Backdoor Learning Channels for Phonics Skill Mastery – The Social & Emotional “Feeling” Networks

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“Beware of the stories you’ll read or tell; subtly, at night, beneath the waters of consciousness, they are altering your world.”   

                                                                                                                                       —Ben Okra     

Can you breathe underwater?

Obviously, the answer is no.

But what if you lived in a world where breathing underwater was possible?
Then the correct answer would be yes.
In other words, the answer depends on the context.

Traditionally, the idea of teaching complex phonics skills to beginning grade level learners would be considered developmentally inappropriate—a position with which I would agree. But “giving” them these skills is a completely different “story!”

Using brain science as a road map, we can access earlier-developing, social-emotional learning pathways by wrapping phonics skills into stories, so as to “give” what we can’t yet “teach!” Stories are easy for kids to remember because stories are HOW kids remember. They act as a sort of “memory-enhancer” by providing a strong memory-holding template in the brain, and a much-needed framework for memory construction.

Secret Stories Phonics — "Stories act as memory-enhancers in the brain!"

Stories pose no developmental harm, nor are they age or grade-specific. Learners simply take away that which is personally meaningful and relevant to them, without expectation. In this way, the reading and writing (phonics) code is transformed into “skill-drenched” golden nuggets, buried within already familiar, learner-frameworks of social and emotional experience and understanding.

Secret Stories® provides an easily accessible “backdoor” delivery method for the totality of skills that are needed to read and write from the earliest possible grade level. Unlike phonics “skills,” the Secrets aren’t grade specific, and can be easily shared with any age learner, so as to be ready for use, when needed!

So hold your breath and prepare to dive into a new way of thinking about what we do and when we do it….and in no time, you AND your students will be breathing underwater!

Secret Stories Phonics — Targeting Phonics Instruction to the Affective Learning Domain!
For more, subscribe free to the Secret Stories® YouTube Chanel.

For more on accessing “backdoor” learning channels to fast-track phonics skills for earlier reading and writing, check out these previous posts here and here. You can also check out the video below.

Before I close, I wanted to kick-off the new school year with this fun and FREE 36 page Secret Stories® Reward/Incentive Bucks Pack! It even includes a student purse and wallet for safekeeping of students “secret” earnings! Inside, you will find information on how to use it with the Secret Stories® in the classroom. You can grab it by clicking here or by using the link, below.

FREE Secret Stories® Phonics Guided Reading Bucks
Free Secret Stories® Reward/Incentive Bucks

On a side note, I always love getting to meet so many incredible teachers at conferences around the US! And over the next couple of years, in addition to my current speaking schedule, I will be doing a series of keynotes in cities throughout the US and Canada as part of the Vulnerable Learners Summits with Dr. Richard Allington, Dr. Anne Cunningham and Debbie Diller. I would love to see you there!

Katie Garner International Keynote Education Speaker with RIchard Allington Debbie Diller and Anne Cunningham
For more upcoming dates, check out my speaking schedule, here!
Until Next Time,
Katie Garner — Literacy Professional Development and Education Speaker

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Secret Stories Cracking the Reading Code with the Brain in Mind
Secret Stories® Makes Phonics Make SENSE!
Secret Stories Cracking the Reading Code with the Brain in Mind By Katie Garner #BrainRead
Try a “taste” of the Secrets with YOUR class 
and see the difference they make!
Click to Download the FREE Secret Stories® Mini-Sample Poster Pack


Katie Garner Education Keynote Speaker and Literacy Consultant
For a list of upcoming conferences, or for information on scheduling a school or district professional development workshop, click here. 


Katie Garner Secret Stories Linkedin pageSecret Stories BlogSecret Stories Facebook PageSecret Stories Youtube PageSecret Stories TwitterSecret Stories PinterestSecret Stories Instagram
Secret Stories® Phonics #BrainRead

Secret Stories Cracking the Reading Code with the Brain in Mind


3 replies
  1. Nika Santeemas says:

    I saw you TWICE at the New York Reading Conference last year and absolutely loved your session! All of the teachers from our district came just to see you after hearing so many rave reviews from those who'd attended your session the previous year. I have to say, I was mesmerized listening to you and couldn't wait to get back into my classroom and start sharing secrets! Every single one of my kids picked up on them and immediately began using them in their reading and writing- even the ones who couldn't yet read or write!!! My little ones who hadn't latched on to anything that I had done all year just took and never looked back, making more progress those last two months than they had the entire school year.

    The secrets were like "phonics on steroids" for last year's class, and starting from the beginning of the year with this year's class, I can't even imagine how far we will go!

  2. Candice Sabiner says:

    The Secret Stories are the best reading and writing tools out there for K kids and are worth every penny! As the year begins and we see a "th" word, I simply point out the poster for "th" and make a huge deal about this being a "secret" story about these two letters who don't get along, and whenever they see each other they stick out their tongues and make the "th" sound.

    The Secrets hook the students right off the bat! I gradually introduce the other posters and the students will look at them constantly as they are reading and writing. It is incredible the words they end up writing well. Just today 2 of my lowest students wrote (yesterday) and (together) perfectly. The Secrets take beginning readers all the way through to a 2nd grade skill level, explaining every tricky sound that letters can make when they get together, and in ways that even kinders can understand.

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