Activities to Develop Students” Spelling Skills
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Introduction Find out what Units of Sound can do for you. A short introduction to the main features. Reading See how the Reading program takes you from a single Unit of Sound through to paragraphs. Writing See how spelling develops from single words through to phrases and sentences to writing paragraphs. Units of Sound really helped me become better at my reading, spelling, and remembering. The repetition element of the programme definitely enhances the embedding of the unit of sound. A fantastic resource to support reading and literacy.
The structure of activities promotes overlearning and helps develop skills quickly so that children’s confidence is increased. Units of Sound is interesting and it helps me with my spelling. I like it because it is easy and simple to use. Units of Sound is online, so you don’t have to load a program onto your network.
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It will run on Windows or a Mac computer and requires Flash Player. Each student will need a headset, with a microphone. There are a few things for you to check to make sure your technology can access Units of Sound. Who is Units of Sound for? Units of Sound is for anyone who wants to improve their reading or spelling.
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It’s suitable for children from eight upwards, and for adults of all ages. Can an adult use Units of Sound? There is a single student home version, which means you can work on Units of Sound at home or anywhere with an internet connection. Our online teaching team can set up and support you remotely. There are also a number of networks that work with Units of Sound that may be able to assist you.
Can I use Units of Sound with a child younger than eight years old? If you do use it with a seven year old, you need to be sure they are ready for it and are not still on the Active Literacy Kit level. There are a number of options available. Starting with the single student home version, a professional tutor with a small number of students, for schools and institutions price depends on the number of student licences you buy.
You need a computer with sound capabilities for playback and recording, either Windows or Macintosh, that has an up to date version of Adobe Flash Player. You will also need a good quality headset with microphone connected to the computer, ideally a noise cancelling headset. The Units of Sound team is here to support you. Margaret Rooms MBEMargaret has led the development of Units of Sound since 1994. A chartered psychologist, John is a leading researcher in the field of dyslexia and was one of the first researchers to focus on phonology and dyslexia. He has held appointments at the University of York and at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
With a career spanning over thirty years of work and research in special and mainstream education. In 1986 founded and then developed a specialist secondary school for dyslexic boys, which won several major national awards. UNITS OF SOUND LIMITED, REGISTERED IN ENGLAND. T: 0207 030 4939 T: 0800 011 4649. Literacy that fits is an effective and easy way to support someone with reading, spelling and writing skills, and has been designed specifically for use at home.
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Order now ready for September and get free access over the Summer. Complete the online Practitioner’s Course and be ready to support your students at the start of the new September term. Possible sentences is a pre-reading vocabulary strategy that activates students’ prior knowledge about content area vocabulary and concepts. Before reading, students are provided a short list of vocabulary words from their reading. It activates students’ prior knowledge about content area vocabulary and concepts, and can improve their reading comprehension. It sparks students’ curiosity about their reading.
It teaches students to guess how words may be used in the text and create meaningful sentences. Ask students to define the words and pair related words together. Ask students to write sentences using their word pairs. Remind students that their sentences should be ones they expect to see in the text as they read.
Have students read the text and compare their possible sentences with the actual sentences within the text. If your students’ possible sentences are inaccurate, ask them to rewrite their sentences to be accurate. This video is published with permission from the Balanced Literacy Diet. Examples Language Arts This example shows how Possible Sentences can be used with the book Rechenka’s Eggs by Patricia Polacco. Math Teachers can use Possible Sentences to help students understand difficult math vocabulary such as in the following example about geometric shapes. Science The following website shows examples of using computer related vocabulary words to create possible sentences. Have students use this list to develop sentences about various animals and use books to determine the accuracy of their sentences.
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Invite students to share their sentences with the class. If students have never completed possible sentences you will need to model the process for your students. Provide clues for younger readers by writing sentences and leaving blanks for them to fill in vocabulary words. Give ESL students the vocabulary words in both English and their native language. Ask them to write sentences in English.
As a post reading game, students can share their sentences without disclosing which are accurate or inaccurate. Teams of students can try to decipher, based on their reading, which sentences are accurate. See the research that supports this strategy Moore, D. In Reading in the content areas: Improving classroom instruction. Possible sentences: Predicting word meaning to teach content area vocabulary. Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
Target the Problem Pinpoint the problem a struggling reader is having and discover ways to help. Ready for Kindergarten What parents, teachers and child care providers need to know. Our Podcasts Watch or listen to our classroom video, author interviews and more. FAQs About Reading Real questions from parents and educators, answered by experts. Create your own booklists from our library of 5,000 books! One of the best things about daily journal writing is that it can take so many forms.
Teachers can use journal writing to meet specific goals, or the purpose can be wide open. Some teachers provide prompts to help students begin their writing. They have come such a long way in their writing,” said teacher Laura Black. Daily journal writing has helped Black’s students at St. Mary Elementary School in Winchester, Massachusetts, progress to the point where “they answer questions in complete sentences, begin sentences with capital letters, and end sentences with periods.
They are not afraid to take on any writing that may come their way,” added Black, “because they have built up extreme confidence. That’s progress any teacher would be proud of — and Laura Black teaches first grade! She credits her students’ daily journal writing for their dramatic development. Black is one of countless teachers who work journal writing into their daily lessons, often with unexpectedly profound results. Journal writing has proven a popular and valuable teaching tool across the grades and across the curriculum. JOURNALS FOCUS STUDENTS AND BUILD SKILLS Donalee Bowerman, a special-education teacher at Canajoharie Middle School, in Canajoharie, New York, starts each class with a journal writing activity.
It gives my students, who have great difficulty with written language, one time when spelling, punctuation, and grammar don’t count,” said Bowerman. This lets them express themselves in writing without the pressure they typically have when doing assignments. There’s a funny thing about journal writing, though — even when teachers don’t check students’ responses for spelling and grammar. I have seen major growth in these children! Many are now restating the questions and using complete sentences and punctuation. Those skills were definitely missing in September! Daily journal writing also gets my students focused on language arts as soon as they walk in the classroom door,” Bowerman added.
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They know the routine is to get their journals out and start right in. They come in every day and immediately write in their journals for the first five minutes,” junior-high English teacher Susie Scifres told Education World. This really helps me get the class calm and ready to transition into that day’s activities. I’ve noticed they write more fluently with less ‘think’ time as the year progresses,” added Scifres. I personally know that when I am journal writing on a regular basis, my academic writing tends to flow easier and be better. Journal writing has been a real help in developing oral language and speaking skills in her first graders, said Jacobs, adding, “I find it to be a very safe structure for beginning writers. A number of my students begin the school year using illustrations only or illustrations plus a few words.
Kids love to write if they feel safe with it,” agreed Sharon Powell, a teacher at Northwestern High School in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Over the years, Powell has used journals in grades 4 through 12. Students feel more free to write if their ideas are not being judged and if they are not afraid they will be marked down for their mistakes. As the year goes by, I see improved thinking and improved writing just from this safe practice.
Students can look back at journals written earlier in the year or in previous years and see the tremendous progress they’ve made in spelling and writing, added Powell. Alicia Merrifield uses journals with her eighth-grade reading students. I ask students to select the part they are reading at that very moment. Then Merrifield might prompt students’ writing with questions such as What is the most important word or phrase in the section you’re reading? What are you thinking about at this moment in the book? When reading something, many kids are not going to come out and say how they feel about what it is they are reading,” said Merrifield. In a journal, they know that it is theirs and that they can freely express themselves.
I’ve learned a lot about my quieter kids through reading their journals. JOURNALS HELP DEVELOP PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS Teacher Julie Kader’s fourth-graders at Gibson Island Country School in Pasadena, Maryland, do journal writing every morning from the first day of school to the last. As with most teachers who use journals in the classroom, her students’ journals are strictly confidential exercises between teacher and student. Journal writing enables me to develop a personal relationship with each of my students,” said Kader. The journals provide so much growth in students’ writing abilities and use of grammar mechanics while they don’t even realize they’re working on them,” added Kader. Confidentiality is key to the success of daily journal writing, agreed Robyn Brillman, a language arts teacher at Bennett Academy in Phoenix, Arizona. I see a two-fold benefit to journal writing,” she said.
It provides students an opportunity to improve writing skills and a chance to ‘vent’ in their writing. As long as the students know that what they write remains confidential, they will share with you amazing things. I think journal writing is one of the best ways around to get to know students,” said Becky Duncan. She teaches both English and history at Washburn Rural Middle School in Topeka, Kansas. One of her favorite journal writing activities is constructed around her students’ reading of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.
She has students write about a favorite “Christmas past,” about vacation plans for the “Christmas present,” and about a “Christmas future. Because Duncan uses journal writing with her English students, she told Education World, “I know more about my English students than I ever will about my history students. Cindy Creedon, a computer teacher at World Harvest Christian Academy in Pennsauken, New Jersey, uses journal writing as a means of opening communication between teacher and students. This is the students’ opportunity to talk to an adult with no fear of reprise,” said Creedon. If they have a problem, they can talk to me about it in total confidence. The journal is also a means of getting to know the students outside the school atmosphere — their likes, dislikes, and dreams,” added Creedon. Bruce Smith School in Edmonton, Alberta.
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She uses journal writing with older students for novel studies and in math. However,” she told Education World, “the most striking rewards have been in math classes. At the end of each math unit, Thomson asks her students to respond to prompts such as ‘The hardest concept to learn in this unit was _____ because _____. Thomson learns things from her students’ journal responses that might never come up during class time.
The resulting responses help to make me a more careful teacher the next time,” she added. Kathy Thomson isn’t the only teacher who uses journal writing in math class. Barbara Becker’s special-needs students at John F. I feel that this is a great benefit to these particular students as it reinforces the learning and provides them with an opportunity to question their own understanding and that of others,” said Becker. I review the journals and ask the students to share their responses if they would like to.
You would be surprised at the number of volunteers. Sue Jones uses journal writing with her students at the Colorado County Juvenile Facility in Eagle Lake, Texas. First, I explain the idea of ‘catharsis’ to the students,” Jones said. Then I tell them to choose one thing from the past that they regret — something that can’t be changed but that they still worry about. When they finish writing, I give them the opportunity to rip it up into tiny pieces, symbolically purging the problem from their past, or they can turn it in for me to read. Many choose to turn in their writing,” Jones added, “and I get comments expressing thanks for letting them do such an assignment. MOTIVATING KIDS TO WRITE Wendy Townsend teaches at Miami State High School in Queensland, Australia.
She uses a five-minute journal writing exercise to start all her Year 8 and 11 English classes. I give students a range of topics that they can do in any order,” said Townsend. I have a few generic lists, but I often put a special topic on the board that might be linked to some news event or the principal’s address to an assembly. Teachers can also use journals to cater to individual differences and interests, added Townsend. If a child has a keen interest in surfing, she might provide special prompts for that child, such as Describe the best wave or Who is the better surfer, Mark Ochillupo or Kelly Slater?
If you could by any brand of surfboard, which would you buy? Townsend always looks for students to explain and support their responses in well-organized paragraphs. I don’t give the whole class a prompt,” said Laura Black. I write something personal to each child and the child responds. Black might ask simple questions of her first-graders to get them writing — for example, What is your address and phone number? What did you eat for supper last night? What is your favorite thing to do in school?
Some may ask me what to write about,” added Black. I might put stickers in the journal and ask kids to tell me what the sticker reminds them of. Once I put dinosaur stickers in the journals and asked students to tell me what they knew about that particular dinosaur. Other teachers find that daily quotes are a great tool for getting kids to write! MORE WRITING PROMPTS Many teachers are more comfortable providing a daily prompt for students than they are letting them write freely.
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A prompt might be a sentence to complete, a question to respond to, or a quote to explain. Below are some teacher-tested prompts guaranteed to motivate your young journal writers! She provides a word problem and asks “How would you solve this problem? Tell all of the steps you would do in sequence. Describe a dream that you had recently.
Provide as many details as possible. Do you think the right artists won? Tell five things you’d like to do on your next birthday. Imagine a friend of yours is considering whether to take steroids. What would you tell that friend to persuade him or her not to do that? Tell about an event in your life that has caused a change in you. If you could design one room in a house to suit only your needs, what would it look like?
Challenge kids to be as fanciful as they like. For example, would someone have a desk made of chocolate? Do you believe in love at first sight? If you and your best friend could have a free limo for 24 hours, where would you go and what would you do? You have the freedom to travel to any city or country in the world. Where would you go and why? What would you do if you were president of the United States?
What would you do with the money? If you were an insect, what kind would you be and why? Describe your room at home in detail. What are you proudest of and why? Do you agree with the decision? What is your favorite journal prompt?
April Every-Day Edits Use Every-Day Edits to build language skills, test scores, and cultural literacy. Be sure to see our tips for using Every-Day Edits in your classroom. No thanks, I don’t need to stay current on what works in education! COPYRIGHT 1996-2016 BY EDUCATION WORLD, INC. COPYRIGHT 1996 – 2018 BY EDUCATION WORLD, INC. These activities have been developed by national reading experts for you to use with children, ages birth to Grade 6. In using these activities, your main goal will be to develop great enthusiasm in the reader for reading and writing.
It is less important for the reader to get every word exactly right. It is more important for the child to learn to love reading itself. If the reader finishes one book and asks for another, you know you are succeeding! If your reader writes even once a week and comes back for more, you know you have accomplished your beginning goals.