Foundational Skills

What is the Schwa, and How Do I Teach It?

What is the Schwa? “Schwa” is such a funny sounding word to describe what’s actually the most common vowel sound in the English language. It may be common, but it’s not always well understood by elementary teachers.  So what is it, anyway? According to the Oxford Language Dictionary, it’s “the

Read More »

Make Word Study Fun: Strategies For Playing With Words

Teaching children to read is perhaps the single most important job we have as elementary school teachers. Reading is the foundation for everything! There have been a lot of theories and much debate about the best strategies for teaching reading. I’ve spent a lot of time studying literacy—enough to know

Read More »

Why I Used to Suck at Teaching Phonics

I’m not too proud to admit it: I used to suck at teaching phonics. My less-than-effective strategies left me and my students frustrated more often than not. A lot of it came down to the typical learning curve felt by new teachers, but the more I’ve learned about literacy, the more I recognize the flaws in the old strategies I used. And I don’t think I’m alone in this, which is why I’m sharing a better way to teach phonics with you today.

Read More »
sound wall

Replacing the Word Wall with a Sound Wall

Teaching the phonemes is essential in order to help students develop orthographic mapping. Following up with my last post about this, this next post includes a strategy you can use to explicitly teach the phonemes. Introducing… the sound wall!

Read More »