Friday, June 24, 2011

Sometimes we just have to laugh at ourselves!

The American Way.......

A Japanese company (Toyota) and an American company (General Motors) decided to have a canoe race.

Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race. On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.

The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat. A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action. Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing.

So American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion. They advised that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing.

To prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team's management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents, 1 assistant superintendent steering manager and 1 rower. They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1 person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the "Rowing Team Quality First Program", with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rower. There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses. The next year the Japanese won by two miles!!

Humiliated, the American management laid off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses and the next year's racing team was out-sourced to India.

The End.

Life is about Making Choices

Life is about Making Choices

John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"

He was a natural motivator.

If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, "I don't get it!

You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"

He replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or ... you can choose to be in a bad mood.

I choose to be in a good mood."

Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or...I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.

Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or... I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.

"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.

"Yes, it is," he said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood.

You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life."

I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.

I saw him about six months after the accident.

When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins...Wanna see my scars?"

I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

"The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter," he replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or...I could choose to die. I chose to live."

"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.

He continued, "..the paramedics were great.

They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man'. I knew I needed to take action."

"What did you do?" I asked.

"Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said John. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. Yes, I replied.”

The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, “Gravity.”

Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."

He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude... I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

Attitude, after all, is everything .

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34.

After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tutor Test

Tutor Test

Based on: The Teaching of Reading (and Spelling): a Continuum from Kindergarten through College

Section One. Questions that a tutor should be able to answer:

1. How does reading upside down affect comprehension?

2. What are some of the benefits for a tutor of reading and writing upside down?

3. How would you personally define reading? Is there any perfect definition of what reading is?

4. How would you define dyslexia? Is there any definition of dyslexia that you think is better than the rest?

5. What are the most common misconceptions about dyslexia?

Section Two.

  1. What are the names of the leading experts on both sides of the phonics vs. whole language controversy?
  2. Which experts (if any) have clearly and personally demonstrated that their method works on real students? On dyslexics?
  3. How phonetically regular is English spelling? How phonically regular?
  4. Whoops! What is the difference between phonetics and phonics?
  5. What is the difference between phonics and phonemics?
  6. What is the difference between phonemics and phonetics?
  7. Now, how phonetically regular is English spelling?
  8. Now, how phonically regular is English spelling?
  9. Is spelling taught or caught?
  10. Should we teach manuscript or cursive or both?
  11. Should we teach keyboarding? If so, when?

A "Simple" Fonnix Ken Bee Phun Kwizz.

The correct answers follow the questions. Try to answer them before you scroll down.

1. Spell the names of the letters of the alphabet. Hint: the first seven correct answers are: AY, BEE, SEE, DEE, EE, EFF, JEE. Write your answers as fast as you can and then go on to the next question. We really don't want to torture you. We just want to point out to you that chances are you haven't been taught "applied phonics."

2. The EEK sound can be spelled both eek and eak as in peek and peak. What are two other ways of spelling that sound? Give an example.

3. The ISS sound is easily spelled in words such as kiss and miss. Give at least three other ways of spelling that sound with at least one example of each.

4. The "un" sound is easily spelled in little words like fun and sun. (a) What are the two most common spellings of "un" in words that have a base of more than one syllable? (b) Which "un" spelling indicates a human?

5. The letter ou sound as "OW!" as in out and pout. In big words, how are these letters (ou) usually pronounced?

6. The sound /ij/ is spelled idge in little words. How is /ij/ spelled in big words? We know of three different spellings possible.

7. The dictionaries commonly use the letters zh to indicate a sound that occurs fairly regularly in English. How do we usually spell that sound? Give two different ways and at least two words for each way. Underline the letters that are used to make the /zh/ sound.

8. There is a word shun, but we don't buy gasoline at a gas stay-shun. Besides the ubiquitous -tion combination, how many other ways are there to spell the sound "shun."

9. We all know that in little words the "ch" sound is made with the letters ch as in chin, chip, and church. Give examples of three different "chun" spellings. Give examples of three other "ch" spellings. Hint: Choose the letter t for starters.

10. Give examples of two different ways of spelling the "jun" sound. Underline the letter or letters that give the /j/ sound.

11. Although the most common spelling of the sound "shun" is tion, we never spell a single English word that ends with the" shunt" sound tiont. Give examples of the two ways we spell the "shunt" sound. Underline the letter or letters that produce the /sh/ sound.

12. The ending "ur" sound is spelled ur in fur. Give examples of five different ways we have of spelling that sound.

13. The ending "urd" sound is spelled urd as in curd. How many other ways can you spell this sound?

14. The "ul" sound is usually spelled le as in able or pickle. Give examples of words in which the "ul" sound is spelled al, el, il, ol, and ul.

15. The ending "k" sound in little words is spelled "ck" as in sack, deck, pick, dock, and tuck. "Big" words don't use the ending ck for the /k/ sound. Give at least one example of a word ending with ac, ec, and ic.

16. The ending "sk" sound in little words is spelled "sk" as in mask and bask. What four letters are often used to represent that sound in "big" words?

17. The "shul" sound is never spelled shul in any English word. Give examples of at least two different "shul" words. Underline the letter or letters that make the "sh" sound.

18. What is the correct pronunciation of the word "a" 99% of the time it is used?

19. Even though they are not words but parts of words, you can pronounce "resh" as in refreshments, "titch" as in stitches, and "trange" as in strangers.

  • Now, which word does the word part "titi" rhyme with: city, fish, tie dye, bit eye, or ditch?
  • Which word does the word part "fici" rhyme with: sissy, dish, lie, sigh, hick eye, or stitch?
  • Which word does the word part "missi" rhyme with: missy, fish, my sigh, miss eye, or hitch?

20. It is said that dyslexics often transpose letters getting the sounds out of order as in reading the name "Bart" as "Brat." In our language there are a number of letters that are normally transposed so that the sounds are read in reverse order. Give the three most common "dyslexic" letter combinations and at least one example of each.

21. The schwa (unstressed vowel sound) can be spelled many different ways. How many different ways can you spell the schwa? Write at least one word for each different way the schwa sound is spelled.

22. Even though there are two schwa sounds in the word democracy, can you give a solid reason why everyone should pick the correct letter or each of the two schwa sounds? If yes, explain. If no, just accept the fact that your answer is being graded as an incorrect response.

23. In 1954 21% of all First Graders could correctly spell the word yellow. How many do you believe could correctly spell the word yell? (1) 5%, (b) 10%, (c) 15%, (d) 20%, (e) 25%, (f) 40%.

24. If the correct answer were to be have been 40% would it mean that yell is easier to spell than yellow?

25. If the correct answer were to be 10% would it mean that yellow is easier to spell?

1. AY, BEE, SEE, DEE, EE, EFF, JEE, AYCH (or AICH), AHEE (This vowel is actually a diphthong, an elision of AH and EE. We personally prefer using YH for this sound following the OH, AH, and UH patterns of showing vowel sounds) JAY, KAY, ELL, EM, EN, OH, PEE, KYOO, AHR, ESS, TEE, YOO, VEE, DUB BUL YOO, EKS, WAHEE (WYH), ZEE

2."eke" as in the word eke, and "ique" as in pique, unique, technique, antique, Angelique, etc. We had hoped to pique your curiosity as well as demonstrating that context clues can be missed even by the best of readers who might not catch the peak, peek, pique homophones as the clue.

3. ice as in notice, ace as in palace, uce as in lettuce, and "is" as in analysis.

4. (a) on (onion, nation) and an (American). Partial credit for one as in done.

5. As a schwa (uh) as in nervous and courage, Also OO as in you and rendezvous.

6. age as in passage, ege as in college, and igi as in religion.

7. s and ge and si as in measure and exposure; loge, luge, and prestige;.Asia, Persia, vision, and invasion.

8. There are nine other ways: (1) sion as in tension; (2) cion as in suspicion; (3) cian as in musician; (4) ssion as in mission; (5) tian as in Venetian; (6) ssian as in Russian; (7) (tien) as in patience; (8) scien as in conscience; (9) cien as in efficiency.

9. tion as in question, tian as in Christian, tune as in fortune.

10. geon as in surgeon, gion as in religion, and gine as in engine.

11. tient as in patient and cient as in efficient.

12. ar as in altar; er as in alter; or as in color; our as in colour; ir as in fir.

13. 16! (1) ard as in coward; (2) erd as in herd; (3) eard as in heard; (4) ird as in bird; (5) ord as in word; (6) ered as in answered; (7) erred as in referred; (8) irred as in stirred; (9) ored as in colored; (10) oured as coloured; (11) urred as in slurred; (12) uard as in blackguard! (13) ared as in collared; (14) ured as in measured; (15) red as in euchred (16) eured as in chauffeured.

14. al in pedal; el in nickel; il in peril; ol as in pistol; ul as in mogul.

15. Pontiac, Aztec, picnic.

16. sque as in grotesque and picturesque, or mosque and Basque.

17. cial as in special and tial as in partial.

18. "uh" Notice the difference in meaning when you say, "Gimme uh break!" and "Give me AY break!"


  • The letters "titi" always rhyme with fish as in petition, competition, and repetition.
  • The letters "fici" always rhyme with dish as in official, beneficial, and that should be sufficient to make the point.
  • The letters "missi" rhyme with fish as in mission, permission, and commission.

20. le as in able (cf. label), wh as in what (hwut) and re as in acre.

21. a as in above, e as in petition, i as in legible, o as in mutton, u as in rubble, ou as in courage.

22. DEMoCRATic as opposed to deMOCracy. If you know other structural forms of polysyllabic words you will find that the stress changes and what in one form is the unstressed schwa is now a clearly stressed vowel in another. This is a good argument against funNETik spellings of FAHnikx and fohNEEMiks. Note the consistent phon in phone, phonetic, phonics, and phonemics.

23. 5%

24. Yes

25. No.

New DVD Pricing

The Sequential Spelling DVD prices are going to be lowered.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sequential Spelling Sample

Sequential Spelling Sample

Follow these directions carefully:

  1. Ask your class to spell: beginning. Let's start at the beginning. beginning.
    Tell your students that all they have to do is put down some of the letters they think might be in the word beginning. Collect the papers. You will want to compare any misspellings with the spellings you will get on the 5th and 6th days.
  2. Give the following tests on separate but consecutive class days. You say the word. Use it in a sentence. Give the word again. Every student must at least attempt to spell the word.
  3. After each student has tried and before going to the next word, give the correct spelling. Let each student correct his own paper.

1st day

1. in

2. pin

3. sin

4. spin

2nd day

1. in

2. pins

3. sins

4. spins

5. kin

6. skin

7. win

8. twin

3rd day

1. thin

2. pinned

3. sinned

4. an inn

5. shin

6. skins

7. wins

8. twins

9. be

10. begin

11. chin

4th day

1. thins

2. pinning

3. sinning

4. spinning

5. shins

6. skinned

7. winning

8. inner

9. be

10. begins

11. chins

5th day

1. thinned

2. thinner

3. sinner

4. spinner

5. fins

6. Mr.Skinner

7. winner

8. be

9. inning

10. beginning

11. chinned

6th day

1. thinning

2. thinnest

3. sinners

4. spinners

5. tin

6. Mr. Skinner's

7. winners

8. bee

9. innings

10. beginnings

11. chinning

7th day

1. thin

2. in

3. inn

4. spin

5. tins

6. skin

7. winning

8. bee

9. inner

10. beginner

11. shin

8th day

1. thinner

2. ins

3. inns

4. spinning

5. tin

6. skins

7. winner

8. be

9. being

10. beginners

11. shins

Nearly every student, no matter what grade or how badly learning disabled, will learn to read, write, and spell the word beginning. Note: Even the very gifted students can increase their vocabulary because this program uses many words to teach a few simple patterns.