Conquer the Code: Sounds, Symbols, and Syllables IDA Florida Branch Conference - May 1, 2006 E. Judith Cohen, Ed.D. Florida International University
Reading . . .
an extraordinary ability,
peculiarly human and yet
Dr. Sally Shaywitz, Overcoming Dyslexia , 2003
Literacy . . .
Begins at birth,
is a lifelong process!
Children are not born with this insight, nor does it develop naturally without instruction.
Reid Lyon, 1997, NICHD
In today’s world,
learning to read well is a key to the future success of our children. Not only is reading fluently and with comprehension by third grade a legislated priority, it is an ethical and professional imperative.
(Wolfe and Nevills, 2004)
teaching reading is
(See Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science: What Expert Teachers of Reading Should Know and Be Able to Do by Louisa C. Moats, AFT, June 1999)
National Research Council: Committee on National Research Council: Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children (1998)
National Research Council - Starting Out Right: A Guide to Promoting Children’s Reading Success (1999)
National Reading Panel: Teaching Children to Read (2000)
Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks for Teaching Children to Read (2001)
Scientific Research in Education (2002)
Reading and the Brain
“ If we provide intervention at an early age, then we can improve reading fluency and facilitate the development of the neural systems that underlie skilled reading.”
( Sally and Bennett Shaywitz,
Educational Leadership , March 2004, p. 10)
Oral Listening Speaking
Written Reading Writing
“The Big Five”
Reading Components and the “Big Five”
Lesson Plan Format
Read it Story grammar
Reread it Fluency
Discuss it Vocabulary
React to it Comprehension
Code it Alphabetic code
Apply it Practice
Transfer it Generalization
Read with “ H u G s”
H olistic & G raphophonic
Reading is the union of
Comprehension + Decoding
Pre-read it Code it:
Read it Hear it
Reread it See it
Discuss it Associate it
React to it Expand it
Code it: Alphabetic Code
Conquer the Code: Sounds, Symbols, and Syllables
Listening and Speaking
Phonological Awareness: sensitivity to the sounds of language
44 phonemes (speech sounds)
Oral / auditory
Related to reading and writing
How many sounds?
in the word box
in the word enough
in the word precious
44 Sounds of the English Language
/b/ /j/ /s/
/k/ /l/ /t/
/d/ /m/ /v/
/f/ /n/ /w/
/g/ /p/ /y/
/h/ /r/ /z/
44 Sounds of the English Language
Vowel Diphthongs (2)
Vowel Variants (3)
/ ə /
/sh/ /ch/ /wh/
/th/ / th / /zh/
/ar/ /or/ /er/
“ Funnel – ogical” awareness
Sensitivity to the sounds of language
words, syllables, and sounds
Includes phonemic awareness
Necessary for understanding the alphabetic principle and how sounds match print
Phonemic segmentation and blending
Clapping, standing, using body motions
Manipulatives, e.g., linking blocks, puzzles, objects, chips or tokens
Pictures, books, posters
Music and rhyme
“ Feel it in your mouth!”
Elkonin (sound) boxes
Reading and writing
Reading: decoding + comprehension
Sound – symbol connection [phonics]
Writing: spelling, handwriting, written expression [writing process]
Alphabet (26 letters)
Represent speech sounds
Written / visual
Concepts of Print
How do children develop print awareness?
Print rich environment
Big Books, little books, lots of books
Hearing poems, nursery rhymes
Seeing charts, signs, lists, “Morning Message” and “Sign in”
Sort plastic or magnetic letters
Use letter cards with the ABC song
Match environmental print labels to alphabet letter cards
Locate target letter by using highlighter tape
Write letters in the air, using large muscle movements
Write letters in shaving cream, sand, or
“ refers to instructional practices that emphasize how spellings are related to speech sounds in systematic ways.”
(Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998)
What is the Alphabetic Principle?
the systematic and predictable relationship between the letters of written language and the sounds of spoken language
the way print matches speech
the relationship between phonology and orthography
also known as the alphabetic code
Why learn the Alphabetic Code?
It provides the understanding for the internal structure of words.
It helps children recognize familiar words and decode new words.
It connects reading and writing.
It enables children to read with fluency and comprehension.
Part to whole
Whole to part
Word families (rimes)
6 Syllable types
Root words, prefixes & suffixes
Color-Code Blends bl- cr- st- -nd -mp etc. Digraphs sh ch th wh ph Vowels a e i o u -y -w
Six basic syllable types
85 – 88% of English language
Vowel Patterns (syllable types)
Structure of our language
Easy to use
Vowel Pattern Chart C+le 2 Vowels Talkers Whiners Bossy r Silent e Open Closed
Vowel Pattern Chart C+le t a - ble b u b - ble t u r - tle 2 Vowels Talkers Whiners b oa t b oy m ea t cl ow n Bossy r c a r g i rl t u r- Silent e r i d e c a p e h o p e Open m e g o t a - Closed c a t f i sh b u b-
A word or syllable that contains only one vowel followed by one or more consonants;
the vowel is short.
“ One lonely vowel squished in the middle,
says its special sound just a little.”
s a t b e d f i n t o p g u m
s a nd b e st pr i nt sh o p l u nch
a t E d i n o n u p
A word or syllable that ends with one vowel; the vowel is long.
“If one vowel at the end is free, it pops way up and says its name to me.”
m e sh e h i g o fl u fl y
Silent e [Magic e]:
A word or syllable that ends in e, containing one consonant before the final e and one vowel before that consonant; the vowel is long.
“ The magic e is quiet, but it has a claim to fame;
it makes the vowel before it say its real name.”
The magic e is so powerful, it gives all its strength to the other vowel so that it can say its real name.
m a k e St e v e r i d e h o p e c u b e
Bossy r [r-controlled]:
A word or syllable containing a vowel followed by r; the vowel sound is altered by the r.
The letter r is so bossy, it tells the vowel that it can’t say its real name (long vowel) or its special sound (short vowel), but must say the r sound (as in car, for, her).
c a r h e r g i rl f o r c u rl
Double Vowel Talkers: [vowel digraphs]
A word or syllable containing two adjacent vowels; the first one is long.
“ When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking and says its name.”
r ai n d ay s ee m ea t p ie
b oa t t oe sl ow s ui t bl ue
Double Vowel Whiners :[diphthongs and variants]
A word or syllable that contains two adjacent vowels; the vowels say neither a long or short vowel sound, but rather a very different sound.
Sometimes when two vowels are next to each other, they make a funny whining sound, like when you fall down and say “ow,” “aw,” “oy,” and get a “boo-boo.”
f au lt s aw f oi l b oy l ou d c ow m oo n n ew b oo k
C+le: [ c onsonant + le]
This syllable ends with “le” preceded by a consonant, and occurs in two-syllable words.
When a word ends with a consonant and “le,” the “le” grabs the consonant before it, and the word breaks into two parts right before that consonant.
b u b–ble c a –ble ea –gle p oo –dle p u r-ple
Vowel Pattern “Prediction Power” The prediction power of the patterns ranges from 77 to 89%, each of which is much better than predictions on the basis of chance alone. Teaching children vowel patterns can make a difference in their fluency and comprehension (May, 2002). C+le 2 Vowels Talkers Whiners 77% Bossy r Silent e 81% Open 77% Closed 86 – 89%
Irregular / “Memory” Words
About 12 – 15% of English words do not conform to the regular patterns
Can be taught through context, repetition, multisensory techniques, and learning games, e.g., Word Wall activities, VAAKT (associative word cards), BINGO
Root words and affixes
Root Words and Affixes
Prefix Root Suffix
un friend ly
re heat ed
in spect or
Color-highlight or draw a box around affixes (prefix = green; suffix = red)
Make charts for similar affixes
Begin with whole word, e.g., doghouse
Segment and blend
Use fists, puzzles, linking blocks
Make lists of compound words
Use color-coding ( dog house )
Practice deletion (say doghouse without dog)
Compare “long” and “short” forms, e.g., do n o t (long – 2 words)
don ’ t (short – contraction)
Highlight apostrophe (use elbow macaroni) and deleted letter/s in red
Use a rubberband to show long and shortened forms (same meaning)
Make lists of contractions from stories
C+le turtle tur – tle
VC/CV rabbit rab – bit
V/CV tiger ti – ger
VC/V camel cam – el
V/V lion li - on
Strategy for Syllabication
“ Spot and dot” the vowels
Connect the dots
Look at the number of consonants between the vowels
If 2 – break between the consonants
If 1 – break before the consonant; if it doesn’t sound right, move over one letter
Apply and Transfer
Provide many opportunities to use these skills and strategies, both in isolation and in connected text
Fiction and non-fiction
Poetry and songs
Learning games and activities
When students have the MEANS to conquer the code,
they will reach the GOAL , and
master the meaning!
Remember . . .
Teach a child to read,
Give a gift for life!!
Thank you for your
E. Judith Cohen, Ed.D.
For more information, see:
Focus on Phonics: Assessment and Instruction,
Wendy Cheyney & E. Judith Cohen (1999)
The Wright Skills Program (PreK – Grade 3)
Fast Track Reading
Wright Group/ McGraw-Hill www.wrightgroup.com
Websites of Interest
www.aft.org American Federation of Teachers
www.ascd.org Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
www.educationworld.com Education World
www.fcrr.org Florida Center for Reading Research
www.idafla.org Florida Branch - IDA
www.interdys.org International Dyslexia Association
www.nifl.gov National Institute for Literacy
www.nationalreadingpanel.org National Reading Panel