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Teaching the Syllabary *instead* of modern Phonics

webster\'s speller syllabary phonics

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#1 sarahv

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 07:27 PM

Here is a link: http://www.thephonic...ebstersway.html

Noah Webster wrote his speller almost two hundred years ago. He did not teach phonics like we know today. He taught the Syllabary.

Does anyone do this? I've always loved the Blue Back Speller, but didn't know how to teach it. It is an extremely interesting concept - spelling by syllable. It makes so much sense, but it's not like Webster laid out teaching plans step by step, so I'm putting it out there for others. Does anyone use Webster's Blue Back Speller and the Syllabary? If you know anything about it, I'd love to dialogue on the pros and cons.

Of course, teaching the Syllabary is still phonics, it is just a different approach than modern phonics programs like Phonics Pathways (my current fav).

I think that Abeka was modeled after the Blue Back Speller, but uses the same scope and sequence of Phonics Pathways - Abeka does not teach the Syllabary.

Anyone have thoughts?

#2 ElizabethB

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 10:53 PM

That's my website, I used it with my daughter, it was very effective. She was reading at a 4th or 5th grade level when we started using Webster in K (we had previously used several other phonics programs--I have about 20!) After working through Webster, she can now read at about the 12th grade level.

I also use it with my remedial phonics students. It's especially helpful for ESL students because the words of more than one syllable are arranged by accent pattern, so it helps them greatly with pronunciation of unfamiliar words once they get the hang of the schwa pattern of unaccented syllables.

It's a bit challenging to use at first, and progress is slow up front, but when it all comes together, the progress is amazing. Since students who completed Webster historically went right into reading from the KJV of the Bible, I would think that most students should also be reading at around the 12th grade level if they were able to read the KJV.

I also like Phonics Pathways, we're doing a bit of work from it this year, although we're mainly concentrating on math and Bible verses. I never teach an open syllable as short in Phonics Pathways with my daughter, although I've had some young remedial students who couldn't catch on to the concept of blending unless taught that way. That was before I found Webster, however. The 2 letter syllables may have been short enough to allow them to learn to blend without resorting to teaching an open syllable as short. Three letters at a time was too confusing for them.

#3 Amber in AUS

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 12:21 AM

I am using 100 EZ to teach reading but have just found the Webster Speller.

We are using the word lists in the speller as reading lists. They are grouped by sounds and so far so good DD is reading the words and even remembering how to spell them later.

I don't really want to teach sounds by themselves without teaching the word because my DD being young it is too abstract for her. When she sees a word i can point out the blends which she gets so long as they are presented in context. I take a bit of a CM approach and she is not pro learning blends in an abstract sense.

I love the way Webster divides up the words to make them easier to manage. I was taught a little like that in school myself so it feels familiar. I have also done this previously with DD when she asks what something well above her reading level says.

Great thread, i ope the conversation is interesting.

#4 sarahv

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 08:11 AM

Thank you for your reply, Elizabeth! I have been so interested in your site! It has been eye-opening for me.

I never teach an open syllable as short in Phonics Pathways with my daughter, although I've had some young remedial students who couldn't catch on to the concept of blending unless taught that way. That was before I found Webster, however. The 2 letter syllables may have been short enough to allow them to learn to blend without resorting to teaching an open syllable as short. Three letters at a time was too confusing for them.


What do mean by "teach an open syllable as short". I'm just beginning the reading process with my oldest ds (who will be 5 in March). We are just in the very beginning of Phonics Pathways, and could switch to a different program very easily, but I'm not sure how Webster's would be taught at the beginning level, or if it even can be. Do you think a child needs to be older (to understand the rules) before he can use the Syllabary, or do think they should be reading first, before starting the Syllabary?

And I'm interested to know how you tweak Phonics Pathways to use with Websters.

I apologize for all the questions. I REALLY want to use this, I am just having a hard time figuring out how to do it PRACTICALLY. :tongue_smilie:

#5 sarahv

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 08:21 AM

Hi Amber! Thanks for joining the conversation!!

I don't really want to teach sounds by themselves without teaching the word because my DD being young it is too abstract for her.


In what way are teaching the sounds by themselves abstract for your dd? My son is 4, and we have really only worked on beginning phonics so far, i.e., teaching the sounds by themselves. I've considered teaching the letters individually with the phonetic symbol as a better way of teaching the sounds without context.

#6 ElizabethB

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 12:47 PM

What do mean by "teach an open syllable as short". I'm just beginning the reading process with my oldest ds (who will be 5 in March). We are just in the very beginning of Phonics Pathways, and could switch to a different program very easily, but I'm not sure how Webster's would be taught at the beginning level, or if it even can be. Do you think a child needs to be older (to understand the rules) before he can use the Syllabary, or do think they should be reading first, before starting the Syllabary?

And I'm interested to know how you tweak Phonics Pathways to use with Websters.

I apologize for all the questions. I REALLY want to use this, I am just having a hard time figuring out how to do it PRACTICALLY. :tongue_smilie:


You don't need to understand any rules to teach the syllabary. Ideally, you would start with the syllabary and work through Webster's Speller, then supplement with another phonics program such as Blend Phonics or Phonics Pathways or OPG to make sure they have over-learned the phonics basics. Everyone was taught with Webster's Speller or another Speller with a syllabary first in the 1700's and early 1800's, and they did not use readers following the Speller, children were reading well enough to read out of the Bible after completing the Speller.

I plan on reviewing phonics through at least 3rd grade and doing phonetic spelling through at least 6th grade, it doesn't take long and reading is such a foundational skill, it pays to make sure the basics are over-learned, I've seen the results of incomplete teaching of phonics with many of my remedial students.

When I used Phonics Pathways with my daughter, we skipped the portion of the book that taught ba as short a as in bat, instead sounding them from left to right while looking at the entire word. In the syllabary, ba is taught as long a as in ba-ker. This is an open syllable, a syllable ending in a vowel. In words of 2 or more syllables, open syllables are generally long, although they often schwa in unaccented syllables. In later Webster tables of 2+ syllable words, the words are arranged by which syllables are accented. This helps children figure out how to decode long words and learn the rhythm of their pronunciation.

Webster teaches mostly by pattern, although a few rules are listed. For example, there are not rules for syllable division, the words are just divided for the student: di-ner vs. din-ner. My daughter was incapable of learning by rule last year in K, she was capable of learning by pattern. This year, we went over the rule in Phonics Pathways, spending several days on the subject. Rule based learning, while possible this year, is still quite slow. I only do a word or two from pages in Phonics Pathways that she knows well, things that are more difficult for her or that teach a rule, we'll spend more time with.

Last year, I did teach her a few rules that I knew while working through Webster's Speller, such as the rule that short words ending in s, f, and l are often doubled. However, I think she learned better by just seeing the patterns, I'm not sure if the rules sunk in or not. However, since she was learned to spell these words correctly, she was figuring something out!

With the rule that c says s before i, e, or y, she was also incapable of learning that last year. We had worked through 2 or 3 phonics books working on c as s, and it helped some, but she still would miss new words from time to time. However, after learning the pattern of the syllables in ca, ce, ci, co, cu, cy and sca, sce, sci, sco, scu, scy (this took 2 or three months!), she quit saying the wrong sound for c before i, e, and y.

I had my daughter learn to spell and read all the 1 syllable words (she didn't have to spell all of them, she just had to be able to spell enough of them to demonstrate that she could spell the rest. I had her spell a few of each type in each table.) I had her read all of the 2 syllable words and spell a few. I had her read most of the 3 syllable words, but didn't require her to spell any. For the 3 and 4 syllable words, I did not have her do the ones that were way outside the vocabulary of a 5 year old. We did maybe 60% of the 3 syllable words, 40% of the 4 syllable words, and 10 to 20% of the 5 syllable words. This year, we're learning rules from Phonics Pathways, then we'll work through Webster's Speller again, adding in a few more words from each table. I often teach the definition of a word she doesn't know. When she asks, I always tell her the definition and use it in a sentence. Some of the words are so archaic I've never heard of them before, and I read extensively and know a lot of archaic words!

#7 Amber in AUS

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 05:42 PM

We started learning to read when DD was just turned 4. She really wanted to read by herself and already knew all her letters. I think she is one of those people who needed/wanted a whole language approach. She wanted to read the word not learn the sounds. It took us about 3 to 4 months to work thru the first 20 or so lessons in 100EZ. They give the letter sounds with phonetic symbols.

Prior to this i had used a different program which teaches every blend combination in isolataion and uses phonetic symbols too and she would just glaze over. ma, ma, ma looks exactly the same but says 3 different things. I think that was just way to much for someone who wants to read the word not say the sounds. It was too abstract for her. Not everyone would find this a problem, i guess a lot depends on the age of the child and their learning style.

I persevered with 100EZ because i realise how important phonics is. Once she could start reading some 3 letter words after learning individual sounds not blends she took off. She had that drive for more because she could see she was achieving what she wanted, to read words. We are now 3/4 of the way thru 100EZ and she isn't sounding, only new words, the rest she reads and quite fluidly, not stop start.

So i guess i should have been more clear before. Teaching blended sounds was abstract but not the sounds of the letters. Now she is reading however i can point out that 2 letters make a certain sound in the word she is reading and she gets it. We read thru the 1st list in Websters last week, bag, hag, rag etc. She fully understood the ag sound but i am not about to intro the ag sound all by itself without showing it to her in a word that she can read or sound out. She sees that they rhyme and she gets the pattern. The first program that i was using taught ag as a sound before ever showing it to the child in a word.

Websters also has all the sounds listed prior to the word lists. I skipped over that part for now. It may be something i look at in the future. Right now i am happy for her to read thru the word lists and finish 100EZ.

By the way even tho we found 100EZ hard going at the start i think it is a great program and plan to use it again with DS and DD2. Like i said before i think DD wanted whole language approach which she wasn't going to get which is what made it a little tough to begin.

#8 sarahv

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 06:06 PM

I totally see what you are saying, Amber. My son really likes to read the words, and when I have him read a blend, he immediately says the word that he thinks it sounds like. Since Phonics Pathways encourages this, I let him be creative. :001_smile: Don Potter had some really interesting things to say about whole word reading that opened my eyes to how kids who were taught phonics end up reading whole word. Thats why I am more convinced than ever that a really good spelling book is so necessary! The decoding is the easy part of language, encoding is the hard part!

Thank you for your posts! It is really great to hear real to life, everyday experiences.

Elizabeth, your post answered all of my questions. I have alot more confidence now in planning the implementation of Websters. I am really excited about this! Thank you for your input! And great job with your website, it has been so very helpful.

Edited by sarahv, 05 December 2008 - 11:20 PM.


#9 Amber in AUS

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 06:30 PM

I completely agree encoding is the hard part. I am a great reader and terrible speller, always have been. I am sure to learn heaps thru teaching my dc. I want them to be good at both.

I am going back to Don Potter to read about the whole word thing, i didn't read it before.

#10 sarahv

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 06:48 PM

Actually, Amber, I think I saw it in one of his you tube videos. And I will admit to maybe putting a connection in my mind that he may not have necessarily spelled out in so many words. He was talking about how kids see words by shape, (like big, bag, bug all have the same shape) and my mind understood that when kids read the wrong vowel, it's not just that they are not being careful to read the word properly, they are actually whole-word reading. I think he talked about it in his you tube video about blend phonics, maybe?

My son falls into this category, I think. He is very visual, as is my dh and my dh's brothers. They tend to read whole word, even though they were all taught the same phonics program as myself. I think it's just a bad habit that kids with good memories can get into. I'm not too concerned about it, but being aware of it is good because it will make me be more vigilant about the spelling program. :lol:

#11 Amber in AUS

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 06:57 PM

Sarah, thanks for clarifying. I just went looking for the article and popped back in to say, do you know what it is called, can't seem to find it. Never mind.

I am fairly confident that she figuring it out in her head and just reading the word aloud as we would. She doesn't substitute vowels and rarely gets words wrong, only new ones, which she always sounds and will sounds 2 or 3 times before announcing what she has decided the word says, 90% of the time she is right with her sounding too. I think she is doing well.

I would love to keep this dialogue going because i think we can all learn so much along the way. For me DD is the guinea pig and what i work out with her i will use again with DS and DD2.

We had just started using ETC which DD doesn't like so will not be continuing but plan replacing with Websters. For now just a reading list, but will be more than that as we progress. Once we finish 100EZ Websters will be our whole program.

#12 sarahv

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 07:19 PM

I really like the idea of teaching the phonetic symbols as well. You know, like the ones in the dictionary.

I learned to read with the phonetic symbols, and the dictionary was always such a good help, because I could read it easily.

One thing that draws me to Webster's Blue Back speller is that he *wrote* the dictionary. I feel that he is truly an expert on the English Language.

#13 Amber in AUS

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 07:31 PM

I agree on the symbol front. I have learned so much since being exposed the the symbols with DD. Some things make so much more sense now. I was taught to read with a combo phonics & see, say approach that has nothing on what we are doing now.

He is def an expert!!

#14 sarahv

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 10:40 PM


With the rule that c says s before i, e, or y, she was also incapable of learning that last year. We had worked through 2 or 3 phonics books working on c as s, and it helped some, but she still would miss new words from time to time. However, after learning the pattern of the syllables in ca, ce, ci, co, cu, cy and sca, sce, sci, sco, scu, scy (this took 2 or three months!), she quit saying the wrong sound for c before i, e, and y.


I found this very interesting. I was at a loss thinking about how to teach this rule, which I suspected (Elizabeth confirmed my thougthts) would be very abstract for a beginning reader.

I appreciate what Elizabeth said about teaching rules in First grade, and even then, it is slow going. That helps me get a better picture of what it may be like using the Syllabary to teach phonics.

Phonics Pathways explains that most reading IS sight reading after a while, so I can see how you would teach the Syllabary by phonetic decoding, but it would become sight after a time. Also, spelling is what really cements the phonetic reading, so using the same book to both read out of and spell out of makes sense to me.

I grew up using the ACE curriculum, and interestingly enough, I remember alot of these concepts from the Word Building PACE's. They were very strong in syllable divisions, and other kind of dictionary type of work, also the spelling lists were almost always grouped according to rule. I have been wanting to use ACE for Language Arts and Math, and these ideas from Webster's is really encouraging me to pursue it as a Workbook addition to teaching from Webster's Blue Back Speller.

Also, the ACE Learning to read program is very heavy on the phonetic markings. I own it, and had almost decided not to use it, or tweak it to go with Phonics Pathways, but I think it will actually work better with Webster's than even Phonics Pathways. Just the same, I will keep Phonics Pathways, because I love it. I also love Victory Drill. That has been a favorite of mine for many years. Then, Don Potter introduced me to Blend Phonics. That is a great program, too. I glean alot from aspects of many programs. And although I have sold my copy of OPG, I am still grateful for how it opened my eyes to some interesting concepts.

Webster's is my keeper, though. I've wanted to teach from it for a very LONG time, and I just KNOW it is what I want to do. Takes the cake for me. :001_smile:

I also should mention that I had stayed away from any video/game type of things for educational purposes, mostly because of WTM influence, but Elizabeth encouraged it on her website, so I've downloaded Letter and Word Factory videos, and let the boys play Starfall - and they are LOVING it. It's actually making my job easier, because it has turned letters into a game. (Ds announced to me that R is his favorite letter because it's the first letter of "race") Now, the boys play with the Discovery Toy stuffed letters, singing the songs and the sounds of the letters -and no work on my part. Ok, so I have joined the ranks of leap frog fans.:tongue_smilie:

#15 Amber in AUS

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 02:48 AM

I just finished reading "Why Noah Webster's Way Was The Right Way" by Rodgers and i think we will teach the syllables directly from the Speller post 100EZ. Now that DD is recognising blends in context (in the word not on their own) i think she will have no problem learning the syllables. But for her i don't think it would have been the right place for her to start the learning to read process. Off to read more now ...

#16 AnneC

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 04:19 AM

I would love to keep this dialogue going because i think we can all learn so much along the way. For me DD is the guinea pig and what i work out with her i will use again with DS and DD2.


:lol::lol: I have taught 3 kids to read and am starting with the 4th. The only thing I've learned is that what the guinea pig did is what the next one will not do. Unless your kids are incredibly similar they will all learn differently and benefit from different approaches. My oldest could read simple words before she was 3, I started teaching her at 2.75 because I didn't want her to start memorising sight words on her own. She didn't really start reading fluently until she was almost 5. My twins started learning just after they turned 3. One was reading fluently by 3.5, the other is just now starting to read fluently. In fact he is the only one that has shown any indication of learning sight words instead of using phonics. My youngest has been asking to learn to read since before she turned 2. She can recognise a few words but has no interest in putting sounds together to make words. She won't actually be ready to read for at least 6 months but I can't tell her that. Oh, I actually had to change my approach for ds2 because he wasn't learning the phonics.

#17 AnneC

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 04:24 AM

Have any of you read Diane Mcguinness' books? Her books were the reason we chose to start teaching our children to read early. One of the things she emphasised was that learning individual syllables and blends was a waste of effort because those words could be sounded out. You teach /b/ and /l/ but you don't teach /bl/ because then you have to memorise three sounds instead of two and the two comprise the third.

#18 Amber in AUS

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 06:33 AM

Hi Anne, Thanks for joining us. My DD1 and DS are very similar and appear to be learning along similar lines so i think the same method of learning to read will work for DS, but i take your point about them all being different.

No, i have not read, or even heard of Dian McGuinness. More google for me, lol. I agree with what you said no need to teach the blends that can be sounded. I am not teaching and blends that can be sounded out and don't plan to. However some syllables have a sound in their own right and don't follow the individual letter sounds and they are the extras that i will use.

#19 sarahv

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 10:00 AM

No joke that kids are different. My oldest DS is as much a visual learner as I am NOT. I loved books, my son didn't want to have anything to do with them until I said, "Alright, it's book time, you may not get up until I say book time is done". I read and read to him and he finally developed an interest.

My DS2 is much more like me. Didn't have to prod him to read books. I think it's not the program so much that has to change with kids, it is the presentation of the material.

I've taught private violin for 16 years, and know that each kid receives the information differently, but that doesn't change my curriculum (much...:001_smile:). I use Suzuki because I believe in the philosophy. I think the same about the Phonics program I decide to use. I LOVE Webster's because of the philosophy behind it, and so I will use it with all my kids. How they receive the information has yet to be seen, but their success with the program depends on how I can discern how to meet their individual needs. (Ha, Ha, I talk big, don't I - I guess we'll see if it works in a couple of years...:lol:) - Ok, so I don't KNOW I will use Webster's, so much can change. But it makes to most sense to me right now.

Oh, I actually had to change my approach for ds2 because he wasn't learning the phonics.


Was he memorizing words by sight, then? And how did you change your approach to help him?

And I have a big favor to ask of you, Anne, could you review Early Reading Instruction by Diane Mcguinness? It looks like a great book.

Edited by sarahv, 04 December 2008 - 10:16 AM.


#20 sarahv

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 10:53 AM

Elizabeth, I was wondering if you could talk about using Webster's with some of your remedial students. When was it introduced, how did you implement it, and what results did you see?

On your website, you mentioned one child who was reading several grade levels better after only 6 hours of phonics instruction, but that most children needed 20-30 hours of instruction.

In what ways do you agree with the article that was cited by Amber, on DonPotter.net website entitled WHY NOAH WEBSTER’S WAY WAS THE RIGHT WAY By Geraldine E. Rodgers?

Frankly, reading this article made me want to teach Latin first. I've leaned that way since I first read LCC anyway :001_smile:. Teaching sound vs. meaning - what do you do with your students to learn to read by sound, not meaning?


#21 Amber in AUS

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 04:58 PM

:lurk5: Love to hear what you have to say too Elizabeth B.

#22 AnneC

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 10:02 PM

Was he memorizing words by sight, then? And how did you change your approach to help him?

And I have a big favor to ask of you, Anne, could you review Early Reading Instruction by Diane Mcguinness? It looks like a great book.


I still taught him phonetics, I just made it a bit more fun and a lot more drawn out. He was memorising some words by sight, "Vegemite" is one that comes to mind.

Early Reading Instruction, as far as I can remember (I can't find my copy atm), outlined Diane Mcguinness' approach to teaching reading. She emphasises using phonetics, rather than phonics, because phonics uses things like blends. She also recommended the reading programmes that she felt were the best fit for her approach. I think the main things I took away from reading her books were that reading is not a natural skill and that whole word readers can only memorise a limited number of words, that is why the often struggle around 4th grade when they top out their limit. I have dh looking for my copy of the book and if he finds it I can give you more information.

#23 ElizabethB

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 11:10 PM

Elizabeth, I was wondering if you could talk about using Webster's with some of your remedial students. When was it introduced, how did you implement it, and what results did you see?


I just found out about Webster as a beginning method a little over a year ago, and decided to implement it with my daughter. Then, I tried it on my first remedial student. He was reading 2 grade levels below the grade he was entering. I taught him over the summer with Webster, he also watched all my phonics movies at home with his mom supervising (poking him to pay attention and pausing the movie and asking him if he understood the rule and making him repeat the rules. She’s great!) We started with the syllabary, then worked through the speller. I didn’t spend much time on the 1 syllable words, he had most of them down. I worked with him for 45 minutes to an hour each time, I worked with him 6 times. At the end of this, he was reading 1 grade level higher than before, and was much better at slowing down and sounding out multi-syllable words. Before this, he had mainly just guessed at multi-syllable words.

This fall, with the help of volunteers from my church, I taught a group of nine 3rd to 6th grade students (volunteers included the student’s mom above, she refrained from poking other people’s children.) The 9 students included the student I worked with this summer, he was still reading 1 grade level below his actual grade. We worked with them after school for about an hour and 45 minutes each lesson, the last part was phonics and word games. We worked with them twice a week for 2 months, a total of 14 instructional days. They worked through a shortened version of my phonics lessons with a lot of oral spelling, then Webster’s Speller, first the syllabary, then starting from the words of 2 and more syllables. We also worked a bit from the Blend Phonics Reader. The first 30 to 45 minutes was a lesson from me, then we worked in groups of 2 to 5 students depending on the number of volunteers that could make it each day. In their small groups, we did the phonics concentation game and work in the Blend Phonics Reader and Webster’s Speller. They improved a bit more than 1 reading grade level on average per student. Everyone improved, and one student improved 3 reading grade levels, another improved 2 reading grade levels. The lowest improvement was .6 reading grade levels.

On your website, you mentioned one child who was reading several grade levels better after only 6 hours of phonics instruction, but that most children needed 20-30 hours of instruction.


Yes, a very smart student can work through the phonics basics quickly when you just work on the sounds, to learn all you need to know for a remedial student takes an average of 20 to 30 hours. But, I’ve also had a student who took 50 hours. He needed a lot of repetition. Eventually, he was reading at grade level. I can get most students reading a grade level or two above grade level, and getting students reading above grade level should be easy now that I’ve found Webster’s Speller, it's really powerful.

In what ways do you agree with the article that was cited by Amber, on DonPotter.net website entitled WHY NOAH WEBSTER’S WAY WAS THE RIGHT WAY By Geraldine E. Rodgers?

Frankly, reading this article made me want to teach Latin first. I've leaned that way since I first read LCC anyway :001_smile:. Teaching sound vs. meaning - what do you do with your students to learn to read by sound, not meaning?


If I knew more Latin, I’d want to teach Latin first, too! It is more phonetically regular, it makes sense to teach basic blending and reading with a more phonetically regular language. Spanish first with a syllabary would work, too. Although, the classical ideal would be Latin!

I agree with Gerry! I also agree with almost everything in her book, "The History of Beginning Reading." It's quite fascinating, a 1200 page version of her "Why Noah Webster's Way Was the Right Way." It has some interesting historical asides.

I focus totally on sounding out letters and syllables in words during my lessons, and don’t waste any time reading decodable readers. When they’ve mastered the phonics basics, I let them read regular texts, note their problem areas, and then work on those sounds. The syllables of Webster are very focused on sound, they are the true sounds of our language, not the letter sounds, which are for the most part, approximations of the sounds they make. You can make an isolated vowel sound or a few consonant sounds like m, but the rest are approximations of the sound they make in a word or a syllable.

Gerry also has a code she uses to rate phonics programs based on this sound/meaning divide. It's really helpful for explaining to people why a program with phonics in its name isn't as good as it sounds. Most of the programs that homeschoolers use would rate a 9 or a 10. Most of the programs in the public schools rate between a 3 and a 6, depending on which program and how they're used. We've lived in many different school districts over the years, and I've only seen one public school with a program that is a 9 or a 10. The Catholic schools I've seen have programs that are generally a 9 or a 10. Protestant schools are a mixed bag, some a 9 or 10, and some in the public school range. Webster, I would give it a 15. "But mine goes up to 11."

#24 Kathie in VA

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 12:19 AM

Wow, what an interesting discussion!
I thought about getting the Webster book a few years ago but didn't. I like the idea of teaching the syllables though. We do that near the end of our phonics book (Alpha Phonics) and again in our spelling book (How to Spell). The spelling book goes more into it though. We spend time learning what a syllable is and how it affects the spelling of a word (& pronunciation). However I also use ABCs and All Their Tricks as a reference. It's a great book that lists words for each sound of each phonogram. It also has a good explanation of syllables which I use in addition to the lessons in the How to Spell/How to Teach Spelling books.

Maybe someday I'll get to see the Webster's book to compare.

#25 ElizabethB

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 01:42 AM

However I also use ABCs and All Their Tricks as a reference. It's a great book that lists words for each sound of each phonogram. It also has a good explanation of syllables which I use in addition to the lessons in the How to Spell/How to Teach Spelling books.

Maybe someday I'll get to see the Webster's book to compare.


You can see Webster's book online, you can see a no pictures version (less than 1 mB)

http://www.donpotter...no pictures.pdf

or a with pictures version, 8.67 mB

http://www.donpotter...g Book 1824.pdf

I refer to The ABCs and All Their Tricks often, and sometimes use it with students in my tutoring.

#26 sarahv

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 04:14 PM

The syllables of Webster are very focused on sound, they are the true sounds of our language, not the letter sounds, which are for the most part, approximations of the sounds they make. You can make an isolated vowel sound or a few consonant sounds like m, but the rest are approximations of the sound they make in a word or a syllable.


This is such a true observation. A says /a/ like in apple very clearly, but in bag? Not so clearly the short /a/ sound. I've always felt the the vowel sounds were hard to hear inside the word.

#27 sarahv

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 04:19 PM

She emphasises using phonetics, rather than phonics, because phonics uses things like blends.


What is the difference between phonetics and phonics, and why would "blends" not be good?

#28 ElizabethB

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 11:12 PM

This is such a true observation. A says /a/ like in apple very clearly, but in bag? Not so clearly the short /a/ sound. I've always felt the the vowel sounds were hard to hear inside the word.


I agree, especially with the example you give.

I don't teach ag and eg until much later in my phonics lessons, I also teach l and r controlled vowels later. I think that in the word egg, the e sounds more like long a. I try to start out with the clearest, least confusing things and then in later lessons add complexity after they've got the habit of sounding out words one letter at a time and not guessing.

The beauty of the syllabary is that there is not this problem, they've learned the syllables first, and see the way that the vowels interact with each consonant.

#29 sarahv

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 11:18 PM

Thanks so much for your input, Elizabeth, I have gleaned much from "picking your brain". :001_smile: I'm sure I'll be coming back with more questions as I put Webster's to use...

#30 sarahv

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 11:55 PM

OK, I have another question already, ladies. I honestly didn't think I'd be back so soon:tongue_smilie:.

Do you think there is a substantial difference between teaching the Syllabary and phonics by another route like Phonics Pathways.

Do you think it is just a matter of Scope and Sequence (when to teach certain rules, etc.) or is there more of a substantial difference?

I tend to think that there is more of a difference, but after reading the posts, I'm not sure what the difference is. 1) There is definately a difference in the way to approach single letters. i.e. each letter does not necessarily make it's own independent sound and 2) shorter words are taught later (in Webster's) because they are considered "irregular".

These two differences I see, but are they really all that substantial? I guess by substantial, I mean that you wouldn't necessarily rule out other materials to be used in addition to Webster's. I just see it not working as well using other things with Webster's. The materials seem too different, but maybe not? What do you think?

#31 ajjkt

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 05:55 AM

Are the syllables memorized in the same way SWR has children memorize the phonograms? Or are the children familiarized to the syllables after learning the phonograms? I do not have a sound card so I cant listen to the files on the links given?

Also, are the words in the tables taught and dictated as spelling words? Does it matter if you go down the row or across the columns?

Sorry for th dumb questions but I'm interested in using this and want to understand it better first

#32 Amber in AUS

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 06:53 AM

Sarah i have only seen 2 phonics programs. The first which i can't remember the name of focused on teaching the letter sounds, every sound that letter makes, then every possible blend combination of that letter before moving to the next letter, DD was just confused by that. She didn't have any tools to blend and wasn't making any connection because the sound wasn't a letter sound or a word.

The second 100EZ focuses on learning the letter sounds but in a definate pattern which limits confusion of long or short vowels and other things. I definately think the order in which the letters (sounds) are presented has a bearing on how easy or difficult the child finds it. Also i think the way 100EZ encourages saying the word slowly - sounding out and blending at the same time helps immensley! It's not s-a-t it is sssaaattt. Do you get what i mean? She now has excellent tools to blend unknowns.

For us, now that DD understands the letter sounds and how to blend them with the letters along side i can present her with new words and she has the skills to try the blend until she is satisfied the word she is coming up with is a real word. Also i have now shown her some of the syllables from Websters and she has sounded them correctly first go because she has learned the basic blending skills already. She is seeing the syllable as a little word i guess.

She is recognising sound patterns in groups of words like 'ag' in bag, rag, hag. She is starting to understand the basics of spelling, sounding the word out.

For me personally 100EZ has given my DD and excellent foundation and Websters will grow that foundation. I know that for my DD she could not have started Websters cold at age 4 which is when we began our learning to read journey.

I have no experience with Phonics Pathways so can't comment on their similarities or differences with Websters or other programs sorry!

#33 Amber in AUS

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 07:00 AM

ajjkt - can't answer to first part of your Q sorry. With the lists we are working down as the words then all follow the same pattern and the child can recognise the letter to sound pattern.

I think you can use the list anyway you like. To begin with we are just using it as a reading list and to become acquainted with sound patterns in words, but we will revisit it and use it as a spelling list too.

#34 ElizabethB

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 01:30 PM

OK, I have another question already, ladies. I honestly didn't think I'd be back so soon:tongue_smilie:.

Do you think there is a substantial difference between teaching the Syllabary and phonics by another route like Phonics Pathways.

Do you think it is just a matter of Scope and Sequence (when to teach certain rules, etc.) or is there more of a substantial difference?

I tend to think that there is more of a difference, but after reading the posts, I'm not sure what the difference is. 1) There is definately a difference in the way to approach single letters. i.e. each letter does not necessarily make it's own independent sound and 2) shorter words are taught later (in Webster's) because they are considered "irregular".

These two differences I see, but are they really all that substantial? I guess by substantial, I mean that you wouldn't necessarily rule out other materials to be used in addition to Webster's. I just see it not working as well using other things with Webster's. The materials seem too different, but maybe not? What do you think?


It's still phonics, you can supplement. All good phonics programs work well together. However, Websters really teaches everything you need to know to read and spell well, so there isn't a need to supplement unless there's a specific area that needs additional work/seeing in a slightly different way to fix. There is a need to supplement later with phonetic spelling rules explicitly taught.

The main difference is the large number of 2+ syllable words, and their arrangement by accent pattern. A Beka and OPG teach some 2+ syllable words, but most programs I've seen do not. The arrangement by accent pattern is really helpful, I see its benefit most with my ESL students who don't have as much of a handle on the natural stress and pronunciation of English words, but it's also helpful for a beginner with a limited vocabulary of multi-syllable words. After reading through enough of the words in the tables, the light comes on and they start to naturally produce the correct pronunciation, even in words they don't know with a lot of unaccented syllables with the vowel sounds not heavily pronounced. They don't always schwa to short u, e's often "schwi" to short i. With Webster's arrangement, they just get it, you don't have to go into lengthy explanations, they just start to get the pattern.

#35 ElizabethB

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 01:40 PM

Are the syllables memorized in the same way SWR has children memorize the phonograms? Or are the children familiarized to the syllables after learning the phonograms? I do not have a sound card so I cant listen to the files on the links given?

Also, are the words in the tables taught and dictated as spelling words? Does it matter if you go down the row or across the columns?

Sorry for th dumb questions but I'm interested in using this and want to understand it better first


The syllables are taught by blending the sounds together, but learned to the point of memorization before moving on (although you will probably, like me, need to review ca, ce, ci, co, cu, cy and sca, sce, sci, sco, scu, scy every day and move on after all the other syllables but these are learned, then review these daily. I also review a few other syllables daily, having them write a few and spell a few out. I teach them both across and individually, and also in contrasting patterns: im, mi; om, mo. You can also ask them to see how many syllables they can come up with that make the sound si (ci, cy, si, sy, sci, scy) or se (se, ce, sce.)

I teach the words for reading first, then for spelling. After they are used to spelling the words, I'll sometimes have them spell a phonetic word they have not yet read. I teach all the words for reading and just a portion for spelling. Generally, I teach across. Webster recommended generally teaching down, but occasionally across. Some students will stop sounding out the words if they see the same pattern, so I try to limit teaching down the row. However, this is helpful for spelling purposes, I let my students look at the patterns going down the row before spelling the words.

I keep a copy of the syllabary (I have a link to a one-page version on my Webster page) handy, when a student has a problem with a syllable in a multi-syllable word, I pull out the syllabary and let them figure it out themselves. At first, I point them to the proper row and also help them sound the syllables in the row out if needed. I give less and less help each time, and eventually, they can look up the syllables themselves when they stumble over a syllable in a multi-syllable word.

Those aren't dumb questions! And, I'm happy to help, it's a very powerful method and I'd love to see more people benefitting from it.

Edited by ElizabethB, 06 December 2008 - 01:49 PM.


#36 JenniferB

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 02:12 PM

I've been really interested in this thread, as phonics has been my topic of study lately. I have so many questions, maybe Elizabeth can help? Here's a little (long actually now that it's written out) background first, so you can get the motivation of my questions. I've been homeschooling from the beginning, just winging it with the advice of my friends, and reading as much as I can on the topic. My oldest is just about to turn 10, and we're in 4th grade with her now. Her reading is good, and her standardized test scores ranged in the 6th to 9th grade level on vocabulary, comprehension, and language expression. However, her most difficult subject, and the one she has the lowest scores on (grade equivalent of 2.7) in standardized testing is spelling. I am a natural speller, and I didn't need much spelling instruction to get fairly proficient. So, I never put much emphasis on the subject. This year I'm trying to find something that I can use to reign in on spelling skills. It's my highest priority right now. I started the year with Spelling Workout C, and using it first thing in the morning, so it didn't get neglected. It was awful, she was spelling the words wrong (several per page), even when they could be seen and copied right in front of her on the page. After seeking some advice on this board someone told me to have her eyes checked for visual processing issues. I went to the specialist who does visual therapy, and he didn't diagnose her with any visual processing issues. He just prescribed some glasses with a mild prescription and gave me some exercises, like "ball spelling". I hate these exercises, because they take all day, and they seem pointless. He also said to teach her by "chunking" words. That got me thinking about syllables. Since a syllable is a "chunk" of a word. So, I starting looking into curriculum that gave syllable divisions so that I could follow the doctor's instructions of chunking words, but not arbitrarily chunking them, but by actually using a logical way of chunking, using syllables. The curriculum I settled on was SWR (Spell to Write and Read). I've been spending the last month setting up this program in our homeschool with the binder, the tabs, the composition books, and many other things to get going. I started my own log, and started working with my children on the single letter and multi-letter phonograms. So far, we've done a few reference pages in my daughter's log. This has been slow going, but I can see that it's a very comprehensive program with words broken into syllables and broken down into phonograms as well as using spelling rules to understand why the words are spelled the way they are. Recently I've found this thread and I've read up on Don Potter's website, and I've printed several key documents, read them, and I've printed the American Spelling Book, and I've read through some of that. I've also read through some of Elizabeth's site. I'm sorry this background is long...now onto my questions:

1. If I were to continue using SWR, and add in the Syllabary and Webster's American Spelling Book, what should that look like day to day? We usually do SWR 4 days per week, and we spend a good 45 minutes on it.

2. Should I have her master the syllabary, and use the Webster lists for reading practice, and continue with SWR for phonics/spelling/writing?

3. If I were to use Webster's American Spelling Book is there any guide or day by day lesson plans? I'm really lost on how to use this resource. I can see the logic of the lists, but there are no words or instructions to impart to my daughter to go along with the lists. How do I actually instruct with this book? :glare:

I'm really looking forward to any specific answers you can give.

Thank you for this thread and all the advice thus far in the websites, and other answers, etc.

Edited by JenniferB, 06 December 2008 - 02:16 PM.


#37 ElizabethB

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 05:21 PM

1. If I were to continue using SWR, and add in the Syllabary and Webster's American Spelling Book, what should that look like day to day? We usually do SWR 4 days per week, and we spend a good 45 minutes on it.

2. Should I have her master the syllabary, and use the Webster lists for reading practice, and continue with SWR for phonics/spelling/writing?

3. If I were to use Webster's American Spelling Book is there any guide or day by day lesson plans? I'm really lost on how to use this resource. I can see the logic of the lists, but there are no words or instructions to impart to my daughter to go along with the lists. How do I actually instruct with this book? :glare:

I'm really looking forward to any specific answers you can give.

Thank you for this thread and all the advice thus far in the websites, and other answers, etc.


You're welcome!

I would keep with what you're doing, it's a good program and the rules should help. She could also watch my spelling lessons for a quick overview of the rules. However, you probably won't see much improvement until all the sound-spelling rules are over-learned.

I'd add in Webster for reading and spelling practice, 10 minutes a day. Start with the syllabary and work through, doing more in areas she has trouble with. Oral spelling is fast, you could read through a bit then have her spell aloud a few words she's already read. If she has trouble, let her look at the word again and then spell it. You can cover a lot in 10 minutes a day.

If you could find a nearby K or 1st grade student who's struggling, she could help you remediate them. You learn something to a much higher level when you teach it to someone else. She could also help a younger sibling learn to read, if you have one at that level! Over-learning the basics should help her spelling, it helped mine.

It's not hard to find students to tutor, most public schools that teach sight words have 30 to 40% of their students reading poorly, I just hand out the NRRF reading grade level test and have never been at a loss for students. In fact, I have more than I can teach--but, many parents are capable of teaching their own children if shown what to use and how to use it. I try this as a first step, then work with children whose parents can't/won't teach their own children. I also use the MWIA to track their progress.

#38 Amber in AUS

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 05:50 PM

Thanks again Elizabeth, your truly are a wealth of information!!

#39 sarahv

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 08:23 PM

So, basically, the rules to remember for the Syllabary are these (please correct me if I'm wrong):

1) A closed vowel is short

2) An open vowel is long

3) C makes the sound of /s/ when it comes in front of e, i, and y

4) Unaccented syllables make the schwa sound

If a person mastered these "rules" they'd be able to spell just about anything? (of course there are exceptions and special rules later on, about synonyms and such, but the Syllabary is about these rules in particular.) I don't even really want to call them rules, though, because Webster seems to refer to them more as patterns in our language. Not a rule so much as just a pattern he observed in the English Language.

If I were starting with an older child, especially in regards to Spelling, I'd have her master these concepts first, read Latin words with English pronunciation to practice the concepts (to insure that she was reading by sound, and not meaning), then start spelling two syllable words from Webster's word lists, and go to three, etc.

I've always been a good speller, but this way of teaching patterns seems alot more common sense to me than MANY other ways I've seen. Just with these tools, I am a more confident speller now, because I don't have to rely on my brain to remember this word out of nowhere (which I do really well...).

I love the simplicity of Webster's Speller. It helps me to understand English words so much better.:D

#40 ElizabethB

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 09:12 PM

So, basically, the rules to remember for the Syllabary are these (please correct me if I'm wrong):

1) A closed vowel is short

2) An open vowel is long

3) C makes the sound of /s/ when it comes in front of e, i, and y

4) Unaccented syllables make the schwa sound


Right, those are the basic "rules." Webster also notes that the last syllable, when unaccented, almost always is schwa'd, with al sounding like ul and et sounding like it. I'm not sure if Webster mentions it or not, but I've noticed that the open syllables are more likely to schwa than the closed syllables.

He doesn't teach things like the ll, ss, and ff rule for short vowel 1 syllable words, but they're arranged by that pattern, so you can immediately see it.

The way he lays things out does make a lot of sense! As you said earlier, he did write the dictionary! He also taught students for a while, so he got to see how they learned and what worked with actual students. The best programs for any subject are generally written by people who've taught students and adapted their programs to fit what works with them, not what seems good theoretically.

From the Wikipedia biography of Webster:

"From his own experiences as a teacher, Webster thought the Speller should be simple and gave an orderly presentation of words and the rules of spelling and pronunciation. He believed students learned most readily when he broke a complex problem into its component parts and had each pupil master one part before moving to the next."

Edited by ElizabethB, 06 December 2008 - 09:15 PM.


#41 JenniferB

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 12:52 AM

Elizabeth,

Thank you for your response. I was thinking about doing oral lessons instead of written, so that we could add the Webster's American Spelling Book practically. 10 minutes sounds good.

I'm curious, with your children and remedial students, how do you teach the analysis of sounds when there are two different ways of explaining them? For instance, would you teach the "c+i+another vowel" as the /sh/ sound of "c" (Webster), or would you teach "ci" as a phonogram with the /sh/ sound (Spalding/Sensari, i.e. Phonics), or do you teach both explanations?

Maybe you write about this on your website. I'm sorry I haven't taken the time yet to read through the whole thing.

Thanks again, :grouphug:

#42 ElizabethB

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 03:47 AM

Elizabeth,
I'm curious, with your children and remedial students, how do you teach the analysis of sounds when there are two different ways of explaining them? For instance, would you teach the "c+i+another vowel" as the /sh/ sound of "c" (Webster), or would you teach "ci" as a phonogram with the /sh/ sound (Spalding/Sensari, i.e. Phonics), or do you teach both explanations?

Maybe you write about this on your website. I'm sorry I haven't taken the time yet to read through the whole thing.

Thanks again, :grouphug:


I have a lot of pages to wade through! I had always wanted to write a book, when I printed out a hardcopy of my website a year ago in case something happened, I realized I had written a book!

I've updated my lessons up to lesson 17 with a specialized font I developed called UPP. I have made the lesson with the font for teaching -ti and -ci and -si, but have not yet made a new movie for the lesson yet (lesson 22). The font shows a sh above the t and an x above the i to show that it's silent. There is a line between the two letters (t and i in ti, c and i in ci, and s and i in si) to show that it's a team of letters working together.

I then show a y above the i and show how when y with it's i sound is said quickly after a s, you get a sh sound. so, for the word mission: miss-yun...mish(i)un (sh really coming from the s and i together, but I show the i as silent in the font, although the connecting line shows it's working together with the preceding letter.)

In the same manner, I teach tion as tyun...sh(i)un and ture, the long u is a combination of y + long oo, the y changes the t to ch when you say them together fast.

For cial, syul....sh(i)ul, the y sound of i after the s sound of c changes it to sh. The al is schwa'd to ul as it's unaccented at the end.

If you dig deep enough, there really are explanations for most of these things that make sense! It's much clearer with the special font showing the sounds above the letters. I've found after adding the font to my movies that they're each a minute or two shorter than the old version of the movies because I don't have to waste as much time explaining, I just show the special font markings and only have to do a bit of explaining. I'm not sure if that explanation is in my old (the current one online) lesson 22 or not, I think I learned this fairly recently, but I'm not sure.

I tried to teach -tion as a group to my daughter, that confused her. When I taught her with the markings (I wrote sh over ti and explained how they worked together to make sh and also wrote a short u over the o), she got it quickly.

You can see the UPP here: http://www.thephonic...eading/upp.html

Edited by ElizabethB, 07 December 2008 - 03:59 AM.


#43 MommyInTraining

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 04:38 AM

Elizabeth,

Would you say that programs like All About Spelling and Spell to Write and Read that use phonograms are comparable to The Blue Back Speller, or would you say Webster's method is superior?

Thanks!

Edited by MommyInTraining, 07 December 2008 - 04:45 AM.


#44 Mama Lynx

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 09:26 AM

I have to ask this, because I was not taught phonics as a kid, and although I have always been an excellent reader, the rules of phonics are still often foreign to me.

When you teach ba be bi bo bu by .... what sound does "by" make? It seems to me that you would teach it as "bigh." However, then how do you teach the "bee" sound that it would be at the end of most words?

#45 ElizabethB

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 02:27 PM

Elizabeth,

Would you say that programs like All About Spelling and Spell to Write and Read that use phonograms are comparable to The Blue Back Speller, or would you say Webster's method is superior?

Thanks!


I think Webster's method is superior to anything out there!

However, someone already reading and older may benefit more from a rules based program for spelling, you'd have to try and see.

#46 ElizabethB

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 02:34 PM

I have to ask this, because I was not taught phonics as a kid, and although I have always been an excellent reader, the rules of phonics are still often foreign to me.

When you teach ba be bi bo bu by .... what sound does "by" make? It seems to me that you would teach it as "bigh." However, then how do you teach the "bee" sound that it would be at the end of most words?


You're right, it makes long I. Y acts as an i when it's a vowel, following the same rules for when it's a short or long vowel as if it were an i.

Webster's teaches that y has it's long i sound when the last syllable is accented, as in de-ny. When the last syllable is unaccented, it usually has its long e sound, although it's actually a weak long e, the same sound as a normal long e but a little shorter in duration. Don Potter's re-typed edition of Webster bolds the accented syllables, I really like that, it's much clearer and more natural to see the accent when the syllable is bolded than when there is a normal dictionary accent mark.

This y rule was a rule I didn't know before Webster, I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere else, probably because not much attention is paid to syllables and accents in most phonics programs.

#47 Mama Lynx

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 04:11 PM

thanks!

I'm going to give this a whirl with my 8 year old. Reading is hard for him, and I suspect he may be dyslexic. This may be very helpful for him.

#48 JenniferB

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 04:51 PM

When the last syllable is unaccented, it usually has its long e sound, although it's actually a weak long e, the same sound as a normal long e but a little shorter in duration.

This y rule was a rule I didn't know before Webster, I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere else, probably because not much attention is paid to syllables and accents in most phonics programs.


I've never heard this rule either! This long e sound of y has been bugging me since I first read The Writing Raod to Reading several years ago!

Where does Webster explain this? I can't find it in the American Spelling Book. Of course I haven't read the whole thing carefully yet, just skimmed through.

Oh, I think I'm liking Webster more and more! :lol:

Elizabeth, I will be reading through your website when I have more time. I think it will be my Christmas break project!

Thanks again, and again! :D

#49 SophiaH

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 10:28 AM

Elizabeth or anyone else, :)

I just found this thread yesterday and all of this information has really clicked with me! I taught myself to read as a child and syllables is the way I understand reading as I was never taught phonics rules. My dd6 (almost 7) is very bright and is reading fine, but she is not very good with basic blending. For the last year and a half we've used Phonics Pathways and then switched to OPG. I've always known that the phonics rules were not really sinking in with her (she seemed too young? to be able to internalize all of those rules!). But I kept on mostly because I didn't know what else to do!
Now, on the surface she seems to be a decent reader; she's reading out of second grade readers. I think it's because she's bright enough to be able to read by the context of the sentence or paragraph. She (VERY) often misses the little words and will say "a" instead of "the" or use another word that starts with the same letter as the word she's trying to read and that makes sense in the sentence, or will take five or six tries to sound out 'can,' or confuses 'mad' and 'made' and it takes a while to get the correct word. After 1 1/2 years I still have to remind her to "sound it out," which seems like a very difficult chore for her. Family members are impressed with her reading ability, and I too am impressed at some of the words she 'reads,' but I'm concerned about her very basic skills in blending. It seems as though she's missing a big foundation and although she's doing 'fine' now, I'm afraid that at some point in the future she may reach a point in her reading skill that she will not be able to progress.

My question is, if I were to use the Webster's Blue-Backed Speller, would I just start at the beginning? Should I just continue with OPG (we're only a few weeks away from finishing) and supplement with something else or work on something specific? Or am I silly to even be worrying about this since she's only in first grade--is it a common thing and will work itself out?

Sorry for the long post. I've been stewing over this problem (?) for almost a year and this thread seemed like a good place to maybe finally get some help. Thanks so much in advance.

#50 Mallory

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 11:24 AM

I don't understand where you are getting all of these rules from either? :confused:

You keep saying Webster's teaches, but I can't find any of it in the copy I am using (the one Don Potter typed up).

Does it really matter?

I am using it for spelling with my 9yo, remedial reading with the neighbors 9yo, and may start it for beginning reading with my 7yo (but we recently started Reading Made Easy and his reading is finally taking off, and I am not sure if I want to switch him or not.)

It is okay if they she just learns the syllabary and reads the tables, or do I need to be able to explain things :bigear:


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