Our Language Makes Sense!

All too often, we hear people say that the English language doesn’t make sense and that spelling and word meaning “just have to be memorized.” This couldn’t be further from the truth! Our language does make sense…if you know the rules. For example, the word “have” follows the rule that English words should not end in <v>; therefore an <e> is added.

Let’s stop telling our students that our language is illogical, and let’s teach them the tools they need to easily break the code to read and spell thousands of words. Watch Executive Director Jennifer Hasser, M.Ed., explain more in our helpful video.

If you’d like to learn strategies that make structured literacy instruction more effective and memorable, attend our workshops. Our curricula and training program are accredited by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) and the International Multisensory Language Education Council (IMSLEC).

Advanced Multisensory Activities

Adapting Activities for REVLOC

This blog post highlights how the multisensory activities Kendore-trained teachers know and love can be altered to help students work on advanced concepts, including the syllable types (“REVLOC”). If you’ve attended our webinars or trainings, you may be familiar with these activities! If you would like to know more about our IDA and IMSLEC-accredited curricula and training program, check out our website or contact us.

Hot Lava: Multisyllabic Edition

Early in the curriculum, teachers learn how to use the Code Quest Consonant and Vowel decks to play Hot Lava to test their students’ automaticity. Quick recap: Set down a series of cards on the ground and ask your student to say the sound before hopping to the next card. If the student incorrectly identifies the sound, they fall into “hot lava” and have to go back to the beginning. Students love using their imaginations with this activity, pretending to meet a fiery demise when they misstep.

The Unlock REVLOC deck is perfect for Hot Lava! Lay down two or three syllable cards next to each other to form a multisyllabic word. Ask students to read the word and then hop on it to stay “safe.” Create a path of these words. Note that the words you form with the REVLOC cards do not have to be real words. Students need to practice decoding both real and nonsense words to know how to apply the syllabication rules you are teaching.

You can also create a path using a variety of single syllable cards. Ask the students to cross the “hot lava” by jumping only on a certain syllable type, or by naming the syllable type before they jump on the card. For a Hot Lava reminder, watch our demonstration video.

REVLOC Beach Ball Toss

This Kendore activity is an excellent way to get students up and moving while they practice identifying the six syllable types!

Place cards from the Unlock REVLOC deck inside the pockets of the Toss and Teach Beach Ball. Toss the ball back and forth and ask your student to read the card their left thumb lands on, then identify the syllable type. Advance to having the student read two cards next to each other on the beach ball so that they can practice decoding and smoothly reading multisyllabic words. Remember that having them practice reading real and nonsense words will help them build automaticity!

For a reminder about how to use the Toss and Teach Beach Ball, watch our demonstration video.

Syllable Tracking

Our Executive Director Jennifer Hasser, M.Ed., calls Sound Track “one of the most important exercises teachers can do with their students to teach reading prerequisite skills.” If you’re trained in our curriculum, you’ve been working with your students on Sound Track since their very first Kendore lesson. Now that they’ve been introduced to some of the syllable types, they can work on Syllable Tracking!

This activity follows the same structure as Sound Track, but now each rainbow token will represent one syllable. For example, if your students heard the word “backpack,” they would pull two tokens onto the track – one for each syllable in the word. Students will work on strengthening their memory skills by recalling a multisyllabic nonsense word, identifying which syllable is changing, and showing the change.

If you need to review Sound Track, watch our demonstration video.

If you have any questions about these activities, please contact us. We’re happy to help!

R-Controlled Vowels

The letter <r> becomes very bossy when it follows a vowel! This letter affects the sound a vowel makes, giving a vowel followed by an <r> the name “r-controlled vowel.”

Tricky R-Controlled Vowels: <er>, <ur>, and <ir>

In the Kendore Kingdom, we call these three r-controlled vowels “growling r” vowels because, rather than letting the vowel say its sound or name, the <r> makes the vowel growl like a tiger.  “Growling r” vowels are vowel digraphs since they are two letters representing one sound.

Since <er>, <ur>, and <ir> all sound the same, spelling these digraphs can be tricky. It helps to know that <er> is the most common spelling of the /er/ sound (40%), <ur> is the second most common (26%), and <ir> is the least common (13%). When all else fails and the student does not know the proper spelling, knowing frequency will help students make an educated spelling guess.

<ar> and <or>

While <r> still controls the sound of /ar/ and /or/, these r-controlled vowels have unique sounds — making them easier for children to spell.

Did You Know?

When you hear the /er/ sound at the end of a word, and it represents the noun suffix <er> meaning “a person who,” it can be spelled multiple ways. If you hear /er/ at the end of a word that:

  • means “a person who,” spell it <er> (usually after an Old English base, as in teacher, painter, and leader).
  • means “a person who” and follows a <t>, spell it <or> (usually follow a Latin base, as in actor, sculptor, or raptor).

Attend our Kendore Word Play training to learn more strategies behind spelling the /er/ sound at the end of multisyllabic words!

Teaching R-Controlled Vowels

The Kendore Kingdom features a memorable story about the Growling ‘r’ tiger.  Poor Growling ‘r’ hasn’t learned his manners and he growls when introduced to new friends. Children remember the adventures of Growling ‘r’ tiger and translate this story into an understanding of r-controlled vowels. If you are a Kendore-trained teacher, be sure to refer to your manual for instructions on using Growling ‘r’ tiger to teach your students r-controlled vowels.

When writing/spelling a word with an r-controlled vowel, students will often incorrectly reverse the <r> and the vowel. In many words, reversing the two letters will still produce a real word (barn/bran, arm/ram). Dot and Jot (phoneme/grapheme mapping) can help students prevent these transpositions.

Tiger Trek Card Games

Our Tiger Trek card games are a fun, multisensory way to reinforce r-controlled vowels. The Tiger Trek deck can be used to play many games, including War, Rummy, Memory, Go Fish and more!

The deck contains both real and nonsense words in order to assess concept knowledge and discourage rote memorization. Students should be able to decode nonsense words such as ‘fram’ and ‘terk’ as well as real words.

Watch a demonstration of Tiger Trek games on our YouTube Channel!

Effective Strategies for Teaching High-Frequency Words

In general, high-frequency words are considered to be the most frequently occurring words in text. Students need to be able to recognize these words instantly in order to read fluently! Below, we outline our effective strategies for teaching high-frequency words.

High-frequency words must be learned in order for students to read fluently. Learn effective strategies for instruction.

High-Frequency Word Facts

  • Only 100 words account for approximately 50% of the words in print. These words include the, of, to, was, for and if.
  • The most frequent 300 words make up 65% of all printed text.
  • Students should know the first 300 words by the 3rd grade.

Phonetic vs. Non-Phonetic “Discovery” High-Frequency Words

Many of the most frequently occurring words in the English language are completely phonetic, allowing students to decode their meanings efficiently and with ease. For example, that, with and not are all phonetic words and can be decoded.

Other high-frequency words cannot be decoded or sounded-out. For example, of, was and some are non-phonetic words requiring memorization. We call these words “Discovery Words” since we must “keep digging” to discover which part of the word is not saying what we expect.

Some words must temporarily be treated as non-phonetic words requiring memorization until classroom instruction covers the rules they follow. For example, the word have follows the rule that English words should not end in ‘v’; therefore an ‘e’ is added. Most students will have to memorize have before that rule is introduced.

Most high-frequency word lists do not distinguish between phonetic and non-phonetic words. Students are required to memorize hundreds of high-frequency words — even those that follow standard, decodable patterns. This can be overwhelming for any student, but it can be particularly daunting for a struggling reader or a student with dyslexia.

At Kendore, we simplify things by dividing high-frequency words into two categories: phonetic and non-phonetic. This teaching strategy dramatically lessens required memorization because students who have learned phonics rules can decode phonetic words efficiently and with ease.

For non-phonetic “Discovery Words,” the color red is associated with memorization so that words can be easily discernable at the time of instruction. Students will come to know that they must memorize words that are written in red. Commonly confused words like ‘saw’ and ‘was’ are not as confusing when students see the phonetic pattern in ‘saw’ and learn ‘was’ as a “Discovery Word.”

Teaching Tools for Memorable High-Frequency Word Instruction

As students progress through our Kendore Kingdom curriculum, they will be introduced to words falling into the category of the 600 most frequent words found in print. We conduct Kendore Kingdom Part 1 and Part 2 trainings for schools, districts, and individuals virtually and onsite. To learn more, email Training@KendoreLearning.com or view our complete workshop calendar.

The Discovery Dig Card Deck makes high-frequency word instruction fun and memorable! The Discovery Dig features over 100 of the most frequent sight words, explanation and instruction cards, and additional cards you’ll need to play War, Grab, and more. Play your way to reading and spelling success!

With our Discovery Word Book Set, students investigate non-phonetic sight words to figure out where the word has a spelling they have yet to discover. Use this bound book of reproducible masters to reinforce “Discovery Words” — non-phonetic high-frequency words.

Students will enjoy learning about non-phonetic high-frequency words with the Discovery Word Quicksand Kendore Kit. This kit comes with 36 high-frequency words printed on double-sided cards. Choose the non-phonetic word you wish to reinforce, and your student will see, spell, say, and shape the word with red clay.

Use the Discovery Word Wall to display and reinforce the most frequent non-phonetic sight words after you have introduced them. These “Discovery Words” do not follow basic phonics rules, yet students need to have these words orthographically mapped for basic reading and sentence construction!