Wednesday, February 16, 2011

PLENK2010 ds106 Teaching Spelling

Out of the blue I got an order for penmanship books…after four years!  I guess someone was listening to the article on penmanship on Q on the CBC!  This made me review my instructions to the teacher that I include with the full version of my penmanship books.  In it, I include a small section on spelling, a topic that came up in conversation with a friend of mine.

The fine point is this:  The purpose for teaching spelling is so the student can transfer the sounds he hears in his mind to the words he must write on the page—SOUND to IMAGE.  Therefore, as he practices writing out the spelling word, he should be saying the sounds of the letters as he writes them.  When you give him the spelling test, do you not dictate the words?

This is how the spelling of the words was invented in the first place.  English spelling was standardized in the first place by pressmen, those pioneers who printed books and newspapers, turning local dialects and pronunciations into national spellings.  In some cases the spellings from one place became standard, but the pronunciation from another place became standard, and they did not quite match! Then we say that English spelling is crazy!

The student must learn to look at the word, say the word, then say the word as he writes it, and then check back to see if his version looks like the model word.  If his version is correct, he can go ahead and copy his own correct model whispering it out to himself as he practices writing.   I know, this can be noisy. … But it makes for a learning situation rather than a non-learning situation.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

PLENK2010 ds106 Penmanship

Today on the CBC program “Q” there was an interview with Gwendolyn Bounds about penmanship. 

She is a journalist who has researched this topic and written a number of articles in the Wall Street Journal.

She made these points:
1.  Writing by hand helps you to remember what you need to remember.

2.  Adults who are learning a new language with a different script (font) learn better if they learn to make the new letters and write the new words.

3.  Students who write essays by hand will write more, will write faster and will use more unique ideas.

4.  Children who learn to print or write by hand rather than just looking and typing, develop more brain connections in cognitive areas in thinking, language and memory, growing brains more “adult”, than those of children who just learned to keyboard.

5.  Handwriting can indicate neural disorders, too.

6.  Steve Graham, professor of education at Vanderbilt University, says that good handwriting can take a marking score from the 50th percentile to the 84th percentile, while bad handwriting can tank it to the 16th percentile.  He notes that people judge the quality of your ideas by your handwriting.

What can you do?
Buy my booklets on penmanship offering printing, the traditional cursive and the Barchowsly Fluent Hand

Buy Nan Barchowsky’s new method called the Barchowsky Fluent Hand

Buy a “WritePad” for your iPnone
“abc PocketPhonics” for your child.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

PLENK2010 ds106 The Highwayman

This was one of the poems that my grandmother would recite to me.

PLENK2010 ds106 dyscalculia

Just as there are some people who have trouble processing written words, there are some people who have trouble processing numbers.  Although most of us have no difficulty with the symbols with which we write, about 3-8% of the population do.  If taught in the tactile way that they need with plenty of practice, their brain centres can be encouraged to grow in more "normal" arrangements.  Some people have either dyslexia or dyscalculia, but some have both.

This is the wonderful good news of Mediated Learning and of neural plasticity.

Check this out from Radio Australia's series All in the Mind.

Here is a critical quote:
  Brian Butterworth: There's a circular problem with recognition. In order to get it recognised by education authorities including government you need to be able to have a way of reliably identifying it and I think we've got that. You also need to have a way of reliably helping the kids who have that problem, and I think we're on the way to that. But until we've got those two elements in place, parents are not going to say I want my child to be identified as having this particular problem and to get this kind of help for that problem. And without the parents getting active about it governments aren't going to get active about it. And if you look at the history of dyslexia it's because the parents of dyslexic individuals were very vocal that governments recognised it..