Presenting the Activities – A Parent’s Guide - Part 2

Click here to download a pdf copy of the Parent's Guide

Learning takes time. When there is time, it takes place.

Additional instructions for each app are included on its instruction page.

Ready to Transition
When an infant learns to talk, there are two phases. The first phase is when the infant is learning what words are and how to say them. First words like Ma or wa wa (or whatever other set of sounds might be used to mean “water”) are major steps along the way to making sense of the sounds that surround the infant. And we, as parents, delight in and encourage each and every step along the way.

Once the toddler can speak, which means once he or she understands what words are and how to say them, the second phase begins. Phase two is when the speaking child simply adds more and more words to his or her vocabulary, refines his or her speaking skill and learns to speak in whole sentences.

In phase one, the child learns to speak. In phase two, the speaking child adds vocabulary and speaking skills.

In the Reading Program, hearing the sounds in words for both reading and writing is phase one. Transitioning is phase two.

Transitioning means learning to write letters for the sounds. In phase two, the child refines his or her reading and writing skills.

The challenges for an infant learning to talk are learning that sounds have meaning, what the meanings are, and how to accurately reproduce these same sounds. Once the infant has overcome these challenges and understands language, learning more words is limited only by the number of words there are to learn.

We adults think the hard part of learning to read with the sounds will be the transition from the sounds to the letters use to spell these sounds. In reality, when your child is ready to transition from the sounds to more traditional letters, the hard part is long past.

Creative Writing is your measure of your child’s readiness to transition to traditional letters. When your child can read the stories he or she has written with the sound images, he or she is ready to transition to writing the stories with letters instead.

When your child can hear the sounds in words, stamp out these sound-images, and read what has been stamped out, your child is already a reader and a writer. The next step is just a formality. Transitioning simply means showing your child a more traditional way to record the reading and the writing your child already knows how to do.

Decoding Chart
The decoding chart is the first step in the transition process. While two different versions of the decoding chart are available in app form, these apps are more useful at the start for you than for your child. The Decoding Chart apps are not practical for your child to use once letters are to be written for the sounds because when your child needs a decoding chart for writing spellings, he or she will be using the Worksheet app at the same time.

Double-clicking the iPad’s home button while using the Writing Worksheet app will give your child access to a Decoding Chart app. Double-clicking again will return your child to the Writing Worksheet app. However, while double-clicking between worksheets and the Decoding Chart is possible, it is much better to simply have an actual decoding chart available to use.

The instruction page for the Decoding Chart apps contains a link to a downloadable and printable copy of the decoding chart. You can print out as many copies of the downloaded chart as you wish. This printed copy is what your child should use.

Writing Worksheets
The Writing Worksheets are actually the Reading Worksheets with spelling codes added in. Using worksheets your child has already read successfully permits your child to focus all of his or her attention now on the writing.

You will need to teach your child how to use the decoding chart to decide the letters to write on the worksheet pages. Before you teach your child, you will have to learn yourself. Your four quick lessons are included in the instructions for the Writing Worksheets. The Decoding Chart apps also include practice pages for your child to use.

As was true for these same worksheets earlier, triangle level means only the first 8 sounds are used. These same first 8 sounds are also the top row on the left-hand side of the decoding chart. When your child is looking for spellings for the triangle level Writing Worksheets at both the two and three-sound levels, he or she need only look in that one row.

Once your child has written letters for all the two and three-sound triangle level Writing Worksheets, two and three-sound circle worksheets are next, followed by two and three-sound square worksheets, and so on.

The Writing Worksheets use the same sequence of sound introduction as did the Reading Worksheets. This time the sound sequence is used to acquaint your child with the decoding chart one new eight-sound row at a time.

If you choose to print out a copy of the decoding chart for your child to use, you might also consider cutting up copies of the chart and giving your child only that part of the chart actually needed for the level of Worksheets for which he or she is writing letters. An example of this can be seen in the Chart-Levels app.

Pressing the small 8 sounds button on the Chart-Levels Decoding Chart shows just the triangle or first row of the chart. Pressing the 16 sounds button shows circle level sounds and their spellings, and so on. You can use Chart-Levels as your cutting guide.

Picture Packets - Transition
You can introduce Picture Packets-Transition (Transition) to your child at the same time as he or she begins the Writing Worksheets. The geometric codes for the Transition pages have no meaning. The Transition pages at all levels assume your child knows all 44 sounds.

You might wonder why Transition is introduced while your child is only learning the spellings for a few sounds at a time. A child who is just beginning the transitioning process with the Writing Worksheets can read the Transition phrases using just the sounds. As your child advances through the Writing Worksheets, he or she will be able to read more and more of the Transition phrases using the letters above the sounds. The increasing use of letters in place of sounds occurs naturally, as more sound-spellings are introduced.

Sightword Worksheets
Once your child has passed through all five levels of the Writing Worksheets you can introduce the Sightword Worksheets.

The Sightword Worksheets provide your child with a tremendous amount of practice with the decoding chart. In fact, after successfully passing all the Sightword Worksheet tests, your child will have internalized many of the decoding chart’s spellings and will only be using the chart for sounds with multiple spellings.

The Sightword Worksheets also prepare the way for the second phase of creative writing. Your child will now be able to write a number of basic words quickly and correctly: is, and, not, at, has, much, when, how, and so on.

Sightword Worksheets are meant for your child to do alone. However, as is explained in the Worksheet instructions, it will be necessary for you to check your child’s tests.

To introduce your child to the Sightword Worksheets, see the Instructions subsection of the Sightword Worksheets Instruction page.

Stamping and Creative Writing – the Second Phase
Once your child has completed the Sightword worksheets (or even as your child is working on the Sightword Worksheets, if you prefer) he or she can begin the second phase of creative writing. In the second phase, your child writes letters for the sounds in the stories he or she has already written.

Before your child can write letters for the sounds, you will need to print out his or her stories. The sound-images for the stories your child has written allow enough space between rows for writing letters.

If you have the time and confidence enough in your own spelling ability, you can read each story in advance of printing it out and add in a silent letter stamp wherever a silent letter stamp should appear. Silent letters appear in the words “comb” and “walk”, for example. Once you have printed out a story, you can write numbers beneath those sounds that need spellings indicated.

If time or confidence do not permit, you can simply print out each story with no silent letters indicated and no codings added in advance. Your child can then use his or her decoding chart and sight word knowledge to write spellings for all the words. First spellings can be used for every word your child has not already learned to spell correctly from the Sightword Worksheets or the Writing Worksheets or Transition apps.

You can then sit with your child and review his or her writing for spellings that need to be changed. Learning is something children do. It is something we, as parents, do as well.

Your child can use his or her decoding chart to write the spellings for the word “won”. However, the chart is not at all useful for writing letters for the sounds in the word “one”. “One” is an Outlaw Word. Before you begin the editing process with your child, acquaint yourself with the concept of Outlaw Words (see the Outlaw Word button in the menu bar above).

Picture Packet - Vowels
Once you see that your child can read Picture Packets-Transition phrases well, and you can see your child is reading these phrases with the letters even more than with the sounds, introduce the Picture Packets-Vowels. Picture Packets-Vowels present your child words to read with only a sound or two provided as a reading hint. By now, a hint will be all your child needs.

Stamping and Creative Writing – the Third Phase
When your child can write letters for the sounds from the Stamping app, your child can also write letters for the sounds in his or her head. As your child wrote his or her stories in Stamping, your child thought of the words to write and then wrote these words using images for the sounds. Writing letters for the sounds in words is nearly the same thing. The only difference is, whereas each sound had only one image representing it, sounds written with letters may have more than one way to be spelled.

This “more than one way to be spelled” difficulty is one of the reasons why your child first learned to read and write just with sounds. Now that your child is a reader and a writer and has the decoding chart as a guide to knowing the different ways some sounds find to be spelled, what was once a hindrance to learning is no longer so. Just as an infant who has mastered speaking is ready for more words, a child who has mastered reading and writing is ready to read and write in a greater variety of ways.

Once your child has transitioned out of the program, learning to read and to write does not end, just as once an infant learns to talk, learning to talk does not end.

For the third phase of creative writing, all of the Reading Program’s apps except one are obsolete. Now, all you do is give your child all the tools he or she needs to keep on writing and reading.

For writing, this means the decoding chart as an app or as a printed page, a computer word processor, or paper and pencil, and continual encouragement to write. Writing stories. Writing letters. Writing Diaries. Writing e-mails sent to relatives. Writing anything at all.

For reading this means books and magazines and notes written around the house. Closed captioning on TV. Reading cereal boxes. Reading roadside billboards when in the car. Reading road signs aloud. Wherever words are is an opportunity to read.

Opportunities to read are everywhere. Opportunities to write abound as well. Children who have learned to read and to write are at a starting point, not at learning’s end.