Sep 21

Phonics, the Key to Strong Reading Skills

Over 180 research studies have confirmed that phonics is the best way to teach children how to read. Unfortunately, 80% of our nation’s schools do not use an intensified phonics approach for reading instruction.

They use a whole word approach (see and say) or a combination of phonics and whole word. While children can learn using the whole word method, it is not the best or most efficient way to learn how to read. The whole word method teaches reading through memorization and guessing.

Unlike the Japanese and Chinese languages which are picture based, the English language is phonetic. There are only 44 sounds while there are about 1 million words in English. These facts readily explain why having to memorize 44 sounds as opposed to memorizing hundreds of thousands of words is the most efficient way to learn to read.

Reading and writing is simply talking on paper. When children learn to talk, they do so by imitating sounds. They then combine the sounds to form words. The brain is programmed to learn language in this fashion. Therefore, the most efficient way to learn to read is through phonics because it teaches children to read the same way they learned to talk.

A two decades study on the best way to learn how to read, funded by the National Institute of Health, discovered that the three important aspects of reading – identifying letters, identifying sounds associated with the letters, and reaching for meaning of the written word – are each accomplished by different parts of the brain.

A three-part plan that incorporates this information to guide you as you help your child learn to read.

- Part 1: Phonemic awareness, or learning the individual sounds that constitute a language, for example, “kuh” as the sound of “c”.

- Part 2: Phonics, or the letter-sound relationships available in the language, for example, “kuh—aah—tuh” sounds out “cat”.

- Part 3: Exposure to meaning of the written word through reading and being read to, for example, “kuh—aah—tuh” sounds out “cat” which is “a furry mammal that purrs”.

These elements should be used as building blocks, each necessary to support the next. With phonemic awareness as the first block, a child can begin to puzzle out words in books.

With the help of a parent or sibling by his side he’ll begin to have the answers to questions he will soon begin to ask.

Now is the time to point out important clues, such as how letter sounds blend, how an “e” at the end of a word changes a vowel sound from short to long, how some consonants have more than one sound.

Discuss lower and upper case letters. Point out the eighteen frequently used words best learned by sight. And remember to keep reading to your child to include exposure to meaning, the all-important part 3.

What does your child need in order to read well?

You need to provide 4 things to your child, preferably at an early age, to build a proper reading foundation:

Phonics information and the ability to manipulate the sounds that make up spoken language.

Phonics skills and the understanding that there are relationships between letters and sounds.

The ability to read fluently with accuracy, speed, and expression.

To apply reading comprehension strategies to enhance understanding and enjoyment of what they read.

There are many commercial reading programs available that combine whole word and phonics based principles. Whatever reading program you decide to use, make sure that it’s recommended by parents and teachers, find out how long the program has been on the market and verify its success rate.

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Sep 14

Distance Learning

Distance LearningChances are you know someone who is working toward a college or post-college degree via the Internet. Perhaps you yourself have attended online classes to continue your education, obtain a certification, or to improve your chances for advancement in your job.

More and more people are finding that they can earn their degree from an accredited online university which offers the same challenge and quality of a traditional classroom in an environment which allows them to fit education into a life that might be too busy for a more conventional method of instruction.

According to a recent government study, about 127,400 distance education courses were offered in 2001-02, and there were about 3.1 million enrollments in distance education. Over one-half of all postsecondary education institutions offered distance education, and another 12 percent planned to offer distance education in the next 3 years.

Distance education is defined as education or training courses delivered to a remote (off-campus) location via audio, video, or computer technologies. Courses conducted exclusively on campus, as well as classes conducted exclusively via written correspondence, are not included in this definition of distance.

It is increasingly clear that technology has expanded the ability of students to participate in postsecondary education. Virtually every type of learner can benefit from some form of online education. In addition to the rapid proliferation of new courses and programs, colleges and universities are taking advantage of the Internet to enhance the admissions process and give potential students the opportunity to apply online.

Online education enables you to learn without causing a major upheaval in your life. You can access online class rooms using any Internet connection, anytime and practically anywhere. This round-the-clock access allows you to download assignments, read and participate in class discussions, review faculty feedback, and much more, all at times which are convenient to your professional and personal schedule. Many students find that this added flexibility, which does not sacrifice quality, helps keep them on track toward their goals more readily than with the rigid scheduling of a traditional learning environment.

There is also evidence that a portion of those students who participate in postsecondary education in their homes or workplace would not otherwise enroll in postsecondary education. Thus, it appears that technology is opening up new markets of potential students without significantly diminishing the number of students who would enroll in traditional colleges and universities, many of which also are offering technology-mediated distance education.

Distance learners are also generally happy with their online learning experience. A large-scale national study of student participation in distance education addressed student satisfaction of distance education classes and, when asked how satisfied they were with their distance education classes compared to their regular classes, a majority of both undergraduate and graduate students were at least as satisfied or more satisfied with the quality of teaching in their distance education classes compared with their regular classes.

Perhaps it is time to focus attention on the more basic question of how students learn, regardless of the delivery system. Technology-mediated distance learning is evolving so quickly it’s difficult for education experts to set standards that adequately address the current status and the future potential of the online learning experience.

Because experimental studies comparing distance education courses with campus-based courses have been based upon the premise that campus-based courses are the “gold standard,” which may be open to question, it may be advisable to abandon these studies. It appears that addressing how students learn and focusing on outcomes assessment would be more productive.

Several organizations have developed standards and guidelines to ensure quality distance education, including the Southern Regional Electronic Campus, the National Education Association, and the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications.

These guidelines cover areas such as course development, evaluation and assessment, faculty support, and institutional support. Among the benchmarks, interactivity–between student and faculty, student and student, and student and information–is the single most essential element for effectiveness in distance education.

It is clear that online learning and distance education are here to stay. The benefits are compelling, especially to those who have succeeded in completing their education or adding a much needed certification to their credentials through an online educational experience.

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Sep 07

The Bad Side Effect Of Digital Equipment On children Learning Ability

The Effect Of Digital Equipment On children Learning AbilityThe teachers in Northern Ireland expressed concern the impact of modern technology on children’s learning ability in school. The issue has became one of the main discussion in the annual conference of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, ATL which took place in Belfast.

They are concerned with the amount of time the children have spent in using computers and other digital devices outside of school. According to the ATL the habit has causing students to have difficulty concentrating in school and also difficulties with their social interaction and in play time.

There are many reports of very young children who are still arriving at school and cannot concentrate and socialize well because they have spends too much time in digital games and social media. ATL hoping that the England’s Department for Education will issued the instructions to all the parents to limited their children interaction with the digital equipment.

Potential hazards

Teachers acknowledged that digital technologies provide great advantage to the students. But it seems people, especially parents are less aware with the potential hazards, and they wish that the Ministry of Education can take the necessary action to make parents are aware of the problem.

It is estimated that at least half of students aged from seven to nine years have playing digital games that is meant for adults consumption.

One of the teachers at the conference, said the effect of staring the computer screen for too long have shown in the schools such as, the lack of motivation among students. The digital equipment can seriously damage the student ability to learn.

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Aug 31

Tips to Choose the College You Want To Go To

College SelectionIt is very recommended that students and their parents visit some schools early in the college selection process,  this is to determine whether the school is suitable or not. Here are some criteria that you might want to consider when applying to college or university:

Average GPA, SAT I, class rank for acceptance

The school should offer enough choices in the event the student changes their major

Size, location, Greeks, religious affiliation

Percentage of freshmen that return for year two

Percentage of freshmen that graduate in four years

Percentage of financial need met

Percentage of gift aid/self-help awarded

On or off campus job opportunities

Reputation

Student/teacher ratio

Average class size, semester or trimester

Percentage of professors who teach and percentage of teaching assistants

2 or 4-year college or university

Co-ed dorms

Freshman cars permitted

Handicap accessibility

Cost of the sheepskin

It is also recommended that you determine if the school uses a need-blind or need-sensitive admissions policy. Need-blind is a practice where the student is evaluated without any regard to family income or assets. Need-sensitive is a shameful policy that usually used by a host of elite schools. These schools will admit a less than qualified rich kid in anticipation of a large contribution to their own endowment funds. In essence, the wealthy family has bought an admission ticket to a school where their student might never have otherwise been accepted!

Parents and students should make the official unofficial visit to potential schools no later than the 10th grade. Colleges are always impressed when a 9th or 10th grader pays a visit. By keeping in touch with officials you’ve met, in essence, you will have added points to both your GPA and SAT I scores by establishing a rapport. When the time comes, administrators will be able to associate a face with your application. This helps a merely qualified student become a far more acceptable one.

However, before visiting the college, make a checklist that includes the following:

Confirm that everything you plan to visit will be open and, ideally, that school is in session. Ask plenty of questions and be an attentive listener. Consider bringing a video camera or tape recorder for your notes no matter how good your memory is. Find out who reads applications from your area and, if possible, try to meet with a reader and be sure to keep in touch with them.

Student athletes should meet with a coach or two. Listen to the school radio station and get a copy of the campus newspaper. If the student has Greek intentions, visit some frat or sorority houses. Students should check out the dorm unannounced, introduce themselves to attending students and pick their brains.

Have a snack in the cafeteria. After all, their food is what the student will be eating for the next four years! Students who have decided upon their course of study should make every effort to arrange a meeting with the head of that particular department and audit a class or two. This may require an overnight, giving the student a greater opportunity to check out the dorm.

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