again giving free publicity) http://www.educationalfontware.com/.
7
Unit 1, Lesson 2 Letter B Its name is "BEE." The sound this letter
makes is the sound that you hear at the beginning and ending of Bob, bib, and Babe. Or
"buh"
Set your timer for 15 minutes. When it dings, stop. Do something else. Return to the
lesson later on during the day. Please never do more than 4 15-minute handwriting
sessions during one day. This notice will not be repeated. ☺
Please note that we know that a large percentage of teachers of phonics and phonemic
awareness are against the concept of adding the vowel called schwa ("uh") to a consonant to
give its sound. If you can follow their advice and do it, fine. If you don't understand how to teach
a consonant without adding the "uh" sound, don't worry too much about it. Chances are that
your student will learn how to smooth out the "buh" "ruh" "a" "tuh" into brat, anyway. And for
those who are appalled by this method, please remember that we don't advocate it. The way
we present words (such as at, bat, at rat, brat) avoids the problem of adding non-existent schwa
sounds into the words.
At your dry erase board where you have your alphabet strips you should uncover the letters
B and b so that it looks something like this:
A B
a b
A B
a b
The name of this letter is "BEE." What is the name of this letter? (Get a good loud response
of "BEE!")
Its sound is what you hear at the beginning and ending of Bob. Everybody say, "Bob."
Notice how you form your lips before you say Bob. Say, Bob. Say "Bee." Point to the letter B
and ask, “What is the name of this letter?”
Then ask, “What is its sound?” If any student says, "BEE," gently correct the student. You're
almost right. Its name is "BEE," but its sound is the first sound of the word BEE or BEN or Bob
or Boy. Or you can just say "Buh."
Now, when we put this letter (whose name is "BEE") in front of the letters A and A, we get a
word. Does anybody know what this word is? It's BAA as in "Baa, baa Black Sheep, Have you
any wool?"
You can then hold up word cards that you have made and have them read "bah."
baa
baa
Baa
baa
baa
8
BAA
Baa
Baa
BAA
baa
If you make your own alphabet cards with at least five of each letter, you might want to have
your students sort the letter cards by fonts. Having all five of each together like this:
aaaaa AAAAA aaaaa AAAAA aaaaa AAAAA aaaaa AAAAA aaaaa AAAAA
bbbbb BBBBB bbbbb BBBBB bbbbb BBBBB bbbbb BBBBB bbbbb BBBBB
You can now have your students practice writing the upper case (capital or Big B). It might
be wise to have paper especially made so the students can connect the dots or go between the
dotted lines or trace the letter. The exercise should look something like this:
BBBB BBBB BBBB
or
or
Make sure that your students are all holding their pencils correctly and making the correct
strokes to make the letter B following either these directions or the directions of the handwriting
system you are teaching.
"Start at the top. Slant back down to the bottom. Come right back up to almost where you
started. Then curve right up to the top and curve back around to the middle of your main line.
Then back out and curve down and around to the bottom of your main line."
When you are working one to one and have a portable dry erase board, you might want to
make the letters B and b for a student very large like this: Remember the first B is to be the size
of this sheet of paper.
B
Have the student trace over it with a different color dry erase pen. Work for doing it smoothly
and rapidly. When the student has the large upper case and lower case b’s down pat, reduce
the size of the letters a little and have the student trace over them
Bb
and continue tracing until it is done smoothly and rapidly. Then keep reducing the size until it
becomes the normal size for a printed B and b.
Bb
9
Now have your students do at least one line of BAA, Baa, and baa.
If you want to have your students learn cursive while they are learning manuscript, we have no
objection. If you don't, that is no problem either for us, but we do recommend that you show
your students how the words and letters they are learning look in the different cursive fonts.
Whether or not they ever learn to write cursive, they certainly will be expected to read notes and
letters written by a variety of friends, relatives, employers, and fellow employees in a wide, wide
variety of styles of cursive. And, no, we are not getting a kickback from
www.educationalfontware.com
Keyboarding (Optional):
General instructions on p. 309 Set your timer for 15 minutes. When it dings, stop. Do
something else. Return to the lesson later on during the day. Please never do more than
4 15-minute keyboarding sessions during one day. This notice will not be repeated.
Decodable Sentences for Reading, Copying, Dictation, and/or Keyboarding: None
available yet, but just you wait. They start with the next lesson:
32
Unit 4: Mastering the letter E
Unit Objectives to be read to your students: See p. 305.
Strokes to Use Making Manuscript Letter E and/or Cursive Letter E See p. 314.
The phonics for the letter E, see p. 292
Alphabet Chart see p. 314
Unit 4, Lesson 1 Letter E "EE"
BASIC WORDS: be bee see tree
Power Words:
be
bee
see
tee
tree
reed
breed
deed
seed
reseed
beet
street
deer
beer
career
seer
cedar
bees
sees
tees
trees
reeds
breeds
deeds
seeds
reseeds
beets
streets
a deer’s
beers
carets
seers
cedars
treed
bred
deeded
seeded
reseeded
seedy
seeder
seeders
NAMES: Caesar Caesar's Seder ("SAY dur") Seders Dee
Note the word Caesar is just about the only word in English in
which the ae combination is used.
be
Óí
tree
see
street
BE
BEE
tree
see
STREET
33
If you make your own alphabet cards with at least five of each letter, you might want to have
your students sort the letter cards by fonts. Have all five of each together. Then you can have
them read from flash cards and/or spell the words in the lesson.
To save space, we will stop mentioning this activity. We don't think you need to be
reminded every lesson that this is an activity you can do.
Keyboarding (Optional):
Decodable Sentences for Reading, Copying, Dictation, and/or Keyboarding:
1. See a bee. A bee sees a tree.
2. Dee sees Cedar Street.
3. Be a bee?
4. See a street.
5. See a car.
6. See a streetcar.
7. Bart Starr sees a streetcar.
8. Art Carr sees a bee.
9. A star sees a cat scat.
10. BART STARR SEES STARS.
More Decodable Sentences:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
See a bee. A bee sees a tree.
Dee sees Cedar Street.
BE A BEE? BE A BEET?
SEE A STREET. SEE BEETS.
See a car.
See a streetcar.
Bart Starr ãees a ãtreetcar.
Art Carr ãees a Óíe.
A star sees a cat scat.
10. BART STARR SEES STARS.
Remember, you can make your own decodable sentences.
You don't have to use ours. We suggest that you make your
own and to use a variety of different fonts.
34
Unit 4, Lesson 2 e as part of the ea digraph: The letters ea
make the sound of the long E when they occur at the end of a one syllable word and often in the
middle of a word. The long E is the sound you hear at the end of sea, flea, tree, spree, agree,
etc. and at the beginning of eat, ease, east, ear, and easy.
NEW BASIC WORDS: sea tea read eat ear
POWER WORDS:
sea
tea
read
bead
eat
seat
treat
retreat
beat
ease
tease
east
The East
beast
yeast
ear
tear
sear
seas
teas
reads
beads
eats
seats
treats
retreats
beats
eases
teases
read
beaded
ate
seated
treated
retreated
ready∗
beady
eased
teased
easy
reader
readers
eater
eaters
teaser
teasers
treaty
beasts
ears
tears
sears
seared
Be sure to point out that beat and beet are homophones (or homonyms as they used to be
called when I was in school back in the 1930's).
Be sure to point out that read and read are heteronyms. One rhymes with red and the other
rhymes with reed.
NAMES:
∗
Bea Bea's Betty Betty's Sears Easter
ready rhymes with Reddy, Teddy, and steady.
35
Decodable Sentences for Reading, Copying, Dictation, and/or Keyboarding:
1. Ray treats daddy's cat to a red beet.
2. Bart says to eat a beet.
3. Art says Bart eats beets.
4. Art's car beats Bart's carts.
5. A CAT EATS A BAD RAT.
6. Dad treats cats. Cats eat treats.
7. A bad brat eats a cat’s ear?
8. A BAD RAT EATS A CAT'S EAR.
9. A deer Üats a Ñrab's Üars?!?
10. A béd Ñat ate Red’s béts.
More Decodable Sentences
1. Ray eats treats. Ray reads. Ray’s a reader.
2. Ray teases Bart. Bart says to eat a beet.
3. Art teased Bart. Bart eats tea at sea.
4. Art's car seats cats. A cat eats seats at sea.
5. RATS AT SEA. SEE CATS EAT RATS AT SEA
6. At ease. Stay at ease. Easy. East? Yeast? A beast?
7. Ears? A bad brat cries easy tears.
8. A READER READS. READERS READ.
9. Bea ate beets at sea. Bea beats beets. Ray seated Bea.
10. Bea teases a teaser. A beast at ease. Ears, tears, Sears..
Still More Decodable Sentences:
1. Ray Streeter treats Tad’s dad to red beets.
2. Bart says to seat a beet.
3. Bart says Art beats beets.
4. Art's car seated Bart's bad cats.
5. BETTY SEARS ATE A CAT’S EARS.
6. Daddy's cats ate a bad crab.
7. A bad crab ate a dab ear?
8. A BAD BRAT EATS A DEER’S EAR.
9. A deer ate a Ñrab's Üars?A steer’s ears!?
10. A béd brat steers a car.
Remember: Your students might enjoy creating their own sentences
using the words they have learned.
154
Review of BASIC onsets and rimes available using only the letters abcdefghijklmn _ _ _
rst_ _ w_ y_ with a few example each: Onsets and rhymes introduced in this unit are in
BOLD
Review of Onsets
b as in
bl as in
br as in
c as in
ch as in
cl as in
cr as in
scr as in
d as in
dr as in
dw as in
f as in
fl as in
fr as in
g as in
g as in
gl as in
gr as in
h as in
j as in
k as in
l as in
m as in
s as in
sl as in
sm as in
sn as in
st as in
sh as in
shr as in
sw as in
th as in
th as in
tr as in
str as in
tw as in
w as in wag
wa as in
swa as in
war as in
wh as in
whar as in
Rimes Available
b ab eb ib
be abe ibe
A Few Examples
beam bad Bart baa bed bee big bag ball beam better
blame black bleed blast blew blister
bream Brad bread bridge brass breed bred brawl brim
cam came calm cat cab car cart case call calf cast
chamber chat cheer cheese check chill chime cherry
clam claim Clem climb climber class clear click clash
cream cram crab creed craft crash cradle creek creak creel
scream scram scramble screech scratch
dam dim dad did dare dart dear deer deal dealt desk
dream dreamt drag dry dries dried dress drake drill
dwarf dweeb dwell dwelling
family families farm fame fast fat far feed fed fib fell fall fill
flame flag fly flick flair flare flea flee flake flat fleet
frame free fry fries fried frisbie frail freak freed frisk
game get gas geese gab gal gate
gem gym germ German Germany Gerry Gerald
glimmer glass glasses glad glib glade glide glister
grim Grimm grime great grate grab grits gram grim grass
ham harm helm hat her his hit he hard Hal hale hail hell held hall
jam Jim Jimmy Jack Jerry Jay Jake jeep jeer Jill
Kim Kimberly Kate Kerry kit kite Kelly kitty kitties
lam lamb lame lime late last leak let like lie list
may men miss mean mark mall mama mayhem member
Sam same seem sat see sit sad sift sail sale seal
slam slime slacks sly slip slide sled slats slate slack
small smell smile smack smirk smear smart
snare sneak sneer snack snicker sneakers snarl
stem stammer star stare stairs stab stage stall still
sham shame shim she share shade shady shed shall shark
shred shredded shredders Shrek shrill shriek
swam swim sweet sweat sweater swill swig swagger
them that there their they’re this the thee thy
theme thief thistle thick thigh thimble
trim tram tree trade tribe track trail try trick treat
stream street straight strait strict
tweet twist twin twine twill
wigwam water wade wet wig wag were weird week
was water wad was wigwam wall
swat swatter swab swallow
ward wars warred warm warmer warmest
what why where which wham wheel wheat
wharf
Example Words Available
cab web fib jab lab flab tab stab rib crib
babe bribe McCabe tribe
155
bble abble ibble
ble able eeble ible
ce ace eece ice
ck ack eck ick
ckle ackle eckle ickle
cle acle icle ycle
ct act ect ict
d aid ead ead eed
de ade ede ide
dge adge edge idge
ddle addle eddle iddle
dle adle idle
e ea ee
f af ef if
f aif eaf eaf eef
fe afe ife
ff aff eff iff
ffle affle iffle
fle ifle
ft aft eft ift
g ag eg ig
ge age
gh eigh igh
ght eight ight
gle eagle
ggle aggle iggle
k eak eak eek awk
ke ake ike
l al el il
ld ald eld ild ild
le ale ile
lf alf elf ilf
lk alk elk ilk
ll all ell ill
lm alm elm ilm
lse alse else
lt alt elt ilt
m am em im
mble
me ame eme ime
mmer
mmel
mel amel
r ar er ir
r air ear ear eer eir
rb arb erb
rch arch earch irch
rd ard erd eard ird
re are ere ire
rf arf erf
rge irge
rl arl erl earl irl
rm arm erm irm
rt art ert eart irt
babble dribble scribble
table cable fable feeble Bible terrible playable
mace mice ace Greece rice race trace fleece slice
Mickey tack check tick rack deck lick slick wreck
tackle heckle tickle stickler
treacle icicle bicycle tricycle cycle
act direct strict react redirect fact tact
maid raid seed bead bread feed afraid laid lead
made fade cede recede ride bride jade shade
Madge badge edge bridge ledge sledge ridge
meddle middle saddle riddle fiddle
ladle idle cradle
me be he she tree sea see flee flea glee free
ref if
waif deaf sheaf beef leaf
safe strife life wife
miff staff tiff whiff stiff Jeff
raffle whiffle
rifle trifle
raft heft theft sift lift shift raft draft craft rift drift
Mag Meg MIG bag beg big tag stag keg leg gig rig brig
age cage stage rage gage
weigh high sleigh sigh nigh
might weight right height freight fright
eagle beagle
haggle gaggle giggle
meek steak leak seek break sleek weak week hawk
make mike bake bike rake drake shake take stake like
Mabel gal Hal label rebel libel
mild meld bald held build student wild weld
male female mile whale file stale tile stile while
half calf elf self shelf
milk chalk talk stalk walk balk elk silk walk stalk
mall mill tall tell still stall call wall bell well dwell
calm helm helmet film
false else
malt melt Milt halt felt silt filter kilt kilter helter-skelter
ham hem him Sam wham whim shim stem
amble gamble tremble thimble ramble assemble
game theme time blame flame shame scheme dime
hammer trimmer glimmer shimmer stammer
Trammel Himmel
Camel
mar car tar star far her sir stir fir
fair chair hear bear deer their fear rear heir air stairs
carb herb
march arch search research birch besmirch
card herd heard bird hard third 3rd
mare mere mire hare here hire fire stare
scarf serf (homophone of surf)
merge Marge charge dirge large
marl Carl girl
farm germ firm harm
mart Bert heart dirt cart start shirt
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rty arty erty earty irty
s as as es is
se ase ese ise
sh ash esh ish
sk ask esk isk
sm asm ism
ss ass ess iss
st ast aist east est ist
ste aste
stle astle estle istle
t at et it
t ait eat eat
t eat eet ight
tch atch atch etch itch
te ate ete ite
th ath eth eeth eath eath ith
the athe eathe eethe ithe
ther ather eather ether
tle itle
tter atter etter itter
ttle attle ettle ittle
w aw ew
y ay ey
y ye ie i
Marty Gerty hearty dirty
as gas yes is his this
miser misery base these rise
mash fresh dish rash trash lash flash wish swish
mask ask task desk risk brisk whisk whisker whiskey
chasm chrism
mass mess miss missed bass Bess hiss lass kiss
mast mist fast waist east best fist list whist
haste waste chaste taste
castle wrestle whistle trestle
mat met bat bet bit hat hit jet lit slit slat flat flit
meat beat wait great beet
might meet sweat sweater right sheet
match Mitch hatch watch sketch itch stitch
mate mete mite date fate Pete bite Kate kite rate crate slate
math meth myth bath Beth teeth death wreath with lath
bathe breathe teethe tithe
Mather rather weather whether ether
title
matter batter better bitter latter letter litter scatter
mettle battle cattle tattle settle kettle little
maw mew draw drew law claw threw chew strew flew
may day grey gray key
my by baby fly cry bye dye die lye lie ski
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Rationale for AVKO’s Concept of Teaching Reading, Writing, Keyboarding and Spelling
AS the Alphabet is Being Taught – NOT AFTER
When students start school (even home school) it is normal for them to want to learn to read and write
– right NOW. Many students don’t want to wait and wait and wait and wait while the alphabet is being
taught to them. They want to read right now. But no, traditional methods dictate that they must wait. Right
now is not the time. First they must be taught the names of the 26 letters of the alphabet. This seems
reasonable enough until we remember that each letter of the alphabet has many different appearances.
Not only is there the upper case A and the lower case a, but there is the italic a and a as well as the
D’Nealian manuscript A and a, the D’Nealian cursive A and a , or the stick-ball A and a and as well as
more than a hundred different printed fonts and as many different handwritten styles as there are writers.
So when you get down to the exact number of different written symbols for the 26 letters of our
alphabet, there are well over 300 that must be learned. Now, that’s quite a chore. It’s no wonder that so
many students have trouble learning to read and write when they enter school. What AVKO proposes is a
very simple common sense approach. Let’s teach the alphabet slowly and as we teach the names of the
letters, teach the sounds they make and how these sounds make words. We can teach the concept of
reading words left to right and top to bottom AS we teach the alphabet.
What we want the students to learn is that it is the letters that make the sounds that
make the words – not the “picture” of the word.
Teachers who employ the sight method of teaching reading often create problems unintentionally. For
example the word PROBLEMS written in caps does not have the same picture as problems in lower
case (Notice that only the letter o has the same shape in both upper and lower case) and the word
proèôems looks entirely different in cursive.
PROBLEMS, problems, Proèôems, problems
But since as an educated adult you can read these words, let's put you in the position of a student
learning to read with sight methods. Assign any meaning you wish to the following scrambled words,
three of which are real words and one is not: Rpbalbeo could be carrot. Rpblmseo could be horse.
Rpntesed could be barn. Rpblmaeo could be garage. All you have to do is see how fast and accurately
you can teach yourself using sight methods to respond correctly to these words.
These mean carrot
These mean horse
These mean barn
These mean garage
RPBALBEO
rpbalbeo
rpbalbeo
RpbélÓío
RPBLMSEO
rpblmseo
rpblmseo
üpbômseÉ
RPNTESED
rpntesed
rpntesed
üpntesed
RPBLMAEO
rpblmaeo
rpblmaeo
rpbômaeo
Now that you know these words, match them quickly. Color all the carrots orange, the horse brown,
and the barn red in the grid below.
rpblmaeo
rpbômseo
rpntesed
RPBALBEO
RPBLMSEO
rpbômaeo
rpbélÓío
rpntesed
RpbélÓío
rpblmseo
RPNTESED
rpblmaeo
rpblmseo
RPBLMAEO
rpntesed
Rpbalbeo
We’ll bet you didn’t even try. Too frustrating, perhaps?
The basic rationale remains the same for teaching remedial reading or teaching English as a second
language. What many teachers fail to realize is that the names and the sounds of the letters in our
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alphabet are often not the same in other languages that use the Roman alphabet. For example, the name
of the letter A can be “AH” and the name of the letter E can be “AY” and the name of our letter “EYE” can
be “EE!”
Rationale for AVKO’s Sequence of Letters to be Taught Beginning with
ABCD (RST Y) EFGH (W) I (N) JKLM_OPQ_ _ _ U V _ X _ Z.
Because knowledge of alphabetic order is essential in using dictionaries, telephone books, and filing
cabinets, we feel that the learning of alphabetical order and sequencing should be taught AS we learn the
alphabet. Mastering the lyrics to the alphabet song may be a fun activity but it isn’t much help if we must
sing the song almost all the way through at least three times to have some idea where the name Smith is
to be found in a phone book.
We do take a few of the very common letters out of order deliberately. Those are RSTYWN. This is to
help increase the number of available common words to be read and written. If we followed strict
alphabetical order, we couldn't have plurals of any word or the sh digraph or the words is or was until 19
letters have been taught. We couldn't have words like at and cat until 20 have been taught. And we
wouldn't be able to write by or baby until we have taught 25 letters.
The letter A gives us the word “uh” as in a house, a car, a home, a dog, a cat, etc.
The letter B gives us the word “BAA” as in “Baa, baa, black sheep have you any wool?”
The letter C gives us the words CAB and cab.
The letter D gives us the words DAD, dad, BAD, bad, DAB, dab, CAD, and cad.
The letter R gives us the words CAR, car, BAR, bar, BARD, bard, CARD, card CRAB, crab
The letter S gives us the words CABS, cabs, SCAB, scabs, CARS, cars, SCARS, scars, DADS, dads,
SAD, sad, CADS, cads, DABS, dabs, CRAB, crabs, BASS, bass, CASS, Cass, CAST, cast.
The letter T gives us the words AT, at, TAT, tat, TATS, tats, TAB, tab, TABS, tabs, STABS, stabs,
BAT, bat, BATS, bats, RAT, rat, RATS, rats, TAR, tars, STAR, stars, TART, tarts, START,
start, STARTS, starts, CART, carts, BART, Bart, DART, dart, DARTS, darts,
Have you noticed that all these letters and words involve left-hand keystrokes?! If you teach
keyboarding as you teach handwriting as you teach spelling and reading you will be actively
involving both hemispheres of the brain. Up until the letter y, the only right hand keyboarding is
the space bar, comma, period, and enter.
The letter Y gives us the words bay, day, ray, bray, tray, batty, catty, tarry, starry, Cary, carry,
Bary, Barry, yard. Notice that all the words are phonically regular. All the initial consonants (onsets) are
regular. All the word families (rimes) are regular.
The students quickly learn that the letter a, however, has no sound of its own.
The sound of the letter a depends upon its neighboring letters. If it has none (as in the case of the
word a) its sound is “uh.” If the letter a is followed by the letters, b, d, s, or t, it is a SHORT A (CVC rule). If
the letter a is followed by the letter y or its identical twin the letter i, it is a LONG A (Two vowels walking
rule). If the letter a is followed by the letter r it is pronounced “ah” (The R Control rule). The word “carry”
only appears to violate the R Control rule. Starry and carry do not rhyme. Why? Look at the base word in
starry. It’s star. But there is no single syllable base word in carry so it’s an “airy” word as in marry, Harry,
and Larry. See more about that later on. Or see the chapter "The Mechanics of English Spelling" in The
Teaching of Reading and Spelling: a Continuum from Kindergarten through College. This book is
available from the AVKO Foundation.
The letter E opens up the suffixes ed and er plus words with the ea and ee vowel digraphs plus the eb,
ed, ert ess, est, et families.
The letter F gives us the words starting with F and FR and the aff, eff, aft, eft families.
The letter G gives us words such as gas, gab, etc. along with the gr words grab and the ag and eg
families.
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The letter H gives us the words that start with H, CH, CHR, SH, SHR, TH, THR and the atch, etch, ath,
eth, ash and esh families.
The letter W gives us the words that start with W and WH as well as the AW and EW vowel digraphs. It
also gives us the W Control over the letter A. Note: According to the CVC rule wad should rhyme with
dad, but it doesn't. The WControl also fights with the R control over the letter A. War does not rhyme
with car nor ward with card.
The letter I gives us the ib, ibe ick, ice, ide, iff, ife, igh, ight, eight, ir, ird ire, irt, is,
iss, ise, it, ite, ith families as well as the ai digraph for the aid, aif, air, aise, ait families.
Over 5,000 words are now available with only 14 letters, all of which get daily reviews of their names,
sounds, and patterns.
The letter N now allows us to add the ing ending to all the families we have already learned. The letter N
also gives us the n, gn, kn, and sn onsets plus the ain, an, and, ander, ane, ang, ange, ank, ant rimes
plus the en, end, ender, ength, ent, ean, ien, in, ind, inder, ing, ink and ine equivalent rimes.
And on we go. Each new letter now opens up new sounds which make new words while we review
automatically the earlier letters and sounds that we can now use to make even more new words.
The letter J gives us the words beginning with J which combines in one way or another with most of the
previous letters.
The letter K gives us the words beginning with k plus the ack, ake, eck, eek, eak, eke,ick, ike, iek familes.
The letter L gives us the L, BL, CL, FL onsets and the al, ald, ale, alf, alk, all,alm, alt, awl, el, eal, eel, eil
eld, elf elk ell, elm, elt, ewel, il, ild, ield, ilf, ilk, ill, andle, indle, ankle, inkle rimes.
The letter M gives us the words beginning with m and the sm blends plus the aim, alm, am, ame, arm,
eam, eem, elm, eme, im, ime, ilm, rimes.
The letter O gives a review of all the ending consonants and consonant blends cited above but with the
vowel o, oa, and the oo digraphs to make new rimes and rhymes. It also gives us a review of the wcontrol which operates on the letter o as well as on the letter a as in won, wonder, wool, and wood.
The r control also comes into play with the letter o as in for, ford, cord. And we have the war between
w and r over the o. Note that the only way we spell the sound "wur" (except in the word were!) is wor
as in word, work, worth. Notice the normal r control is affected. Word does not rhyme with ford, nor
work with fork, or worth with north.
The letter P opens the p, sp, pr, spr, pl, spl ph phr sph onsets as well as the p, pe, rp, pt, rimes using the
a, e, ea, ie, ee, ea, i vowels.
The letter Q is taught simultaneously with the letter u as the consonant digraph with the "kw" blend sound
as well as the squ onset.
Then the U is taught as part of the previous rimes with the addition of the eu, ue, and ui vowel digraphs
and the un prefix.
The letter V gives us the v onset plus the alve, ave, eave, eeve, eve, ive, ieve, ceive, ove, oave rimes.
The letter X gives us the silly x onset for the sound of “z” as in xylophone and the ax, ex, ix, ox, and ux
rimes and the ex prefix.
The letter Z gives us the z onset plus the ending z rimes altz, azz, aze, azzle, eltzer, ez, ezz, ezzle, iz,izz,
izzle, oz, ozzle, uzz, uzzle and the –ize verbs such as specialize which most frequently are –ise verbs
in British English as is the word specialise.
AVKO Techniques for Teaching Phonics
AS manuscript and cursive is taught
AVKO recommends that you make sure that your students know the difference between the NAME of the
letter and the different SOUNDS they make. The following are statements that you can make WHEN
(and only when) you get to teaching each of the letters. Do NOT do all of these at one time! As each
letter is introduced, you will be referred to this page.
A The NAME of this letter is “AY.” When it’s a word it is pronounced “uh” as in a house, a dog, a cat, a
cup, etc. In all other cases, how the letter A is pronounced depends upon its neighbors.
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B The NAME of this letter is “BEE.” Its sound is what you hear at the beginning and ending of the words
Bob, Bib, and Bub. (or “buh”) You may want to use the techniques developed by Lindamood Bell or
other techniques that you know from experience will work with your students.
C The NAME of this letter is “SEE.” Its sound is usually ‘’kuh” when followed by a, o, or u as in cap, cop,
or cup. It can also sound as “s-s-s” when followed by e or i as in city or cent.
Special Note: In big words ("FANCY") when the letter c is followed by i and endings -al, -on,
and -ous, the letters ci are pronounced “sh-h-h” as in special and suspicion and precious.
D The NAME of this letter is “DEE.” Its sound is what you hear at the beginning and ending of the words
dad, dead, deed, died, did, and dud. (or “duh”)
R The NAME of this letter is “AH’R.” When a word starts with the letter r its sound is what you hear at the
beginning of the words, rat, rip, rot, rug, and room. (or “ruh”). When a word ends in r its sound is what
you hear at the end of car, bear, cheer, and sir. (or “ur”) Note: Some dialects drop the “R” sound at the
ends of words so that the word car is pronounced “KAH” instead of “KAH’r. They also sometime stick
in an “r” sound where it doesn’t belong as in America being pronounced “uh MAIR uh kur.
S The NAME of this letter is “ESS.” Its sound is what you hear at the beginning and end of the words sis
and sass (or “s-s-s”).
T The NAME of this letter is “TEE.” Its sound is what you hear at the beginning and ending of the words
tat, tot, toot, and tote. (or “tuh”)
Y The NAME of this letter is “W’IE.” When it starts a word its sound is what you hear at the beginning of
the words yes, yet, yell, yip, yam, yacht, and yummy. When it is at the end of a one syllable word it is
pronounced “IE” or EYE as in by, cry, try, sly, fly, and dry. However, if the word has more than one
syllable and it ends in y it is pronounced “EE” as in baby, pantry, and laundry. There are linguists and
phoneticians who will insist that the sound is that of a short i, but we find it easier to teach both reading
and spelling when we call it a long e. As you are the teacher, take your pick.
E The NAME of this letter is “EE.” Its sound (if any) depends upon its neighbors.
F The NAME of this letter is “EFF.” Its sound is what you hear at the beginning of fee, fi, foe, fum, fit, five,
fingers, fast, for fun or at the ending of calf, Jeff, stiff, off, and stuff. (or “fuh”)
G The NAME of this letter is “JEE.” Its sound is either soft or hard. When it’s hard it’s the sound you hear
at the beginning and ending of the words gag and gig. (or “guh”) When it’s soft it’s the sound you hear
at the beginning of words such as gym, gee, George, gem, and gentle. (or “juh”)
H The NAME of this letter is “AY’ch.” Its sound is usually what you hear at the beginning of words such as
hat, hard, hot, ham, his, and hut. (or “huh”) When h is preceded by c, g, s, t, or w it becomes part of a
digraph. See digraphs below. When the letter h follows a vowel and ends a word it is silent but
functions as a signal letter for the “AH” or “OH” sounds as in bah and oh.
W The NAME of this letter is “DUBBLE YOO. AVKO considers the single u and the double u (w) to be like
naughty identical twins who like to switch identities just as the I and Y do. Sometimes the vowel u
takes on the role of the consonant w. Sometimes the consonant w takes on the role of the vowel u.
When the w is a consonant its sound is what you hear at the beginning of words such as water, wall,
win, will, and was (“wuh”). When the letter u is a consonant it has the same sound. Examples are suite
(“sweet”) and suede (“swayed”). When the double u (w) is at the end of a word it is always part of a
vowel digraph such as aw, ew, and ow.
I The NAME of this letter is “AH’ee” or EYE. Its sound (if any) depends upon its neighbors.
N The NAME of this letter is “EN.” Its sound is what you hear in front and back of the words Nan, nine,
and nun (or “nuh”).
J The NAME of this letter is “JAY. Its sound is what you hear at the beginning of words such as Jim, June,
Judy, joy, and jump (or “juh”). Note: If the word has a Spanish derivation, it’s sound is “huh” as Jose
(“hoh ZAY”), Jesus ("Hay Zoo-ss") and La Jolla ("luh HOY yuh").
K The NAME of this letter is “KAY”. Its sound is what you hear in front of the words kick, Kate, and kin and
what you hear at the end of words such as back, sick, tock, and stuck. (or “kuh”)
L The NAME of this letter is “ELL.” Its sound is what you hear in front of words such as lip, lot, little, Lulu,
lone and loon and what you hear at the ends of words such as ball, tell, still, gull, and coal (or “luh”).
M The NAME of this letter is “EM.” Its sound is what you hear in front and back of mom and mum (or
“muh”).
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O The NAME of this letter is “OH.” Its sound (if any) depends upon its neighbors.
P The NAME of this letter is “PEE.” Its sound is what you hear at the beginning and ending of pop, pope,
and pup (or “puh”).
Q The NAME of this letter is “KYOO.” It’s sound is what you hear at the beginning of words such as cat,
Kate, and quick (or “kuh”). Q almost always is followed by the letter u which in this one case almost
always has the sound of “double u“ (w) as in beginning sounds of the words wit, wad, walk, win and
won. There are no words in the English language that use the letters kw. But there are lots of qu words
with that sound as kw such as quit, quite, quack, quiz and quarrel. In words straight from Arabic the q
is pronounced as /k/ as in Iraq.
U The NAME of this letter is “YOO.” Its sound depends upon its neighbors.
V The NAME of this letter is “VEE.” Its sound is what you hear at the beginning of the words van, very,
voodoo, and voice and at the ending of the words have, cave, stove, love and live (or “vuh”). Notice
that we just don’t like to end words with the letters u and v.
X The NAME of this letter is “EK-ss.” When it starts a word other than X-ray, its sound is what you hear at
the beginning of words such as xylophone xylocaine, and zoo. Most of the time it has the same sound
as a k followed by an s and the ends of words such as mix, (Mick’s), tax (tacks), and lox (locks).
Z The NAME of this letter is “ZEE.” When it starts a word, its sound is what you hear at the beginning of
the words, zip, zap, and zoo. When it ends a word it sounds like what you hear at the ending of fuzz,
does, and was!
There are a number of good ways to teach the sounds of each letter. If you want to use the traditional
concepts of short vowels (a, e, i, o, u), long vowels AY, EE, YH (eye), OH, and YOO, it shouldn’t hurt too
many students, but... Technically, one of the long vowels does NOT say its name, and that is the long u.
The long vowel is OO as in “Ooh, I knew who was singing that tune in the Blue Moon.” When we have
words like cute (“kYoot”), few (“fYoo”), and beauty (“bYOO tee”), the vowel does say its name (“YOO”)
only because there is what we like to call an “invisible y.” If we can have silent letters, why not invisible
letters? (See "The Case of the Invisible Y" in The Teaching of Reading & Spelling: a Continuum from
Kindergarten through College)
AVKO also would prefer that you teach vowels as sounds and not just as the names of letters.
Teachers and books normally say A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y and W are called vowels. But that is
NOT quite true. Check your dictionary as to the real definitions of vowels and consonants. After you’ve
done that and got yourself confused with all the linguistic jargon, here is a translation into plain simple
English: Vowels are grunts. When man first developed a form of speech it was from simple grunts.
Aaaaa, ahhhh, ohhhhh, ooohhhh, Ayyyyyy, etc. Consonants are shapers. Put a t shaper at the end of
the aaaaa grunt and you get the word at. Put an m shaper in front of at and you get the word mat.
Depending upon the linguist you are talking to, you will get different answers to the question, “How many
vowels are there in English?” Some will say 13, others will say 21 or more. AVKO uses a pragmatic fiction
of 14 because we found it quite convenient for arranging words by patterns. AY, EE, IE, OH, OO are the
long vowels; a, e, i, o, u (and the schwa) are the short vowels. AW, OW, OY, and UU (as in put) are the
other vowels that are neither long nor short. As the r-controlled vowels can easily be handled within the
fourteen vowel structure, we do it that way. There are some teachers who feel they must teach –are as in
care separately from the LONG A families, because in truth the a in care, stare, and mare does not say
its name. The sound is precisely a SHORT E. Ouch! That’s a bit confusing. It may be technically incorrect,
but It’s more understandable to young students to treat the –are as a member of the VCe family. The
same is true with the E, I, O, and URE families. As there are so many English dialects, we have tried to
stay as close to the Standard American TV dialect as possible. Perhaps the most noticeable differences
in dialects are in the vowel sounds. We know that there are even distinguished professors of phonics
such as Professor Patrick Groff who has claimed in a personal letter to the author that Don and Dawn are
homonyms (homophones) as well as dock and dark! We respectfully disagree. We respect his dialect but
not his assumption about Standard American TV dialect. Except in a very few dialects such as the
Cockney dropping of h’s and the Limerick substitution of /t/ for /th/, the consonant (shapers) are nearly
identical. That is why we at AVKO do not spend a great deal of time on individual sounds of vowels but a
great deal of time on the vowel sounds in patterns which include the highly consistent consonants
(shapers).
Examples of just the letter a's consistency and supposed inconsistencies.
The word "a" is pronounced "uh" (the ubiquitous schwa) as in "a house."
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The letter a in ALL small words ending in the letter a such as ma, pa, spa, ha, fa, la, ta-ta, cha-cha
and Zha Zha is pronounced "AH." In some dialects it is “AW”, especially in those dialects that do not
discriminate between “ah” and “aw” as in Don and Dawn.
The ending letter a in almost ALL big words is pronounced "uh" as in mama, papa, Cuba, America,
Asia, Indonesia, Alexandria, pasta, etc. Big or Fancy Words are those words that cannot be reduced to
one meaningful syllable. Fisherman can be reduced to “fish” but official cannot. Hence fisherman which
has 9 letters we consider to be a small word (“simple”) and official which has 8 to be a big or fancy word.
In some dialects the ending letter a (“uh”) is pronounced “ur” as in “Hah’ vud’s” pronunciation of Cuba as
“kyoo bur.”
The letter a in ALL small words (CVC) ending in -ag is a “short a” and so all –ag words rhyme.
Examples: bag, rag, brag, lag, flag, gag, hag, shag, nag, snag, tag, stag, sag, wag, etc.
The letter a in ALL small words (CVCe) ending –age is a “long a” and so all small words ending –age
rhyme with cage, page, rage, stage, etc.
The letter a in ALL big words (FANCY) ending -age is pronounced as a “short i” or as “AH”. Big words
ending age either rhyme with bridge as does message or Taj as does massage. They never rhyme with
page.
The letter a in ALL small words (CVVC) ending -ain is a “long a” and so all small words ending –ain
rhyme with pain such as do rain Spain main plain.
The letter a in most big words (FANCY) ending -ain is pronounced as a “short i”and big words ending
–ain usually rhyme with tin as in mountain, certain, fountain, captain, etc.
The letter a in ALL small words ending -ace is a “long a” and so small words ending –ace rhyme with
chase as in face, space, lace, etc.
The letter a in almost ALL big words ending -ace is pronounced as a “short i” and big words ending –
ace usually rhyme with miss as in palace, furnace, menace, etc.
The letter a followed by double l's in ALL small words is pronounced "AW" and words ending -all
rhyme with crawl as in all, small, tall, and wall.
The letter a in Almost all OA words is silent (a signal letter) making the oa sound as "OH" as in boat.
The letter a in EA words is silent (a signal letter) making the ea sound as "EE" as in meat or "AY" as in
steak or "EH" as in sweat or swear. Note: The letter e is often sounded "AY" and in fact that is its name in
French, Spanish, and German.
The letter a in AU and AW words is pronounced "AW" as in taught and crawl.
The letter a in EAU and EAUX and AUX words has no sound of its own. These letter combinations
produce "OH" except in the words beauty and beautiful in which case the letters ea sound as /y/ and the u
as /oo/.
The letter a when followed by the letter r (R-Control) has the "AH" or "AW" sound depending upon
one's dialect. In other words, words such as car, far, jar rhyme with the name of the letter R with one
exception. See W-Control 2.
W-Control 1: Whenever the letter w precedes the letter a, the a is pronounced "AH" as in wad,
swaddle, waft, waffle, wallow, swallow, Guam, wan, swan, wand, want, swap, wasp, water, squad, squat,
swat, swatter, etc. (Note: The letter u usually becomes the consonant /w/ when it is followed by the letter
a.)
W-Control 2: Whenever the letter r follows the letters wa- we have a "WAR" between the W- and -R
controls and a compromise is made. War words rhyme with the word OR as in war, wart, ward, warm,
swarm, quart, etc.
This should be sufficient to demonstrate that the letter a does not have "one" consistent sound within
all words but does have consistent sounds depending upon the word pattern (or its neighboring letters).
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Rationale for Exposing Students Immediately
to a Variety of Fonts—Including Cursive
Since AVKO’s beginning in 1974, we have dealt almost exclusively with older students and adults
who, despite the best of traditional teaching methods and materials, had severe reading and spelling
problems. It was from analyzing how these problems came about and from analyzing what we did to
overcome them, we have come to the conclusion that all students should be taught to quickly and
automatically respond to letters (or combinations of letters) as sounds that make up words that have
meaning.
We feel that both sight methods and analytic phonic methods can create problems. We have had
students who could read the Dolch word goes when it was flashed to them on a card but could not read
the word goes when it was in a sans serif font such as Arial or hand printed goes or written in cursive as
GÔís.. Often the word was misread as does. Does goes look like does or GOES, goes, goes, goes and
gÔís? See what we mean?
Here at the AVKO Reading Clinic we have conducted simple demonstrations that clearly show that
fonts make such a difference that poor readers or non readers can not successfully handle a very simple
word recognition test such as the following: Because you are a good reader, you can circle the two words
that are the same in each line. But give this to one who is not a good reader and watch what happens!
NEXT
STAMMER
LADLES
FLICEKR
FASTER
Nest
stammar
Ladlz
Flicker
Easter
NEXI
Nest
NETS
SLAMMER
Slammer
SHEMMER
LADIES
ladus
ladies
FLCIKER
Flicker
FLICKRE
FASTFR
FASTEN
EASTER
294
The following was copied directly with permission from Bill Morelan's website for one
scholar's points of view concerning different handwriting systems: These are his opinions.
HANDWRITING OVERVIEW
Introduction
Those who work with young students just learning to write face an increasingly difficult task–
how to choose an effective handwriting curriculum from a wide variety of methods and styles.
Complicating this process is the fact that today’s highly persuasive sales campaigns do not
necessarily go hand-in-hand with solid, researched-based curricula!
The importance of choosing an effective handwriting curriculum cannot be underestimated. It’s
a choice that will shape a student’s habits and abilities for life. This site is dedicated to helping
teachers, parents, and curriculum committees make accurate, informed assessments of
handwriting curricula and their claims. (The author acknowledges in advance a definite bias toward
programs based on research rather than rhetoric.)
In order to simplify style comparison, the various programs have been divided into categories.
However, each program should be evaluated on its own merits rather than its inclusion in any
particular group. Groupings are as follows:
Traditional Handwriting:
Palmer • Zaner Bloser® • A Reason For® • McDougal-Little® • Harcourt Brace®
Italicized Handwriting:
D’Nealian® • Getty-Dubary™
Other Programs:
Abeka® • Peterson Directed ®
This site concludes with a Reference Section listing major articles and pertinent research
related to evaluating handwriting instruction. This site also includes a Style Comparison Sheet
which allows users to print a comparison of the various handwriting styles.
Traditional Handwriting
Palmer Handwriting
There’s a good chance that your grandparents learned to write using “the Palmer method.” It
was popularized by Austin Palmer in the early 1900s, and almost every handwriting program in
existence today is a direct descendent of this style–either as an enhancement of the method, or as
a reaction against it.
Strength: traditional alphabet formation, historical foundation
Weakness: archaic style, somewhat outdated methodology, minimal commercial support.
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
Zaner Bloser® Handwriting
The number one selling handwriting program in America. Based on the Palmer method with
numerous improvements and enhancements. Zaner Bloser currently offers both their old style
(traditional) alphabet, and a new more contemporary version (simplified). More information on
Zaner Bloser handwriting can be found at www.zaner-bloser.com
Strength: traditional alphabet, easy-to-use materials, strong support
Weakness: tendency to use meaningless or silly sentences for practice
295
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
A Reason For® Handwriting
Using an alphabet very similar to Zaner Bloser’s “simplified” style, this curriculum is based on
content taken from Scripture verses. It also includes a strong outreach component, giving students
a practical “reason” for using their very best handwriting. An informative, well-designed website
with downloadable curriculum samples can be found at: www.areasonfor.com
Strength: traditional alphabet, easy-to-use materials, highly motivational
Weakness: unsuitable for public school use due to Christian content.
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
McDougal, Littell© Handwriting
Similar to Zaner Bloser with minor variations in style and teaching methodology.
Website: http://www.mcdougallittell.com
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
Harcourt Brace ® Handwriting
Similar to Zaner Bloser with minor variations in style and teaching methodology.
Website: www.harcourtschool.com
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
Italicized Handwriting
Author’s Note: Italicized styles are somewhat controversial. Proponents cite easier transition,
student satisfaction. However, at least one major study (Graham, 1992) finds little to substantiate
these claims. In addition, other studies have raised questions regarding specific liabilities
associated with teaching italicized alphabets (Kuhl and Dewitz, 1994; Hackney, 1991; etc.) That
having been said, there are still thousands of schools nationwide that embrace this style.
D’Nealian Handwriting
Developed in the 1960’s by Don Neal Thurber (Don Neal = D’Nealian) in an effort to ease the
transition from manuscript to cursive. It features a unique manuscript alphabet that reflects the
cursive forms of each letter. More information can be found at www.scottforesman.com
Strength: strong corporate support, easier transition (see author’s note above)., historical
foundation
Weakness: some studies suggest various problems associated with learning a separate alphabet
for reading and writing.
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
abcdefghIjklmnopqrstuvwxyz
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
abcdefghIjklmnopqrstuvwxyz
D’Nealian Manuscript
Arrows and stroke numbers offer guidance in direction and sequence
abcdefghIjklm
nopqrstuvwxyz
296
Where is the transition? With D’Nealian manuscript, there’s hardly any transition. That’s the
feature that has made this handwriting method the favorite of teachers from coast to coast. All you
do is add a few simple joining strokes and–presto–you’re writing in D’Nealian.
abcdefghIjklm
nopqrstuvwxyz
A Beka® Handwriting
A “cursive only” handwriting curriculum designed for use with the A Beka language arts
curriculum. Popular with many homeschoolers. A Beka handwriting can be found at:
http://www.abeka.com/ABB/Catalogs/HSCat/Catalog.html
Strength: No transition necessary since only cursive handwriting is taught.
Weakness: Same as D’Nealian. Also, some studies cite concerns about requiring fine motor skills
prior to physiological readiness. (Kuhl and Dewitz, 1994).
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
abcdefghIjklmnopqrstuvwxyz
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
abcdefghIjklmnopqrstuvwxyz
HANDWRITING AND THE BFH PROGRAM
Good handwriting has a powerful affect on academic achievement. Barchowsky Fluent
Handwriting is devoted to developing maximum legibility with maximum speed. Benefit to students
is the paramount concern always.
The BFH program grew out of elementary classroom experience. The program evolved as the
author taught students from age four to fourteen, observed their capabilities, and listened to their
ideas.
Fluent handwriting depends on rhythmic movement and good posture. One is as critical as the
other. Think, if you will, about other physical activities. All demand a specific posture and
movement to work with well, whether to swing a baseball bat, hit a nail with a hammer, play a
piano, or write.
ONE MODEL ALPHABET
The BFH program has one model alphabet only. It serves as the starting point for the youngest
students. With no changes in letter formations, it evolves into a suitable hand for older students,
and adults.
Most lowercase letters of the BFH model include entry and exit strokes to encourage flowing
movement. The youngest students learn these characters. Once they learn to recognize
characters, write them, and put them into words, they are ready to move on to joined writing, true
cursive. (The word “cursive” is often applied to a method of writing that employs undercurves,
overcurves, and loops to make characters join. The derivation of the word cursive is Latin. It means
running, as in a flowing, fluent movement.)
PRINT AND CURSIVE ALPHABETS
Fine motor skills suffer if two different alphabets are presented in a handwriting programs.
(Some educators believe…, AVKO’s editorial correction.) Many educators believe it best to teach
print-script first, and cursive later. (But there are those who believe it best to teach cursive first and
manuscript later. Again, AVKO’s editorial insertion) Print-script appears to be simple because it
resembles the type from which students learn to read.
Print-script models are frequently composed of circles and lines. The characters are drawn
slowly, rather than written freely. Rhythm suffers because most print-script models lack the design
elements that allow them to flow. Many students confuse the placement of the lines that form
letters. Reversals become a problem. The BFH model will not produce reversals, because of the
easy character formation, and conformity to natural rhythmic movement.
In most schools conventional cursive is introduced after two to three years of learning printscript. It is confusing. Letters whose strokes used to start at the top now start at the baseline. Some
letter shapes are modified, and some change altogether. Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting letters
are always formed in the same direction that we read, top-to-bottom and left-to-right.
297
Here are two generic samples of print-script:
First Sample (stick ball)
Second sample (D’Nealian manuscript)
Third ãample (D’Nealian CursiÌí)
This is the model for the BFH
program.
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
abcdefghIjklmnopqrstuvwxyz
Cursive models in common use today are reruns from the nineteenth century. There have been
many cursive alphabets throughout the ages. Usually letterforms change as cultural changes
occur. Nineteenth century handwriting methods are ill suited to our present culture. They do not
work with today’s tools, technology, and need for rapid writing. Most current, cursive models are
based on alphabet designs by scribes who cared more for virtuoso flourishes than for efficient,
running hands. Scribes of the past emulated the curls and swirls that adorned copperplate prints
that date to the sixteenth century. Letter shapes varied over the years, but the curlicues have long
been admired, although to master them requires many hours of practice.
The introduction of a second model for cursive writing is unnecessary if students have already
learned to write characters that can be joined with their entry and exit strokes.
SAVE TEACHING TIME
Valuable time is saved when only one method is taught. Handwriting instruction takes place in
the early years. The BFH program recommends about 15 to 20 minutes a day in the beginning.
Sessions for very young students should not be devoted solely to letter formations. This is an
opportunity to play, and to learn left from right, top from bottom. Students can have fun pretending
to lead an orchestra, or to trace a bird or helicopter in flight.
First and second grades (ages 5 to 8) can allot about four 20 to 25 minute handwriting sessions
per week. Principles of good handwriting should prevail throughout all written assignments. Joins
should be taught in first grade, and just as soon as possible. Each class should start with a fiveminute warm up exercise that relates to the letters that students will practice.
Handwriting is a small motor physical education, and just as for all serious sports, a warm up
period precedes the game. All warm up patterns in the BFH program relate either to characters, or
to joining them.
As soon as students can construct characters satisfactorily, formal handwriting classes should
be gradually phased out, with good handwriting practices integrated into all written work, science
and math, etc. Do we sometimes forget that numbers must be well formed and placed? A crooked
column of numerals, inconsistent in size is hard to add up. Spelling and reports are good places to
look for legibility. Note-taking is good for both legibility and speed.
YOURS FOR LIFE
The BFH program grows with the student. Beginners start with a one-model alphabet. As soon
as the basics are learned, the emphasis is on developing a legible, rapid, individual hand.
Handwriting cannot be ignored during the years of physical and intellectual development.
298
It is important to monitor students as they grow and develop fine motor skills. With little time
invested, the BFH program will help instructors understand the elements of handwriting that need
attention through the age of about 14. You will find diverse and engaging activities for older
students on the CD-ROM.
It is reassuring to know that students who were taught with the BFH program are now adults
who can take legible, rapid-fire notes, as well as impress a client with a personal memo, or a
potential employer with a job application.
Getty-Dubay Handwriting
A relative newcomer to italicized handwriting programs. Developed by Barbara Getty and Inga
Dubay at Portland State University. While D’Nealian tends to make manuscript letters reflect
cursive letters, Getty-Dubay tends to make the cursive alphabet reflect manuscript formation. Some
reviewers have referred to Getty-Dubay as “calligraphy style” handwriting. More information on
Getty-Dubay handwriting can be found at: http://extended.pdx.edu/press
Strength: easier transition (See note above)
Weakness: Same as D’Nealian. Too new for longitudinal studies
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
abcdefghIjklmnopqrstuvwxyz
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
abcdefghIjklmnopqrstuvwxyz
Specialized Handwriting
A Beka® Handwriting
A “cursive only” handwriting curriculum designed for use with the A Beka language arts
curriculum. Popular with many homeschoolers. A Beka handwriting can be found at:
http://www.abeka.com/ABB/Catalogs/HSCat/Catalog.html
Strength: No transition necessary since only cursive handwriting is taught.
Weakness: Same as D’Nealian. Also, some studies cite concerns about requiring fine motor skills
prior to physiological readiness. (Kuhl and Dewitz, 1994)
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
abcdefghIjklmnopqrstuvwxyz
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
abcdefghIjklmnopqrstuvwxyz
Peterson Directed Handwriting©
Another handwriting program popular with homeschoolers. Peterson uses a unique alphabet,
and the major emphasis is on the teaching methodology. More information on Peterson Directed
Handwriting ® can be found at: http://www.peterson-handwriting.com
Strength: Very structured teaching methodology.
Weakness: Same as D’Nealian due to unique alphabet shapes.
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
abcdefghIjklmnopqrstuvwxyz
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
abcdefghIjklmnopqrstuvwxyz
References
Author’s Note: While by no means comprehensive, the following list provides a good overview of
the topic. Included are some classic research studies, articles, and books (some dating as far back
as 1923) that are often overlooked in the attempt to get the “latest” research spin.
Barbe, Walter B. et al. “Manuscript is the “Write’ Start.” Academic Therapy, 1983, (18(4), 3970405.
EJ 289 876
Barbe, Walter B. “The Right Way to Write in the Primary Grades.” Early Years November, 1980:27.
Barbe, Walter B. and Virginia H. Lucas. “Instruction in Handwriting-a New Look.” Studenthood
Education, 1974: 207-209
299
Dobbie, Linda, and Eunice N. Askov. “Progress of Handwriting Research in the 1980s and Future
Prospects.” Journal of Educational Research, 1995, 88 (6) 339-51. EJ 519 072
Farris, P.J. Language Arts Process, Product, and Assessment (2nd Edition), 1997, Madison, WI:
Brown & Benchmark.
Graham, Steve “Issues in Handwriting Instruction.” Focus on Exceptional Students, 1992, 25(2), 14. EJ 455 780
Graham, S., and L. Miller. “Handwriting Research and Practice: A Unified Approach.” Focus on
Exceptional Students 1980:1-16
Hackney, Clinton S. Standard Manuscript or Modified Italic? A Critical Evaluation of Letter Forms
for Initial Handwriting Instruction, 1991. Columbus, OH: Zaner-Bloser Inc.
Hildreth, Gertrude. “Early Writing as an Aid to Reading.” Elementary English, 1963m 40mm 15-20
Hildreth, Gertrude. “Manuscript Writing After Sixty Years.” Elementary English, January, 1960.
Kirkland , E.R. “A Piagetian Interpretation of Beginning Reading Instruction.” The Reading Teacher
1988, 497-503.
Kuhl, D., and P. Dewitz. “The Effect of Handwriting Style on Alphabet Recognition.” 1994. Paper
presented at the American Educational Research Association Meeting (New Orleans).
Mason, W.A. “A History of the Art of Writing.” 1970, New York: Macmillan.
Milone, M. and R. Pappas. “The Transition from Manuscript to Cursive: Bethleham Report.”
Preliminary Report (unpublished), 1982.
Milone, M. and Thomas Wasylyk. “ Manuscript to Cursive: A Comparison of Two Transition Times.”
(unpublished), 1980.
Tinker, M.A. “Prolonged Reading Tasks in Visual Research.” Journal of Applied Psychology, 1955,
39, 444-445.
Wise, M. On the Technique of Manuscript Writing. 1923, New York: Scribner Sons.
Final Comments & Fine Print
All font samples on this site are courtesy of the fine folks at Educational Fontware. They offer fonts
and font variations for most major handwriting styles. Visit their website at:
www.educationalfontware.com
This was created in partial fulfillment of the requirements related to a Ph.D. in Educational
Leadership (Curriculum & Instruction emphasis). Comments should be directed to Bill Morelan at
[email protected]
300
Teaching Letters, Single Words, Phrases with Flashcards
Using flashcards to teach has been around for ages. The technique works. Sometimes it works too
well. Why? Because students want to please their parent or their teacher by getting the correct answer.
So their minds sometimes use shortcuts. For example, when a student is being quizzed with a typical set
of ten flashcards, the student may seize upon the fact that the word elephant is the only long word in the
group and it starts with the letters el. So now when he reads “Jack got on the elevator to go to the fourth
floor,” he reads it as “Jack got on the elephant!”
So too, if a student sees only ball and stick letters the student may have a difficult time recognizing
and reading other styles. Notice the difference in these letters: a a a A A a A. They are not alike. Yet
the student must learn to respond automatically to all of them in order to become a good reader.
That is the main reason why we suggest that you make your own flash cards. Use your computer and
its ability to change fonts, copy, and paste to make sure that as your student learns to read they won’t be
dependent on seeing a letter or a word in just one font. We also suggest that you have at the top of your
dry erase board an alphabet strips such as:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
a b c
d e
f
g h I j
k l m n o p q
r
s t u v
w
x
y z
This happens to be D’Nealian® but it could just as well be Getty-Dubay Italic or whatever handwriting
system you intend to teach. We do hope that is not a stick and ball type system. The important thing to do
WHEN you first start to teach is to cover ALL the letters except the letter A so that it looks like this:
A
a
Then, when you get to the letter B you uncover the B so that the chart looks like this:
A B
a b
Then, when you get to the letter C you uncover the C so that the chart looks like this:
A B C
a b C
Then, after teaching the D, the R, the S, and the T, when you get to the letter Y you uncover the Y so
that the chart looks like this:
A B C D
R S T
Y
301
a b C d
r s t
y
This uncovering of the letters as you teach them serves several purposes.
1. It keeps the alphabet from becoming like wallpaper. Wallpaper is something that’s there that you
ignore most of the time.
2. It keeps the students’s minds focused on the letter they are learning and those they have just
learned.
3. It gives the students a visual chart of their progress.
4. It gives you a visual reminder of what letters you can use to teach new words that are 100%
decodable.
As you teach the alphabet, you should also be teaching words and phrases. For example, once you
get to the letter T (ABCD RST) you can teach the phrases START A CAR, a car starts, and Cars start
using different cards and different fonts. This can all be done on your own computer and is another
reason for having your students learn the computer keyboard AS they are learning the alphabet and AS
they are learning to read and to spell and to print.
Start a
car.
A car
starts.
START A A CAR
CAR.
STARTS.
Bart starts
a car.
A star starts
a car.
Art's car
starts.
Bart starts
a car.
A star starts
a car.
Art's car
starts.
Or you can just write the words on your dry erase boards and change them “magically” from A CAR to
A CART or using your eraser change A CART to ART and ART to DART or TART or BART.
You can achieve the same effect by using your computer when you add letters or delete letters.
You can make your own flashcards using your computer, your printer, and a pair of scissors or a paper
cutter.
You can also make your own spelling games such as spelling rummy. Directions and cards you can
make FREE can be found at
www.spellarama.com This is a letter card game you can print off for free. Works with sound cards +
chart.
302
Teaching with Sentences
At AVKO we don’t believe in starting the learning-to-read process by giving the student Tolstoy’s War
and Peace or Einstein’s Theory of Relativity to read. We believe in crawling before we walk and walking
before we run, and running before we do the high hurdles. So it is that we teach sentences before we
teach paragraphs and paragraphs before short books, and short books before chapters and chapters
before long books:
There are lots of grammar books on the market. Some good, some dull and boring, and some that are
utterly confusing. Use whatever works for you and your student. But before you get to teaching grammar
formally as such, you can create sentences from the words you have taught to your students.
You can really have fun creating silly sentences once your alphabet strip looks like this:
A B C D E F G H I
R S T
W
Y
a b c d e f g h i
r s t
w
y
You can have:
Gee, is dad a bee?
Is he a bee?
Is he a tree?
Is that dad’s car?
Are there trees here?
Gee, is dad a Óíe?
Is he a Óíe?
Is he a tree?
Is that dad’s car
Are there trees here?
Gee, is dad a bee?
Is he a bee?
Is he a tree?
Is that dad’s car?
Are there trees here?
Whatever sentences you and your students create, you can constantly put them into different fonts so
that they are learning to respond to the letters and not the appearance or “sight picture” of the words.
303
Decodable Words by Units an Overview
Unit Objectives you may choose to read to your students:
Unit 1 ABCD
At the end of this unit you will be able to name the first four letters of the alphabet, recognize
them whether they are in upper case or lower case, in Times Roman Font, Aerial Font,
Manuscript or Cursive.
You will know the sounds that B, C, and D make and be able to say them and write them
(and keyboard, hopefully) as well as to be able to read and spell all the words that can be made
with the letters ABC and D.
You will also be able to put the letters in alphabetical order.
Unit 2 RST
At the end of this unit you will be able to name the three very important letters of the alphabet
(R,S,T) and recognize them whether they are in upper case or lower case, in Times Roman
Font, Aerial Font, Manuscript or Cursive.
You will know the sounds that R, S, and T make individually and as consonant blends such
as BR, CR, SCR, DR, ST, STR and the ending CT and be able to say them and write them (and
keyboard, hopefully) as well as to be able to read and spell all the words that can be made
ABCD_RS and T.
Unit 3 The letter Y as Consonant and Vowel
At the end of this unit you will be able to name the letter Y, recognize it whether it is in upper
case or lower case, in Times Roman Font, Aerial Font, Manuscript or Cursive.
You will know the sounds that the letter Y makes and be able to say them and write them
(and keyboard, hopefully) as well as to be able to read and spell all the words that can be made
with the letters ABCD_RST and Y.
Unit 4 E
At the end of this unit you will be able to recognize the letter E and know the sounds that it
makes when it is part of a digraph such as EE, EA, and EY and the ER and ED endings. You
will be able to read and spell all the words that can be made using ABCDE_RST and Y.
Unit 5 F
At the end of this unit you will be able to recognize the letter F and know the sounds that it
makes when it is alone or part of a beginning blend such as FR or an ending blend FT. You will
be able to read and spell all the words that can be made ABCDEF_RST and Y.
Unit 6 G
At the end of this unit you will be able to recognize the letter G and know the sounds that it
makes when it is part of a beginning blend GR or the digraph GE. You will be able to read and
spell all the words that can be made using ABCDEFG_RST and Y.
Unit 7 H
At the end of this unit you will be able to recognize the letter H and know the sounds that it
makes when it is by itself or part of a digraph such as CH, SH, TH or the CHR, THR, and SHR
blends. You will be able to read and spell all the words that can be made using
ABCDEFGH_RST and Y.
304
Unit 8 W
At the end of this unit you will be able to recognize the letter W and know the sounds that it
makes when it is part of a consonant digraph such as WH or the vowel digraphs EW and AW.
You will be able to read and spell all the words that can be made using ABCDEFGH_RST_W
and Y.
Unit 9 I
At the end of this unit you will be able to recognize the letter I and know the sounds that it
makes and how it may act as a silent signal letter to tell you how to pronounce the A when
followed by a consonant and the E. You will recognize the ai, ie, and ei digraphs and will be able
to read and spell all the words that can be made using ABCDEFGHI_RST_W and Y.
Unit 10 N
At the end of this unit you will be able to recognize the letter N and know the sounds that it
makes when it is part of a digraph such as KN, GN, NG, part of the ending blends ND, NDS,
NT, NTS and the ING ending. You will be able to read and spell all the words that can be made
using ABCDEFGHI_N_RST_W and Y.
Unit 11 J & K
At the end of this unit you will be able to recognize the letters J and K and know the sounds
that they make alone or when the K is part of a CK digraph or the SK blend. You will be able to
read and spell all the words that can be made using ABCDEFGHIJK_N_RST_W and Y.
Unit 12 L
At the end of this unit you will be able to recognize the letter L and know the sounds that it
makes alone, when it is part of a digraph such as LL, an initial blend such as BL, CL, FL, GL,
and SL and the ending blends LD and LT. You will be able to read and spell all the words that
can be made using ABCDEFGHIJKL_N_RST_W and Y.
Unit 13 M
At the end of this unit you will be able to recognize the letter M and know the sounds that it
makes alone and when it is part of a digraph such as LM, MB and the beginning and ending
blend SM. You will be able to read and spell all the words that can be made using
ABCDEFGHIJKLMN_RST_W and Y.
Unit 14 O
At the end of this unit you will be able to recognize the letter O and know the sounds that it
makes alone when it is part of a digraph such as OE, OA, OO, OY. You will be able to read and
spell all the words that can be made using ABCDEFGHIJKLMNO_RST_W and Y.
Unit 15 P
At the end of this unit you will be able to recognize the letter P and know the sounds that it
makes when it is part of a beginning blend such as PL, SPL, PR, and SPR and ending blends
LP and PT. You will be able to read and spell all the words that can be made using
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOP_RST_W and Y.
Unit 16 Q and U
At the end of this unit you will be able to recognize the letters Q and U and know the sounds
that it each letter makes alone and when it is part of the initial blends such as QU and SQU and
ending blends SQUE and the vowel digraphs EU, UE, OU, OUGH, and UI. You will be able to
read and spell all the words that can be made using ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTU_W and Y..
305
Unit 17 V
At the end of this unit you will be able to recognize the letter V and know the sounds that it
makes. You will be able to read and spell all the words that can be made using
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVW_Y.
Unit 18 X
At the end of this unit you will be able to recognize the letter X and know the sounds that it
makes. You will be able to read and spell all the words that can be made using all the letters of
the alphabet except the letter Z.
Unit 19 E
At the end of this unit you will be able to recognize the letter Zand know the when it is part of
a digraph such as EE, EA, and EY and the ER and ED endings. You will be able to read and
spell all the regular words in the English language.
Notes: Words in reverse are words that defy phonic analysis and must be learned by sight. We
call them "insane.” Some teachers call them outlaws who refuse to follow the rules. Words
highlighted are homophones. Some scholars still use the outdated word homonyms. Notice that
lessons now can be rather lengthy and may take many days to complete. Mastery is what we
are looking for. Automatic responses to the phonic patterns are essential for good reading.
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General Lesson Plans with Measurable Behavioral Objectives
Each Unit will have its own objectives that can be measured. Within each unit there will be
lessons with their own behavioral objectives. As you are the teacher, you can determine for
yourself whether your students should be told at the very beginning of each unit and each
lesson just what the objectives are and just what they are expected to learn. You may, if you
wish, give each student a pre-printed slip on which it says: TODAY I LEARNED and have your
students write at least one thing that they were taught.
Today I learned:
That is our way of helping the students have an answer when their father or mother gets
home from work and asks, "What did you learn in school today?" These are really great for the
kindergarten, first and second grade students. If this course is being used for remedial
purposes, as it certainly should be, please no bunny rabbits or balloons for older students and
adults.
Spelling and handwriting are used as multi-sensory techniques to give the maximum amount
of repetitions with the least amount of copy, copy, copy, copy, copy that becomes brain
numbing. For example, a student could be asked to write the word in 50 times. We know that
after a while the student is just going through the paces. But if the student is asked to write the
word in, then change the word in to sin, then change in to pin, and then to in to spin, the
student’s mind keeps focused. By building in words from in to inns to inner, thinner, spinner
and even beginners a great amount of focused repetition is accomplished. Even though each
word is only written once, the student will be writing the phonogram in well over 50 times
because it is imbedded in the different words.
If you examine closely the words given in each lesson that can be used to lock in a pattern
you will notice that there can be a tremendous amount of systematic vocabulary development
as well as practice in sounding out names. Many teachers, even teachers who teach phonics,
sometimes have problems pronouncing names. My name has been mispronounced by college
professors at Michigan State University who have doctorates in the teaching of reading! Don
pronounced as Dawn isn't quite right. And it's a shame college professors of reading have
mispronounced McCabe as Mick Cobb, Mac a bee, or McKay bee. This is a sign that our
teachers of teachers have never really been taught simple phonics. Abe, babe, and McCabe
should offer no problems for anyone.
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Possible Regular Daily Activities—You choose the ones you feel
will work for you. Feel free to add your own.
1. Writing the Manuscript Letter, Upper Case and Lower Case. You may use the
scripted directions (See p. ***) or use your own. You're the teacher. You know your students or your
students as the case may be. Use the directions for making the letters according to the method you are
using.
You can use fonts from http://www.educationalfontware.com/ and
find links to all the major publishers of handwriting systems.
2. Keep the accent on legibility. If, for example, you decide to use D'Nealian and your
student finds it difficult to make the start of a "monkey tail" or "hook" at the end of a letter, don't make a
scene. Just have it end straight down at the line just as it does in Getty-Dubay Italic. If you or your student
don't like the Capital Q in the system you're using because it looks too much like the number 2, don't use
it. There is no law that says if you teach Palmer that you can't slip in a letter formation from Getty-Dubay
Italic, Barchowski, Peterson, or D'Nealian.
3. Search and destroy "game" revealing real words between the letters searched for.
You can use this for any lesson.
For example: For the letter J Circle the j’s and underline the real words inbetween.
AJBATJSTARJSTARTJHIGHJSADDESTJTEASEDJ
You can put them in lower case cursive:
jbétjstarjstartjhighjsaddestjteasdj
or in any
fonts you wish. The more the merrier.
4. Reading and reviewing words using word flash cards. The difference
is in the type of cards used. Rather than using only one font, one size, all lower case we believe in using
different fonts, different sizes, and upper and lower case as in:
day bay say Ray
stay
DAY bay
stay
say
5. Decodable Sentences suitable for
a. reading exercises,
b. dictation writing exercises,
c. copying exercises,
d. keyboarding
Ray
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Decodable Sentences available at the end of Unit 3 after 8 letters (abcd rst y) have
been taught: A sample sentence:
1. Say, Stay, Ray. Stay a day.
By using the magic of computers and their ability to change fonts you can make them all
capitals as in:
1. SAY, STAY, RAY. STAY A DAY.
1. Say, Stay, Ray. Stay a day.
1. Say, Stay, Ray. Stay a day.
Making Decodable Sentences By sorting the word cards in piles as nouns,
verbs, adverbs, and adjectives, you can have the students create their own silly sentences. The
sentences should be created using only the letters they have already been taught. In this case, the letters
taught have been abcd rst y. Using just those eight letters, 29 different basic words are decodable. There
are 94 POWER words available that are decodable, words such as act and cast. There are also 20
different names that are decodable. So, in just teaching 8 letters, if the phonics involved are mastered,
then there are at least 143 words that can be used. After the addition of each new letter the number of
decodable words goes up exponentially.
Practicing Alphabetical Order.
We believe that alphabetical order should be
taught as we teach the alphabet. Students can be given practice putting the letters they have learned in
alphabetical order. What comes before d? Answer c. What comes after s? Answer t. What comes before
r? If we use alphabetical order for just a minute or two each day, it helps making the use of alphabetical
order an automatic process long before they will really, really need it in personal life.
Length and number of sessions: We believe that three separate fifteenminute sessions will produce more learning than one sixty-minute session. By separate, we mean that at
least two hours must be in between the sessions. If you wish, you may use 10 minute sessions. You may
use 20 or 25 minute sessions. You are the teacher. You know your students.
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Keyboarding (Optional):
Set your timer for 15 minutes. When it dings, stop. Do something else. Return to the
lesson later on during the day. Please never do more than 4 15-minute keyboarding
sessions during one day. This notice will not be repeated.
If you teach keyboarding along with handwriting, there should be at least one-half hour between a
twenty-minute handwriting session and a twenty-minute keyboarding session. Always make certain your
student rests his hands lightly, gently, on the keyboard with the little finger left hand on the letter A and
the little finger right hand on the ; key.
The letters G H should appear between the index (pointer) fingers. If you are using a computer, feel
free to keep changing the font that is being used from lesson to lesson, and even during a lesson if you
so choose. If you are using this for either learning to read and spell or for remediation purposes, you
might consider reading the words to your student as he types them. He will hear the word (A = Audio). He
will see the word and its letters (V=Visual). He will be using the same finger strokes in his muscle memory
(K=Kinesthetic). And he will be subvocalizing as he is keyboarding (O=Oral). And that’s where AVKO gets
its name which means multi-sensory.
Show your student how to place their hands gently on the keyboard so the little finger left hand is on
the A key. Make sure the letters g h are uncovered. The right hand is placed gently on the same row. The
space bar is to be struck by the right thumb. The Enter Key is to be struck by the little finger on the right
hand stretching over the apostrophe key and then returning to the semi-colon key. The B key is struck by
the pointer (index) finger of the left hand reaching out and down to the b key and then returning to its
proper position gently resting on the "F" key.
Have your student type as many rows of baa baa baa saying the word and then spelling it: "BAA (BEE
AY AY SPACE) BAA (BEE AY AY SPACE) BAA (BEE AY AY SPACE ) ENTER" as you feel are
necessary to lock it in.
You can show your student the "CAPS LOCK" key. Have your student type as many rows of BAA BAA
BAA as you feel are necessary. Remember to say the word BAA and then spell it and say "Space"
between each word and "ENTER" when you come to the end of a line.
Unit 1 ABCD
Lesson 3. The letter c is made with the middle finger left hand and returns to rest above the “D”.
A new line is made by the little finger right hand reaching over to strike the Enter key and
immediately returns to rest over the ;: key. Capital letters are made by pressing down and holding
the Shift key with the little finger of the opposite hand from the one striking the letter.
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ccc abc abc abc ccc aaa bbb abc abc ccc (This line three times. Return to p. ***)
Lesson 4. The letter d is made with the middle finger left hand.
The comma is made with the middle finger right hand and returns to rest above the “K” key.
ddd, abcd, ddd,abcd, ddd, ddd, abcd, (This line three times. Do sentences on p. ***)
Unit 2 RST
Lesson1. The letter r is made with the pointer finger left hand. Returns to rest above the “F”
The period is made with the ring finger, right hand. Returns to rest above the “L” key.
rrr, abcd. rrr, abcd. rrr, abcd. rrr, abcd. rrr. (This line three times. Do sentences on p. ***)
Lesson 2 The letter s is made with the ring finger left hand.
sss. abcd, rs, sss. sss, abcd, rs, sss, abcd, rs, sss. (This line three times. Do sentences on p. ***)
Lesson 3 The letter t is made with the pointer finger left hand.
The apostrophe (’) is made with the little finger right hand reaching to the right one key.
ttt’s, ttt’s. aaa’s. bbb’s. ttt’s. ccc’s. ddd’s. ttt’s. rrr’s.
ttt, abcd, rst, ttt. ttt, abcd, rst, ttt. ttt, abcd, rst, ttt. (This line three times. Do sentences on p. ***)
Unit 3 Y The letter y is made with the pointer finger RIGHT hand. The quotation marks are made with the
little finger right hand while the little finger left hand holds down the SHIFT key. An exclamation
point (!) is made with the little finger left hand while the little finger right hand holds down the
SHIFT key.
“yyy.” “yyy,” “yyy,” “yyy.” “abcd,” “rst,” “yyy.” (This line three times. Do sentences on p. ***)
Unit 4 E The letter e is made with the middle finger LEFT hand.
“eee” abcde, rst, y. “eee” abcde, rst, y. “eee,” (This line three times. Do sentences on p. ***)
Unit 5 F The letter f is made with the pointer finger left hand.
fff, abcdef, rst, y. “fff” fff, abcdef, rst, y. fff, (This line three times. Do sentences on p. ***)
Unit 6 G The letter g is made with the pointer finger left hand.
ggg abcdefg rst y ggg. ggg abcdefg rst y ggg. (This line three times. Do sentences on p. ***)
Unit 7 H The letter h is made with the pointer finger right hand.
hhh abcdefgh rst y hhh abcdefg hhh abcdefg hhh (This line three times. Do sentences on p. ***)
Unit 8 W The letter w is made with the ring finger left hand
www abcdefgh rst y www abcdefgh rst y www (This line three times. Do sentences on p. ***)
Unit 9 I The letter i is made with the middle finger right hand
iii abcdefghi iii rst iii w iii y iii abcdefghi iii rst w y iii (This line three times. Do sentences on p. ***)
Unit 10 N The letter n is made with the ring finger RIGHT hand.
nnn abcdefghi nnn rst nnn w nnn y nnn ing ing (This line three times. Do sentences on p. ***)
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Unit 11 J and K The letter j is made with the index finger right hand and the k is made with the middle
finger right hand.
jjj kkk abcdefg jjj kkk hijk n rst y w jjj kkk abcdefg jjj kkk hijk jj kk rst w y (This line three times. Do
sentences on p. ***)
Unit 12 L The letter l is made with the ring finger right hand.
lll abcdefghijkl n rst y w lll abcdefghijkl lll n rst y w (This line three times. Do sentences on p. ***)
Unit 13 M The letter m is made with the index (pointer) finger right hand.
mmm abcdefg mmm hijklmn mmm rst w y mmm. (This line three times. Do sentences on p. ***)
Unit 14 O The letter o is made with the ring finger right hand.
ooo abcdefg ooo hijklmno ooo rst ooo w ooo y ooo. (This line three times. Do sentences on p. ***)
Unit 15 P The letter p is made with the index (pointer) finger right hand.
mmm abcdefg mmm hijklm mmm rst w y mmm. (This line three times. Do sentences on p. ***)
Unit 16 QU The letter q is made with the little finger left hand. The letter u is made with the pointer finger
right hand.
qqq uuu qu qu qu abcdefghijklmnopqrstu w y qu qu. (This line three times. See p. ***)
Unit 17 V The letter v is made with the index (pointer) finger left hand.
vvv abcdefg hijklmnop qrstuvw vvv y vvv. (This line three times. Do sentences on p. ***)
Unit 18 X The letter x is made with the ring finger left hand.
xxx abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwx xxx y xxx (This line three times. Do sentences on p. ***)
Unit 19 Z The letter z is made with the little finger left hand.
zzz abcdefghijklmopqrstuvwxyz zzz. (This line three times. Do sentences on p. ***)
Flash Card Drills: Ten minutes per drill should be sufficient. Again, these drills should be
at scheduled times during the day, at least two hours apart. What other elements do you believe should
be in the everyday lesson plan? Add them, please. And be sure to add "fun" times and fun activities.
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Directions for making the letters
manuscript
and
cursive
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
a
b
c
d
e
f
g
h
I
j
k
l
m
n
o
p
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
a
b
c
d
e
f
g
h
i
j
k
l
m
n
o
p
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Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z
q
r
s
t
u
v
w
x
y
z
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z
q
r
s
t
u
v
w
x
y
z
Remember that these letters represent just one system of handwriting that is taught. We
have found that no matter what system a child is taught, by the time they have reached
adulthood their handwriting only vaguely resembles that which was taught.
So, if your child thinks that the Cursive Capital Q looks too much like the number 2, let
him print the Q. Remember what is important is that the letters are made automatically,
rapidly, and above all legibly.
If you want to use A Beka, BFH, Palmer, Peterson, Getty-Dubay Italic, or any other
standard handwriting system or any combination thereof, that is fine with us.
`