READING MADE EASY
Sponsored by Donald L. Potter
Don teaching Blend Phonics Unit 14 with cursive
Blend Phonics is an easy, single-letter phonics technique for teaching reading to student of any age which will prevent the development of whole-word dyslexia in beginning students and remediate whole-word dyslexia in older students.
The goal of this Blend Phonics web page is to initiate a nationwide campaign to make Blend Phonics Technique available to every parent, every elementary teacher, and every reading tutor in America in order to eliminate the current epidemic of artificially induced whole-word dyslexia.
How it all started
Several years ago I read the following stirring recommendation for Hazel Loring's 1980Reading Made Easy with Blend Phonics for First Grade by Robert W. Sweet, Jr. Cofounder and Former President of The National Right to Read Foundation in his 1997 article, "The Century of Miseducation of American Teachers:"
"An effective answer to illiteracy … Let me offer a less costly, and more effective answer. I have here a twenty-five page booklet called Blend Phonics written by Hazel Loring, a master teacher born in 1902, who taught under both the "whole word" and phonics systems. The legacy she has left us is powerful. Within the pages of this little booklet is the cure of illiteracy as we begin the twenty-first century. … If every pre-service reading teacher, every reading supervisor, every kindergarten, first- and second-grade teacher in America had the information contained in Hazel Loring's 25-page booklet and taught it this fall, there would be such a dramatic decrease in illiteracy in this country that the national media would be forced to take note."
That last sentence struck me with great force. What if Mr. Sweet was correct? Why on earth are we having so many children with reading problems if such an inexpensive method is available in a mere 25 pages? I immediately got a copy of Loring's booklet from the Interlibrary Loan and republished it on my web site in 2003. At that time I had not used the book. Time passed. I continued to use various excellent phonics methods, but Bob's statement kept gnawing away at my conscience. What if Bob is right? The other methods I use are inexpensive, none more than $50.00; yet the thought that a free 25 page pamphlet could do all that Bob claimed just wouldn't go away. Surely it would be possible to supply every teacher in America with a 25 page pamphlet. Schools everywhere are spending vast sums of money for very expensive programs, yet the problem of whole-word dyslexia continues to thwart all our efforts to adequately educate the children of America. Recently, I took the plunge and started teaching Blend Phonics in my remediation classes.
What I have discovered
I have discovered that when I started teaching Blend Phonics exactly as Hazel Loring explained it in the little "Teacher's Manual" that introduces the program, I experienced complete success with all my tutoring students. This includes students from first-grade through adult. I have discovered to my satisfaction that Mr. Sweet wasn't exaggerating. Here is A SIMPLE, EFFECTIVE, INEXPENSIVE SOLUTION TO ILLITERACY in America.
What you can do
I want to encourage educators, home school parents, public school teachers, private school teachers, college professors, administrators, business men, government officials, literally everyone to do three things:
1. Send a link to this web page to every teacher you know..
2. Download Hazel Lorring's Blend Phonics and my Blend Phonics Reader yourself and make copies to distribute to teachers in your school district.
3. Use Blend Phonics yourself to help a child [or an adult] to learn how to read. It is simple to use. Illiteracy in our country can be conquered one child at a time. Blend Phonics can supplement what ever they are learning in school. It is impossible for Blend Phonics to interfere with any other instruction since it just teaches good, basic phonics. If kids are behind, it can catch them up fast. Just teach Blend Phonics one time, and you will want to share this effective programs with everyone.
Working together we can blanket America with Loring's effective, free, easy-to-teach phonics method.
What I will do
I am going to publish here information on the progress of our nationwide campaign to distributeBlend Phonics to the teacher of America. I will especially be publishing information to assist the multitudes of teachers who will be switching to Blend Phonics as their primary instructional reading method. I will also be publishing simple aids to assist teachers and parents in classroom procedures:
• Progress Charts
• Certificates of Progress
• a Blend Phonics Reader,
• mp3 Audio Training Files
• Phonics Decoding Cards and Dual-Font (script and print on same card) Aphabet Flash Cards.
• a monthly Blend Phonics Newsletter detailing progress around the country. (I have done all this except the monthly Newsletter, 2/17/10)
On 10/28/07, I purchased the www.blendphonics.org domain name. I have begun a site dedicated to Blend Phonics.
The Secret of Learning How to Read
The Secret of Reading is to "Look at all the letters the right way, without guessing." Blend Phonics is one of the best ways to teach beginning students HOW to look at all the letter the right way, without guessing. Most students who are taught HOW to look at all the letters the right way without guessing and practicethat way of reading words, become fluent, confident readers who can then read to learn. You can test your child's or student's ability to read without guessing with the Miller Word Identification Assessment. Some children can pass some reading tests, and still not know HOW to read except by guessing at letters and whole words. I have found that just telling students about this simple (but well kept) secret will improve their reading dramatically in a very short time.
Why it works (a little theory)
Hazel Loring wrote, "All of my teaching experience has confirmed my belief that directional guidance, inherent in the blend phonics system, is the key to success in teaching reading." Hazel Loring's method is different from other phonics method I have seen. It is taught from the chalkboard or overhead. Students learn to blend the sounds of the letters from left to right, one after the other. They do not see the whole word at a glance; therefore, they are required to look at each letter in proper sequence. The blending is done in this order, for example "bat:" b-a, ba, ba-t, bat." Students are reading from the "sounds" rather than from the "meaning." I teach the letter names along with the sounds (phonemes) and spell the words as I write them on the board. The students are constantly reminded of Mr. Potter's Secret of Reading: "Look at all the letters the right way, and no guessing." Loring's "blend phonics technique" can actually be used with any phonics program. It has a precise way of teaching students to look at words (perceptual development); and from that viewpoint alone has serious theoretical value beyond its particular scope and sequence. The technique is of universal application.
Why Supplementary Phonics?
Since phonics-first is the foundation of every really good reading, every teacher and tutor should have Blend Phonics available to use as added insurance in case the the adopted method fails some students. In fact,Blend Phonics can be used as the main phonics component of any reading program to assure the success of every student.
Blend Phonics for FREE DOWNLOAD for Every Teacher in America
Everything You Need to Teach Blend Phonics
Reading Made Easy with Blend Phonics for First Grade (1980) by Hazel Loring. Here is the easiest method for teaching beginning reading I have seen anywhere. This little booklet will show any first grade teacher how to teach all children to read in four short months. It is also unsurpassed for remedial reading instruction for any age.
Blend Phonics Supplements
by Donald L. Potter
1. Blend Phonics Reader: Standard Edition. I wrote this Reader to be used for reading practice (homework) after a Unit is taught in the classroom. Notice that there are no stories, only words. Words of similar configuration are grouped together to help student learn to pay close attention to all the letters. Numerous words have been added to my Blend Phonics Reader that are not in the original Blend Phonics program; but they are all 100% decodable according to the phonics skills previously taught. There are approximately 2,080 different words in the Reader. Remember to constantly remind the students of Mr. Potter's Secret of Reading: "Look at all the letters the right way, and no guessing." This unique reader is a powerful tool for preventing and curing whole-word dyslexia. I have seen students improve three grade levels in as little as four hours!
2. Blend Phonics Reader Lite. This special edition of the Blend Phonics Reader is designed for younger students. This reader has only the words in Loring's original program, about 1,450. Here is a special edition of Blend Phonics Lite with the vowels in red. The younger students prefer this edition.
3. Blend Phonics Decodable Stories. Mrs. Elizabeth Brown has written decodable stories to go with the Blends Phonics. Unlike most so-called decodable stories, which are actually hybrid between sight-words and phonics, these stories are truly 100% decodable. They are free of pictures (which can cause whole-word guessing) and predictable text (which can cause context guessing).
4. Blend Phonics Lessons and Stories. This is a special edition of Elizabeth Brown's decodable stories with the stories preceded by the Blend Phonics word list. This is in essence a complete program of phonics lessons and stories. There are 59 storybooks. I have added comprehension questions and a spelling exercise for each story.
4. Blend Phonics Reader: Cursive Edition. Here a cursive edition of my Blend Phonics Reader. It is offered as a systematic way to teach children to read and write cursing using a comprehensive phonics approach. I have found that Cursive is a powerful tool for preventing and curing whole-word dyslexia.
4. Blend Phonics Table of Contents. This two page document outlines the Blend Phonics Scope and Sequence.
6. Blend Phonics Unit Progress Chart: This will help you keep track of each student's progress through the 45 Units of Blend Phonics.
7. Blend Phonics Certificate of Completion. Uses this certificate to award your students for their success. There is a place to date and initial each of the Six-Steps of the Blend Phonics program.
8. Blend Phonics Alphabet Flash Cards. These are just regular flashcards for the 26 letters of the alphabet. Students who know their alphabet well rarely have problems learning to read with phonics-first. Leonard Bloomfield claimed that if a child could tie his or her shoes, pick up a pin, and know the alphabet, he or she could learn to read.
9. Blend Phonics Decoding Cards. These are not indended to be flash cards. They are "decoding cards," designed to automate the decoding progress though repeated (spaced) opportunities to sound-out words. I usually drag my finger under the letters from left to right to help reinforce Blend Phonics Directionality. Here is the Blend Phonics Cards Numbered document that I created to help me number the cards.
10. Blend Phonics Reader: Uppercase Edition. This special edition is in all uppercase sans serf letters. It is useful for very small children since the upperecase letters are visually much simpler than lower case. For older students, who have developed the word-shape guessing habit, the uppercase letters eliminates the possiblity of whole-word configurational guessing since every word has the same shape. Compare: bag, beg, big, bog bug with BAG, BEG, BIG, BOG, BUG.
11. Blend Phonics Sound-to-Symbol Flashcards. These cards can be used with any phonics program. Full instructions on the back of the cards. Flashcard Outline. This set was corrected and revised, 3/12/08.
12. Blend Phonics Charts. These are for teachers and parents to show them how to properly make the speech sounds (phonemes) necessary to teach Blend Phonics with maximum efficiency. They are especially helpful for people who have never been trained to teach reading with phonics.
13. Blend Phonics Sound-to-Symbol Charts. Phonics Charts to help students master the sound-to-symbol relationships taught in Blend Phonics. An audio file will be available soon to illustrate the speech sounds (phonemes) and explain their production - for the purpose of teaching reading. I also recommend the Phonovisual Charts. Phonovisual Review. Phonovisual Consonant Audio for Students. Phonovisual Vowel Audio for Students. Students of all ages can teach themselves the sound-to-symbol relationships with the charts and my audio instruction.
14. Blend Phonics Word Analysis. Here is an alphabetical listing of all 1,446 words in Blend Phonics that I made to demonstrate just how robust the vocabulary of a good phonics like Blend Phonics can be. Note that there are 3,000 words in my Blend Phonics Reader. The extra words follow the same spelling patterns and are designed to teach visual and oral vowel discrimination: putting an end to whole-word guessing.
15. In 1982, Hazel Loring won the prestigious Watson Washburn Memorial Award for Excellence in Education. Mrs. Loring wrote an excellent autobiographical article for The Reading Informer, a publication of the Reading Reform Foundation in 1979: Intensive Phonics: The Only Way to Go."
16. Tribute to Hazel Loring by her son.
17. Spelling Rules for Blend Phonics by Mrs. Elizabeth Brown
18. Blend Phonics Syllables. Syllables for the Blend Phonics Reader.
19. How Johnny Finally Learned to Read (A story using all 220 Dolch List Sight Words).
20. Charlie Richardson has written a helpful supplement to Blend Phonics (or any other synthetic phonics program) for teachers who need a brief but informative introduction to phonics: The Alphabet Code & How It Works. For audio-instruction in the Alphabet Code, click here: Alphabet Code - mp3.
20. Mr. Edward Miller's Miller Word Identification Assessment (MWIA) for whole-word dyslexia. This is the assessment instrument that turn my life around because it demonstrated conclusively that most of the dyslexia that I was remediating was the result of sight-word instruction. It also pointed me toward Hazel Loring's Reading Made Easy with Blend Phonics for First Grade as the definitive solution to both preventing and remediating the disability. Here is a Revision of the MWIA to make it according with the Dolch Sight Word List.
21. Florence Akin's 1913 Word Mastery makes a perfect supplement or follow-up to Blend Phonics. It begins with a very thorough and systematic presentation of all the consonants and short vowels assisted by pictures. After practicing words using the short vowels, the book teaches the rest of English phonics through the phonogram approach. It has been successfully used by countless teachers and parents for many decades. I have received numerous glowing reports from parents who have used the method with their children, even children who had previously failed to learn to read in the classroom.
22. Blend Phonics PowerPoint. This is the complete program, including the decidable readers written by my coworker Elizabeth Brown.
Concerning the Effectiveness of Blend Phonics (and Word Mastery)
I recently received an unsolicited letter from Dr. Eugene Roth, Jr. of Phoenix, Arizona, concerning the effectiveness of Blend Phonics and the companion program, Word Master. For the insights of a professional with years experience working with children struggling with learning difficulties, please read this Letter from Dr. Roth.