IMSLEC and IDA Accreditation

March 21st, 2018 by

We have fantastic news! Our training program and curriculum have been officially accredited by the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC) and the International Dyslexia Association (IDA). With these important seals of approval, Kendore Learning and Syllables Learning Center join the elite ranks of programs across the country recognized to help students overcome dyslexia and related issues.

The IMSLEC and IDA Accreditation Process

Kendore Learning and Syllables Learning Center are Accredited by the International Multisensory Structured Literacy Education Council (IMSLEC)

The IMSLEC Accreditation team hard at work on site at Syllables/Kendore.

During the accreditation process, IMSLEC and IDA conducted an in-depth review of Kendore Learning’s Orton-Gillingham based structured language curriculum, which is used one-on-one at Syllables Learning Center and in classrooms across the nation through our Kendore teacher training program. In addition to scrutinizing all curriculum content for completeness and efficacy, the governing bodies examined our staff credentials, facilities, and operational procedures.

The two-year accreditation process was capped off by an onsite visit by members of the IMSLEC team, who spent several days with us to observe how we work with students and train teachers. Since the review team consisted of professionals who work for other IMSLEC/IDA certified programs, it provided us with an excellent opportunity to exchange information, receive validation about the quality of our program, and to form lasting relationships with like-minded colleagues from other well-respected programs.

What IMSLEC and IDA Accreditation Means for our Students and Teachers

Kendore Learning and Syllables Learning Center are Accredited by the International Multisensory Structured Literacy Education Council

We enjoyed working with the IMSLEC team and were so impressed by their knowledge and dedication.

Parents who send their children to Syllables Learning Center can rest assured that their child is receiving the highest level of reading therapy available. Teachers who are training by Kendore Learning know that our training and curriculum meet well-defined educational standards. Our curriculum, staff, and facilities have been rigorously examined throughout the two-year IMSLEC and IDA Accreditation process and we are thrilled that we have passed with flying colors and high accolades!

Learn More About IMSLEC

Learn More About IDA

Our Language Makes Sense

March 17th, 2018 by

All too often, we hear people say that the English language doesn’t make sense and that spelling and word meaning “just have to be memorized.” This couldn’t be further from the truth! Our language does make sense…if you know the rules.

Let’s stop telling our students that our language is illogical, and let’s teach them the tools they need to easily break the code to read and spell thousands of words.

GURRRRRR! R-Controlled Vowels

March 13th, 2018 by

The letter ‘r’ becomes very bossy when it follows a vowel! ‘R’ affects the sound a vowel makes, giving a vowel followed by an ‘r’ the name “r-controlled vowel.”

Tricky R-Controlled Vowels: ‘er,’ ‘ur,’ and ‘ir’

Growing r tiger helps teach r-controlled vowels.In the Kendore Kingdom, we call these three r-controlled vowels “growling r” vowels because rather than letting the vowel say its sound or name, the ‘r’ makes the vowel growl like a tiger.  Growling r vowels are vowel digraphs since they are two letters representing one sound.

Since ‘er,’ ‘ur,’ and ‘ir’ all sound the same, spelling these digraphs can be tricky. It helps to know that ‘er’ is the most common spelling (40%), ‘ur’ is the second most common (26%), and ‘ir’ is the least common (13%). When all else fails and the student does not know the proper spelling, knowing frequency will help students make an educated spelling guess.

‘ar’ and ‘or’

While ‘r’ still controls the sound of ‘ar’ and ‘or,’ these r-controlled vowels have unique sounds — making them easier for children to spell.

Teaching R-Controlled Vowels

The Kendore Kingdom features a memorable story about Growling ‘r’ tiger.  Poor Growling ‘r’ hasn’t learned his manners and he growls when introduced to new friends. Children remember the adventures of Growling ‘r’ tiger and translate this story into an understanding of r-controlled vowels. If you are a Kendore-trained teacher, be sure to refer to your manual for instructions on using Growling ‘r’ tiger to teach your students r-controlled vowels.

When writing/spelling a word with an r-controlled vowel, students will often incorrectly reverse the ‘r’ and the vowel. In many words, reversing the two letters will still produce a real word (barn/bran, arm/ram). Dot and Jot (phoneme/grapheme mapping) can help students prevent these transpositions.

Tiger Trek Card Game

Tiger Trek card games are a fun, multisensory way to reinforce r-controlled vowels. Tiger Trek can be used to play many games, including war, rummy, memory, go fish and more! The Tiger Trek deck contains both real and nonsense words in order to assess concept knowledge and discourage rote memorization. Students should be able to decode nonsense words such as ‘fram’ and ‘terk’ as well as real words.

Watch a demonstration of Tiger Trek games.

Order a Tiger Trek card deck.

 

 

The Importance Of Oral Language

March 10th, 2018 by

If a child has heard a word and understands its meaning, they are more likely to be able to read that word when they encounter it in text. That’s why it’s important to develop oral language by reading and talking to your child. Watch this quick video for more information.

Teaching Sight Words – Sight Word Games

January 29th, 2018 by

Sight words are the most frequently occurring words in text. Students need to be able to recognize these words instantly in order to read fluently. Until these words become automatic to beginning readers, they must either be memorized or decoded (sounded out).

Sight Word Facts

  • Only 100 words account for approximately 50% of the words in print. These words include the, of, to, was, for and if.
  • The most frequent 300 words make up 65% of all printed text.
  • Students should know the most common 300 words by the 3rd grade.

Phonetic vs. Non-Phonetic Sight Words

Most sight word lists do not distinguish between phonetic and non-phonetic words. Students are required to memorize hundreds of sight words — even those that follow standard, decodable patterns. This can be overwhelming for any student, but it can be particularly daunting for a struggling reader or a student with dyslexia.

At Syllables and Kendore, we simplify things by dividing sight words into two categories: phonetic and non-phonetic. This dramatically lessens required memorization because students who have learned phonics rules can decode phonetic words efficiently and with ease.

For example, ‘that,’ ‘with,’ and ‘not’ are all phonetic sight words and can be decoded. Other words cannot be decoded or sounded out. Examples of non-phonetic sight words that require memorization include ‘of,’ ‘was,’ and ‘some.’ At Syllables and Kendore, we teach students to call these words Criminal Words because they break the rules! The color red is associated with memorization so that words can be easily discernable at the time of instruction. Students will come to know that there is something special about words written in red.

Some sight words must temporarily be treated as non-phonetic words requiring memorization until classroom instruction covers the rules they follow. For example, the word ‘have’ is phonetic and follows the rule that English words should not end in ‘v,’ therefore an ‘e’ is added. However, most students will need to memorize ‘have’ before the ‘v rule’ is introduced. As a result, ‘have’ is classified as a non-phonetic Criminal Word until that time. When the student learns the rule, they ‘release’ the Criminal from jail.

Criminal words are non-phonetic sight words that must be memorized

Cops & Criminals Sight Word Games

Students learn best when they are having fun and engaging their senses. Furthermore, knowledge is anchored into a student’s brain (and therefore remembered) through repetition.  The Cops & Criminals card games feature several lively sight word games that students can play to learn and reinforce sight words. Of course, all of the games have a “Cops & Criminals” theme featuring line-ups and jail breaks. Kids are completely unaware that they are reinforcing dozens of sight words with every game!

Watch Kendore Executive Director demonstrate three sight word card games:

Order the Cops & Criminals card deck.

 

Retention Prevention: What You Need to Know Before Standardized Testing

January 10th, 2018 by

Workshop: Retention Prevention
Thursday, January 25th
7:00 – 8:30 pm
Syllables Learning Center
12755 Century Drive, Suite C
Alpharetta, GA 30009
Register

Standardized testing season is about to begin. With the Georgia Milestones right around the corner, schools are already evaluating student progress and creating a short list of students at risk of being retained. If you are concerned about your child’s progress, now is the time to determine where your child stands and develop a plan. Waiting until standardized test results come in will not give you the time you need to reverse your child’s trajectory.

Communicate with your child’s teachers now about your concerns. Make conversations productive by being as specific as possible. Telling a teacher, “My child can’t seem to answer basic questions about what she’s just read,” or asking “Should it take her 45 minutes to complete her math homework?” will start a more productive dialog than simply asking, “How is my child doing?” Keep a notebook with a running list of questions and concerns that arise when your child is doing their homework or when papers come home from school. A positive, collaborative line of communication between you and your child’s teacher will help prevent any surprises from cropping up at the end of the school year.

Jennifer Hasser, M.Ed., Dyslexia Advocate and Executive Director of Syllables Learning Center

Jennifer Hasser

If you would like more strategies to help your student, please join Syllables Executive Director Jennifer Hasser on the evening of January 25th for Retention Prevention: What You Need to Know Before Standardized Testing. The workshop is free, but please register.

To learn more about the impacts of retention, watch the short video below:

 

 

 

Rethinking Bedtime Reading

January 5th, 2018 by

Bedtime reading is a treat for natural readers. But for kids with dyslexia or other learning issues, curling up with a good book at bedtime is not the best way to end the day. It is important not to pair frustration and struggle with the act of reading, and if your child is tired, they will become frustrated quickly. If you have a child who finds reading challenging, it’s time to rethink the bedtime routine!

Click on the video below for helpful suggestions.

Advocating for Your Child: What You Need to Know

September 7th, 2017 by

Join Me on September 18th at 6:30 pm

A Message from Executive Director Jennifer Hasser

Dyslexia educator Jennifer Hasser

When your child struggles in school or is diagnosed with a learning disability, your role as a parent shifts. Suddenly you find yourself navigating complicated territory — struggling to become an expert in what’s wrong, and sorting through the confusing web of options to help your child. It’s overwhelming at best, but when you layer on worry and fear, it can be debilitating. Time and time again, I meet parents who are nearly paralyzed as they begin the process of getting their child the help they need.

As the captain of your child’s team, one of your most important jobs is to determine how best to work with your child’s teachers and school. The most successful parents I see are those who stay organized and manage to keep the process non-confrontational. They understand what the school can provide, and they know when they need to seek outside help.

Unfortunately, I also see parents who make costly missteps when working with teachers and administrators. Parents of children with learning issues do not have time to make mistakes.

Please join me on Tuesday, September 12th at 6:45 pm for a free workshop entitled, “Advocacy: Effectively Partnering with Your Child’s Teachers and School.” At the workshop, I will discuss five common mistakes I have seen parents make, and I will teach you how to avoid these pitfalls. Parents will leave the session with a better understanding of the IEP process and will be equipped to foster a constructive relationship with their child’s teachers and school.

This workshop is sponsored by the Georgia Branch of the International Dyslexia Association and Understood.org.  Understood is a collaboration among nonprofit organizations with the express purpose of helping parents of children with learning and attention issues. Understood provides concrete, tangible tools and information, as well as access to experts who can help parents and children on their journey. Joseph Cortes of Understood will be at the workshop and will provide participants with a free (and very helpful) IEP Organizational Binder.

Advocacy: Effectively Partnering With Your Child’s Teachers and School
Tuesday, September 18th, 6:30
Mountain View Library
3320 Sandy Plains Rd, Marietta, GA 30066

Session is free, but please RSVP 

Make Your Child a Stronger Reader

May 23rd, 2017 by

Want to help make your child a stronger reader and a better critical thinker?  Learn to ask the right questions.

When your child is reading (either alone or with you), engage in discussions that will stretch their imagination and inference skills. For instance, if your child is reading Harry Potter, you could ask them the following questions:

  • Would you rather be a wizard or a muggle?  Why?
  • What do you think it would feel like to see Hogwarts for the first time?  Describe what you see in your mind’s eye.
  • If you could invent potions or spells, what would you create?

Books vs. Movies

Make your child a stronger reader - book before movie.When a book is also a movie, encourage your child to read the book first.  If your child has not seen the movie, their imagination will create their own visual. Once the movie has been seen, the mind’s eye can only conjure scenes from the movie.
If your child is a reluctant reader, you can use movies as a reading incentive: “Once you’re done reading Harry Potter, we are going to have a movie marathon.” Then, ask your child questions about how the movie compared to the “movie” they had already directed in their imagination.

Ten Fun (and Educational) Road Trip Word Games

May 20th, 2017 by

Road Tripping this Summer?

10 ways to eliminate the “I’m Bored,” chorus from the backseat.

Ten Fun (and Educational) Road Trip Word Games

Whether you’re traveling cross country or logging time running errands around town, put your car time to good use this summer with these 10 fun road trip word games. Shhhh — don’t tell the kids that you are reinforcing language skills while they are having fun.

1. Graffiti

Let the kids write on the windows with dry erase markers.  Older kids can play hangman and younger children can practice their name and alphabet. Make sure to have a roll of paper towels on hand!

2. License Plate News

Call out the letters on the license plate in front of you and have your kids develop a wacky newspaper headline using the letters as the start of each word.  For instance, MEW could be “Man Eats Walrus,” and BDH could be “Boy Develops Hovercraft.”  For younger kids, simply have them think of a word for each letter.

3. Chain ‘Em Up 

No, we are not suggesting a new way to restrain your kids (hmmm…there’s a thought). Say a word and have your child repeat it slowly, emphasizing the ending sound.  Ask your child to think of another word that begins with the ending sound of the first word.  For instance, if you say “cat,” your child could say, “top.”  Take turns…forming a chain of words. Note: use the words’ ending sounds, not their ending letters (so if someone says “happy,” the next word could be “eagle,” but NOT “yellow”).

4. ABC Scrapbook Page

Ten Fun (and Educational) Road Trip Word GamesWhile traveling home from vacation, have your children write the letters A – Z down the left hand side of a piece of notebook paper.  Have them think of a word from your trip that starts with each letter.  Be creative.  For instance, a trip to Disney World might yield a list that starts like this, “Ariel, Belle, Carousel, Dad, Everybody was happy, Florida, and so on.” Your children may either write or illustrate their word if it is too difficult to spell. This idea was submitted by a parent who regularly plays this game with her kids and saves the results as a trip memento.

5. Mad LibsTM

Play Mad LibsTM with a twist!  Buy a Mad LibsTM tablet, download the Mad LibsTM App, or download pages by searching the internet for “free Mad Libs printables.”  Have an adult (non-driving, please!!) call out the word-type needed, but with an added twist.  For instance, “I need a verb that starts with /p/,” or “Give me a three-syllable noun.”

6. Travelogue

Ten Fun (and Educational) Road Trip Word GamesFor older kids with internet access: have your child Google the towns you pass through and ask them to find and read aloud three interesting facts about that town.  If you are in no-man’s land, have them research your destination and tell you about some of the landmarks you will see there.

7. Story Building

Have one family member develop the first sentence of a story.  Take turns adding a sentence.  You won’t believe the plot twists that ensue!

8. Unfortunately/Fortunately

Similar to Story Building, you will create a story one sentence at a time.  However, the beginning word of each sentence must alternate between “unfortunately” and “fortunately.”

This is how your story might unfold: “Unfortunately, on the way to Grandma’s house, Mom took a wrong turn. Fortunately, the road led to an amusement park.  Unfortunately, it was closed.  Fortunately, the gate was unlocked.  Unfortunately, a guard dog blocked the entrance.”  And so on…

9.  Grocery List

Build an imaginary grocery list one item at a time in alphabetical order.  The trick is remembering each item on the list as it grows.  For example, the first person might say, “I went to the grocery store and I bought artichokes.” The next person might say, “I went to the grocery store and I bought artichokes and Band-Aids.”  Create any kind of list you want — items to take to the beach, things found in Aunt Betty’s house, etc.

10.  Audiobooks

Ten Fun (and Educational) Road Trip Word GamesDid you know listening to books can help build your children’s vocabulary and make them better readers?

Often there is more than one way to sound out a word.  If your child has heard a wide variety of words in literature, she will be better able to access her decoding skills and read more fluently because it is easier to read words you have heard before. Audiobooks also improve listening comprehension. While traveling this summer, consider listening to audio books in the car instead of listening to the radio or watching a DVD. Follow along with the written book, or sit back and enjoy the scenery.  Either way is beneficial.

Share Your Ideas

Have an idea of your own?  Email us and we’ll include it in a future blog post!