Putting Things in Perspective: Timeline for Intervention

August 6th, 2018 by

Oh, the back-to-school craziness! The lazy days of summer have come to an abrupt end and our homes and minds swirl with more logistics than we can possibly manage. The worry we felt in May has faded, so when it comes to jumping into fall tutoring, it’s easy to pause and say, “we’ll just wait and see how things go.”

If you have a child who struggles, it’s important to make choices with a long term perspective. Remediating a learning issue gives children the skills and tools they need for a lifetime. If that voice inside your head is telling you there is a problem, don’t wait…listen!

In this quick video, Jennifer Hasser puts learning struggles in perspective to help you as you make choices for your child.

Make Summer Learning Fun With These Four Outdoor Activities!

May 9th, 2018 by

Summer provides an excellent opportunity to work with your kids to boost their skills and prevent the dreaded (and very real) summer slide. But mention summer learning, and most parents envision grumbling kids and workbooks at the kitchen table — enough to make them call it quits before even beginning.

We know that learning is most effective when it is enjoyable, when it engages the senses (i.e. when it’s multisensory) and when it involves new and unique experiences. So get your kids moving this summer and promote learning while they are having fun outside. They’ll never even realize they are doing their “summer work!”

Four Multisensory Outdoor Activities to Promote Summer Learning

Note: we have geared these activities toward reading/writing and phonemic awareness, but you can easily adapt them to other concepts you are reinforcing.

  1. Sandwriting

    Sandwriting makes learning funHeading to the beach or playground? Have your child practice sounds or sight words in sand. Writing in different textures makes writing a multisensory activity and helps kids retain what they learn. Plus, it’s fun!

  2. Beach Ball Toss

    Beachball Toss summer learning activityWith a permanent marker, write sounds, words, or nonsense words on a beach ball. Toss the ball to your child and have them read the words closest to their thumbs. For advanced students, cover the ball with blends, vowel teams, roots, examples of syllable types, etc.  For a beach ball that doesn’t become obsolete once your child masters the concepts you are practicing, check out the Toss & Teach Beach Ball, which features reusable pockets ideal for flash cards or cards from our card decks.

  3. Scavenger Hunt

    Send your kids on a scavenger hunt in search of the sounds they are learning (or for objects that have the sounds in the middle or end of their names). If your kids are old enough to use a camera or phone, have them photograph what they find and review their photos and sounds with you. You can make this more challenging for advanced kids by asking them to find objects with a certain number of syllables or with certain syllable types in their names.

  4. Paint the House (Yikes!)

    Multisensory outdoor learning activitiesGive the kids a bucket of water and paint brushes. Have them write sounds, words, or even a whole story on the house, driveway, deck, etc. Watch as the writing evaporates and fades away.

 

 

Teaching Kids the “Why”

April 30th, 2018 by

As teachers and parents, we hear “why” all day, every day! It can get frustrating, but it’s crucial that you answer the “why” when you teach reading. Why? Because teaching kids the reason behind the rule helps them to memorize less and internalize more. If you don’t know “why,” explore with your students and figure it out.

Watch this compelling video to hear Jennifer Hasser discuss WHY it’s important to teach kids the WHY!

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.