Memorization or Phonics? We've always been a phonics family and it's worked out really well for us. Recently I found myself struggling to explain the "rules" and "tricks" of the English language to Taka. A friend, who taught primary for 20+ years gave us her copy of  "The Complete Reference Book of Phonics and Spelling, The ABC's and All Their Tricks" by Margaret M. Bishop. This is a great resource and explains so much, in clear concise detail. We've also begun to use Voyages in English by Loyola Press. So far we're happy with VIE with the exception of it's organization and some of it's "dumbing things down". Here we'll post some of our "interpretations" of the work we are doing and maybe they will be helpful to someone else.

What is a sentence?

posted Mar 13, 2011, 1:27 PM by K Day   [ updated Mar 13, 2011, 1:53 PM ]

Voyages in English, Chapter 1 of- What is a sentence? 
We are gearing up to use Voyages in English to help make our grammar lessons more robust. We're really excited to begin but the format is so unorganized I've had to spend more time than expected trying to pull all of the resources together. Besides printing out the items on their website I've thrown together a few other helps. There was a really great visual in the teachers manual but not in the students workbook. I thought this was odd so I threw one together and attached it below so it can be printed. The .doc is a lesson I threw together based on the VIE teacher's guide and a few other resources. I've changed some of the language as we don't believe in "dumbing things down" for Taka'. We've found that using real words (like punctuation instead of end mark) is less confusing for Taka'. It also saves us from him having to learn things over again with different vocabulary. 

What is a Sentence

A vs. An

posted Feb 15, 2011, 12:23 PM by K Day   [ updated Feb 15, 2011, 1:08 PM ]

Today as we were reviewing our site words, I noticed Taka had a bit of trouble with the word "an". It's a simple enough word but for some reason I had missed that he didn't actually have a handle on it. So we dug right in and tackled this little word and it's "Rule". 

Always put "a" before words that begin with a consonant sound and "an" before words that start with a vowel sound

Remember, it's not just a consonant or vowel but a consonant or vowel sound. For instance, you would say "an hour" instead of "a hour". Even though the H in "hour" is a consonant, you use "an" because it's a vowel sound

We wrote out a few examples on the white board and Taka caught on pretty quick once he saw it in action. 


posted Jan 13, 2011, 7:40 AM by K Day   [ updated Jan 25, 2011, 2:59 PM ]

Taka' has begun reading books like Encyclopedia Brown which have more contractions than his early readers. So I threw together a little chart of compound words for us to review. He knew several from his books and was able to figure out most of the rest but there were still a few he didn't recognize. This has been helpful for him learning the contractions and getting him familiar with meanings. 



posted Nov 7, 2010, 5:59 PM by K Day   [ updated Nov 9, 2010, 11:24 AM ]

Syl - la - ble

A syllable is a word-part composed of a vowel sound and all consonants that are pronounced with it. check out how the word syllable is broken out into it's 3 syllables above. 

Each syllable is a sound that can be said without interruption and contain a vowel which can have consonants before and/or after it. 

Be sure to explain to your children that the syllable is not just the vowel :) 

Vowels and Consonants

posted Nov 7, 2010, 4:56 PM by K Day

There are two kinds of speech sounds - vowel sounds and consonant sounds. Words are spoken by combining these two different kinds of sounds in varied patterns. 

The Vowel sounds are pronounced by opening the mouth in different ways. They allow the voice to come out. 

The consonant sounds are pronounced by closing the mouth in different ways. They restrict the voice, or interrupt it completely. 

Vowels can be pronounced alone or can carry consonants along with them.

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