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The Teaching Home
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement
Volume II, Number 19
Nov. 13, 2002
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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
The Teaching Home Back Issues
Evangelizing Today's Child
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.)
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May the Lord richly bless your family for His glory.
for Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian Welch
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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
4. Reading Comprehension: Facts
5. Reading Comprehension: Inferences
6. Reading Comprehension: Generalizations
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.
Let "Evangelizing Today's Child" Magazine
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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
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,
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
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
* 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
* 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,
* Silent-l words: chalk, talk, walk.
* Words using ank: bank, drank, sank, thank.
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.
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
* "What words start the same as Daniel (or your child's
name)? How about door, dog, and dinner. Now you think
* 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.
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.
* Affordable Prices.
* Powerful Results!
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
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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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