2012 TSHA State Convention – Orthographics Part 3 and the Homeschool Connection

This is the third and final installment in this series on the workshop I attended on orthographic intervention put on by Keli Richmond of Literacy Speaks, but you’ll be sure to see more about how we are implementing this concept with Noah in the future.  Click to see 2012 TSHA State Convention – Orthographics Part 1 and Part 2.

Orthography – “The study of letters and how they are used to express sounds and form words.”  Well, that sums it up in a nutshell, doesn’t it?  So we are teaching our children orthographics at the same time we are practicing speech when we show them the letters that correspond with the speech sound we are working on.  Without adding any more time to your routine, your child is getting literate at the same time they are learning to speak properly.

I think what excites me most about this idea is that it just makes sense.  And then there’s that nagging feeling that, wait a minute, haven’t I seen this somewhere before?  It wasn’t until I was back home and rested up from the convention that I realized this is not a new concept to me.  It was lurking somewhere in the shadows of my memory.  So I started digging through my various preschool curriculuae.  One of my favorite preschool programs is Little Hands to Heaven.  Another program I have had success with is Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.  Both of these programs use orthographics to promote literacy.  Instead of requiring children to know the names of each of the letters before working on the sound, children are taught to recognize the letters of the alphabet by sound.  From experience, I can tell you that once a child can recognize a letter by the sound it makes, learning the names of the letters are easy.

Keys to Using Orthographic Intervention in Home-Based Speech Sessions:

  1. Show your child a flashcard containing the letter you are practicing.  As you prompt him to make the sound, direct his attention to the flashcard.  This will cause him to associate the letter with the sound.
  2. Use lower-case letters only on your flashcard.  The first words your little one will learn to read will consist of lower case letters, so these are the letters we will promote literacy on first.
  3. Only teach one new sound per session.
  4. Teach sounds in the order they are learning them in speech, not in alphabetical order.
  5. Introduce ch, sh and th early.  (Teach these sounds according to flashcards as well.)

I do have to tell you that this is just a foundational principle behind the Literacy Speaks program.  You really have to see the program for yourself to wrap your mind around the full program.  I love the way Kelli does her word flashcards with the focused sound in isolation, then the rest of the word and then the entire word at the bottom of the card.  Flip it over and you have a picture of the word.  One of the things she pointed out is not to bring in the picture until the child has mastered the word.  In one video clip, a child actually flipped the card over to see the word without the picture in order to read it.  It seemed the picture along with all the letters was too much information and she needed to simplify it in order to read it.  Now that is one literate child!!!!!  I was so fortunate to be able to sit in on this workshop, because I think I can reproduce the skeleton of it for Noah now that I understand it.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Literacy-Speaks/232325152896?sk=wall is the Facebook page for Literacy Speaks, and guess what!  Free daily printables.  How cool is that?  Even I can’t keep up with that pace.

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