Francie Alexander, our Chief Academic Officer, is awesome. Francie is also a Senior VP at Scholastic Education and has been instrumental in developing a bunch of ed tech products, including READ 180, Text Talk and a top secret project that I’m not at liberty to discuss at this time…
Anyway. This entry is not about Francie
, but about the tutorial she gave me and my compatriots Sarah and Tyler yesterday. I somewhat dreaded going into this meeting (listed on my calendar as, no kidding, “Phonics Games”), but it turned out to be the most fun meeting I had all week.
We reviewed the basics of phonics, but the headline for me was the concept of phonics as a system: 26 letters that make 44 sounds (phonemes). Learn that system and you can learn to read. To teach kids, especially teens, to read this way is respectful and appeals to their need to figure things out. An approach that I hadn’t thought about before.
Good example: Pokemon, Dungeons & Dragons and other role-playing/card trading games are all systems, with characters that have different values, properties and interact with other characters in different ways. In the phonics system, an “e” at the end of a word will often change the property of the vowel before it: can, becomes cane.
I’ll end with a phonics joke (yes, there is such a thing!) that Francie shared with us:
If GH can stand for P as in hiccough
If OUGH can stand for O as in Dough
If PHTH can stand for T as in Phthisis
IF EIGH can stand for A as in Neighbor
IF TTE can stand for T as in Gazette
If EAU can stand for O as in Plateau
Then the right way to spell POTATO should be: