Today I experienced the present meeting the past. Or, maybe the past met the present. Anyhoo....as I was cleaning the basement, I decided to go through some boxes of old school materials and ran into some cards and a phonics sheet that I used 17...yes 17 years ago! The cards and phonics sheet were part of a phonogram program that I was taught to use when I taught using the Montessori Method way back in 1995 when I was a brand new teacher and thought I was going to conquer the educational world because I knew it all and had pity for those 20 year veterans that didn't know the things that I knew because I had just graduated from college! If I only knew then what I know now.....what a learning experience I have had. Now, I guess I am one of those 20 year veterans that the new college graduates pity because they know more than me. Wow.
The Spalding Method, as we called it back then, was created based on the premise that non-readers can not read or understand the variety of sounds that phonograms make. The program has 87 phonograms that everyone must be able to read and sound out in order to learn to read. Some phonograms like 'a' have 4 sounds <'a' as in apple, 'a' as in ape, 'a' as in was, and 'a' and in ahhh <the light bulb turns on with this one!> or 'th' which has 2 sounds as in 'th' in think and 'th' as in that. Now, you know 2 of the sounds....just 69 more to go!!! If you want to view the whole list, you can go <here>.
Below you will see the cover of the latest addition of the The Writing Road to Reading detailing the Spalding Method.
If you are interested in purchasing the book, it is on Amazon.
Back in the old days, there was no Spalding website, so finding a website was so cool! They have an instructional materials store that can be clicked on. So, of course, me being me, I had to go and check it out. Low and behold they are selling the completed phonogram cards! I spent HOURS and HOURS making these cares in front of the television on school nights so that I would have enough sets in my classroom. A picture of the phonogram cards are below. Boy howdy, do I wish I had been able to purchase those years ago! To be honest, I am going to put a set of these cards onto my wish list because there is not a day at school that I don't refer to this method of teaching sounds and I would love to have a set of the cards. When I first started teaching we used the cards as flashcards and reviewed them at least twice a day. The phonogram cards can be purchased at http://spalding.org/store/instructional.php, or you can click on the cards below. There are even teacher guides for each gradelevel now....boy do these new teachers have it made now!!!
Note: One interesting thing you can do with these cards is use them to help students 'chunk' words and choose the sounds that they need from those phonograms to 'create' the word.
Example: To read the word 'weather' you would lay out the following cards:
W EA TH ER
The different sounds of each phonogram are listed on the back of the phonogram card. The card for EA would show 2 sounds of EA <1 or long e and 1 for short e>. The chard for TH would show the soft TH sound and the hard TH sound. When put together, the student can try all of the different sounds available and will eventually put together the word WEATHER. Pretty interesting because eventually the students internalize the different sounds that the phonograms make!
I hope this helps you or gives you some new ideas as to how to teach reading!