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Tired of "same-old, same-old" Phonics drill?
Learning Phonics Through Play, Rhythm & Songs
Come for this workshop!!! Spice up your literacy program with motivational songs, games, raps, and movement, and just watch what happens to enthusiasm and memory!
by Dr Myrna Ross
8 & 9 Apr 09, 9am to 5pm, Singapore
This workshop familiarizes participants with Sing Your Way Through Phonics, a series of musical learning experiences, as well as a wide variety of lively activities that take the tedium out of phonics practice.  Teachers report that reinforcing phonics skills through play, music, rhythm, and movement has proven to be an especially effective strategy for English language learners who may experience difficulties with traditional methods of instruction. Day 1 of this workshop familiarizes participants with the benchmarks and stages of phonics development and techniques for helping students move through the stages with ease. Day 2 is devoted to activity and game construction to match individual needs of students, teachers, and educational settings.

Participants will deepen their understandings of:

  1. how phonics ability develops, from phonemic awareness to word roots and affixes;
  2. how to introduce, present, and reinforce vital phonics concepts through playful and captivating activities, and
  3. how to encourage children to use phonics strategically in reading and writing, and
  4. how to select and construct effective literacy games and activities.
Day 1
What is phonics?
  • English as an alphabetic language
  • From speech to print: rules and spelling patterns
  • Regular vs. irregular spellings
Why is phonics so important?
  • The reading process-from word recognition to comprehension
  • How phonics works with other cueing strategies
  • The importance of fluency and vocabulary
How does phonics ability develop?
  • Emergent literacy-phonemic awareness, letter recognition, phonological awareness
  • Early literacy-consonants, vowels, spelling patterns and rules, syllables
  • Maturing literacy-letter/sound variants, roots and affixes, grammatical word forms
How can play, rhythm, and rhyme help with phonics?
  • Playing with rhyme and alliteration for phonemic awareness
  • Playing with shape for letter recognition
  • Playing with rhythm and song for phonological awareness
  • Singing about consonant digraphs, diphthongs, and blends
  • Segmenting and blending with body movement
  • Tunes that teach word families
  • Raps that teach short and long vowel sounds
  • Poetry techniques to reinforce phonics rules
  • Syllable games and songs
  • Sorting out letter/sound variants—new sounds for familiar letters
  • Sorting out grammatical word forms—plurals, possessives, and contractions
  • Fun with homophones
  • Rhythms that teach roots and affixes
How can we help children apply what they know?
  • Modeling and think-aloud
  • Developing fluency
  • Developing vocabulary
  • Working with parents
  • Phonics in content area subjects
  • Word walls and other self-help tools
  • Preview and review
Day 2
Principles of effective literacy games and activities
  • Working with the concrete materials
  • Involving the whole body
  • Interacting with text
  • Involving students (and parents!) in game construction and maintenance
  • Providing a social context for learning
  • Selecting projects that are inexpensive, easy-to-construct, and time saving
Types of teacher-constructed games
  • Matching games, Scrambles, Q&A cards, Board games, Computer activities, Timed games and activities, Sorting games, Puzzles and construction games, Problem-solving games
Construct activities that meet your own students' needs—"Make and Take"
  • Participants share and test each others' constructed activities
  • Further resources for phonics through play, rhythm, and song
  Trainer's Profile
A graduate of Boston University, West Virginia University, and Ohio University, Dr. Myrna Ross Gifford began her 30-years teaching career as a music educator in the public schools of Wellesley, Massachusetts, Half Moon Bay, California, and South Orange, New Jersey.  A passion for the improvement of early literacy led Dr. Gifford to supplement her Music Education degree with a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education.  Throughout a tenure of several years as a first grade and special education teacher for Appalachian children in Wirt County, West Virginia, Dr. Gifford energized her classroom by composing and adapting music, writing computer programs, and integrating multi-media.  She realized that a classroom environment which capitalized on children’s normal inclinations to sing, to move, and to play would stimulate active learning by making the process both natural and enjoyable.  Over time, Dr. Gifford's songs and activities for teaching kids phonics became a regular part of reading instruction lesson plans for both average and remedial students.

Dr. Gifford began an intense study of children’s writing development, culminating in a Ph.D. in Reading and Language Arts in 1994.  Her research on invented spelling was chosen for special recognition by the Outstanding Dissertation of the Year Committee of the International Reading Association.  In conducting her doctoral studies, Dr. Gifford collected and analyzed over five thousand journal entries written by children who were just beginning to read and write.

In 1995, Dr. Gifford began working with classroom teachers and pre-service teachers as an education faculty member at Ohio University and Wright State University.  Dr. Gifford developed workshops for educators involving technology in the classroom, tools for teaching phonics, spelling games and challenges, improving reading comprehension, and challenging at-risk students.  In addition to presentations at conventions for the National Council of Teachers of English and state Language Arts and Early Childhood organizations, Dr. Gifford became a technology consultant for the Coldwater, Ohio public schools.  Dr. Gifford engaged in an extensive research project for the Ohio Department of Education to evaluate the success of a statewide Phonics Demonstration Project.

Dr. Gifford’s recent work focuses on educators, volunteers, and community members who work with at-risk students. In addition to serving on the Board of Trustees for the Miami Valley Child Development Centers, Dr. Gifford has developed A Blueprint for Reading Success (Gifford, 1999) and A Blueprint for Math Success (Gifford, Cochran, and Herrelko, 2000), two comprehensive and easy-to-manage tutoring programs for reading and math improvement.  St. Louis, Missouri participants report enthusiasm for this exciting program in community centers, latchkey programs, and schools.  Dr. Gifford continues to develop curricula for computer-assisted learning, educational games, and distance learning.  She has conducted online courses on the Internet for Wright State University since 1993.

Workshop with audience participation. This is an interactive workshop where participants get to “try out” songs, games, and activities before introducing them to children. In this workshop, participants create make-and-take activities suitable for individual tutoring, large and small group instruction, and classroom learning centers.

  Target Audience
Early Childhood and Primary Grades. Classroom teachers, music teachers and administrators interested in improving the quality and effectiveness of their early childhood programs through the integration of phonics

SGD550.00/pax if register by 15 Jan 09
SGD490.00/pax if register by 15 Nov 08
Participants will receive a packet of ready-to-use activities that can be adapted to individual needs and curricula. Participants will also receive a sample CD containing excerpts from all musical selections used in the workshop.
  Other Details
Duration: 2 days, 14 hours
Venue: Singapore (Exact hotel to be advised)
Closing Date: 15 Feb 09
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