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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
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.
| 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
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
| 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
| 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
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
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