Multisensory Phonics Instruction Rooted in the Science of Reading
Twice the Reading Gain in Half the Time—
Phonics with the Brain in Mind!
Secret Stories® are the “secret” reasons WHY letters get together and make the many different sounds that they do. They provide the logical explanations that a child’s brain craves! The “secret” stories explain the sounds letters make when they get together, along with embedded mnemonic sound pictures that help children remember for independent reading and writing.
Rooted in the science of reading and cognitive neuroscience research, Secret Stories® targets early developing and already primed neural pathways by aligning letter-behavior to kid-behavior, making phonics sounds more easily predictable.
Secret Stories® integrates seamlessly with existing reading and phonics curriculum, “speeding-up” delivery of the phonics code kids NEED to read and write. Secret Stories® isn’t a program, it’s an instructional tool. It’s not something you do, but something you use to do what you’re already doing—which is to “make sense” of the words kids are looking at every day. This includes words in the reading program that are comprised of phonics skills it hasn’t yet taught.
“I share it with EVERY teacher I meet because I know the difference it makes!”
– Heather, First Grade Teacher in Lake Worth, Florida
Using Neuroscience to Deliver Phonics Faster
“I would tell any elementary grade teacher the following – These are the most useful and interactive posters I have in my classroom. If nothing else goes on your walls, hang these posters!!!”
– Jenifer, Second Grade Teacher in Wellington, Florida
“I have been a kindergarten teacher more years than I can count, and the strategies you shared in workshop were of more use to me, and more beneficial to my students, than anything I have ever brought back to my classroom! Thank you for revitalizing my year!”
– Carolyn, Kindergarten Teacher in Burbank, California
“Secret Stories are the life-blood of our classroom. They are always in view, always a part of our whole and small group conversations. We couldn’t read words without them.”
– Tara, First Grade Teacher in Parkersburg, West Virginia
“I first heard about the Secret Stories at a LETRS training for principals and immediately purchased them for my staff. The Secrets have now made their way into the main office, as I now have a ‘Wall of Secrets’ outside my door! Students just love to share them with myself and my assistant principal, and I am thrilled to see my teachers feeling so confident and rejuvenated about teaching reading!”
– Paul, Elementary Principal in Dallas, Texas
Science of Reading Based Phonics Instruction
What is phonics and phonemic awareness?
Phonics is a method for teaching reading and writing that is based on the alphabetic principle—the understanding that letters represent sounds that form words. Phonics instruction requires developing learners’ phonemic awareness, which is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate sound patterns (phonemes) in order to teach the corresponding spelling patterns (graphemes) that represent them. Read More
Is phonics important in learning to read?
Phonics is important in learning to read and write because letter-sound knowledge is the foundation needed to build up reading and writing abilities. Written language is like a code that kids must crack and phonics is the key to cracking it. Read More
When do kids learn phonics?
Kids learn phonics at the beginning grade levels, with the traditional path for phonics instruction often spanning multiple grade level years, from prekindergarten to second or even third grade. Learning phonics in kindergarten means learning that the letter /y/ makes the sound “yuh,” but it’s typically not until second grade that they learn it can also make the sounds of /e/ and /i/. Read More
A Brain Based Approach to Teaching Reading
Secret Stories® is a brain based solution to the age-old problem of how to teach meaningless phonics skills in a meaningful way. By cloaking skills as “secrets” that learners want to know, they are easy to teach and can be shared as needed— whenever and wherever they are encountered, allowing for immediate transfer to reading and writing.
By targeting reading instruction to the earlier-developing social and emotional centers in the brain, Secret Stories® makes high-leverage phonics skills easily accessible to beginning and struggling readers, alike, making it one of the most highly effective reading instruction concepts available to educators. View the Research.
How Secret Stories® Phonics Works
Activating “Backdoor” Social Emotional Learning Channels
with Multisensory Reading Instruction
SEE the picture to identify the sound patterns for reading and spelling patterns for writing/spelling.
SAY the story to recall the sounds that letters make when they get together.
DO the actions to engage muscle memory for easy phonological processing and nonconscious skill retrieval.
DO the Better Alphabet Song to fast track mastery of individual letters and sounds—taking just 2 weeks to 2 months.
FEEL the emotional connections by acting out letter sound behaviors through role play to activate the brain’s emotional systems for deeper learning and increased learner engagement.
“It is neurobiologically impossible to think deeply about things you don’t care about.” — Dr. Helen Immordino-Yang
Not More, Just Better
Secret Stories® makes learning to read go warp-speed!
Secrets are the “keys” kids need to “unlock” words all day long, in all subject areas.
They are always there, always teaching….
living in between the reading and writing they’re already doing every day!
TEACH READING SMARTER, NOT HARDER…
You’re already singing the alphabet…. so why not sing the “Better” Alphabet?
You’re already talking about words on the calendar…. so why talk about the Secrets that are in them?
You’re already telling stories…. so why not tell “secret” stories?
You’re already modeling how to write words….. so why not model how to spell them with Secrets?
You’re already studying letter sounds in word work activities…. so why not study their “secret” sounds?
You’re already teaching how to “read” words in guided reading…. so why not teach the Secrets needed to decode them?
You’re already teaching vocabulary words in math…. so why teach the Secrets that are in them?
You’re already “memorizing” sight word lists…. so why not just teach the Secrets kids need to READ them! Learn More
Secret Stories® transforms daily phonics instruction into child’s play.
It’s not “one more thing” you have to teach; but the one thing you won’t ever want to teach without!
“Memory-Enhancers” in the Brain
Secret Stories® act as strong “memory-holding” templates in the brain,
providing a much-needed framework for memory construction.
Stories are easy to remember because stories are how we remember, making them easy to teach and to learn.
The fact that they are “secrets” makes them important to kids, marking them for memory and prioritized learning in the brain.
Learn More about the Secret Stories® Phonics Method.
Using Brain Science to Accelerate Phonics Skill Mastery
“Three to four grade level years is too long to make learners wait for the whole code!” —Katie Garner
Secret Stories® breaks down the grade level “walls” that delay access to the whole code kids need to read and write!
It’s amazing what kindergartners can do
when they have ALL of the reading code!
Writing Improves Reading
Using Writing as a “Window” into the Mind of a Reader
Secret Stories® gives kids more tools to bring to the reading and writing table so that they can take the maximum instructional value away each day!
The guiding premise behind Secret Stories® is that there is no reason to teach phonics aside from using it to read and to write, which is why kids need more of the code earlier on. Reading and writing in kindergarten with only a letter a week is impossible.
About the Author, Katie Garner, M.Ed.
Katie is an internationally known keynote speaker, author and literacy consultant with thirty years of experience working in classrooms across the country and a passion for infusing neuroscience into both literacy and learning. Her “backdoor to the brain” approach to fast-tracking phonics skills for reading and writing (via the social and emotional learning systems) shifts the paradigms associated with traditional literacy instruction. Katie’s fast-paced and dynamic presentations spotlight brain-changing strategies for boosting existing reading curriculum and bridging science of reading-based phonics instruction with the brain’s systems for learning. Her practical and proven methods for bringing neuroscience into the forefront of literacy and learning have been shared in both lecture and panel discussions at Harvard University and MIT and have been the subject of numerous professional journal articles and publications. Attend a Phonics Workshop or Check Katie’s Speaking Schedule
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