RESOURCES for PARENTS
If your child/children are learning to read using Literacy Essentials, you are about to embark on an amazing journey. However, we know that most of us did not learn to spell and read with the method your child is using. We know that the uncertainty of “What can I do to help my child?” can be disheartening and frustrating for some parents.
Our intention is to provide answers to your questions and information that can relieve any stress from the unknown. We believe that all children benefit from understanding how the English code works and we are excited to be on this journey with you.
INTRODUCTION TO LITERACY ESSENTIALS
There's a video introduction to Literacy Essentials in the works--stay tuned! For now, see our letter below to get started.
Introduction to Literacy Essentials
If your child is learning to read using Literacy Essentials: Journey From Spelling To Reading® or another Orton-based program, they are being given a unique opportunity to excel as writers (spelling correctly) and readers.
The English language is complicated and requires instruction that includes thorough explanations of information in small, well-ordered chunks that are each practiced until mastered. It is our expectation that it will take most students four years (K-3rd) of working with more than 2,000 words to internalize the information about the spelling code of English which translates into many times more words they can read. The journey for each student is different.
If your child is just beginning the journey and struggling, do not be overly alarmed. Some students require a longer period of time to achieve mastery of the phonograms (English spelling patterns) and the orthography or spelling rules of English. It is a natural parental instinct to want to jump in and help your struggling student. It is our recommendation and hope that you will follow the lead of your child’s teacher and support your child in the ways provided by the classroom teacher. Unless you have learned the phonograms and the rules of orthography, it will be difficult to support the spelling component of the literacy program. However, you can strongly support your child reading. In general, the students struggling with spelling are able to apply their knowledge of orthography to reading. Listening to your child read daily, reinforces what they are learning and provides the practice to lead them from initially needing to sound out the words they are reading (accuracy) to reading words without the need to sound them (fluency).
It is our recommendation to schools, that they provide all the spelling practice needed within the school day. This practice includes identifying which phonogram is used in a word (see uses ee versus sea uses ea for the same sound) and why (cheek versus check where the /k/ sound is spelled with different phonograms); any rules necessary to identify which sound of a given phonogram is used (back versus bake where the E at the end is silent and makes the A say the sound /A/); breaking the word into syllables for spelling; and, if needed, an alternate pronunciation used to spell which may differ from speech ( spell Wed nes day when we say Wenz day). Effective practice must be done in this manner, and it is difficult for parents to provide practice that matches how students are learning and practicing the words in the classroom.
We are excited that your child has the opportunity to learn the English code in an explicit and systematic manner from spelling to reading. Literacy learned in this manner can propel them forward in the other content areas as they read confidently with comprehension and compose essays that internalize and process the important information they are learning.
As with all journeys, mastering the English language may have some bumps in the road. Yet, the destination will be worth the effort.
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