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Skip the Phonics Instruction ‘Scope & Sequence’ Bus and Catch the ‘Brain-Based’ Teaching Merry-Go-Round!

§ Does it ever feel like every day is a new day in Johnny’s head? What I mean is, have you ever spent an entire week teaching something, only to have some kids look at you like they have NEVER seen it before on the following Monday? With so many skills to cover in so […]

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The “Thinking Vowels” Head-Bop Trick for Teaching Tricky Vowels that Make the Schwa Sound

Teaching Sight Words— Never Make Kids MEMORIZE What They Can READ! “The Secret Stories are the life-blood of our classroom. They are always in view, always in our whole and small group conversations. We couldn’t read words without them. They are our best friends. They are always there, always teaching. They are the tools that students will take with […]

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How to Teach the Sounds of Y (a.k.a. Sneaky Y®) so kids just GET IT!

Why Wait to Teach the Sounds of  Y? There’s an elephant in your classroom. And it’s huge. You sweep by it every day in your classroom, several times in fact, and probably without ever even noticing. It’s most conspicuous during morning calendar time, as that’s its favorite time of day. If you can’t see, watch this. So […]

The Aha! Moment of Teaching

Another professional development day…. Oh joy! Another 8 hours of sitting while thinking of all the productive things that could be accomplished in my classroom!   That’s what many teachers think when we hear the dreaded professional development “training days” agenda.   That all changed in October 2016 when I heard Katie Garner speak about the […]

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“Butter or Buter?” The Best Vowel-Trick EVER!

“Why do I have to write two T’s in the word butter when I only hear one sound?  And how do I know whether to make the long or short sound for the letter u?”  As teachers, we know that the trick to figuring this out is based on the syllabic division of a word. VCV […]

“Go-To” Student-Made Holiday Gifts for Parents!

Now you can cross at one more thing off of your December “to-do” list… finding the perfect holiday gifts for students to make for their parents (or class volunteers, secretaries, custodians, etc…!)   Follow Me on Pintreret and Save All of My BEST Teaching Finds! I thought I would save you some precious holiday time and […]

The NEW Secret Stories® Phonics Book— Version 2.0!

Sharing the Secret Stories® just got a whole lot easier! Teachers’ favorite secret weapon for teaching all (and I mean ALL!) of those tricky letter sounds and phonics skills just got a “face-lift!” Introducing the latest edition of Secret Stories® Cracking the Reading Code with the Brain in Mind!— Version 2.0!  This NEW edition of […]

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

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

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How to Avoid Having Too Many “Cooks” in the Phonics “Kitchen!”

Too Many Phonics Rules, Too Little Time Dear Katie, I have been a Reading Specialist for thirty years, as well as an adjunct university professor. I have enjoyed great success with the Secret Stories, and my kindergarten through fifth grade students have had such an easy time mastering them and their reading levels have soared! Have […]

Just Like the Secret Stories® Phonics Posters….only SMALLER!!!

Introducing, the NEW “Dual-Use” Placards and Individual “Porta-Pics” Secret Stories® “Dual-Use” Placards  (Also included in the Space-Saver Kit AND sold separately (for ‘hands-on’ use!) AND the “Porta-Pic” Packs (25 Individual, trifold desktop references for individual student use at school or at home!) Individual Porta-Pics Trifold Desktop References    The Placards and Porta-Pics are the perfect supplements for Secret […]