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Teaching the Syllabary *instead* of modern Phonics

webster\'s speller syllabary phonics

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#51 newlifemom

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 02:58 PM

ElizabethB,

I posted this thread yesterday, but I am curious what you think.

I am currently teaching ds 6, and dd 5 to read with phonics. Ds used 100 EZ and is finished. Dd is 122 lessons into OPGTR. I have transitioned ds into OPGTR as well, b/c I really like it. May not even use 100EZ anymore. On top of this we are doing the Phonics Museum. I know, overkill, what can I say, I like the games, songs, worksheets of the PM and really 100EZ and OPGTR were really left over from kindergarten ( I never finished :blush:).

So, here I am doing all this and really, they are doing well. They have really started to pick up their reading and I am quite pleased with their progress. (Even if they don't get syllibication/syllibification :glare:) I have said all this to ask. It is normal to misread the articles a & the? Both of them are consistently mixing them up. It's as if they see it's an article(and no, I don't think they know what an article is) and just guess at one.

This seems strange to me b/c 1. dd 10 didn't do this, 2. they are such easy words to read. If it was just my son I would chalk it up to him reading almost impulsively and (gasp) whole word reading. (honest I didn't teach him this way. :D)

Should I be concerned? FWIW the reading lessons are always done individually and the PM is done together. Thanks for your help.


?'s
1. Do you think I should purchase the blue/black speller?
2. While I think it is way too early to tell, ds shows a higher tendency to switch letters than dd 5, or other dd when she was that age. Will this speller help?
3. I am already doing so much with them reading wise is (plus spelling workout) this too much? Maybe I should think about it for next year.


FWIW, after I finished PM with my eldest, I did not do anymore reading instruction(decoding that is). Her decoding is fabulous. Her spelling is fabulous. Her comprehension needs work. We are using Reading Detective for that. Sooooo, Whaddoya think? :tongue_smilie:

#52 sarahv

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 10:46 PM

Elizabeth, if you wrote *anything* (a book, pamphlet, whatever), I'd buy it. I agree with previous posters who said that Websters does not have the rules spelled out for you, so following it takes more work the average spelling/phonics program. But it's superior, so worth the work in my mind.

You could even put together a guide to teaching the Blue Back Speller. I'd buy that, too.:lol:

#53 Amber in AUS

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 11:41 PM

I second that. I'd buy a guide to Websters too!

#54 cillakat

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 06:00 AM

t 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:


Personally, I'd use All About Spelling. It's so easy to use (totally scripted) and you can go as quickly or slowly as is needed. As an O-G based program, it is a thorough scientifically sound spelling program. You really can't do better.

Webster's is great.....but having something 'open and go' is fabulous;)

K

#55 JenniferB

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 12:09 PM

Personally, I'd use All About Spelling. It's so easy to use (totally scripted) and you can go as quickly or slowly as is needed. As an O-G based program, it is a thorough scientifically sound spelling program. You really can't do better.

Webster's is great.....but having something 'open and go' is fabulous;)

K


K,

I did look into All About Spelling, and when it came down to decision making, it was between All About Spelling and SWR. I chose SWR because I have an almost 10yr old who I need to start over with, and a 5yr old who is just starting out. The Wise Guide and the SWR manual seemed to fit our needs better.

Since I wrote this last I'm leaning toward not using Webster's speller in addition to SWR. After reading almost all of Don Potter's site (Spelling section) and a good portion of Elizabeth's site I don't feel I have the tools necessary to pull it off. Our homeschool is not configured to do internet or computer lessons, so using Elizabeth's lessons on her site wouldn't work, and I don't have the knowledge of why the spelling lists are arranged the way they are, and the spelling rules as described by Webster (they are different from the Spalding method rules). So, without a manual I think I will fumble through it. I might use the lists as reading lists after a good foundation in SWR is laid (a few years from now). By then I might have the knowledge myself to use Webster's successfully. I don't know how I learned to read, but I never memeorized or learned spelling rules or phonics. Reading was not easy for me, but spelling was. My daughter is the opposite, so I know she needs phonics, and spelling rules, and lots of reinforcement.

As for Webster's, I've shelved it for now.

#56 SkiMom

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 08:41 PM

I've also been following this thread with great interest. A couple of comments that Elizabeth made have really struck home with me.

Elizabeth said that most phonics programs out there do not teach many 2+ syllable words. I have noticed this myself. When I was teaching my son to read we went through Phonics Pathways and he seemed to be reading quite well...until he ran into larger, multisyllable words. I really didn't know how to help him, other than have him continue to review the phonics that he had already learned. He has the tendency to do as little work as possible, so instead of trying to sound out the words, he guessed, or just skipped over them and kept reading. In fact, he is now in grade 6 and continues to do this. As a result, his reading comprehension is poor.

The second thing I want to comment on is Elizabeth's statement that Webster teaches mostly by pattern. I have also noticed that this is a very effective method as well. Although my son has struggled with reading, he is doing well in spelling since we started using Sequential Spelling. This program teaches spelling by word patterns as well. The part that I am uncomfortable with is that the SS program doesn't teach any rules. So even though my son sees the pattern and can follow it, he doesn't really understand why....and neither do I.

So...all this to say that this discussion about Webster has really intrigued me and I want to know more about how to use his book....for teaching spelling, and remedial reading. Unfortunately, I feel very unsure of even the basics of using the speller. For instance...how do you have the student memorize the syllabary...by having the student read it...or by having the teacher read it and having the student orally spelling it back? When you get to the lessons with actual words, do you have the student read the words out of the speller, or do you dictate the words to the student...or some combination? While dictating words, do you dictate them in a way that breaks them up into syllables? Or do you just say the word, and have the student spell them back to you broken into syllables? How do you know how long to spend on a table/lesson? See what I mean...I really have no idea how to go about using the speller! :confused:

I read Laurie Bluedorn's article on how to use the speller,
http://www.donpotter.net/PDF/How%20To%20USE%20NOAH%20WEBSTER.pdf
but I still don't quite get it....so any info would be appreciated. :) TIA!

#57 ElizabethB

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 09:28 PM

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.


My daughter confused words at times until after 3 or 4 months of working with Webster's Speller. The oral spelling really was helpful, as were the syllables. I teach "a" and "the" as long, but schwa'd. The is schwa'd before words beginning in a consonant (thu bears), but long before words beginning in a vowel (the earth.) The word a is sometimes long when used for emphasis, but otherwise has a schwa sound.

You can use nonsense and regular words to teach long/short vowels: mak/make, ban/bane, mat/mate, bik/bike.

I'd finish up OPG and then start using Webster's Speller. You could also start teaching her part of the syllabary now to get her used to it if you want.

I'd start at the beginning with Webster's Speller. My daughter was reading fairly well and had completed another phonics program when we started the Speller. I had her work a lot on the syllabary, then just did a bit for each of the 1 syllable word tables, making sure she knew enough to be able to read and spell each type of word in each table. It's a good review. The more they get the phonics knowledge over-learned, the better they will be able to read as the phonics basics become fully automated. We didn't do much outside reading at all while working on the Speller--until the basics are overlearned, reading from regular books can lead to guessing. When we occasionally did outside reading, I'd sound out irregular words for her and make sure she correctly sounded out any word she missed (like those a's and the's.)

For some children it does "work itself out," but many need a lot of extra practice with the phonics basics before they're learned to the point of automaticity. Again, I've found spelling really helpful for this. And, at that age, oral spelling is a lot easier (or using magnetic letters) as writing is generally a very tiring activity that hasn't been learned to the point of automaticity either!

My daughter learns verbal things quickly, but addition and subtraction facts need a crazy amount of repetition. I just got a flashmaster, that's been helping a bit!

#58 ElizabethB

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 09:40 PM

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:


There really aren't that many rules in Webster, it mostly teaches by pattern.

Here's one, page 16 - 17 of the uppercase edition, just before table 4, the first 2 syllable word table:

"No figures are placed over the vowels in unaccented syllables, because they are short. It must be observed, however, that in unaccented terminating syllables, almost all vowels are pronounced like i and u.

Thus,
al is pronounced ul, , rural rurul,
et it, fillet fillit.

This is the general rule in the language: originating doubtlessly from this cause, that the short i and u are pronounced with a less aperture or opening of the mouth, with less exertions of the organs, and consequently with more ease than the other vowels in these terminating syllables; for in order to pronounce them right, nothing more is required than to lay a proper stress of the voice on the accented syllable, and pronounce the unaccented syllables with more ease and rapidity.

When any of these terminations are accented, and some of them are, the vowel retains its owns ound; as, compel, lament, depress, &c."

Here's the y as e rule, just before table 5, page 19:

"N.B. In general, when a vowel in an unaccented syllable stands alone or ends a syllable*, it has its first sounds as in protect: yet as we do not dwell upon the vowel, it is short and weak. When the vowel, in such syllable is joined to a consonant, it has its second sound; as address.
*But if a vowel unaccented ends the word, it has its second sound, as in city."

While it's better for older children if you can teach the rules, you should be able to figure out most of them from the patterns of the words in the tables between you and the two 9 year olds, and you'll get a lot out of it even without knowing the spelling rules. For words they have trouble with, you can look the word up and see if there is a rule by searching Google. (For example, that's how I found the spelling rule about truly and why it drops the e. I searched "truly spelling rule.") Even without teaching the rules, it's a very helpful and powerful program. The volunteers working with me during a recent class I taught generally didn't know many spelling rules, but were able to teach Webster's Speller well enough to get improvement with the students we taught.

#59 ElizabethB

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 09:53 PM

ElizabethB,

I posted this thread yesterday, but I am curious what you think.

I am currently teaching ds 6, and dd 5 to read with phonics. Ds used 100 EZ and is finished. Dd is 122 lessons into OPGTR. I have transitioned ds into OPGTR as well, b/c I really like it. May not even use 100EZ anymore. On top of this we are doing the Phonics Museum. I know, overkill, what can I say, I like the games, songs, worksheets of the PM and really 100EZ and OPGTR were really left over from kindergarten ( I never finished :blush:).

So, here I am doing all this and really, they are doing well. They have really started to pick up their reading and I am quite pleased with their progress. (Even if they don't get syllibication/syllibification :glare:) I have said all this to ask. It is normal to misread the articles a & the? Both of them are consistently mixing them up. It's as if they see it's an article(and no, I don't think they know what an article is) and just guess at one.

This seems strange to me b/c 1. dd 10 didn't do this, 2. they are such easy words to read. If it was just my son I would chalk it up to him reading almost impulsively and (gasp) whole word reading. (honest I didn't teach him this way. :D)

Should I be concerned? FWIW the reading lessons are always done individually and the PM is done together. Thanks for your help.


?'s
1. Do you think I should purchase the blue/black speller?
2. While I think it is way too early to tell, ds shows a higher tendency to switch letters than dd 5, or other dd when she was that age. Will this speller help?
3. I am already doing so much with them reading wise is (plus spelling workout) this too much? Maybe I should think about it for next year.


FWIW, after I finished PM with my eldest, I did not do anymore reading instruction(decoding that is). Her decoding is fabulous. Her spelling is fabulous. Her comprehension needs work. We are using Reading Detective for that. Sooooo, Whaddoya think? :tongue_smilie:


I like OPG, too, it's a good method, and she does get a tiny bit into syllables at the end.

The a/the problem is common, even for those taught with phonics and few sight words with a good method like OPG or PP. My daughter did it a bit until we had done Webster's for a while, and she learned the concepts well enough to be able to spell them. She my reply #57 for an explanation of how to teach a and the.

It only takes about 10 minutes a day to work through the Speller in a year, and the syllables are so helpful that I think it's worth using for anyone reading below a 12th grade level. You don't have to buy a copy, just teach from the online copy--if you but one, you get a scanned version unless you buy an original, Don's online retyped edition is much clearer than a purchased reprint. I printed out a copy, and then wrote the words and syllables out on a white board. If you wanted to be really frugal, you could just go straight from the computer to the white board.

The uppercase speller should help with a tendency to confuse and mix up letters, as well as the syllables and learning to spell the syllables and words. (I originally had a lowercase version that I wrote in uppercase on the white board.)

#60 sarahv

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 10:09 PM

Sigh...when is your guide going to be published??:lol:

#61 ElizabethB

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 10:15 PM

So...all this to say that this discussion about Webster has really intrigued me and I want to know more about how to use his book....for teaching spelling, and remedial reading. Unfortunately, I feel very unsure of even the basics of using the speller. For instance...how do you have the student memorize the syllabary...by having the student read it...or by having the teacher read it and having the student orally spelling it back? When you get to the lessons with actual words, do you have the student read the words out of the speller, or do you dictate the words to the student...or some combination? While dictating words, do you dictate them in a way that breaks them up into syllables? Or do you just say the word, and have the student spell them back to you broken into syllables? How do you know how long to spend on a table/lesson? See what I mean...I really have no idea how to go about using the speller! :confused:

I read Laurie Bluedorn's article on how to use the speller,
http://www.donpotter.net/PDF/How%20To%20USE%20NOAH%20WEBSTER.pdf
but I still don't quite get it....so any info would be appreciated. :) TIA!


The Bluedorns are not using the Speller the way Webster meant for it to be used for beginning reading and spelling, they are using it for older children for other things.

You teach the syllabary by sounding it out. If they are a beginner, show them how, then have them sound out the syllables. If they have learned some phonics already, have them try first, then help them where they need help. After sounding each syllable out across, have them read the whole line across.

Then, have them spell the line.

Do this until 10 minutes have passed (or however long you're working. We worked 10 minutes a day in K. You could work 15 to 20 minutes for a 1st or second grader, my 5th and 6th grade remedial students work for up to an hour with a 10 minute break in the middle, although we generally stop at somewhere between 40 to 50 minutes when they get too tired to be productive anymore.)

After you've taught some of the syllabary this way, have them spell a few and read a few out of order. For example, "spell some syllables for me--spell ma, spell ba, spell ab, spell mo, spell om, sell bu") (The syllable ma is long as in ma-ker. I always differentiate between the syllable and the word to avoid confusion between the long syllables ma, pa, and to and the words ma and pa that sound like mah and pah and to which sounds like too.)

I generally have them read the syllables first and then spell them, but after they get confident, I will sometimes have them spell a phonetically regular word or a syllable that they have not yet read.

With a young 1st or K student, I write the words out larger on a white board. My older students read from the book, the uppercase version for students who have guessing problems due to too many sight words. An older student with no guessing problems could use the lowercase version.

With the 2+ syllable words, I say a syllable at a time and have them spell each syllable at first, then work up to having them try to whole word at once. If they have trouble, I'll say each syllable at a time. I don't have them spell every word, they spell 10% to 100% of the words depending on how much trouble they're having with that concept. A concept they have down, we just spell a few words. A concept they're having a bit of trouble with, we'll spell more. Something they're really struggling with, we'll spell every word in the table.

I work on each table until it's learned to mastery. With my daughter, I went on with the rest of the words but kept working on the syllables ca, ce, ci, co, cu, cy and sca, sce, sci, sco, scu, scy for 2 to 3 months until she learned those to mastery. We also did a few random syllables and one or two rows of syllables across each day.

When they get to the table of 2+ syllable words, if they have trouble with a syllable, point them back to the proper line in the syllabary, then have them read the line across, then just the syllable they had trouble with. Eventually, they should be able to look up syllables on their own without your help, just remind them occasionally to go back to the syllabary to find out how to pronounce that syllable. I keep a one page copy of the syllabary handy while teaching the 2+ syllable tables.

#62 ElizabethB

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 10:43 PM

Next week for school my daughter's spelling and phonics lessons will be to help me make a movie showing how to use Webster's Speller!

It may be a week or two after that to complete the movie, we've got a lot to do before Christmas, we'll see.

(Here's her day of school showing how to play the phonics concentration game (click on the link to see the movie)):

http://www.thephonic...trationgam.html

She likes it when school is making a movie!

What would have made a really good movie is a 3rd grade ESL girl, trained with a poor phonics program with a lot of sight words, finally getting it after about 20 lines of 3 syllable words--she finally got the accent pattern and started figuring out the words on her own, even words she didn't know!

I have a 6th grade student who I suspect has dyslexia, but was also taught with a lot of sight words and some whole word practices, so it's hard to tell for sure. He took months instead of weeks, but he finally started to get it, too. He used to guess at any 2+ syllable word, now he patiently sounds them out, trying a few different ways until he works out the word.

#63 Amber in AUS

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 11:06 PM

Thanks Elizabeth. I learn more everytime i read your posts.

FWIW my DD has blossomed with reading in the last 3 weeks since we started reading from the speller along with our normal work. Yippee!

#64 ElizabethB

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 11:43 PM

FWIW my DD has blossomed with reading in the last 3 weeks since we started reading from the speller along with our normal work. Yippee!


That's great to hear! I can't wait to hear the progress from when she gets good at the multi-syllable words!

#65 SophiaH

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 11:58 AM

Thanks so much Elizabeth for the time you take to answer questions. Your thoroughness is appreciated!

#66 JenniferB

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 12:17 PM

The Bluedorns are not using the Speller the way Webster meant for it to be used for beginning reading and spelling, they are using it for older children for other things.

You teach the syllabary by sounding it out. If they are a beginner, show them how, then have them sound out the syllables. If they have learned some phonics already, have them try first, then help them where they need help. After sounding each syllable out across, have them read the whole line across.

Then, have them spell the line.

Do this until 10 minutes have passed (or however long you're working. We worked 10 minutes a day in K. You could work 15 to 20 minutes for a 1st or second grader, my 5th and 6th grade remedial students work for up to an hour with a 10 minute break in the middle, although we generally stop at somewhere between 40 to 50 minutes when they get too tired to be productive anymore.)

After you've taught some of the syllabary this way, have them spell a few and read a few out of order. For example, "spell some syllables for me--spell ma, spell ba, spell ab, spell mo, spell om, sell bu") (The syllable ma is long as in ma-ker. I always differentiate between the syllable and the word to avoid confusion between the long syllables ma, pa, and to and the words ma and pa that sound like mah and pah and to which sounds like too.)

I generally have them read the syllables first and then spell them, but after they get confident, I will sometimes have them spell a phonetically regular word or a syllable that they have not yet read.

With a young 1st or K student, I write the words out larger on a white board. My older students read from the book, the uppercase version for students who have guessing problems due to too many sight words. An older student with no guessing problems could use the lowercase version.

With the 2+ syllable words, I say a syllable at a time and have them spell each syllable at first, then work up to having them try to whole word at once. If they have trouble, I'll say each syllable at a time. I don't have them spell every word, they spell 10% to 100% of the words depending on how much trouble they're having with that concept. A concept they have down, we just spell a few words. A concept they're having a bit of trouble with, we'll spell more. Something they're really struggling with, we'll spell every word in the table.

I work on each table until it's learned to mastery. With my daughter, I went on with the rest of the words but kept working on the syllables ca, ce, ci, co, cu, cy and sca, sce, sci, sco, scu, scy for 2 to 3 months until she learned those to mastery. We also did a few random syllables and one or two rows of syllables across each day.

When they get to the table of 2+ syllable words, if they have trouble with a syllable, point them back to the proper line in the syllabary, then have them read the line across, then just the syllable they had trouble with. Eventually, they should be able to look up syllables on their own without your help, just remind them occasionally to go back to the syllabary to find out how to pronounce that syllable. I keep a one page copy of the syllabary handy while teaching the 2+ syllable tables.


OK - maybe I CAN do this! ??? :confused: I'm anxiously awaiting your movie. Thank you for all your replies Elizabeth. You are much appreciated!

#67 SkiMom

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 09:32 PM

Elizabeth,
I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer my questions too. I feel lost without a teacher's manual!! :D...so I appreciate your help very much!

#68 ElizabethB

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Posted 16 December 2008 - 06:18 AM

Elizabeth,
I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer my questions too. I feel lost without a teacher's manual!! :D...so I appreciate your help very much!


You're welcome!

Don Potter and I have talked about why there were so few instructions in the old books, especially beginning reading and spelling books.

The main reasons we've come up with are:

1. They taught the basics year after year in one-room schools. After watching beginning students learn to read and spell the syllabary, then the tables year after year, you would remember the basics so well that you would not need much instruction.

2. The above, plus, they didn't keep coming up with new fads every year. The basics stayed the same, so there was no need to keep making up new procedures and new instructions.

3. Upper level students worked from the speller as well, working on spelling the longer words.

I have only dim memories of the books used in K and 1st grade, enough to realize I had just the first set of the little "I see Sam" short vowel books in K, then Dick and Jane in 1st grade. I remember thinking the Sam books were much more interesting. Dick and Jane never did anything exciting, and the repetitive whole word vocabulary is mind-numbing. (That little bit of phonics in the "I see Sam" books plus help sounding out words from my parents was enough to make me a good reader but a poor speller. I don't recommend it as a serious method, however! When I studied phonics as a tutor, I finally learned to spell.)

If you saw the Speller being taught every year of your elementary education, it would be much more than a dim memory, and for a student smart enough to be a teacher, should be remembered clearly enough that no manual would be necessary.

#69 Mallory

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Posted 16 December 2008 - 10:19 AM

There really aren't that many rules in Webster, it mostly teaches by pattern.

Here's one, page 16 - 17 of the uppercase edition, just before table 4, the first 2 syllable word table:

"No figures are placed over the vowels in unaccented syllables, because they are short. It must be observed, however, that in unaccented terminating syllables, almost all vowels are pronounced like i and u.


Here's the y as e rule, just before table 5, page 19:

"N.B. In general, when a vowel in an unaccented syllable stands alone or ends a syllable*, it has its first sounds as in protect: yet as we do not dwell upon the vowel, it is short and weak. When the vowel, in such syllable is joined to a consonant, it has its second sound; as address.
*But if a vowel unaccented ends the word, it has its second sound, as in city."

While it's better for older children if you can teach the rules, you should be able to figure out most of them from the patterns of the words in the tables between you and the two 9 year olds, and you'll get a lot out of it even without knowing the spelling rules. For words they have trouble with, you can look the word up and see if there is a rule by searching Google. (For example, that's how I found the spelling rule about truly and why it drops the e. I searched "truly spelling rule.") Even without teaching the rules, it's a very helpful and powerful program. The volunteers working with me during a recent class I taught generally didn't know many spelling rules, but were able to teach Webster's Speller well enough to get improvement with the students we taught.



You are right those rules are in the later tables, so far we have just been practicing the syllabary, and a few of the one syllable words, I haven't studied the rest well yet.

I guess we'll just keep on!

Thank you for all of your help.

#70 sarahv

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Posted 16 December 2008 - 11:24 AM

You know, I really was underestimating the schwa and accent "rules" (patterns). I really did very little work in these ideas as a kid, and they really clear up alot of the questions I have had as an adult in both reading/sounding out new words, and also spelling. Just makes sense to me.

I've been reading books by Diane McGuinness and what has impressed me so far is that she says "The way a writing system is designed determines how it should be taught" (found in the preface of Why Our Children Can't Read, page xiii).

Webster teaches reading by observation of the English language. This goes along with what what Diane McGuinness is saying, I think. We learn to read and spell by learning rules based on observation of how our *very complex* language is. Let's face it, English is a very disorganized and complex language. :tongue_smilie:

Part of the observation of our language is how the accent affects the schwa sound of vowels. This is too small to ignore, but is ignored by every other "learning to read" program I've ever found. One of the many reasons why I am liking Webster's more and more.

#71 ElizabethB

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 05:18 PM

I'm finally finished making the Movie!

Here it is:

http://www.thephonic...ebstermovi.html

#72 brehon

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 05:53 PM

Elizabeth,

I've been following this thread with much interest. Thank you so very much for all the information, advice, and the video. I think I'll have my 7 yo work with the syllabary to help cement his reading and start my youngers using this method. The video gave a solid idea of how to implement this.

Thank you again. I'm very excited to use this.

#73 siloam

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 06:29 PM

Y
Part of the observation of our language is how the accent affects the schwa sound of vowels. This is too small to ignore, but is ignored by every other "learning to read" program I've ever found. One of the many reasons why I am liking Webster's more and more.


I believe I know of two other reading programs that do. Both Barton Reading and Wilson Reading. Neither have a price tag similar to the Webster book. ;)


Heather


#74 ElizabethB

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 06:57 PM

Elizabeth,

I've been following this thread with much interest. Thank you so very much for all the information, advice, and the video. I think I'll have my 7 yo work with the syllabary to help cement his reading and start my youngers using this method. The video gave a solid idea of how to implement this.

Thank you again. I'm very excited to use this.


You're welcome!

I'm glad it helped. My daughter had fun helping me make it. We've been working mainly on PP this year, so she had fun going back to the syllables (and being in a movie!)

#75 GretaLynne

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 03:35 PM

I'm finally finished making the Movie!

Here it is:

http://www.thephonic...ebstermovi.html



Elizabeth, thank you so very much for posting this. I feel so much more confident about using the blue-backed speller now! I really appreciate it.

There is one point of confusion that I was hoping you might clear up for me. I was surprised to hear your pronunciation (and I note that Don Potter's is the same, so I'm not doubting that you're right, I'm just surprised and confused) of the syllables ending in u. I was taught in school that the long sound of u is when it says it's name, yoo (as in music and cute), and that the y sound gets dropped in certain cases, making it oo (as in tulip). The other phonics programs that I have tried with my dd (Spell to Write and Read, and Phonics Pathways) also teach yoo as the primary long sound of u. So I was curious about the reasoning for teaching oo instead. Is the oo sound actually more common?

Thank you!

#76 ElizabethB

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 03:52 PM

Elizabeth, thank you so very much for posting this. I feel so much more confident about using the blue-backed speller now! I really appreciate it.

There is one point of confusion that I was hoping you might clear up for me. I was surprised to hear your pronunciation (and I note that Don Potter's is the same, so I'm not doubting that you're right, I'm just surprised and confused) of the syllables ending in u. I was taught in school that the long sound of u is when it says it's name, yoo (as in music and cute), and that the y sound gets dropped in certain cases, making it oo (as in tulip). The other phonics programs that I have tried with my dd (Spell to Write and Read, and Phonics Pathways) also teach yoo as the primary long sound of u. So I was curious about the reasoning for teaching oo instead. Is the oo sound actually more common?

Thank you!


You're welcome!

I teach long u that way in my online phonics lessons, teaching yoo first. I've seen lists somewhere of which letters cause the y sound to drop out, but I can't find any offhand.

I've noticed from making up lists of long u words (which includes things like ui and ue) that the oo sound seems to be more frequent, but I've never done a count. There are a lot of u words with a u that follows r or l, those are both oo.

In the syllabary, you just say the sound that comes naturally for that syllable. The letter U has its yoo sound in cu, that's the only syllable I can think of that I said in the movie that has the yoo sound, the others from the movie should have all been oo. There are other syllables in the syllabary that are u as yoo such as FU and HU.

#77 GretaLynne

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 05:28 PM

Thank you so much . . . again! :001_smile:

There are other syllables in the syllabary that are u as yoo such as FU and HU.


How does one know things like that? Is there a pronunciation guide to the syllabary somewhere that I am missing? Or did you just learn through experience that that's what makes the most sense for those particular syllables? Will I ever get the hang of this??? :D

#78 GretaLynne

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 05:30 PM

I had almost forgotten. My dd is a good (not great, but good) reader, but a poor speller. She is 9 yo in the 3rd grade. While we are doing Webster's, do you think I should suspend her Latin instruction? I'm wondering if the two similar but not identical phonetic systems might be too much at once. Maybe we should really concentrate on Webster's for a few months, really try to get her spelling up to grade level, and then resume Latin?

#79 ElizabethB

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 06:38 PM

How does one know things like that? Is there a pronunciation guide to the syllabary somewhere that I am missing? Or did you just learn through experience that that's what makes the most sense for those particular syllables? Will I ever get the hang of this??? :D


For a native english speaker, the sounds should just come naturally. Try to say tryoo, it sounds funny!

But, Don Potter does have a MP3 file and a Quicktime movie on his website (www.donpotter.net/ed) for the syllabary, he reads through the whole thing so you'll know how to pronounce them. For the MP3 and the movie, he has all the g's as hard g, he's since realized they should be a j sound before e, i, and y, but has not yet fixed the MP3 file.

#80 ElizabethB

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 06:41 PM

I had almost forgotten. My dd is a good (not great, but good) reader, but a poor speller. She is 9 yo in the 3rd grade. While we are doing Webster's, do you think I should suspend her Latin instruction? I'm wondering if the two similar but not identical phonetic systems might be too much at once. Maybe we should really concentrate on Webster's for a few months, really try to get her spelling up to grade level, and then resume Latin?


Most of the 3+ syllable words should be Latin, I don't think it will be confusing to do them both.

#81 GretaLynne

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 12:13 AM

Wonderful, thanks so much for all of your help! We haven't done much work with the syllabary yet, but so far my dd is actually really enjoying it. And I asked her about putting Latin off for awhile and she said no way. She loves Latin and did not want to give it up, even for just a few months. So thanks for the encouragement on that front as well.

Best wishes,
Greta

#82 ElizabethB

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 12:39 AM

We're going to start up a new syllable program in January--Spanish syllables!

We're going to be using La Pata Pita, here's how it works:

"Mm: ma me mi mo mu

Mamá mami mima me mía mi mime mío

Mi mamá. Mami. Mamá mía. Amo a mamá.

Pp: pa pe pi po pu

Papá pipa popa papi Pepe Pepa papa Popi pía pie pío púa

Mi papá. Papi. Papá mío. Mi papá. Mi mamá. Amo a mi
papá. Amo a mi mamá."

Later on it gets tougher, I'm going to have to break out my Spanish dictionary:

"Jj: ja je ji jo ju

Jota moja faja ojo José teja deja abajo jirafa jefe lujo ajo
ají Jirafita, el que se queja a todo aleja. No, te quejes, no
des lata, ríe y ríe: así, jirafita, te verán bonita. Jirafita rió,
río, no dio más lata ni se quejó

La jirafita se miró en el río y se quejó. –¡Qué fea soy!
La vio un jabalí y le dijo: –¡Fea!"

#83 PenKase

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 05:51 AM

I just happened upon this post when I did a search for "Webster's Speller" on these boards. I have read all of the posts and am very interested and intrigued by this program.

First a little history...I have 2 dd's, ages 8 (almost nine) and 5.

My dd8 first learned to read at age 4 1/2 using Headsprout. Half way through the program, her reading took off and she continues to be a strong, voracious reader. Although I really liked Headsprout and how it helped dd transition between blending letter to make words to reading, I have always felt (and continue to feel) that I could still do more to help to increase her reading level. She is a naturally good speller but finds herself getting "stuck" with multisyllabic words.

Fast forward to my dd5, who just completed Headsprout yesterday. This is true testament that the same program will not work the same way with two very different children. This time around Headsprout did help her get over the hump as well but, she isn't as fluid as I was expecting from my previous experience and she guesses at words when she's having a hard time "sounding" them out. I think the guessing, over anything else, is what has led me to research what else I can do to help her with her reading.

Enter, WTM boards and Webster's Speller. From what I've read so far, this may just be what I am looking for. Although, I do have some of the apprehensions some others have mentioned abotu being able to teach this program. Enter, Elizabeth and her infinite wisdom about this program and the thorough and wonderful information on her website and I think I can actually, really pull this off.

I'm thinking this program will benefit both my girls.

Thank you for the all the post and to the wonderful people who posted. I'm very excited to begin and see where this program will take us.

Have a great day!

#84 Guest_rubilynne4_*

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 11:01 PM

anyone got ideas? i'm interested too. in the mean time i'm using megawords for spelling. it also uses syllabication. might supplement w/websters too.

#85 Guest_rubilynne4_*

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 11:03 PM

okay, duh. next time i'll read the whole thread instead of the first few posts. thanks for the link and ideas ppl.:tongue_smilie:



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