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Copyright 2002
The Teaching Home
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"Calvary Press: Where Homeschoolers Go for Solid Christian Books"
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The Teaching Home
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement

Volume II, Number 19                                 Nov. 13, 2002

You are welcome to forward this newsletter in its entirety.

Table of Contents

  • 15-Part Series on Basic Skills: #2 Word Analysis
  •      Teaching Phonics Step-by-Step
  •      Pre-Reading Word Analysis Practice
  • Sunny Side Up: Humorous Anecdote
  • Resources
  •      The Teaching Home Back Issues
  •      Evangelizing Today's Child
  •      Academy
  •      Bible Memory Challenge


         In this issue we address Part 2 of our 15-Part Series on Basic Skills. We have used a few technical terms for you to add to your "teacher's vocabulary." (Vocabulary is the third skill, addressed in our next issue.)

         Would you please pray with us that we can raise the funds necessary to resume publication of The Teaching Home magazine? Buying back issues (see below) is a great help. Thank you!

         May the Lord richly bless your family for His glory.

    Sue Welch
    for Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian Welch
    The Teaching Home is a home-school family business produced in our home since 1980.

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  • Select from 51 Never-Out-of-Date Back Issues      
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  • Practical How-Tos & Teaching Tips      
  • Inspiration & Encouragement

         "The Teaching Home has been a part of my continuing education since I started home schooling. I have kept every issue and often go to back issues to find creative, helpful hints or inspiration." Meredith C., Florida

    15-Part Series on Basic Skills
    by Cindy Short and Sue Welch, sisters and editors

         You can evaluate your children's skill levels and help them improve in those areas where you see a need by using these practical ideas for learning activities.
         These 15 skill areas are similar to those that are included on standardized tests. Topics will include:

         1. Listening - Vol. II, No. 18
         2. Word Analysis - This Issue
         3. Vocabulary
         4. Reading Comprehension: Facts
         5. Reading Comprehension: Inferences
         6. Reading Comprehension: Generalizations
         7. Spelling
         8. Capitalization
         9. Punctuation
         10. Usage
         11. Visual Materials
         12. Reference Materials
         13. Math: Concepts
         14. Math: Computation
         15. Math: Problem Solving

    Basic Skill #2: Word Analysis

         Word analysis (as tested in nationally-normed standardized tests for the early grades) involves the decoding skills of grapheme-phoneme relationships (written letters and their sounds). These include initial (beginning) sounds of words, medial (middle) sounds, final (ending) sounds, and rhyming sounds.

         Word analysis is a skill that consists of many separate sub-skills. It begins with attentive listening (see Skill #1 in our last newsletter) applied to the sounds in words, and culminates in the ability to read any printed material.

         The skills involved in word analysis/phonics/reading should be mastered by every child and adult, whether or not they can already read. This group of skills will:

    * Solidify and expand reading ability (decoding).
    * Teach or improve spelling (encoding).
    * Prepare our children to teach our grandchildren to read.
    * Enable us and our children to teach others to read,
    either as a wage-earning employment, a volunteered public
    service, or a Christian ministry.

    (Continued below.)

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    Teaching Phonics Step-by-Step

         Teaching phonics is not hard. Instruction materials can range from a simple manual to an extensive system with cassettes, workbooks, games, phonetic readers, etc. Or you can make up your own flashcards, word lists, and sentences. (See "Resources" at end.)

         Any good phonics system should use the following steps and teach all the letter-sound connections used in English words, 87 percent of which can be "sounded out" using phonics rules.

    1. Consonants and Short Vowels
         Teach letter/sound associations for consonants and for short vowels (e.g., /a/ in bat; /e/ in bet; /i/ in bit; /o/ in hot; /u/ in hut).

    2. Initial Consonant and Short Vowel Blends
         Practice reading initial-consonant plus short vowel blends (/sa/ in sad, /me/ in men, /fi/ in fig, /ro/ in rod, /nu/ in nut).

    3. Add a Final Consonant
         Create, read, and spell one-syllable words with short vowels by adding a final consonant to each of the blends learned in Step 2 (e.g., baa-t, bat; saa-d, sad; haa-t, hat).
         An estimated 62 percent of the English language is made up of short-vowel words and syllables, so this gives immediate success if practice words and sentences have been carefully selected.

    4. Long Vowels
         When long-vowel words are added (e.g., /a/ in cake; /e/ in seed; /i/ in bike; /o/ in boat; /u/ in huge), two rules generally apply:

    * When there is one vowel in a short (one-syllable) word, it usually says its short sound.

    * When there are two vowels in a short word, the first vowel usually says its long sound; the second one is silent (e.g., same, meat, fine, road, rude).

    5. Practice Reading and Spelling
         Applying just the four steps above opens up a world of vocabulary to your children. Provide sentences and stories to give your child practice using the phonetic words they are learning and to develop smoothness and speed.

    6. Multiple-Syllable Words
         Once a child is familiar with one-syllable words, then words of more than one syllable can be introduced. The easiest way to teach two-syllable words is to begin with simple compound words, like baseball, and root words with added suffixes like jump, jumping, jumped.
         Teach your child to divide words into syllables and sound out each one separately.

    7. Special Phonics Rules
         Use word lists for spelling and reading that contain each phonics rule as it is learned. The following are a few examples.

    * Letter clusters: /ch/ in chin, chair, etc; /or/ in for, order, etc.; /sh/ in ship, shape, etc.; /ing/ in king, bring, etc.
    * Silent-letter words: comb, lamb, half.
    * Special groupings of letters: night, bright, light, etc.; laugh, cough, enough, etc.; could, would, should; through, though, etc.
    * Silent-l words: chalk, talk, walk.
    * Words using ank: bank, drank, sank, thank.

    Phonics Resources

    Phonics Resources from Christian Publishers
         We highly recommend the excellent Christ-centered
    materials from these publishers. See links at:
    A Beka Book
    Accelerated Christian Education
    Alpha Omega Publications
    Bob Jones University Press
    Christ Centered Publications
    Christian Light Education
    Rod & Staff Publishers

    Free Online Phonics Resources
    Worksheets and sounds through Real Player.
    Saxon Publishers phonics K-2 activities.
    School Express worksheets.

    (Continued below.)

    Worldview Academy
         Plan now for a serious one-week leadership camp that trains students to think and live in accord with the Christian worldview so that they will serve Christ and lead the culture. Includes worldviews, leadership, apologetics, and evangelism.
         Check out excellent Christian worldview resources at:

    Pre-Reading Word Analysis Practice

         A well-developed phonics system will lead to early success for almost every child within a few months. (Our schoolteacher grandmother had no failures getting each of her students to read by the middle of first grade using such a system of phonics.)

         However, to prevent hang-ups, slow-downs, or mental/emotional blocks, make a low-key game of the following pre-reading phonics exercises for months (or even years) before you begin to teach reading.

    1. Initial, Medial, and Ending Sounds
         Have your child think of words that begin with the same sound. Say:

    * "What words start the same as Daniel (or your child's name)? How about door, dog, and dinner. Now you think of some."
    * Another day think of words that start like Mommy or Sister, etc., until all sounds have been covered.
    * Do the same for middle and ending sounds.

    2. Word Pairs
    * Say word pairs and have your child tell you if they have the same beginning, middle, or ending sound.

    Say: "Do bat and ball begin the same?" (Yes)
    "How about bat and cat?" (No)
    "Do bat and foot end the same?" (Yes)
    "How about bat and ball?" (No)
    "Do hat and can have the same middle sound?" (Yes)
    "How about bat and bit?" (No)
    "Which parts of bat and bed are the same?" (Beginning)
    "How about bat and can?" (Middle)
    "How about hat and feet?" (End)

    * Do not try all these questions at once or you will confuse your child; practice each step until it is easy (using many different examples on many separate occasions) before moving on to the next.

    3. Rhymes
         Do rhyming games and riddles.
    * Say "What rhymes with bat and cat?" (fat, hat, mat, pat, rat, sat)
    * Or "What is a food that rhymes with sneeze?" (cheese)

    Bible Memory Challenge

    * Simple Concept.
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    Laminated, pocket-sized, topical Bible flashcard sets in KJV. Sets include: Bible Alphabet, Wise Son, Precious Daughters, Wife of Honor, Train Up a Child, Ten Commandments, Beatitudes, and more.

    Sunny Side Up
         When I was expecting our fourth child, our 7-year-old asked if we were having triplets.
         "Oh no," I smiled, "we aren't."
         "Well," she responded, "what if it's duplicates?"
         by Missy S., Tennessee
         You are also invited to submit your humorous anecdote.

    God Loves You.
         Because we were separated from God by sin, Jesus Christ died in our place, then rose to life again. If we trust Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, He will give us eternal life.
         "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast" (Eph. 2:8, 9).

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