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November 2007 Calendar

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Phonemics and Decoding

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The November focus on phonemics and decoding is an interesting one because people have a variety of opinions on the issue.  What I find interesting is that many of us use these strategies but are not aware that we do.  For example, we frequently tell students to “sound out” words when they are reading or spelling - regardless of the content area.  When we are working with our esol students, we also may focus on sound as a learning strategy.  It really is all a part of the big picture, isn’t it?  To quote Billings director Woody Jensen, we all need “another tool in our toolkit.”  Phonemics and decoding is just one of them.





Principle 2

Adult nonreaders have virtually no phonemic awareness ability and are unable to consistently perform, on their own, almost all phonemic awareness tasks (Kruidenier, 2002).

Research-Based Principles for Adult Basic Education Reading Instruction (Krudenier, 2002, p.20.) 


But some people (and many poor readers) do not easily acquire phonemic awareness ... This quote from an adult learner says it all:  "It's not that no one ever taught me how to read before; it's just that they never took me back far enough.  They didn't know what I didn't know" (Podhajski, 1998). 

Applying Research in Reading Instruction for Adults:  First Steps for Teachers (McShane, 2005, p.35.)



The ARCSRR administered the Test of Auditory Analysis Skills (TAAS) to assess PA. As a syllable and phoneme deletion task, it assesses one among four kinds of phoneme manipulation abilities listed by the National Reading Panel (NRP). The tasks can be used to assess phonemic awareness. They also represent the types of phoneme manipulation tasks that can be used during instruction to improve learners' PA abilities.

NIFL Assessment Strategies and Reading Profiles,

The TAAS tests oral word analysis skills with 13 single word phonetic deletion items. Test takers are given words orally and asked to delete a beginning sound, an ending sound, or a part of a blend.

Academic Therapy

The author Marn Frank is an Adult Learning Disabilities Specialist.

Reading:  Phonemic Awareness, (Frank, 2003) NetNews.

Phonograph Approach

The phonograph approach is a structured program to introduce phonic principles by using sound clusters within whole words



    1. Are you aware that some of your students have difficulty with phonemics? 
    2. If so, what assessment tool have you used to determine a student’s difficulty with phonemics?
    3. What strategies have you used to teach phonemics to your students?


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