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15 September 2014

Treadwell Primer, Story 4

I mentioned before that the Treadwell books are fantastic. Good stories and incremental steps toward better reading -- we really can't go wrong.

This story teaches us that rare rule of "augh" as in "laugh," and I already posted my teaching tips on this, so we're ready to go.

Lesson One
  • Introduce new blend: augh
  • Review appropriate sections in the binder.
  • Read: Treadwell Primer, Story 4 ("The Boy and the Goat") pp. all

Click here for tips on teaching the blend augh.

12 September 2014

Blend #20: augh

It may, perhaps, annoy you that I'm teaching the "augh" sound as a rule, when in fact there is only one word in the (American) English language that uses this spelling. How does one word justify calling something a rule?

Isn't this just another example of English not making sense?

No no no no no.


First of all, there are a lot of variations of the word laugh, which is what we'll be using for our card.

But moreover, this really is a rule, and it's a rule with history. It's just that this is the only word that's kept this spelling. All the other words have been simplified over time. Don't be afraid to share these things with your students, especially if they are older, or curious.

But for now, this is for you and not your student.

Do you ever read old books?

I do. I have a growing collection of books that are a century (or more) old. A number of them are imported from England.

And you know what I noticed? In these books, there are draught horses, or people take a deep draught of beer. In England, this spelling never changed. There are probably other words that use this word still in use across the Pond, but I haven't done the research on that as of yet.

Here in the U.S., the words became draft horses and a draft of beer.

It's a draftsman not a draughtsman.

Teaching augh as a blend not only acknowledges our language's history, but it'll also make sure your student doesn't get all tripped up by the word when he's reading, say, Robinson Crusoe, and these spellings are used.

Because, you see, augh is a rule. It's a rarely used one, to be sure, but it's not an exception to English rules. There are very few exceptions in our language.

Very few.

So I teach the rule, and I suggest you do, too, because we want our students to know that our language makes a lot more sense than people tend to think.

Here's the card for your student's binder:


10 September 2014

Treadwell Primer, Story 3

The Treadwell Primer
by Harriet Taylor Treadwell
In case you've forgotten over the course of my extended break from this blog, as we reached the end of our Bob Books sets, I transitioned both girls to the Treadwell Primer.

I still think this is one of my better decisions. There is such a temptation to continue in the vein of popular vapid easy readers {not that I think all easy readers fall deserve this criticism, because they don't}. The writing in all of the Treadwell books is quite good, and the stories are retellings from real literature.

What's not to like?

Because the Treadwell books are a series, they don't introduce too much new information at a time, and they steadily increase in difficulty. Since my goal is to get my students as quickly into reading real books as possible, I appreciate this.

An added bonus is that children tend to love these stories.

The early stories in the Treadwell Primer were read by Daughter Q. in one sitting. As they grew in length and difficulty, I broke the stories up into multiple lessons.

Every student is different, though. If you look at Daughter A.'s lessons for the same exact story, you'll see that it took us five lessons to make it through this one. This is why we need to focus on our student's abilities -- as well as keeping the lessons short {10-15 minutes} -- more than trying to accomplish exactly what is set out in any particular lesson.

The lessons are simply examples.

Lesson One
  • Introduce new digraph: gn
  • Review appropriate sections in the binder.
  • Read: Treadwell Primer, Story 3 ("The Old Woman and the Pig") pp. all

Click here for tips on teaching the digraph gn.

08 September 2014

Digraph #13: gn

The digraph gn can look like a scary sound to some children, so I usually head this off by saying something like, "This new sound is going to look like a big deal, but it's not, and once you practice it a little, you're going to do just fine with it."

This is one you can expect them to forget and have to be reminded of, by the way. It's one of those cards that move forward in the binder, only to have to be moved back on occasion. At least, this is true of a lot of children. It's just that it doesn't look quite normal.

But it's true: it's really not a big deal.

So gn has a silent g -- the sound is simply  | n |. That is the easiest explanation I have for you.

So make a card and introduce some gn words.

Don't forget to put in in your student's binder!