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Read an Excerpt
Yes, I Can Read!
By Linda Klein Weisman
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2013 Linda Klein Weisman
All rights reserved.
Yes, I Can Read! was written for fourth graders through adults who are nonreaders, beginning readers, or struggling readers, those who speak English as well as ESL learners. The workbook was designed for learners who may be working with minimal assistance in a one-on-one, small group, or classroom setting, and its reading levels range from 0 to 5.9.
I had two goals in mind when I wrote Yes, I Can Read! First, my purpose was to simplify the reading process, and second, to provide learners with a technique, a method by which they could decode unfamiliar words within an age-appropriate format. The workbook focuses on the syllable and six syllable types (Peterson, 1998) combined in an Orton-Gillingham-based approach and page format. If the learner knows that the words he or she encounters can be divided into syllables, and that nearly all those syllables fit into only six groups, the reading process is simplified. As a result, using Yes, I Can Read!, the learner can acquire a significant sight vocabulary of over 2,000 words and a method he or she can utilize to decode unfamiliar words and become an independent reader.
The Three Approaches Explained
First, students are instructed to underline vowel sounds in featured words, as the number of vowel sounds equals the number of syllables. They are then able to divide a word based on its number of syllables. Second, learning the six syllable types enables them to look for syllable patterns, sound out syllables, and thus the word. Third, learning is maximized using the Orton-Gillingham-based multi-sensory approach, as students/learners see, say, hear, trace, and write the words. Specifically, the learner's knowledge of consonant and vowel sounds, syllables, and sight vocabulary, as well as his/her spelling and handwriting skills are solidified, all of which in turn promotes his/her automaticity and fluency (Lyon,1998).
With some modifications, Yes, I Can Read! is based on the "Stern Center Sequence of Phonological Awareness, Word Analysis and Spelling Skills" which follows a traditional, structured sequence found in most reading programs that graduate from beginning reading instruction through the end of the fifth grade.
The Remedial Student
Research shows that many students who have had trouble learning to read lack phonemic awareness, or the concept of a sound-letter connection (Lyon, 1998). As a result, explicit, sequential phonics as well as the multisensory approach (VAKT technique) are two research-based, effective methods of instruction that are central to Yes, I Can Read! In the same way, running through the entire workbook is the decoding method students learn and use so they can become independent readers. Although there is no one approach or material that holds the key to teaching someone to read, this workbook offers the above-mentioned approaches combined with extensive lessons, repetition, practice, and words in context.
In addition to effective materials, encouragement is an essential component of a reading program. All students need encouragement, but none do more than the remedial student, who has experienced frustration and failure. Offer support, praise, and congratulatory comments such as good, yes, good job, okay!, etc. whenever possible. Stickers, trinkets, certificates, or other rewards are also effective. Furthermore, offer encouragement during assessments using nonverbal and facial cues that he or she is doing well: It helps calm a learner's nerves.
First, YICR can be used as a decoding program wherein the student starts on his or her reading level and progresses through the book. Second, one can teach the six syllable types by using the six units in the workbook devoted to those syllables. Third, YICR can be used as a supplement in conjunction with other materials to reinforce learning in particular areas. Yes, I Can Read! is an essential component of a balanced literacy program.
Diagnosis and Prescription
Administer a standardized reading test or informal reading inventory, phonics checklist, or other assessments to determine the student's reading level and diagnose strengths and weaknesses. Keeping a folder on each student in which ongoing assessment, interviews, interest surveys, and informal notes (anecdotal records) on the student documenting reading errors, such as bog for dog, guess for guests, etc. is invaluable in keeping track of strengths, weaknesses, progress or lack of progress, assigned materials and how they work with your student. Even if your student is not beginning with the unit that corresponds to his reading level, your diagnosis will help determine the particular lessons you assign in the workbook. This practice also helps establish a rapport with your learner, which is important if he or she is to have a positive attitude about working with you.
Where to Start
Unit 1 is the best place to start for nonreaders, and they should proceed in order through the units.
Unit 2 provides practice with the 21 consonants in initial position (beginning consonants). If your student knows the alphabet, knows the consonants and vowels, and can discriminate among beginning consonants in words, start here.
Unit 3 focuses on ending consonants and rhyming words, or word families. If your student has difficulty with ending consonants, start here.
Unit 4 If the student does not know the short vowel sounds, but he knows the skills practiced in the first three units, begin with Unit 4. If he is to make progress, the student must know the short vowel sounds. Unit 4 is also the first of the six units which focus on the six syllables. Once the learner reaches Unit 4, teaching the sixsyllable concept can begin.
The six syllable types are taught in Units 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, and 11. For any students using this workbook, the author recommends teaching the six-syllable concept (See Lesson Plan). The remaining units can be used in order, or unit pages can be used as needed. For students who are at the fourth grade level and need syllabication, teach the six-syllable concept; then learners can complete Units 12 and 13.
The author recommends a three- or four-pronged approach wherein as soon as students are able, a primer, or basal reader on their instructional reading level is added to the workbook in order to have students reading in context. Also, as soon as possible, they should be reading a book they enjoy on their independent reading level. Assign other materials such as one that targets comprehension, and a high-frequency word list such as the Dolch sight words. As students progress and your ongoing assessment dictates, change and modify assignments, keeping in mind that three to four of these types of materials are recommended as part of a balanced literacy program. With their growing skills, students will gain fluency and confidence by practicing reading.
Units and their corresponding grade levels are listed below.
Where to Start
1 – 4 ?Beginning – 1.9
5 – 7* 2.0 – 2.9
8 & 9 3.0 – 4.8
10 – 13 4.9 – 5.9
The six-syllable concept is featured in Yes, I Can Read! because it is successful and doable, especially for "older" students who are struggling readers. The author introduced the concept by pointing to an unabridged dictionary in her classroom of adults, whose reading levels ranged from 0 to 5.0, and asked them what they would think if she told them that nearly all of the words in the English language, words in that dictionary, could be divided into syllables, and that those syllables could be placed into just six categories or groups: They were immediately on board with the idea. The author taught the concept to the class as a whole, teaching one syllable type at a time, in the same order they are taught in the workbook. After all six syllables were taught, reviewed, and practiced, students used the same procedure individually, in writing, on the GED spelling list. Most students scored over 90% on the list, and, on the TABE test (Test of Adult Basic Education), most motivated students progressed one year per month.
Daily Lesson Plan (20-30 minutes)
At the board, teach the concept to the class as a whole, teaching one syllable at a time. Have several copies of Appendix D, the six-syllable worksheet, to hand out so students can record syllables in the proper category during lessons. In Yes I Can Read!, start with Unit 4 and go in order, using the opening pages of units 4,5,6,7,10, and 11. These pages provide instructional content and examples. Following your classroom lessons, you can assign YICR pages in the appropriate unit for students to complete.
If students have their own copies of YICR, work with them using the material at the beginning of Units 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, and 11 to teach the six syllables. In any case, they will have the six-syllable worksheet. Teach the defining characteristics of each syllable type. For example, beginning with Unit 4, the first syllable is a closed syllable which ends with a consonant and has a short vowel. List and call for examples, directing students to record them in the square on their worksheet. Write a word on the board, like hat. At students' direction, underline and count the number of vowel sounds. If they have difficulty hearing the vowel sounds, have them tap out sounds with thumb and finger or on the edge of their desks. Exaggerate the short a sound if necessary, and encourage them to say the word out loud. This is an interactive lesson which calls for participation. The number of vowel sounds equals the number of syllables. "How many vowel sounds?" (response: 1) "How many syllables?" (response: 1) The numbers must be the same. Write the number on the board to the right of the word.
With multisyllabic words, follow the same procedure. Then divide the word, sound out each syllable, and play with the accent, prompted by students, and sound out the word together. They most likely know the words even if they have not read them before; exceptions may be ESL students. Direct them to record syllables in their categories on the worksheet. Discuss the word meaning(s) and use them in sentences. Also, encourage students to generate their own sentences.
Begin each 20- to 30-minute session with a review of material taught during the previous class. After students know the syllable types, practice aloud together with numerous multisyllabic words on the board, words of their choice as well as yours. Direct them to record the syllables in the appropriate categories on their worksheets. Encourage them to play with the division and stress until the word sounds familiar. Once they demonstrate competency decoding words, they no longer need to categorize the syllables on their worksheets. For practice and vocabulary acquisition, they can complete assigned pages and/or units in YICR.
Features and Recommendations in Yes, I Can Read!
The VAKT technique is an Orton-Gillingham-based approach that uses the senses to input information into the learner's long-term memory bank. This approach involves several senses, so when students say, hear, read, trace, and write a word, they are using the VAKT technique, and, they are using the senses with which they learn best. To add movement (kinesthetic) and promote visualization, students can spell words with their finger in the air, on their arm, or in a tray filled with salt, sand, or sugar. In addition, tracing, which is both tactile and kinesthetic, is particularly effective for struggling students (Helson, 1971).
Subvocalizing is part of the VAKT technique. Students are directed to say and read (aloud) throughout YICR. Because learners are often hesitant to say words aloud as they work, teach them to subvocalize. Direct them to put a finger on their Adam's apple and make a sound. If they feel a vibration, they are subvocalizing even if they are speaking quietly or whispering. Explain that this practice facilitates learning words easier and faster than many other methods. Encourage them to say and read aloud as often as possible throughout the book, as it is part of this proven technique.
The three-step decoding approach is as follows:
1. Underline the vowel sounds: the number of vowel sounds equals the number of syllables;
2. Divide the word;
3. Sound it out.
Because the goal is to provide the reader with a method he/she can use to decode unfamiliar words, he should divide the word and play with the stress and pronunciation of its syllables until it sounds like a word he knows. Having learned many word patterns, the six syllable types, and syllabication rules in the workbook contribute to his ability to syllabicate. With the decoding goal in mind, it is not essential that he divide words according to the dictionary (Helson, 1971). However, in writing for submission, it is necessary to divide words correctly; therefore, stress the value of dictionary usage.
The Schwa Sound
In a word of two or more syllables, the schwa is the vowel sound(s) in the unaccented syllable(s). It sounds like uh and is represented in the dictionary and other sources by [??]. Because it sounds like u, the schwa sound is represented in lessons' "Sounds like" columns as u. The schwa sound is explained with the introduction of two-syllable words in Units 7 and 12.
The "Symbols" pages contain a word such as end or ending, the symbol name, such as caboose, and an illustration of a caboose. The "Symbols" pages help make YICR user friendly for the learner. Directions used throughout the book, verb tenses, and pronouns are among the symbols with which he can familiarize himself and to which he can refer.
The pronunciation key provides a guide to the "Sounds like" column in YICR lessons. It also provides variant spellings for phonetic pronunciations. Students may use it if they are unsure of a pronunciation of a syllable or word within a lesson. You may find it useful as a reference or as a springboard to introduce additional spellings of the same sound, such as the oi sound spelled oy as in boy, and oi as in point.
A "Teacher's Guide" precedes each unit providing an overview of the unit, objectives, strategies, and techniques designed to help the teacher implement the unit successfully. In later units, if the student can read this information, he may be able to proceed independently.
Review directions and page layout in lessons to ensure students can proceed. At first you may want to assign one lesson and practice exercises at a time to gauge the student's comprehension and mastery. The author recommends assigning no more than a few (fewer than ten) pages at a time; correct completed pages and work with your student on any material that has not been mastered.
Beginning in Unit 3, words are arranged in word families wherever possible to maximize vocabulary development. They are arranged throughout the book and graduate in difficulty.
Beginning with Unit 4, the first page of each unit explains the unit's featured rule(s). Review those pages with students to teach or reinforce the rule(s), syllable type, sounds, explanations, etc.
Repetition of words throughout the book is intentional. Focus on the skill noted in the page heading, and focus your student's attention on the same. For example, in Unit 2, box is used to teach beginning consonant b; in Unit 3, it is used to teach ending consonant x; and in Unit 4, it is used to teach the short sound.
An answer key is provided for Unit 12. It is located at the end of the book for easy removal.
Lessons and Exercises
The page format in Units 2 and 3 follows the same pattern; furthermore, the format in Units 4 through 10 follows the same pattern. Practice exercises include word finds (searches), matching, sentence fill-ins, tracing, and reading aloud. This repetitive layout reduces unpredictability that might detract from decoding. For the teacher, answers to the exercises are obvious. For example, words in the word finds are horizontal and vertical; they are easy to spot.
Page headings indicate the skill practiced on that page whether it is the beginning consonant m, in Unit 2, or as in Unit 6 "Vowel Teams: ew, /oo/". Calling students' attention to the spelling-sound heading helps focus their attention on the lesson's content as well as various spellings and their phonetic pronunciations (within slanted lines). For example, a word such as new spelled with the vowel team ew that sounds like oo as in spoon will help students generalize as they sound out written words.
Excerpted from Yes, I Can Read! by Linda Klein Weisman. Copyright © 2013 Linda Klein Weisman. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Pronunciation Key.................... 24
Unit 1 The Alphabet and its Sounds.................... 29
Unit 2 Beginning Consonants.................... 46
Unit 3 Ending Consonants and Rhyming Words.................... 108
Unit 4 Short Vowels: Closed Syllables: 1st Syllable.................... 144
Unit 5 Long Vowels: Quiet e: 2nd Syllable.................... 155
Unit 6 Long Vowels: Vowel Teams, the Beam Teams: 3rd Syllable.............. 209
Unit 7 Long Vowels: Open Syllables: 4th Syllable.................... 301
Unit 8 Consonant Blends.................... 313
Unit 9 Consonant Combinations (Combos).................... 376
Unit 10 R-controlled Vowels: 5th Syllable.................... 462
Unit 11 Consonant plus (+) le: 6th Syllable.................... 525
Unit 12 Syllable Division.................... 535
Unit 13 Prefixes and Suffixes.................... 575
Appendix A: Ea word lists.................... 595
Appendix B: Ch word lists.................... 596
Appendix C: -Ed word lists.................... 597
Appendix D: Six Syllable Types.................... 598
Unit 12 Answer Key.................... 604