FAQ

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about YesPhonics™

We are committed to your successful experience with YesPhonics™ and to illuminating the methodology we use. Below you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions, from the basics of phonics to in-depth application of the YesPhonics™ products.

The Foundation:

1. What is phonics?

2. What is a phonogram?

3. What is a mnemonic?

4. What is multi-sensory teaching?

5. What is phonemic awareness?

6. What is meant by explicit phonics?

The Results:

7. What results can I expect from teaching YesPhonics™?

8. When will I start to see results?

9. Does your program teach sentence structure/grammar?

10. Is YesPhonics™ guaranteed to work?

Delivery & Terms:

11. Do you offer discounts for multiple orders?

12. Can I return YesPhonics™ for any reason?

13. What is your privacy policy?

14: When can I expect delivery on my order?

15. Do you offer customer support?

The Methodology:

16. What is the Orton-Spalding Method?

17. What is the Ayres Spelling List?

18. What is the “Writing Road to Reading” and how is that connected to YesPhonics™?

The Unique Tools:

19. How is YesPhonics™ different than Hooked on Phonics©? (link to article)

20. How do the mnemonics in the Flash Card Phonogram Pack help memory and recall?

21. I am currently using the “Writing Road to Reading” program but I spend way too much time preparing lesson plans. Can you help with that?

22. Is the Creative Coloring Book [LINK] more than just a playful diversion from studying phonograms and spelling words?

23. What is the difference between left brain and right brain learning, and how does that effect phonics education?

The Students:

24. Is YesPhonics™ a tool for teachers or students?

25. Does YesPhonics™ help teach English as a Second Language?

26. Does YesPhonics™ help dyslexic students?

27. What age/grade students can benefit from YesPhonics™?

28. When should a child begin using YesPhonics™?

Materials:

29. Can I use the YesPhonics™ materials for more than one student or child?

30. Does YesPhonics™ offer phonics games and phonics activities?

31. Is YesPhonics™ Express a short curriculum to be used over a few months, or is it a program I would use throughout the school year?

32. What if I lose an item from my YesPhonics™ toolkit?

33. Are components of YesPhonics™ sold separately?

YesPhonics™ In-Depth:

Sequence

34. Why does YesPhonics™ teach the phonograms before teaching the alphabet?

35. Why are all of the sounds of the phonograms taught first in isolation?

36. Why are spelling words taught in the order of use frequency?

37. Is sequencing important? Does it matter in what order the phonograms are presented?

38. Why is spelling taught before reading?

39. What is taught in the first 5 weeks in order to begin reading?

40. How are the programs taught step-by-step without teacher training?

Sounds

41. How can the consonant sounds be pronounced without the /uh/?

42. Why aren’t the names of the alphabet letters taught with their sounds?

43. Does this method teach the “schwa” unstressed vowel sound /uh/?

Spelling

44. How important are spelling rules?

45. Are there rules regarding the placement of phonograms at the end of words?

46. Isn’t the freedom to work with “invented” spelling important?

47. What is the value of marking the spelling words?

Students

48. Isn’t it difficult to teach writing and sounds together to beginning students? What about correcting writing patterns of older students?

49. Are the Sound-A-Long DVD and Sound-A-Long CD for the students/children or for the teachers?

50. How can schools and parents help students, 4th grade to college, that are poor readers and spellers learn to read with comprehension, spell accurately & write compositions?

51. How can I get my 7th graders who reads at the 1st grade level to believe that they won’t fail with “just one more method”?

52. Isn’t the Orton method for special education? I have heard that it is not needed for normal students.

53. Can I combine lessons for multiple grades? How?

Flash Cards

54. Why not have both the lowercase and capital letters on the phonogram Flash Cards?

55. Why not have writing instructions and spelling rules on the phonogram Flash Cards?

Miscellaneous

56. It says to review the previously learned phonograms each day as they are being introduced but I am not sure if it matters how we review them.

57. If students miss a word on the practice quiz after learning a list what should we do?

58. I didn’t notice any extra practice quizzes or end of the week tests on the words of the week beyond the first day they are dictated. Is that correct?

59. After a student has learned how to write a letter, how much practice should he/she do? How many times should they write it and should there be any follow up practice on the other days?

60. Why aren’t blends and word families used with this method

61. Isn’t it difficult for young children to use the “clock face” for writing reference points?

62. What do you tell the student when the written letter sometimes appears different when it is printed?

63. Aren’t the illustrations with keyword captions the same as pictures for context clues?

64. What is meant by a “non-consumable” program?

If you have additional questions about YesPhonics™, please email us at support@yesphonics.com. In the meantime, you will find a broad spectrum of information on YesPhonics™ below.


Answers to Your Frequently Asked Questions:

The Foundation:

1. What is phonics?

Phonics is a method for teaching reading, writing and spelling by developing students’ability to hear, identify, and manipulate all the sounds and sound combinations in the English Language. Phonics teaches students to decode words into their individual sounds using the 72 Orton phonograms (see #2) and the 45 phonetic sounds in the English language. Phonics also teaches advanced linguistics such as constructing syllables, semantics, grammar, structure and language comprehension.

Historical note: In 1998, the National Research Council of the National Academies of the United States published research that concluded that phonics is a very effective way to teach children to read at the word level, more effective than the “whole language” (look-say, rote memorization) approach.

2. What is a phonogram?

A phonogram is a letter, or combination of letters, that represents one or more voiced sounds in a word. The phonograms are the 26 alphabet letters and 46 multi-letter combinations that combine to make the 45 sounds heard in English speech.

In the 1950s, neurologist Dr. Samuel Orton created what are now widely recognized as the 72 Orton Phonograms, encompassing all the sounds and sound sequences in the English language. With phonograms, Orton and his colleagues in linguistic research revolutionized how children learn to read, write and spell.

The brilliant Orton-Spalding method for teaching language arts through sounds and sound combinations is the cornerstone of the YesPhonics™ reading, spelling and writing program.

3. What is a mnemonic?

A mnemonic is a learning device that helps aid memory and retention by translating raw information into a form that the human brain can easily retain. The mnemonic tools in YesPhonics™ are unique illustrations that serve as memory aids, embedding a strong foundation upon which students build all their reading, writing and spelling skills. The YesPhonics™ illustration for “have a ball,” for example, teaches three sounds of the letter “a” and helps students remember those sounds through a graphic illustration that is fun and interesting.

4. What is multi-sensory teaching?

Children have very different learning styles. When a multi-sensory approach of seeing, hearing, saying and writing the phonograms and spelling words directly from dictation is used, then all students will learn whether they have a learning mode that is auditory, visual or kinesthetic.

A multi-sensory method has a synergistic effect of addressing the stronger learning mode while reinforcing the weakest; it is effective for beginning, remedial and advanced students.

5. What is phonemic awareness?

Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear the sounds within a word when it is spoken. There are 45 sounds in the English language; they are heard and practiced in the 72 Orton Phonograms.

The phonograms teach phonemic awareness, which is literally “sound” awareness. It is the understanding that words are made up of sounds and being able to hear, recognize, break apart and manipulate the individual sounds that make up a word. For example, it is the ability to recognize that the word “mother” is made up of the separate sounds /m/-/o/-/th/-/er/. Children vary greatly in their natural ability to hear the sounds within words. Many do not realize the words they hear break apart into smaller sounds (phonemes). Hearing the individual sounds within a word is difficult because when we speak, we effortlessly blend all the sounds together which hides the phonetic nature of spoken language. In order to read and spell fluently these sounds (phonemes) must first be taught systematically and explicitly in isolation which is easily accomplished with the phonograms.

6. What is meant by explicit phonics?

Explicit phonics move from the smallest part to the whole. Students first learn the phonograms (letters and combinations of letters) and their sounds. They then build and recombine them into syllables and words. This method teaches the phonograms explicitly.

The Results:

7. What results can I expect from teaching YesPhonics™?

After completing the YesPhonics™ Express phonics activities, your student/s will be able to read over 30,000 words. (Compare that to the 900 words students typically learn using a sight reading program.)

In spelling lessons, students learn phonemic awareness, systematic phonics and commonly used vocabulary words. The writing lessons use the same high-frequency words from the spelling lessons to learn word meanings, usage, word parts, grammar, and composition. The reading lessons teach students narrative structure, exposition, fluency, and listening and reading comprehension.

In your YesPhonics™Express toolkit, you’ll receive the Chart of Spelling Rules – the 29 hard-and-fast rules to spelling words in the English language, and well as the Ayres 1,300 most common spelling words of the English language, critical for students beginning to learn the English language.

Students learn how to write, with the 7 strokes of manuscript writing in the YesPhonics™ unique Circle Point Chart. YesPhonics™ Express teaches cursive and manuscript writing in a format designed to accommodate the motor skills of growing children.

For remedial and reluctant readers, the Orton-Spalding method has been known to help 13- and 14-year-olds increase their reading skills by four grades over the course of a summer.

With YesPhonics™you can engage your eager students, inspire the core, and end the struggle of students who are consistently falling behind, testing low, and losing confidence.

8. When will I start to see results?

Students will immediately begin learning as soon as they start the program. On the very first day, they’ll learn 2-6 phonograms and the 7 strokes of manuscript writing. They’ll also start reading a book that is of special interest to them and appropriate to their skill level.

Within 5 weeks, students will be introduced to phonemic awareness of the 45 sounds heard in English speech using the Phonogram Flash Cards and the Phonics Codes for English Illustrated Phonogram. They will learn 56 of the 72 Orton Phonograms using the multi-sensory method of seeing, hearing and saying the phonograms sound sequences and writing the alphabet letters.

They will learn 150 of the 1,300 Ayers Spelling Words taught in the order of use frequency, as that is the easiest way to learn to construct literate English sentences.

They will learn 10 of the 29 Spalding Spelling Rules using the corresponding Lesson Plans and Student Worksheets.

They will write and read sentences using words from their Spelling Notebook.

They will be introduced to vowels (long & short) and consonants, syllables, nouns and verbs.

Reading begins as students read words and construct sentences from their Spelling Notebooks. The students will have instant recognition of high frequency words.

In a 60-day time frame beginning students will be writing sentences using the words from their Spelling Notebooks and will be reading beginning literature. Other learners will experience a significant advancement in their reading and spelling skills. Test it for yourself at no risk with our 60-day money-back guarantee. (See #9 below).

The YesPhonics™ Express program is taught with step-by-step manuals that have a 3-level curriculum, sequenced as follows:

    1. The first level is comprised of learning all the phonograms as well as learning how to physically write (manuscript writing). Students at this level will also learn some of the 29 Spelling Rules of the English language.
    2. The second level advances to writing and marking the spelling words in the first section of the Ayres Spelling List. Students will also be reviewing the phonograms throughout this level, reinforcing what they learned in the first level by using word markings and Spelling Rules.
    3. The third level of the program is building on the second level by marking the Ayres spelling words (which are more difficult in the third section) according to the phonograms with word markings. All of the spelling words are learned through dictation by the teacher, phonogram by phonogram.

9. Does your program teach sentence structure/grammar?

Yes. Phonics teaches students to decode words into their individual sounds and also teaches advanced linguistics such as constructing syllables, semantics, grammar, structure and language comprehension.

The writing lessons use the same high-frequency words from the spelling lessons to learn word meanings, usage, word parts, grammar, and composition. The reading lessons teach students narrative structure, exposition, fluency, and listening and reading comprehension.

10. Is YesPhonics™ guaranteed to work?

We are so confident that you’ll get results from the step-by-step tools in YesPhonics™ that we back our program with a 60-day money-back guarantee. Try it for yourself, risk free, for two months. If you’re not completely satisfied, return the materials and we’ll refund your purchase, less a 10% stocking fee, with no hassle and no questions asked.

If for any reason you are not satisfied and wish to return the program within 60 days of your purchase, please email [LINK] for a return merchandise authorization (RMA) number. Pack the program and invoice in its original box. Write the RMA number on two sides of the box. Mail the original packaging inside a Priority Mailing box from the U.S. Post Office. Ship the box with a delivery confirmation postmarked within 60 days to: YesPhonics, P.O. Box 8651, Missoula, MT 59802. Note: This guarantee applies to one YesPhonics™ Express Program in a purchase of multiple programs.

Delivery & Terms:

11. Do you offer discounts for multiple orders?

Yes. Schools and educational institutions receive a 5% discount on purchases of 3 or more programs. Contact us at yesphonics@yesphonics.com for special pricing code. Shipping is calculated separately on multiple orders and is not included in the purchase price.

12. Can I return YesPhonics™ for any reason?

Yes. If for any reason you are not satisfied within 60 days of your purchase, just return the materials and we will refund 100% of your purchase price.

13. What is your privacy policy?

YesPhonics™ shopping cart uses a secure server supporting SSL encryption to collect customer information and credit card numbers to process orders. Your personal information will not be shared or sold to any outside party.

14. When can I expect delivery on my order?

Products delivered in the United States are shipped free* via USPS Priority Mail and will arrive in 2-4 business days. International shipping & handling charges will be calculated in your shopping cart at checkout. Your order will be shipped within 48 hours unless otherwise directed, via USPS Express (6-10 days), Global Priority or Air Parcel Post (best & fastest way to your destination). Customer agrees to pay custom duties & taxes. *Multiple orders are excluded from free shipping.

15. Do you offer customer support?

YesPhonics™ offers free, unlimited email support to help ensure your success every step of the way, and give you added peace of mind with your purchase. Note: Free, unlimited support applies to email inquiries only.

The Methodology:

16. What is the Orton-Spalding Method?

The brilliant Orton-Spalding method for teaching language arts through sounds and sound combinations is the cornerstone of the YesPhonics™ reading, spelling and writing program.

This teaching philosophy puts the highest priority on the physical and mental well-being of students, encouraging them as they move through material that builds upon previous lessons, and building their confidence and well as their cognitive skills.

The phonics methodology is derived from a body of time-tested knowledge and practice, as well as scientific evidence about how people learn to read and write. In phonics, the thinking brain processes information through all the learning pathways – sight, sound, touch, and motion. This unique approach helps students understand words, sentences, grammar and composition more easily.

Instructors model sounds, words and sentences, coaching their students and providing feedback and support. The students see, hear, write, and read using the multi-sensory channels to the brain to enhance retention. This interactive approach is delivered in a specific, cumulative sequence that facilitates learning and encourages progress, eventually leading students to critical and conceptual thinking.

In spelling lessons, students learn phonemic awareness, systematic phonics and commonly used vocabulary words. The writing lessons use the same high-frequency words from the spelling lessons to learn word meanings, usage, word parts, grammar, and composition. The reading lessons teach students narrative structure, exposition, fluency, and listening and reading comprehension.

In the initial stages of reading development, systematic phonics stresses the components of the English alphabet, and its inherent sound/symbol relationships. Broken into parts, we see that spoken words are made up of individual sounds, and the letters of written words represent those speech sounds.

The most common spelling patterns of the English language can be isolated into 72 phonograms. A phonogram is a letter, or combination of letters, that represents one or more voiced sounds in a word. The phonograms are the 26 alphabet letters and 46 multi-letter combinations that combine to make the 45 sounds heard in English speech.

Phonics teaches students to decode words into their individual sounds and also teaches advanced linguistics such as constructing syllables, semantics, grammar, structure and language comprehension.

A student’s emotional experience of the learning process is critical to their success, confidence and motivation. The phonics methodology provides continuous feedback and positive reinforcement, so students don’t become overwhelmed and discouraged as they move from the basic materials to the increasingly complex.

17. What is the Ayres Spelling List?

The tried-and-true Ayres’ Spelling List contains the 1,000 most commonly used words in the English Language. YesPhonics™ adds 300 additional words to this list, and combined, they provide the foundation for your students’ reading, writing and spelling skills. The 1,300 words on the YesPhonics™ Spelling List are taught in syllables using a multi-sensory approach (sound, sight, touch, kinesthetics), which guarantees accurate spelling and fluent reading.

18. What is the “Writing Road to Reading” and how is it connected to YesPhonics™?

The “Writing Road to Reading” is a phonetic language arts approach, developed by educational pioneer Romalda Bishop Spalding, which has been used by teachers and parents for nearly fifty years to teach millions of students to spell, write, and read. While the concept is brilliant, many teachers struggle to present the materials in an effective way, often spending many hours out of the classroom learning how to teach phonics. This obstacle, in fact, was the inspiration for creating YesPhonics™, which gives teachers, tutors and parents easy, step-by-step instructions and tools to teach phonics to students of all ages and any ability, with stunning results.

The Unique Tools:

19. How is YesPhonics™ different than Hooked on Phonics©?

From counter-productive techniques to their proliferation of expensive products, we found several reasons why teachers will want to look carefully into Hooked on Phonics© before making an investment. Link HERE to a study that compares the tools, techniques and fundamental approach of YesPhonics™ to “Hooked.”

20. How do the mnemonics in the Flash Card Phonogram Pack help memory and recall?

YesPhonics™ uses mnemonic devices in the form of clever illustrations to link sounds and sound sequences to everyday object and activities. “Have a ball,” for example, demonstrates three sounds of the letter “a” in a manner that transform the raw data into an image and then into the student’s brain. This process of translation helps embed the information into the students’ long-term memory. (For more information on how mnemonics help the human brain process and retain information, see #3 above.)

21. I am currently using the “Writing Road to Reading” program but I spend way too much time preparing lesson plans. Can you help with that?

Most definitely. YesPhonics™ is unique in that the lesson plans are already created for the teacher/parent, so you’ll spend no time whatsoever in preparation. You can start teaching the moment the YesPhonics™ Express program arrives on your doorstep. Just start! The planning is already done and the structure is built in with step-by-step instructions. With YesPhonics™ Express you can focus on teaching, not preparing lesson plans.

22. Is the Creative Coloring Book [LINK] more than just a playful diversion from studying phonograms and spelling words?

Yes, much more. The Creative Coloring Book engages the right/creative hemisphere of the brain, while it reviews and deepens the students’ understanding of the phonograms they’ve already studied. Not only can the students color the mnemonic illustrations for each of the 72 Orton Phonograms, a special section is provided for them to draw the illustrations. This powerful left brain/ right brain interaction offers a whole brain – and consequently “whole child” – approach to learning.

23. What is the difference between left brain and right brain learning, and how does that effect phonics education?

The left hemisphere of the brain controls analytical, linear and objective skills, while the right hemisphere guides our creative, intuitive and subjective natures.

This is important in phonics education because stimulating both sides of the brain helps develop cognitive skills, abstract thinking, and sequencing abilities.

Studying the phonograms, spelling rules, word lists, etc. engages the student’s left brain. YesPhonics™ activities such as Phingo!, the phonetic bingo game, and the Creative Coloring Book encourages students’ natural desire to express themselves while developing their creative, right brain.

This connection between the two sides of the brain – as it processes the same material in different ways – is vital to the learning process. By offering tools that engage and connect with both the left and right hemispheres of the brain, YesPhonics™ offers a whole brain – and consequently “whole child” – approach to learning.

The Students:

24. Is YesPhonics™ a tool for teachers or students?

While YesPhonics™can be used successfully as a self-help program for more advanced students, its primary purpose is to aid teachers in presenting the Orton-Spalding Method of reading, writing and spelling. YesPhonics™ also gives the same tools to tutors and parents who are home-schooling their children.

One of the most important aspects of YesPhonics™is that you can begin teaching the day the program arrives. YesPhonics™ Express offers easy, step-by-step tools including teaching guides, lesson plans, spelling lists and more. No special teacher training is required.

25. Does YesPhonics™ help teach English as a Second Language?

Yes. YesPhonics™ is particularly helpful in teaching ESL students why words are spelled and pronounced the unique way they are in the English language. This, in turn, teaches the ESL learner how to read, spell and speak English words and sentences. A great example is, ‘piece of pie.’ The foreign language student will be taught why the phonogram ‘ie’ says both the long ē, and the long ī. YesPhonics™ also helps students differentiate between words that sound the same but are spelled differently, such as, ‘piece’ and ‘peace’ – all by learning the sounds of the phonograms.

ESL students will also learn the secret about the ‘schwa uh’, which reveals why some words are spelled one way and sound a different way. This guarantees that the student will learn intricacies of the English language that would otherwise hinder them from speaking fluently.

Phonograms help ESL students excel because it teaches them the fundamentals of sounds in English. Without these sounds, is almost impossible to learn English efficiently and effectively.

26. Does YesPhonics™ help dyslexic students?

Most definitely. Research shows that the whole language (see-and-say) method of learning, “in addition to being ineffective … may be harmful to learners at risk for reading failure. http://www.spalding.org/index.php?tname=about&p=vol18-3)

The earliest research and development of phonics was for the purpose of helping students who suffered from dyslexia and other learning disabilities. Early in the 20th century, neurologist Samuel T. Orton, M.D. began looking at this population of readers who suffered from what he called, “strepho symbolia” or twisted symbols. Building on his research, language arts teacher, Anna Gillingham, developed a highly integrated, systematic, and individualized teaching approach for dyslexic students. Romalda Spalding later adapted her tools and materials specifically for the classroom.

YesPhonics™ is based upon the proven research and time-tested materials of Dr. Orton and Romalda Spalding. Learners from age 6 through adulthood can attain reading, spelling, writing and comprehension levels they never thought possible.

The promise of YesPhonics™ is to develop students’ abilities to read, comprehend, be good listeners, speak and write well, who are enthusiastic about their progress and want to continue to develop their language skills. When parents talk about their best and highest hopes for their children in school, this is what they are talking about.

27. What age/grade students can benefit from YesPhonics™?

The YesPhonics™ Express program is taught with a step-by-step manual that has a 3-level curriculum that spans learning levels between the kindergarten and middle school.

Even preschool children benefit from the tools in YesPhonics™ Express, particularly the 72 Orton Phonograms, Sound-A-Long DVD and Flash Card Phonogram Pack.

High school students who are struggling in school, or falling behind in class, are often able to catch up with their peers with the Express Program. YesPhonics™ can also be used with amazing success with students in special education or with learning disabilities, as well as reluctant readers, at-risk teens, and illiterate adults.

All learners will profit quickly with the YesPhonics™ Express program, from kindergarten through college. The program also helps those interested in self-improvement, as well as students who are gifted, bilingual, or learning English as a second language.

28. When should a child begin using YesPhonics™?

The “Phonics for English Reading, Spelling & Writing Express” program is sequenced for Levels 1-3 (for beginning students K-3rd grade). Many children can begin the program earlier at home. Other learners should start at the beginning and work through the program to insure they do not have gaps in their basic phonics knowledge.

Teachers, tutors, parents & self-learners use the program in school and home schools. Students K-College, Gifted, Special Education, Self-Learning: Career Advancement, Remedial, High School, College and ESL/EFL students also use the program.

MATERIALS

29. Can I use the YesPhonics™ materials for more than one student or child?

Yes. The same materials can be used over and over for as many students as you like, for as long as you like. In fact, YesPhonics™Express gives you sturdy reproducible masters, so you only need to make one purchase. Ever.

30. Does YesPhonics™ offer phonics games and phonics activities?

Yes. Students learn more quickly and with more enthusiasm when presented with opportunities to play games and engage in fun activities.

The Phingo!™ game, for example, helps make learning fun, while it encourages students with immediate and positive feedback. Play this engaging, bingo-style, phonics game with two students, a small group, or the entire classroom. Cleverly woven into the Phingo!™ cards are the 72 Orton phonograms – time-proven and kid-tested to build a strong foundation for reading, writing and spelling. Phingo!™ also utilizes three learning techniques – visual, auditory and kinesthetic – to help embed the sounds and sound combinations more deeply in long-term memory.

YesPhonics™ also produces the Creative Coloring Book, which gives children (and parents) a well-deserved break from more rigorous pursuits, and lets them engage their creative impulses. Children have the opportunity to color, and also to draw, the 72 Orton-Spalding phonograms that have proven to be so successful in teaching students to read, spell and write. As children break from the traditional learning model and begin to exercise the creative side of their brain, their enthusiasm grows, their confidence builds, and their learning deepens.

The YesPhonics™ Flash Card Phonogram Pack is another engaging phonics game that is embedded with phonics codes that engages students instead of boring them with memorization lists. Combining phonics sounds with illustrations, the Flash Card Phonogram Pack helps students learn to read and understand words without arduous, unproductive memorization.

31. Is YesPhonics™ Express a short curriculum to be used over a few months, or is it a program I would use throughout the school year?

The beauty of YesPhonics™ is that it was designed to be used at the individual pace of the parents/teachers/students using it. The program is structured so that the curriculum can be introduced at kindergarten and then used over a span of three years (grades 1-3).

The structure is built in with step-by-step, progressive instructions. The rest is up to you.

A homeschool parents and their children can work the program at their own pace; it all depends on how fast the student is learning and how much they want to study. Progress also depends on how much time a day is set aside for teaching the program. Obviously, you’re going to get better results if you teach the program for one hour a day vs. 15 minutes.

32. What if I lose an item from my YesPhonics™ toolkit?

Some components of YesPhonics™ are sold separately (see #29 below). The YesPhonics™ Express manual is not sold separately. If you lose an item out of your kit that isn’t sold as as single component, e-mail our support team at support@yesphonics.com.

33. Are components of YesPhonics™ sold separately?

The following items can be purchased separately: Flash Card Phonogram Pack, Spelling Notebook, Sound-A-Long DVD and Sound-A-Long CD, and Phingo!™.

The YesPhonics™ Express Program, and its components are sold as a whole unit, and include: the Program Manual, Illustrated Flash Cards*, 72 Orton Phonograms, 1,300 Most Commonly Used Words, 29 Spelling Rules Chart, Spelling Notebook*, Teaching Guides, Reproducible Masters, Sound-A-Long DVD* and Sound-A-Long CD*.

*These items are also sold separately.

YesPhonics™ IN-DEPTH:

SEQUENCE

34. Why does YesPhonics™ teach the phonograms before teaching the alphabet?

Teaching the alphabet to students before they learn the phonograms is a very big mistake that hinders each student from day one. Many phonics programs, including Hooked on Phonics©, create bad habits in phonics awareness by first teaching only one sound for each letter of the alphabet. Students should learn the phonogram sounds first, learning all the sounds each letter makes.

35. Why are all of the sounds of the phonograms taught first in isolation?

The phonograms are taught explicitly first and fast. The students need to see phonics in operation.

Memory research has verified the efficiency of teaching all of the sounds of the phonogram at one time, rather than in layers. When the phonogram’s sounds are introduced together, the computer brain can store the information in one folder for easy retrieval.

The alphabet letters (phonograms 1-26) are taught first. Then the spelling words begin and are taught with the Lesson Plans and Worksheets concurrently with phonograms 27-72.

Some phonograms have the same sound in every word in which they appear. Others have several sounds, and deciding which sound to use is one of the skills needed for decoding (reading). The sounds of the phonograms are in the order of their frequency of use. For instance, the sound sequence for the phonogram “a” is 1. /a/ (have), 2. /a/ (letter name), 3. /ah/ (ball). It says its 1st sound about 70% of the time, its 2nd sound almost 25% of the time and its 3rd sound less often. When the students try the first sound in a word they will most often be right. If the 1st sound doesn’t work, then they should try the 2nd sound and the 3rd sound last.

All of the sounds of the phonogram must be known from the beginning for spelling, writing and reading of common words such as: “me” says the 2nd sound of the letter “e”; “do” says the 4th sound of the letter “o”; “my” says the 2nd vowel sound of the letter “y”.

36. Why are spelling words taught in the order of use frequency?

Dr. Leonard Ayres ferreted out the one-thousand words in most common use in the everyday world and by numerous tests has arranged these in the order of increasing difficulty, marking off the points at which each successive grade could use the spelling word list.

Teaching the Extended Ayres Spelling Word List of the 1000 (plus derivatives) of the most commonly used words taught in the order of use frequency, explains most of the spelling problems in the English language in words that we use most often.

The spelling words are the building blocks of the language. The first 100 spelling words make up 30% of all that we read and write. The student needs to learn to write these words without needing to pause, analyze or think.

In order for the beginning student to learn to construct literate English sentences they must learn spelling words in order of use frequency; not only words in categories or of the letters/phonograms being taught. From the beginning the students construct oral and written sentences using the words from their Spelling Notebooks. The sentences are read aloud to the class. When the logic of the language is clearly taught, students spell their way to reading.

37. Is sequencing important? Does it matter in what order the phonograms are presented?

Sequencing is very important when presenting the phonograms. Not only are the phonograms themselves ordered from most frequently used to less frequently use, but the sounds within each phonogram are also thusly sequenced.

38. Why is spelling taught before reading?

Phonics awareness and auditory processing skills can be more precisely and efficiently taught through spelling rather than randomly taught through “implicit” phonics applied to pronouncing words for reading. Phonics for reading alone gives only approximate pronunciations for many words.

Early learning of correct spelling patterns (while avoiding programming or misinformation such as “invented” spellings), allows elementary students to write with increased precision and creativity. As a result, they can then read at their interest and speaking vocabulary levels, enjoying quality literature with its obvious benefits.

The student’s first reading “in context” experience is to read the sentences she/he has written from the spelling words. Correct spellings of words are the same as standard “book print”. Accurate spelling guarantees fluent reading.

In the spelling lessons the students obtain the basic knowledge of how the written language works. At the completion of the spelling list at the end of the 3rd grade the student can decode (read/pronounce) the longest of unfamiliar words syllable by syllable.

At this point, students are able to read anything in their comprehension vocabularies, about 30,000 words. Compare these with the 900 words third-graders are able to read using Whole Language.

39. What is taught in the first 5 weeks in order to begin reading?

In the YesPhonics™ for English Reading, Spelling & Writing Express program:

Students will be introduced to phonemic awareness of the 45 sounds heard in English speech using the Phonogram Flash Cards and the Phonics Codes for English Illustrated Phonogram Sound-A-Long DVD, Sound-A-Long CD.

They will learn 56 of the 72 Orton Phonograms using the multi-sensory method of seeing, hearing and saying the phonograms sound sequences and writing the alphabet letters. The phonograms are easy-to-learn with the illustrated phonogram sound sequence keyword caption coloring/handout sheets & the Sound-A-Long DVD/CD.

They will learn 150 of the 1000 Ayres Spelling Words taught in the order of use frequency, as that is the easiest way to learn to construct literate English sentences.

They will learn 10 of the 29 Spalding Spelling Rules using the corresponding Lesson Plans & Student Worksheets.

They will write and read sentences using words from their Spelling Notebook.

They will be introduced to vowels (long & short) & consonants, syllables, nouns and verbs.

Reading begins as students read words and construct sentences from their Spelling Notebooks. The students will have instant recognition of high frequency words and do not require controlled vocabulary, basal textbooks. Offer students books they are interested in, instead. Let them discover for themselves the lifelong joy of reading.

40. How are the programs taught step-by-step without teacher training?

In the YesPhonics™ Phonics for English Reading, Spelling & Writing Express program the “Sequence” gives the step-by-step order of teaching the program for the experienced and inexperienced teacher, tutor or parent for both classroom and one-to-one teaching. The “Sequence” coordinates the how and when of presentation and integrates the subjects to be taught.

SOUNDS

41. How can the consonant sounds be pronounced without the /uh/?

Very easily; simply hold the breath as the sounds are said. This will eliminate the buh, cuh, duh, fuh, guh, or ruh etc. This is a critical point for accurate reading and spelling at a later time.

42. Why aren’t the names of the alphabet letters taught with their sounds?

Teaching the names of the alphabet letters first is confusing and non-productive. We don’t talk, read or spell by saying and thinking names of letters.

In the beginning this method teaches only the sound sequences of the letters. The names of the alphabet letters are not important at this time, but the sounds are.

You can delay teaching the letter names. This lowers the learning load for the students and speeds them on their way to reading.

Strange as it may seem, children who enter school without having learned the names of the letters or capital letter formation learn these sound/symbol relationships more easily. They have nothing to unlearn.

43. Does this method teach the “schwa” unstressed vowel sound /uh/?

Worldwide English spellings are relatively uniform, whereas speech is very diverse. We use “Think to Spell” as a memory device; the word is sounded and spelled the way it is written. Then it is pronounced in the normal speech of the student.

In the rhythm of speech, vowels in unstressed syllables are often muffled and sound like /uh/, this is called “schwa”. Unless we “think” the vowel as it is written, spelling will not be accurate.

We pronounce the word “about” /uh/.bout. In spelling we stress the /a/.bout (long a) and say in speech /uh/bout. We pronounce the word “account” /uh/.count. In spelling we stress the /ac/.count (short a) and say in speech /uh/.count. We stress the vowel according to the applicable spelling rule.

In reading, if none of the vowel’s sounds work for their normal speech, then the student is advised to try the schwa sound /uh/ (rel./a/.tive, rel./uh/.tive; al.ledge,/uh/.ledge). In this program the two schwa vowel sounds that are of concern are “a” (ago) and “e” (agent). The schwa sound of vowel “o” as in love (being so numerous) has been added as its third sound. The schwa sound of vowel “u” as in circus (for practical purposes) is the same as its first sound. The schwa sound of vowels “i” and “y” need not concern most learners.

“Think to Spell” is used for words with double consonants; both are pronounced for spelling (ap.ple, lit.tle, fol.low, sum.mer).

SPELLING

44. How important are spelling rules?

The methodology in YesPhonics™ teaches 29 spelling rules in the phonogram dialogues and with the spelling words. The spelling rules are not taught in isolation. The spelling words are referenced to the spelling rules and the students Worksheets and are coordinated through the “Sequence” and presented with the Lesson Plans.

The knowledge of spelling rules is a real short cut to spelling accuracy. Learning one rule for many words is much easier than memorizing each word individually as is taught in whole language.

The sound/symbol relationship and spelling rules that should be taught with phonograms and spelling words are highly relevant because those that do not know them cannot learn to spell except by whole-word memorization. About 10% of students have enough photographic memory to do quite well. Around 30% lack this visual ability and another 50% cannot perform this task well. The failure to teach English as a sound/symbol/rules system causes sustained frustration, slow thought, low self-esteem and failure for at least 60% of writers and readers.

45. Are there rules regarding the placement of phonograms at the end of words?

Yes. Some phonograms may be used at the end of English words, such as the 2-letter ‘a’ in the phonogram, “play sailboat”. The ‘ay’ in play can be used at the end of a sentence, but they ‘ai’ in sailboat cannot.

46. Isn’t the freedom to work with “invented” spelling important?

Using “invented” spellings for composition naturally leads to trouble with reading. Accurate spelling is the road to reading; it corresponds to printed material and is critical to the reading process. Incorrect spelling practice “wires” the brain wrong and tends to be permanent; it is strongly associated with reading disability.

Complete phonics taught explicitly is directed to spelling applications. Learning to spell words through the dictation process phonogram-by-phonogram, syllable-by-syllable creates a long term memory base more quickly and efficiently than just noting what is already on the page to be spelled or read. (Also see #33.)

47. What is the value of marking the spelling words?

The marking system of the spelling words causes the student to analyze the word and respond with a kinesthetic action that reinforces the correct spelling.

The marking system helps us to define the way our language works. This simple system uses underlining, numbers, x’s and brackets. These markings tell us how to pronounce words that are spelled the same but are pronounced differently, which phonograms are used, which Silent Final e is used, and which sound of the phonogram’s sequence is used etc.

Dr. Sylvia Farnham-Diggory, “Schooling” (1990) explains: “Spalding’s most remarkable contribution is her invention of the marking system that enables children to connect spelling rules to reading. The marking system is the bridge that connects spelling to reading. After a few hours of practice children find themselves spontaneously marking, mentally, words they see on street signs, buildings, and so on. They “see” these words in their marked form. They are developing, in effect, a coded sight vocabulary. They are not merely recognizing words by sight but are, at the same time, recognizing, what parts of them embody generalizable rules. This provides the student with guidelines for reading by analogy.”

STUDENTS (IN DEPTH)

48. Isn’t it difficult to teach writing and sounds together to beginning students? What about correcting writing patterns of older students?

On the contrary, teaching the sounds and handwriting together saves time and is a beneficial factor in building cognition. The multi-sensory method is used by seeing, hearing and saying the phonogram sound sequence and dialogue aloud and writing it from dictation.

All students should use precise manuscript handwriting while learning the phonograms. There is a high correlation between remedial readers and poor handwriting. If the letters are made incorrectly, they are also pictured incorrectly. This is a serious cause of failure in both reading and writing. Correcting the handwriting patterns with manuscript writing will make the “brain connection” to printed material. Later cursive writing may be taught/used.

49. Are the Sound-A-Long DVD and Sound-A-Long CD for the students/children or for the teachers?

The Phonics Codes for English Illustrated Phonogram Sound-A-Long DVD is used for teaching and learning the phonograms’ sound sequences and dialogues. The DVD guides the student through the 72 Orton Phonograms once and is 26 minutes long. The phonogram with its illustration and caption are shown together on the flashcard.

The 72 Phonogram Flashcards are shown and called by number. The sound sequence and dialogue is said twice. The students and teacher may say the sound sequence with the speaker the second time. The speaker says the keyword caption once.

The teacher may use the DVD to enhance phonemic awareness of the 45 sounds heard in English speech; Showing the DVD once or twice before beginning to teach the phonograms with writing the letters will accomplish this. Showing the DVD first also gives the students an idea of what to expect, and some practice of seeing, hearing and saying the 45 sounds.

The DVD is then used for learning the phonograms, for review and for drill. The phonogram’s sound sequence should be rehearsed until the phonogram stands out as a sound in a word. Only with repetition over a period of time will these concepts be retained.

On our YouTube channel, you can get access to the Sound-A-Long DVD absolutely FREE. See for yourself what an easy and valuable learning tool it is with no risk or expense.

50. How can schools and parents help students, 4th grade to college, that are poor readers and spellers learn to read with comprehension, spell accurately and write compositions?

Building a solid phonetic language arts foundation is more important, at this time, than attempting to acquire more academic skills without this foundation. Learning the 72 Orton Phonograms and the Ayres 1,000 high frequency spelling word list with the 29 Spalding spelling rules will accelerate students to higher learning that utilizes the abilities to read with comprehension, spell accurately and write original compositions.

The teaching instructions are necessarily written for classes of beginners, whether in Kindergarten or 1st grade. Older students beginning with this method, regardless of their other training in lower grades, need this same teaching method and practice, as do the students just entering school although they proceed at a faster pace. All learners need to begin at the beginning of the program and progress through it using the “Sequence” to insure that they do not have gaps in their basic phonetic knowledge.

Much reading aloud, in class or at home is needed to develop the habit of reading accurately. In reading we are trying to learn from the author and not to substitute our ideas for theirs. Reading aloud can develop the habit of precise enunciation and improves both vocabulary and grammar. This practice in the skills of reading as well as learning to get the ideas from the printed page is essential. Correct meanings can only be learned from accurate reading. The student should work out new words as they occur. Words that present difficulties are not told or taught ahead of the story but are sounded out to produce the correct word.

This study should integrate teaching the use of the dictionary, building derivatives, sentence and paragraph construction with punctuation and writing compositions based on history, science and literature. Many literary books are read aloud in class or at home.

If teaching the complete program in school is not feasible, then it should be done at home. Schools can easily teach commonly used correct spelling patterns found in the 72 Orton Phonograms to help the students to become better spellers and readers. With little supervision, the students can teach these to themselves using the Phonics Codes for English Illustrated Sound-A-Long DVD along with the Phonogram Sheets.

51. How can I get my 7th grader who reads at the 1st grade level to believe that they won’t fail with “just one more method”?

We need to remove the “blame” of failure from them. Far too often, they have been told that they are incapable of learning – in fact that they are the problem or that their parents are. They are suffering from “sustained frustration” (Retarding America, The Imprisonment of Potential ” by Michael S. Brunner 1993) from the inability to learn to read in public schools. They fail over and over again because most of their school hours are spent being asked to do things no one has yet taught them to do. This is very demeaning to them. ‘Invented’ spellings and “Picture Clues” are examples of this type of academic activity. These children must be made to understand that the methods used with them previously have not been correct and have not addressed their learning style. The Orton-Spalding method has been known to bring 13 and 14-year-olds grade levels up four grades within a summer.

52. Isn’t the Orton method for special education? I have heard that it is not needed for normal students.

Dr. Sylvia Farnham-Diggory, cognitive psychologist at the University of Delaware, “Cognitive Processes in Education” (1992). After reviewing over 100 methods described in Dr. Robert Aukerman’s book, “Approaches to Beginning Reading”, she states:

“We did find only one published program that was extremely helpful, in part because of its practical guidance, and in part because of its theoretical insights, which were well ahead of their time. The program was developed on the 1920’s, but not published until the 1950’s, by Romalda Spalding, “The Writing Road to Reading” (1957-1989-2003).Spalding was an elementary teacher and a student of a famous neurologist named Samuel Orton who specialized in what are called “learning disabilities” especially in the study and remedial treatment of a severe reading disorder called “dyslexia.”

Although Orton’s approach is over 60 years old, it is still surprisingly sound neurologically. He foresaw many principles of contemporary neuropsychology that awaited new technology for their verification. He also saw, logically, how a brain must be instructed.

Spalding had discovered that her reading disabled students, using Orton’s methods, were learning to read better than her normal students were. So she adapted Orton’s methods, adding some innovations of her own, for all students.

53. Can I combine lessons for multiple grades? How?

When combining classes or grade levels with different levels of competency, you’ll want to organize your YesPhonics™ Express lesson plans and worksheets in such a way as to present different materials simultaneously to the separate groups of students. One of the most important aspect of teaching phonics is sequential progression; teaching the elements of this program in their proper sequence will help ensure success.

If you want to avoid the effort of coordinating lesson plans for multiple grade levels, start both levels at the very beginning of the program. Review is always helpful and will often help ingrain deeper learning and begin critical thinking in the advanced students.

Either of these options will work with the YesPhonics™ Express program. As a basic rule of thumb, always start at ‘Spelling Section A’ with each grade level. This offers a review period of the Ayres most commonly used spelling words, which is very beneficial for students.

In summary, the program is very flexible in terms of how a teacher would like to present it, where they would like to start, etc. But rest assured, if you start both grade levels from the beginning or if you start them at different spots, it will work just as well. The latter simply takes slightly more advanced planning.

Flash Cards

54. Why not have both the lowercase and capital letters on the phonogram Flash Cards?

In the beginning this method teaches only lowercase letters. The capital letters that are less often used are taught as they are needed. The instruction for capital letter formation is in the YesPhonics™ Phonics for English Reading, Spelling & Writing Express Program Manual. Teaching the lower case letters alone is less confusing to the student and eliminates the problem of interspersing lowercase and capital letters.

Capital letters appear on only two flash cards, or the sake of being grammatically correct. The mnemonic catch phrase, “Ox over? Love to?” for example, uses capital letters to separate the two questions, while demonstrating the four sounds of the letter ‘o’. The flash card that shows the ‘s’ and ‘z’ sounds of “Suzie,” also uses a capital letter, as the mnemonic is also a proper noun.

55. Why not have writing instructions and spelling rules on the phonogram Flash Cards?

The writing instructions are not often used and the spelling rules are too numerous to be listed on each phonogram card to which they apply. If the spelling rules are fragmented on to the flash cards then there is no sequence or structure to teaching them. In this method they are taught with the spelling words, lesson plans and worksheets.

It is better to keep the often used Phonogram Flash Cards uncluttered and focused on their specific purpose of teaching the sound sequences and dialogues of the phonograms.

Instruction on How to Teach Manuscript Writing and the Spelling Rules Chart are in the YesPhonics™ Phonics for English Reading, Spelling & Writing Express Program Manual.

Miscellaneous

56.It says to review the previously learned phonograms each day as they are being introduced but I am not sure if it matters how we review them. I know they can review with the video, through looking through the pages they colored, or through phingo, but I am used to having to do the flashcards as well as give a dictation quiz of the phonograms daily. What would you suggest for review?

All of those are viable options, however, reviewing the phonograms by using the flash cards and dictating the phonograms is our recommendation. However, don’t be afraid to use all of the approaches, i.e. reviewing with Phingo! is also an excellent way to review as it shifts your students’ learning to more of a ‘right brain’ approach while giving your child a break from “learning.” You can even try a different approach every day and see which one works best with your children, a combination of these is a the ideal way to review. A general rule of thumb, though; always review using the phonogram flash cards with ‘dictation’ at least once a day.

57. If students miss a word on the practice quiz after learning a list what should we do?

Go back and repeat that word through dictation and have your child write the word correctly. Make sure to correct any mistakes. It will help to practice a particular word they’re struggling with everyday until they’ve learned it. Also feel free to keep repeating the word/s over and over until they get it correct, even if it takes multiple times. You can then come back and revisit the word in questions at the end of the lesson, just to give them that little bit of extra practice.

58. I didn’t notice any extra practice quizzes or end of the week tests on the words of the week beyond the first day they are dictated. Is that correct?

Yes, this is correct. While it’s excellent to ‘test’ and ‘quiz’ students, our program is designed so that they’ll be repeating these words along the way as well as learning the phonics system. However, testing and quizzing have their places, so, the easy work around here is to just have a practice quiz everyday over the words they learned the previous day (at the beginning of the lesson) and one at the end of the lesson on the words they learned that day. In this way, they’ll be repeating the words and everything will be fresh in their minds. It’s also a good idea to make the Sound-A-Long DVD a daily viewing experience (even playing it in the background while they’re playing is beneficial) as this is one of the best tools to reinforce the Orton-Spalding phonics learning system.

59. After a student has learned how to write a letter, how much practice should he/she do? How many times should they write it and should there be any follow up practice on the other days? The way it is written it is as if they could write it one time correctly the day they learn it and then not write it again until they are doing the spelling list.

It’s appropriate to practice these letters as much as possible, and again, it depends on your student, some students only need a few times to practice the letters and they have them down pat, and others need to practice these letters 20 times a day. A good rule of thumb for this if you’re not sure how many times to practice is to have your student/s write each letter using the four point circle system at least twice a day, one time before starting the lesson of the day and one time at the end of the lesson. This will create ‘muscle memory’ which means the student will have TRULY learned the letters.

60. Why aren’t blends and word families used with this method?

Blends (br=/b/+r/;spl=/s/+/p/+/l/) and short vowel words usually called word families (at, bat, cat) are two or more phonograms (letters) blended together, each letter retains its own sound value within the blend or word.

When the phonograms (single voiced sounds) are taught there is no need to teach the single voiced sounds of blends and word families. In fact this is confusing and counterproductive to teach these clustered consonants in isolation, as separate sound/symbol relationships. These spelling patterns are quickly and easily learned in the spelling lesson.

Blending the phonograms (single-letters and multi-letters) into syllables and words is taught in the spelling and reading lessons. Reading is saying (blending) single voiced sounds (phonograms) together in rapid succession.

The Ayres Spelling List of high frequency words (see #17, above) is used to study the structure of the language. These words are used for spelling, vocabulary development and grammar. They are used to learn parts of speech, to build derivatives, to write simple compound and complex sentences and to apply capitalization and punctuation rules. The words listed in word families are often low frequency and are not of immediate use for daily reading and writing practice.

61. Isn’t it difficult for young children to use the “clock face” for writing reference points?

Young children, who aren’t telling time, find this very confusing (as do many adults) and have difficulty with the concept of using the “clock face” numbers as reference point. The YesPhonics™ programs use a circle with numbers 1-2-3-4 as reference points and eliminates any cross-reference to the “clock face”. This makes it easy to comprehend and follow.

62. What do you tell the student when the written letter sometimes appears different when it is printed?

Say, “This is the way we write the phonogram (letter) /a/-/a/-/ah/. This is not always the way that machines print it in books.” (The name of the phonogram is its sound sequence.)

63. Aren’t the illustrations with keyword captions the same as pictures for context clues?

For fast, accurate and fluent reading it is vital to know the phonogram sounds in order of use frequency. When reading, the student tries the 1st sound that is most often correct, if that doesn’t work then they try the 2nd sound, then the 3rd sound etc.

Many of the phonograms have the same sounds with differing use sequences, for instance, the phonogram (letter) “a” has three sounds with the sound /ah/ as its 3rd sound, the phonogram (letter) “o” has four sounds with the sound / ah/ as its 1st sound.

The “key words” of the caption depict the sound sequence of the phonogram that is easily and quickly learned. The caption is a short concise memory device. For instance, the phonogram “ie” has two sounds sequenced by use frequency /e/ (long) – /i/ (long), its illustration is a slice of pie and its caption is “piece of pie”; the phonogram “ea” has three sounds sequenced by use frequency /e/ (long) – /e/ (short) – /a/ (long), its illustration is a child eating bread, its caption is “eating bread is great”. The “keywords” are not random words with the first letter representing the phonogram (letter) such as a=apple.

64. What is meant by a “non-consumable” program?

The Program Manual contains the Teaching Instructions, Lesson Plans and the Ayres Spelling Word List. The worksheets and phonogram sheets for coloring, handouts & wall charts are on Reproducible Masters for copying for the student’s use.

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