Secret Stories® is the missing “meaning-filled” link that all teachers need to make phonics make sense to kids— whether you are an experienced reading teacher or have no reading background.
Secret Stories® provides teachers with a road map for cheating the brain by sneaking skills through the brain’s backdoor (the affective learning networks, which develop more quickly) rather trying to force them through the front (the higher level, cognitive processing centers, which develop later).
Through this strategic, instructional delivery, teachers can intentionally trigger the part of students’ brain that is developmentally ready and available for learning; activating one stronger neural network over another.
By aligning letter behavior (why letters do what they do) to kid behavior (why kids do what they do), Secret Stories® makes complex phonics skills familiar, allowing students to quickly gain power over text. Within this readily familiar context, even beginning grade learners can predict the most and next most likely sound behaviors of letters in text as easily as they would the most likely behaviors of their own friends and classmates.
Infusing daily literacy instruction with Secret Stories® helps teachers meet the needs of all learners because it sparks natural curiosity and increases the level of learner engagement. By cloaking phonics 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, throughout the entire instructional day. This allows multiple learning goals to be incorporated into a daily lesson, providing what researchers refer to as “instructional density”— one of the most striking characteristics of practices in high achievement classes (Wharton-McDonald, Pressley, & Hampston, 1998).
“The most effective teachers stuff every minute of every lesson with information. These teachers are expert re-teachers that distinguish themselves in their ability to teach literacy all day.” —Dr. Joe Torgesen
This is in stark contrast to core reading and phonics program lessons tend to focus on a single teaching goal, with teachers unable to deviate from their intended plan to seize an incidental learning opportunity.
Knowing the Secrets means knowing that Mommy e® and Babysitter Vowels® are the “triggers” that determine whether a vowel gets to be “short and lazy,” or if it will use its super powers to say its name (even in long, multi-syllabic words); and knowing the Secrets means knowing that friendships between letters can change how they behave when they’re together, verses when they’re hanging out on their own….
Regardless of text level, there is virtually no word that kids can’t crack when they know the letters’ Secrets!
Secret Stories® is a brain based, cross-grade level, teacher tool-kit that works equally well with early and upper grade learners, as it’s based on what learners need to read and to write, not what grade they are in. Regardless of which grade level you teach or what reading series (or even phonics program) you use, Secret Stories® fits perfectly in between the teaching of reading and writing, optimizing your instruction to make it work better, stronger and faster. Secret Stories® is the brain-based “gas” that makes learning go at warp-speed!
Whether building the foundation with early grade learners, or plugging-holes in the skill ability of struggling students in upper grades, Secret Stories® shortens the learning curve by sneaking skills through the brain’s back door, rather than taking them through the traditional “front.”
Secret Stories® “lives” perfectly in between the reading and writing that you’re already doing each and every day in your classroom, existing only for those purpose. Secret Stories® is not “one more thing” that you have to do, but the one thing you won’t know how you ever did without!
“Even in kinder, they them so fast and start using them that there’s really no reason NOT to teach them, especially since they’re seeing the secrets every single day in text! Having a way to explain everything in a way that makes sense (and that kids love!) just changes everything about teaching in kindergarten. Finding out about the Secret Stories was the best thing that ever happened to me as a teacher, and I’m on my 14th year in the classroom!” — Kellie, Kindergarten Teacher
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