Phonics Coach

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What is Phonics Coach?
Phonics Coach is a web-based literacy training program which drastically improves reading and spelling skills in students of all ages. We use customized interactive exercises and modules that are tailored to each student’s individual learning needs.

While using Phonics Coach students will experience a drastic improvement in their reading speed, reading comprehension, spelling ability, auditory comprehension, and concentration. This will directly translate into a more confident, motivated, and prepared student, and of course, better grades in school.

What is wrong with all the 'game-based' learning software on the market?
In short, game based learning programs can hinder real learning. There was much research and debate over the issue of how to format this application. The resulting decision was to generate a functional learning tool with a platform of soft colors that would keep students relaxed and focused. Phonics Coach is not game-based (but this doesn't mean that it's not fun!!).

Here are some of the reasons for our decision:

1) Games that deal with intellectual material often distort the information so as to fit the rules of the game. The effect is a misinformed student building a false foundation in literacy. It is detrimental to build a false foundation in language.

2) Graphics and cartoon images distract youngsters from the material or insult the older student's intellect.

3) Illustrations, such as the word "dog" with a picture of a dog, are not helpful even if the definition is in question. The images we need to deal with are letters and words.
4) Games cause students to focus on just that, the game aspect of the program. They get distracted from the real-learning process and often try to find loopholes in the learning/ system to "win" at the game.

Our Mission...
It is the belief of Phonic Coach Inc. that reading/ literacy education and related resources should be accessible and affordable to anyone, at any age. Thanks to the Internet, we are able to provide the highest standard of material without the expense of private educational institutions.
Phonics Coach was founded to provide excellent individual literacy training to students of all ages and those with special needs. Through custom-tailored lessons we hope to create a learning system that will enable students to meet and exceed their literacy goals.
Our Philosophy...
Our philosophy is simple. People learn language by using it, so one has them using it as soon as possible. Reading is one skill that everyone will need, no matter what one chooses to do in life. It is our belief that an underdeveloped reader will never be able to truly reach their lifes full potential.

Commonly, teachers are unable to fully ensure that learning disabled students are fluent in the basics of the English language before moving on to more complex curriculums. This causes more students than ever before to fall behind in school and fail to learn in general. Imagine teaching someone calculus who doesn't fully understand the basics of addition - impossible. Yet it happens all the time in literacy. By teaching phonics and syllables, we give students the information needed to build a solid foundation for learning language. We start at the base of the English language - phonics - and carefully structure the sequence of learning making sure that we cover everything along the way.

After the basic skills are in place, students can focus on sentence structure, punctuation, and writing style - all of which will be evident in their written work.

All exercises and modules in this program are based on the student's individual abilities and growth. Your student will never fall behind, and will never feel overwhelmed. The root of most language difficulties stems from trouble with the basics. Mastering phonics and syllabication will lead to better reading and spelling skills, allowing individual learners to become the best they can be in life and to achieve greatness in whatever they choose to do.

The Tutor's Role
As the tutor, you are to be a guide facilitating independence in literacy. Information provided in the Tutor's Handbook will be useful in the development of a routine for you and your student.
Natural Growth in Literacy
If your student is having difficulty with punctuation, your first instinct may be to tell them everything you know about punctuating a sentence. If you force them, they might be able to memorize the information, but it will be a long time before they really understand it. Keep in mind that the object here is not to "transplant" information. Natural growth occurs when you plant a seed. For instance you can say "you're using too many commas," and then the next time you are reading together ask the student to pay special attention to the author's use of commas. Now you have planted a seed that can grow naturally as the student continues to read and write, making observations and applying them to written work.
If You Don't Know
When students run into problems there will be lots of questions. If you do not know, or are unsure of the answers, make a point of not guessing. This will mislead the student and create obstacles in their literacy foundation. Instead, e-mail us your question.
THE RIGHT MATERIAL For the purposes of this course, the intellectual content of reading material does not matter. Encourage students to gather knowledge about topics which interest them, even if it's gossip about their favorite band in Rolling Stone magazine. Keep in mind that if material has been published, it has been past an editor. Therefore exposure to published sentence structure and writing style will be useful even when the intellectual content is low.
A Feeling of Accomplishment It is important that each time you read with your student they feel as if they have accomplished something. Do not stop halfway through an article or chapter. This will rule how reading material is selected. If together you choose to read a novel, flip through to make sure the chapters are a suitable length to read in one sitting. When Selecting What to Read Every student has different interests. Rather than you selecting what you think they'd like, ask them to give you some options. You can still make the final decision. If selecting a novel, have them read the back of the book to you. If they can read the back of the book reasonably well, the book may well be at a suitable reading level. (Don't forget to check the length of the chapters.) Just So You Know Most mainstream magazines and newspapers are written at a grade 6 to 8 level, so that most people can enjoy them. Publications that specialize in one field, such as The Financial Post or The Medical Examiner, market to a very well-educated audience and are at a higher literacy level.
Reading Together It is best to sit side by side and take turns reading aloud. When it is your turn to read make sure your student follows along. If you and your student are not comfortable seated side by side, then use two copies of the material for both of you to read and follow. Check periodically to ensure your student is following along because it is very beneficial. Most notably it will help them understand how punctuation affects the way things are read. Tackling Big, Nasty Words Do not help! We cannot stress this enough. When a student encounters a difficult word, tell them to sound it out one syllable at a time. In english, the really intimidating words are generally comprised of perfectly phonetic syllables. Unfortunately there is an exception to the "do not help" rule. If your student is becoming discouraged by the number of big words, you may need to make an agreement. For example, arrange ahead of time that you will help them with a certain number of words per page. This kind of co-operation will take some pressure off the student so they can enjoy the book they have chosen. Reading Alone When reading alone, students may read out loud or to themselves. This reading can be assigned by you or assumed to be something that occurs in regular schoolwork. If your student is reading alone and comes to you for help with a difficult word, encourage them to sound it out loud.
READING OUT LOUD vs. SILENT READING What follows could be thought of as the abridged version of a very brief summary. For the purposes of this course, tutors need only acknowledge that these exercises have different benefits and should both be implemented.
Reading Out Loud Oral reading will act as a strong reinforcement to the phonics portion of this course, and have a tremendous impact on spelling. It is also the time punctuation will be most apparent to your student, as you will be taking turns reading and they will follow along to your example. Silent Reading Silent reading will exercise a student's ability to focus and may be more enjoyable than oral reading. This is because there is no pressure when nobody is listening. It is also a time students will be trying to catch their own mistakes, thereby building independence in learning. Again, difficult words should be attempted by sounding them out loud.
Miscellaneous Literacy Problems
It is perfectly natural to have problems while acquiring or developing a skill. Literacy skills are no exception. Our course is designed to take the struggle out of reading and spelling words. Once a student can read and spell words easily, they can focus on punctuation, sentence structure, and other tasks. The objective is to get students reading and writing independently because those are the exercises that will be of greatest benefit. By reading they will be exposed to how things are written. By writing they can apply all relevant pieces of information they have absorbed. As a guide, you should inform the student of what they need to pay special attention to. For example, when students first discover the comma they may over use it. So the next time you are reading together tell them to pay extra attention to the author's use of commas. This will not correct the problem immediately, but over time it will correct it naturally. (See Natural Growth in Literacy for more information.)

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learn to read
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