Presenting the Activities – A Parent’s Guide - Part 1
Learning takes time. When there is time, it takes place.
Additional instructions for each app are included on its instruction page.
As your son or daughter learns the 44 sounds that form the basis of the activities, every other member of your family with whom your child has daily or near daily contact should learn the sounds, as well. As you introduce, say, two and three sound blending to your child, others in the family – young and old – can share that experience, as well.
Your son or daughter’s own learning will be aided immensely if he or she has family members with whom to share the learning.
You can begin using the Two-Sound Flipbook as soon as the first two sounds are introduced, or you can wait until after three or four or five sounds are known. The starting point is up to you, so long as you begin by the time you have reached Dekodiphukan’s eighth sound.
The table of contents for the Two-Sound Flipbook lists the number of sounds you and your child need to know for each page. “2” in the sounds column means that word can be blended after the first two sounds have been introduced. “8” means the word can be blended after the eighth sound has been introduced.
If you are not sure if your child is ready for three-sound words, the easiest way to find out is to introduce the Three-Sound Flipbook to your child and see what happens. If you and your child together can manage the blending, then use the Three-Sound Flipbook along with the Two-Sound Flipbook. If your child is overwhelmed with the extra sound, then Two-Sound blending is enough for now.
As was true for the Two-Sound Flipbook, the table of contents for the Three-Sound Flipbook lists the number of sounds you and your child need to know for each page. “4” in the sounds column means that word can be blended after the first four sounds have been introduced. “8” means the word can be blended after the eighth sound has been introduced.
You must wait to introduce your child to the Booklets until he or she knows the first eight sounds. The Booklets are similar to the Flipbooks, except that they are to be read or listened to by your child alone.
Your child reads the sounds or hear them read by pressing the play button, then flip the page to see and/or hear the word.
The triangle, circle, square, rectangle and star shapes indicate the number of sounds your child needs to known to read a booklet for that level. The white, yellow, red, blue, and so on, color-codings are simply used to tell one book from another at the same level. Plain means two-sound. Happy face means three-sound.
Reading Worksheets – Two and Three Sound Words
The triangle, circle, square, rectangle and star codings for the Booklets match the codings for the Worksheets. When your introduce your child to a triangle-level Booklet, the triangle level of the Worksheet uses the same eight sounds.
Unlike the Booklets, the Worksheets present each sound separately and ask your child to blend the separate sounds together to form words. Use of the Booklets along with the Worksheets provided your child a continuing opportunity to hear the sounds blended (Booklets) and blend the sounds himself or herself (Worksheets).
Introducing All Five Levels
You are the best judge of when your child is ready for each new level, and your child is your best judgment guide. If your child is managing the triangle level activities easily, then add the circle level. When circle is easy add the square, and so on. If two-sound blending is understood, then try three.
Conversely, if something is not yet easy or comfortable, then there is no reason to add anything new just yet.
When your child was learning to walk, you accepted every first effort as good enough for now. We don’t ask a crawling child to run. We help the crawling child learn to walk well first, and we are appropriately excited by every first step.
Learning takes time. When there is time, it takes place. Allow your child to learn at his or her own pace as you enjoy all the first steps along the way.
Stamping begins when your child has been introduced to the first 8 sounds. The Stamping instructions include a downloadable list of words for you to use in teaching your child to listen for the sounds in words and stamp out the sounds heard.
When your child knows the first 8 sounds, read triangle level words from the list to your child and ask him or her to stamp them out. When 16 sounds are known, read the circle words from the list, and so on. Start with two sound words. If two is manageable, then read three sound words from the list.
While stamping begins when 8 sounds are known, if your child experiences any difficulty with eight sounds at the start, then begin with only two or three sounds. The Stamping Word List is not your only source for words. You can use the Two and Three-Sound Flipbooks as your source instead.
The table of contents for the Flipbooks lists the number of sounds your child needs to know to read each word. If you choose, you can ignore the Stamping Word List altogether, and use the Flipbook words instead.
Once all 44 sounds are known, your child is ready to begin stamping any words he or she wishes. Now, creative writing begins - see Stamping and Creative Writing – the First Phase below.
Until that time however, the words you dictate give your child the practice he or she needs in hearing sounds in words and stamping out what is heard.
Surrounding the Child with the Concept
When you taught your child to speak, you enveloped your infant child with words and meanings. You surrounded him or her with the concept of speech, knowing that your child’s infant’s mind would sort it out in his or her own way. You did not have to know exactly what was going on in your child’s mind that caused the learning to take place. All you had to do was surround your child with language and let your child’s mind do the rest.
Because you knew that learning would take place, you were patient enough to let it happen on its own. And because you knew that learning would take place, you could enjoy each little step your child took along the way – from your child’s first words to the non-stop flow of words that come from your child now.
You are now teaching your child reading and writing in the same natural way. You are surrounding your child with words and their sounds. Flipbooks, Booklets, Reading Worksheets, Stamping and the activities that are to follow are all apart of this surrounding process.
Whether your child moves quickly from 8 sounds to 16 and from two-sound words to three, or needs to move more slowly through the two-sound blending process and start with fewer sounds than 8, you are creating an environment that gives your child time to learn. With time, learning always happens. It always will.
Enjoy each little step your child takes along the way – from the first few words your child learns to read and write, to the many words your child will, in his or her own time, be reading fluently and writing with great joy.
Picture Packets – Words
The prerequisite for Words is Booklets. Each individual booklet contains the ten words and ten illustrations that will be on each Words page. When your child reads the word “tie” on the left-hand side of the page, he or she will have learned through the booklet which of the illustrations on the right-hand side represents the word “tie."
Although Words can be introduced once your child has read the booklets for first eight sounds, whether or not you have your child begin using Words depends on your child’s readiness.
One measure of your child’s readiness is, if your child can read the booklets without using the audio assistance.
Another good measure of readiness for Words is Stamping. If your child can stamp out the two-sound words you dictate, he or she is ready for Words.
The final measure of readiness is to introduce Words to your child and see how he or she does. If your child has difficulty reading the words and matching them to the correct illustration, then allow your child to spend more time with the booklets before beginning Words again.
Before you introduce your child to Words, practice for yourself the art of sliding the words to the pictures and insuring that your finger on the word touches the picture in the manner described in the Picture Packets-Words instructions.
When you introduce your child to Words, watch to see that the word-sliding process is truly understood.
Once your child has begun working with Words, working with Worksheets and Booklets need not stop. All three apps can be used interchangeably.
Once 8 sounds are known, you can introduce your child to Booklets, Reading Worksheets, Stamping, and Picture Packets–Words. Within each app, your child can work with two and three-sound words at five different levels.
So, how long before your child is ready to move on?
No timeline is provided. The activities are meant to be a flow of events, the pacing of which changes with each child. If the activities described above can be said to represent a range of events from 'A' to 'Z', then what is important is to proceed from 'A' to 'B' well, and then to proceed equally well from 'B' to 'C'. There is no rush to get to 'Z'. Let 'Z' take care of itself. 'Z' isn't the goal. Learning is the goal.
If we are to err in the rate at which we introduce activities to our children, let us err in favor of allowing each child too much time to learn rather than too little. The more time we give our children, the more time each child has to sort out the concepts in his or her own way.
The most common observation made by people who have witnessed this program in action in classrooms is that the children quite visibly enjoy what they are doing. Part of this enjoyment exists because there is no fear of failure associated with the learning that is taking place. This is because the learning is allowed to take place at each child's natural rate, with no pressure exerted on the child to move ahead too soon. If we are patient, learning to read is as natural as learning to talk. Learning takes time. When there is time, it takes place.
How long? How much time did you give your child to learn to talk? How long? As long as it took. As long as it takes.
You and your child determine the flow of events. When you see your child has mastered one level, move on to the next. If one activity seems too hard for now, back up to an easier level and wait for what is hard to become easy over time. It always will. Your child, too, will move between the levels on his or her own. Your child will seek his or her own comfort level.
Stamping is the measure you can use to assess what your child has learned. Once your child knows all 44 sounds, your child can begin stamping out anything he or she wishes. Read what your child is stamping out. Stamping will show you your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Stamping will show you when your child is ready to move beyond two and three-sound words to the activities that come next.
Stamping and Creative Writing – the First Phase
The First Phase of Creative Writing is described in detail in the Creative Writing section of The Guide.
Reading Worksheets - Phrases
Introduction of the heart-level worksheets parallels the introduction of creative writing in Stamping. As your child learns to stamp out words and phrases of his or her own creation, your child begins the reading of phrases, as well.
The words in the worksheet phrases do not contain audio clues for individual sound images. Your child reads the phrase to the best of his or her ability and touches the picture the phrase describes. If the correct picture is pressed, an audio of the phrase is played.
Since the audio for the phrase is present, no mater how well or with how much difficulty your child reads the phrase, a correct reading of the phrase is just a touch away. There is, in essence, a reading tutor for each phrase.
Picture Packets - Phrases
Once again, the best assessment of your child’s readiness for an activity is your child himself or herself. If your child can read the heart level worksheets, introduce the Phrases and see how well your child manages the reading of a page or two.
What you see your child do is all the assessment you need. If your child can reads the phrases, or at least the majority of them, then he or she is ready for Phrases. If reading the phrases is difficult, then allow your child more time with creative writing before introducing Phrases at a later time.
Ready to Transition