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Archive for December, 2012

Have you ever thought about how the “or” in “word” doesn’t sound like an “or”?

In this video, I talk about one of my favorite spelling patterns. The reason I like it so much is that it covers a set of words that many people feel are spelling exceptions… but they aren’t! They’re just following a pattern at a slightly higher order.

In Phonics Friday #12, I talked about silent letters. One thing I didn’t go over was the ubiquitous “gh” pattern, so here it is today, along with a few other silent G words. Since the spelling/phonics rule is so simple, the bigger focus is getting your students to internalize it and start using it actively. If you can do that, it will stick for a very long time without review due to the many high frequency words that will remind them – night, right, eight, weigh, etc…

In this video I go over common pairs of letters in which one is silent– how to pronounce “wr”, “wh”, “rh” and “kn”. I also talk about why the tea in American convenience stores is so bad.

Words with “gh” will come in a future Phonics Friday.
Long vowel spellings such as “when two vowels go walking the first one does the talking” were covered in Phonics Friday #1 – Long vowels.

There are two common ways “ow” is pronounced in words? Sometimes it’s like an “ou” sound as in “town” and other times it’s a long O sound as in “low”. Can you think of any pattern that could help students guess at the pronunciation in words they haven’t learned yet? There is no rule that works 100% of the time, but there is a pattern that holds for over 90% of the time!

Have a look at these words:

cow know shower throw pillow
tow town escrow elbow bestow

I intentionally put an exception to the pattern in there to throw you off! Can you still spot the pattern?

What is a spaced repetition system? What is it useful for? What are its limitations for use in language learning? See this two minute video.