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06 May 2015

Teaching the -s Word Ending: Making Words Plural

In English, we add an s to the end of nouns in order to indicate plurality. If I have one cup, for example, there is no s on the end of the word, but if I have two or more, I say I have multiple cups.

The -s on these words not only has a sound that our students need to learn, it also has a meaning they need to understand.

I talk about this aloud before showing the child the card. So, for example, say to the child something like, "I have one cup. If I have two of them, would I say that I have two cup?" If the child is academically ready for this sort of topic, he will say, "No!" And then you can say, "Well, what would I say, then? I have two -- what? What do I have two of?" And the child should reply with cup. (If he doesn't know, it is okay to tell him, just know that this means he's probably not ready for the idea.) So then have a similar conversation about dog and bug.

After the concept has been introduced like this, take out the binder card and go over the words. I use the words cupdog, and bug.


Have the child read cup and remind him that this is singular -- one cup. And then show him how the s is added to the end to make it plural. Sometimes, this s is soft and says |s| and other times is is hard and says |z|. I actually teach my students to decipher the words in their singular form and then mentally make them plural before adding the s sound. How do they know which one? Well, if they already know the words -- and they usually do in early reading -- it will come to them intuitively, because they know how to say dogs, for example.

Most kids don't have too much trouble with this, and the difference between the hard and soft sound is so minimal that it's not a big deal. If they happen to get the sound incorrect, don't be afraid to simply say the correct sound in order to reinforce it. They'll get it in time.





20 February 2015

Vlog: Reading Lessons for More Experienced Readers

Today, we're going to do something different. I've created a video to answer the question of what to do with children who need help learning to read, but already know a lot. This is one of the most asked questions here on the blog, and I definitely think it's time to revisit it.

Whether you are pulling a child from school who has already had some teaching, or you just have one of those children who has intuited a lot of the rules, this video is for you.








11 February 2015

Free Reading Lessons for Bob Books Set 1, Book 8

Today's free reading lessons are for Bob Books Set 1, Book 8, called Muff and Ruff.

There's a lot to learn in the first few pages of this book, but that's okay. Our students are ready!

In the very first lesson, we're introducing three new sounds: f, short-u, and o that says oo as in too.

I actually put f and short-u both on one card since we were doing it in the same lesson.


I put the o as in too sound on a separate card because it usually takes longer to learn.



If your student initially rejects the idea that o makes a different sound than what they were taught previously, just remind him that some letters make a lot of different sounds, and that's okay. It is like how some animals make only one sound while others are very noisy.

For this book, you may need to think about how to teach double consonants.

Lesson One
  • Introduce new sounds: short-u, f, o
  • Build some words and practice sounding them out.
  • Review appropriate sections in the binder.
  • Read: Set 1, Book 8 ("Muff and Ruff") pp. 1-3

In Lesson Two, we encounter yet another sound that the letter o can make. Gasp! Really, it'll be okay. I choose to teach it as the blend or and this has always worked well. See here for card information and tips on teaching the or blend.

Lesson Two
  • Introduce new blend: or
  • Build some words and practice sounding them out.
  • Review appropriate sections in the binder.
  • Read: Set 1, Book 8 ("Muff and Ruff") pp. 4-ff

Lesson Three
  • Review appropriate sections in the binder.
  • Read: Set 1, Book 8 ("Muff and Ruff") pp. all




09 February 2015

Free Reading Lessons for Bob Books Set 1, Book 7

Today's free reading lesson is for Bob Books Set 1, Book 7, called "Jig and Mag." This book is back to introducing new sounds.

When you introduce the "j" sound, pay attention to how your student is pronouncing it. You want it to be very clipped and short. You don't want it to be drawn out and sound like "juh." If they are vocalizing an "uh" at the end, help them shorten the sound. Work with them a bit. You are doing them a favor for the future.

For the "j" sound, I made a very, very simple card to put in the binder. I figured we'd add more words as we went along.



Lesson One
  • Introduce new sound: j
  • Build a word and practice sounding it out: jig
  • Review appropriate sections in the binder.
  • Read: Set 1, Book 7 ("Jig and Mag") pp. 1-3

Lesson Two
  • Introduce new sound: w
  • Build some words and practice sounding them out: wig, win, wind
  • Review appropriate sections in the binder.
  • Read: Set 1, Book 7 ("Jig and Mag") pp. 4-ff

Here's what my binder card looked like for introducing the w sound:




Lesson Three
  • Review appropriate sections in the binder.
  • Read: Set 1, Book 7 ("Jig and Mag") pp. all