Brain Based Phonics Instruction: How to Take Advantage of the Brain’s Need for Novelty!
If you are already using the Secrets in your daily reading and writing (phonics) instruction, then you probably know what I’m talking about, and perhaps have even wondered the same thing!
While it’s true that the musical exercises on the Secret Stories® are very different from traditional, skill-based ‘sing-along’ songs so often used in early grade classrooms, there’s a reason! Like everything else with Secret Stories® brain based approach to phonics instruction, it’s about getting the most “brain-BANG” for the instructional buck!!!
Not necessarily. It depends on the type of skill and how learners are going to use it.
Familiar and repetitive songs work well for acquiring finite or sequential skill sets, like the days of the week, months of the year, names of the planets, fifty nifty states, etc… Skills like these can be easily acquired through traditional song, as they allow learners to store away the content sung in their muscle-memory, much like storing information on a ‘read-only’ disc, where they are easily retrievable for later use.
For this reason, singing the letters in repetitive order (as in a song) does NOT equip learners to actually use them as reading and writing tools! To do this would require an ability to manipulate them fluidly, in a free-form and flexible manner closely mimicking the decoding and encoding processes.
Singing through the virtually endless letter, pattern and sound combinations in a variety of constantly changing musical exercises is a great way to ensure that learning them remains a novel experience for learners….and our brains love novelty!
The following is taken from an article written by Belle Beth Cooper-
“Why Getting New Things Makes Us Feel So Good: Novelty and the Brain”
We all like novelty! In fact, our brains are made to be attracted to novelty. And it turns out that it could actually improve our memory and learning capacity!
It’s actually hardwired into my brain—and yours—to appreciate and seek out novelty. Anything that’s new, different or unusual… we can even be drawn to novelty without being conscious of it. Of course, this makes a lot of sense—we wouldn’t get much done if ordinary things captivated us constantly!
Here is a graph that shows activity in your brain on this:
According to a study conducted by Dr. Emrah Duzel from University College in London:
It means that you can significantly improve knowledge retention and make new ideas and concepts (like letter sounds and phonics skills!) stick by introducing novelty into the learning process. And doing this is easier than you think!
Above is just one example of MANY research studies showing the significant impact that novelty has on the brain, and for purposes of teaching and learning, novelty can take many forms! Incorporating novel experiences into daily learning doesn’t mean having to continually add on new skills and information to what you’re already teaching!
And it’s not just the musical exercises in Secret Stories® that make use of this “novelty-effect,” but also the Secrets, themselves!
Making phonics skills into Secrets naturally make them important to kids, and every time you share one, kids get to hear a brand new story about letters’ “secret” behavior (or misbehavior!)…. and the higher the grade level, the more significant the “novelty-effect!” So no more boring phonics skill introduction in your reading and writing instruction!
|The “Beethoven Blender” Pack” on TpT|
Apples & Bananas to the EXTREME!
Have you ever noticed novelty affecting your memory or how you learn?
If so, I would love to know your thoughts!