For all of our friends who teach English as a foreign language:
-- $20 off The Silent Way American English Small Set (charts, student books, teacher book)
-- $10 off The Silent Way American English Small Charts
No coupon code necessary, while supplies last.
Our "small" charts are ideal for classes of 1-4 students.
Complete set: http://www.educationalsolutions.com/english-complete-sets.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=87&category_id=31
Charts only: http://www.educationalsolutions.com/english-wall-charts.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=83&category_id=32
The Bronx Charter School for Better Learning is celebrating its 10th Anniversary. That’s 10 years of Words in Color, 10 years of Gattegno Math, and 10 years of creating confident learners. The school lives up to its mission “To provide teaching that constantly adjusts to the needs of our students, leading to independence, autonomy, responsibility, and a sustained love of learning, all of which contribute directly to high academic achievement.”
In this milestone year, BBL has been specially invited to present at the New York Charter School Association (NYCSA) conference on October 13th, with the topic “Gattegno Mathematics: Algebra before Arithmetic?”
The Riverside Language Program in New York has been offering a unique learning-centred ESOL program in New York City since 1979. They are offering opportunities to either observe, or participate in a practicum starting this month.
This full-day observation (9:15 – 4:15) includes:
· An introduction to the philosophy of the school,
· Two 90-minute observations of intensive ESOL classes taught by master teachers skilled in Silent Way, Counseling Learning and other methodologies,
· A facilitated post-observation reflection.
Thurs, 9/20; Tues, 10/30; Tues, 11/27; Mon, 12/17; Thurs, 1/22; Wed, 2/13; Mon, 3/11; Tues, 4/16; Wed, 5/29
30-day internship in an intensive ESOL class working with a "master teacher.”
In the internship, you will:
· plan and design
· teach small groups and whole class lessons
· conference daily with the mentor
You will receive continuous supervision and feedback from your mentor/teacher throughout the six-week class. Together mentor and intern will design the class based on the observed needs of all the participants.
http://www.riversidelanguage.org 490 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10027 Fax: 212 882-2785
About the Riverside Language Program:
- Offering free intensive ESOL classes since 1979.
- Highly experienced mentor and master teachers.
- Silent Way and/or Counseling Learning/Community Language Learning in all classes.
- Learning-centered philosophy.
We have heard, and experienced ourselves, many times that Gattegno's work is difficult to read. He often had big ideas, and explained them with other bigger ideas. Of course such statements refer to books like The Science of Education series or Evolution and Memory, but we shouldn't forget that his repertoire stretched beyond scientific and academic writing styles. Books like Eight Tales and Short Passages put his creative energy into words that even children and those learning English as a foreign language could appreciate.
Pearson International recently asked our permission to print Peter's Beach by Caleb Gattegno in their new book Writing Power 3. The story from Short Passages is used as an example of how good writing provides sensory detail. This small inclusion into a book about becoming a good writer reminds us that Caleb Gattegno had immense talents beyond the spheres of science and education.
Esaie Pierre and Arthur Powell from Elevating Leaning Above Teaching (ELAT) are preparing for their next round of teacher-education workshops in Haiti. In March, they held their latest round of Gattegno Mathematics workshops in Jacmel, and they now plan to return to help the teachers prepare for the start of school in October. They are expecting about 33 local teachers and administrators to attend -- many from March's sessions, and some from workshops two years ago.
The ELAT team is also currently working on translating the first two Gattegno Mathematics textbooks into Haitian Creole, with the hopes that they can be used during this school year.
Here is some photos from ELAT's time in Jacmel in March, 2012.
A note from the Bronx Charter School for Better Learning:
On March 15th, BBL's Mathematics Program was featured at The Achievement Network's (ANet) School Data Showcase!
ANet, like BBL, is committed to helping all students achieve academic excellence. They chose us because of our revamped Math curriculum, as well as small group instruction, after-school interventions and data usage.
ANet's Showcase serves as a platform on which all schools can learn from others who are having an impact using school-based data-driven practices. We are extremely honored that ANet selected us!
Save the Date!
Our Annual Gala, -"Let the Kids Shine"- will take place on May 16, 2012, at the NY Botanical Garden.
Spanish charts and books are now available for purchase individually or as sets.
The Silent Way for Spanish
Click on the image to view the sets on the Educational Solutions store
The Spanish Silent Way Home and Classroom Sets come with:
- Five updated Word Charts
- A one-page Fidel
- A Sound-Color Chart
- A Key to the Spanish Fidel
- A large box of Algebricks rods
- Three Silent Way Books: El Libro de las Mil Frases, Ocho Cuentos, Narraciones Breves
Click on any of the above links to view the item.
The Leocolor Home and Classroom sets include:
- Nine Word Charts
- The new Fidel
- The Key to Spanish Fidel,
- Three student books: Libro 1, Libro 2, and Hojas de Trabajo 1 a 6
- And a newly re-published teacher guide, Para la Enseñanza de la Lectura.
Click on any of the above links to view the item.
What?: A learning-centered approach for people interested in language learning and/or teaching and/or the Silent Way approach.
When?: Saturday and Sunday, January 14-15, 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Where?: Riverside Language Program (in Riverside Church) at 91 Claremont Avenue between West 120-122 Streets in Manhattan, NY
Who?: It will be taught by RLP master teacher Tom Miller, New York Times ESOL Teacher-of-the-Year finalist.
The Center for Learning and Teaching at Newcastle University will host two seminars on October 18, 2011. The first seminar will take a look at Gattegno's model of learning, known as The Subordination of Teaching to Learning, while the second session will focus on Gattegno's approach to language learning. The sessions will be presented by Dr. Piers Messum and Dr. Roslyn Young. Read more about the Gattegno seminars here (informational Word document will automatically download).
Launch Coincides With Dr. Caleb Gattegno Centennial Celebrations and UNESCO’s International Literacy Day
NEW YORK - Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc. (ESWI) today announced the launch of the first ever edition of the world-renowned Words In Color reading program that is suitable for use outside the traditional classroom format.
The launch comes during this year’s centennial of the birth of Dr. Caleb Gattegno, who developed Words In Color to solve the problem of literacy, and has been timed to coincide with UNESCO’s International Literacy Day (Sept. 8).
“Dr. Gattegno was a member of the UNESCO mission on literacy in Ethiopia in 1957 when he got the first inspiration that would lead to the development of Words in Color,” said ESWI CEO Eaton Donald. “The system of breaking down the entire English language into its basic phonetic sound groups and codifying them in color was quickly adopted in more than 40 countries. “
The Words in Color 100th Anniversary Edition can be used without special training on the part of the person who is teaching the program and is ideal for parents wishing to participate in their children’s education. The edition is also highly accessible to para-professional teachers of English wishing to make a positive impact on their students of any age.
On International Literacy Day each year, UNESCO reminds the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally. Despite many and varied efforts, literacy remains an elusive target: some 793 million adults lack minimum literacy skills which means that about one in six adults is still not literate; 67.4 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out.
“We are determined more than ever to spread what we believe is a solution to literacy that is designed to use our natural abilities to learn and is, therefore, guaranteed to bring success to those who choose to adopt it,” said Mr. Donald.
Educational Solutions is offering the special edition at a discounted price during the Gattegno anniversary. Please, use coupon code READ25 at checkout.
Absolute Visual Reading was a video program developed by Dr. Gattegno to teach reading to deaf students. It was released in 1974, but his outreach to the deaf community began much earlier.
In 1956 he released a book called Teaching Mathematics to Deaf Children, of which excerpts and translations were published separately and under different titles, and in 1973 he released Teaching Reading to the Deaf. This video series uses the same concepts behind Pop Up and Words in Color, by making sounds visible through color.
Dr. Caleb Gattegno’s Vision For Educational Television
NEW YORK - Dr. Caleb Gatttegno’s ideas about television and education make for enlightened reading even though it’s been more than 40 years since those ideas were first published in Towards A Visual Culture.
The book, perhaps one of his most concise and to date most prophetic writings, is once again in print and now available to read free online or to download for $5 a copy from the publisher, Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc. (ESWI).
“In Towards a Visual Culture, Dr. Gattegno makes the case that we learn more quickly and comprehensively through sight than language and he sets out a framework for educating through television,” said Eaton Donald, CEO of Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc.
The edition is one of 50 of Dr. Gattegno’s most important books and papers that are being republished throughout the year as part of the celebrations to commemorate 100 years since his birth.
Dr. Gattegno believed TV is a product of our own developing self-awareness as human beings and our growing need to communicate ideas and logic at increasingly higher levels of speed and depth of understanding than what spoken and written words now permit. In the natural evolution of things, Dr. Gattegno believed that visual media would open the door to higher rates of human learning and advancement.
At the time of writing (1969), Dr. Gattegno believed that TV was not yet up to the task of furthering the higher purposes of human awareness, especially in the case of educating children, who he believed were learning nothing of much value from TV except perhaps what goes into the making of beer and cigar commercials.
Dr. Gattegno was, however, certain that the young medium would eventually come around to serving the greater good and he outlined specific steps educators and broadcasters could take to achieve that end more quickly, including making scientific inquiry more entertaining. At the same time, he believed that the broadcasting technology itself had to - and would –become more accessible to wider ranges of broadcasters than the purely commercially driven TV producers of his day.
One cannot help but speculate while reading the book what Dr. Gattegno would think of how far things have come 23 years after his death with the rise of specialty channels devoted to everything from cooking to space travel as well as the advent of the world-wide web and YouTube, which has the potential to make broadcasters out of all educators. He probably would approve but also remark that we are still a long way from living without the printed word.
An Indictment of the Current Teacher-Pupil Relationship
He rejects any concept that important learning occurs where “teachers are those people who take knowledge down from the shelves where it is displayed and hand it out to students who presumably need only memory in order to receive it.”
Dr. Gattengo rightly suggests that memory is not very powerful at all and, therefore, is a highly inefficient tool for learning. One only need ask: ‘How much have I retained of what I was taught in school?’ to see his point. But even more importantly, Dr. Gattegno accuses general education of leaving students unprepared to fully “meet what is new and strange”. I.E. education, as it commonly exists, actually puts a limit on one’s future.
In What We Owe Children, we see Dr. Gattegno’s concept “the subordination of teaching to learning” fully explained for the first time. Within this context, education becomes a process of self-education relying entirely on the natural powers of students to explore and learn anything worth knowing with only a minimal amount of informed guidance, which could come from teachers or parents.
“Essentially, the book shows how teaching and learning can properly work together to dramatically improve outcomes with less effort and within the limited time available to today’s teachers and parents,” said Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc. CEO Eaton Donald of the company’s decision to republish the book and make it available to read online for free and to be downloaded for $5.
A thoroughly radical approach, even by today’s standards, Dr. Gattegno proposed it at a time when “inner city” school education in the United States was a hotly debated problem. In the early 1970s, the approach did find its way into the highly publicized experiment of Harlem Community School P.S. 133, where it was widely reported to be producing miraculous results in the teaching of math and reading.
Today, the subordination of teaching to learning continues to inform Dr. Gattegno’s approaches to teaching mathematics (Gattegno Math), foreign languages (the Silent Way) and English literacy (Words in Color) throughout the world.
One of our favorite teachers, Bruce Ballard, was recently featured in the Korean/English bilingual magazine Mom&I. Bruce talks about the Bronx Charter School for Better Learning, The Silent Way, and learning and teaching Korean.
Bruce Ballard first met The Silent Way in 1975 when the Peace Corps taught him to speak Korean during his pre-service training in South Korea. He studied The Silent Way while serving in the Peace Corps, then took courses at Educational Solutions in New York City. Eventually he worked at Educational Solutions, assisting Patricia Perez in the Bilingual Education department. Since then he has taught in universities in New York, Korea, and Japan, and trained teachers in The Silent Way in half a dozen countries. In 1999 he joined Charlotte (Shasha) Balfour’s company, the Skilled Writer International, which applied Gattegno’s pedagogy to business writing courses. Bruce is now a staff trainer at the Bronx Charter School for Better Learning, which was set up to train new teachers in the Subordination of Teaching to Learning. He has a doctorate in Applied Linguistics from Teachers College, Columbia University.
NEW YORK - Re-published and now available to read online for free, The Universe of Babies is a key work in unlocking how Dr. Caleb Gattegno arrived at developing his revolutionary new scientific approaches to education.
“Authored by Dr. Gattegno in 1973, the book elaborates for the first time on how babies investigate the world with the same rigor as the most advanced rocket scientist,” said Eaton Donald, CEO of Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc (ESWI).
“Back then, such a claim was a radical departure from the scientific community, which believed that any form of consciousness only appears after birth and along with the development of language,” said Mr. Donald.
But Dr. Gattegno, himself a brilliant scientist, who was likened to a modern-aged Copernicus by the New York Times, saw that conventional wisdom about the abilities of babies was highly flawed. He set out to investigate the topic of how we learn in a more “objective” way. He believed by doing so, it would lead to a whole new branch of science about education.
In The Universe of Babies, he challenges conventional wisdom about how and when babies start learning. He puts forth his own theory that we come already equipped with the “awareness” for full self-discovery and self-learning in utero. Since then, new technology with its ability to observe babies before birth has brought medical science closer to Dr. Gattegno’s view.
In practice, this theory was to play an incalculable role in creating the basis for a Science of Education and Dr. Gattegno’s own world-renowned and highly effective approaches to teaching mathematics (Gattegno Mathematics), foreign languages (The Silent Way) and literacy (Words in Color).
In all these approaches, the role of the teacher becomes someone who creates and oversees the completion of a defined set of challenges and not someone who simply dispenses facts and information for the purpose of memorization and rote. Such an approach would indicate that we do come equipped with the facility to create our own knowledge base with the right stimulation.
The Universe of Babies is one of 100 papers and books that are being republished in this year to commemorate the 100th anniversary since Dr. Gattegno’s birth.
All Second Editions of his books are available for between $9.95 and $14.95. You can also read them online for free or download them for $5 apiece.
“We are privileged to be carrying on the legacy of Dr. Gattegno and will ensure that is it made available in appropriated forms for all succeeding generations of teachers, students and parents,” said Mr. Donald.
NEW YORK– The ground breaking series of books that set the stage for the creation of a science of education is now available free to read on line, Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc. (ESWI) today announced.
Dr. Caleb Gattegno, one of the history’s leading scientists and educators, wrote the series entitled The Science of Education after decades of observing and conducting his own successful classroom experiments throughout the world.
“Dr. Gattegno would have turned 100 this year and we are pleased at this time to be offering a free on line edition as well as a first ever French version,” said EWSI CEO and Phil-entrepreneur Eaton Donald. “This offering is part of our deep commitment to making Dr. Gattegno’s work as widely available as possible.”
“Any authentic science leads to the development of technology, and in this case, Dr. Gattegno’s technology has been the basis for creating dramatically more efficient learning without increasing the cost of education to the learners or the providers.”
The Science of Education was originally presented in a paper entitled “A Prelude to the Science of Education” published in 1972. It eventually became three parts now available in book form as a Second Edition in English: The Science of Education: Theoretical Considerations (Part1); The Science of Education: The Awareness of Mathematization (Part 2B) and The Science of Education: The Teaching and Learning of Foreign Languages (Chapter 13). The English and French editions are available as digital downloads for $5 each and you can purchase books from the series’ for between $9.95 and $14.95.
New York - Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc. [ESWI], today announced it has finalized the purchase of all the rights to the intellectual property of Dr. Caleb Gattegno, who is regarded as one of the world’s leading innovators in education.
Ownership of the Gattegno IP will now reside in the hands of Canadian ‘phil-entrepreneur’ Eaton Donald, and will be administered and developed through ESWI, which is privately held by Mr. Donald and headquartered in Toronto, Canada.
Mr. Donald was a principal of Digital Cement Inc., one of Canada’s most innovative marketing services companies, and is credited with redefining how Fortune 500 companies engage, manage and evolve their customer relationships using the Internet. After growing to approximately 125 employees, Digital Cement was sold to Pitney Bowes for $52 million in 2007. Mr Donald took two years off to spend time with his family before he founded The Skylar Project (www.theskylarproject.com), an initiative to create low cost housing for the poorest populations of the world.
Mr. Donald purchased the IP rights from Dr. Gattegno’s surviving widow who had managed her husband’s worldwide interests from a base in New York City since his death in 1988.
“I’m honored to be chosen to bring Dr. Gattegno’s remarkable work in education to a new generation of educators and their students,” said Mr. Donald.
“Dr. Gattegno wrote prolifically on psychology, health, education and the nature of media culture,” added Mr. Donald. “He thought we could do a better job of educating our children and he showed us how by presenting challenges so that students could create their own knowledge and skills rather than rely on memorization.”
ESWI will manage and develop the Gattegno Intellectual Properties and a vast array of accompanying teaching products and published works with Mr. Donald taking an active role as chief executive officer.
“Dr. Gattegno would have turned 100 this year and a number of events are planned throughout world to commemorate the centennial of his birth, including the publishing by ESWI of a collective memoir: The Gattegno Effect, 100 Voices on One of History’s Greatest Educators,” said Mr. Donald. “We are also re-releasing all of his published works as well as introducing some exciting new educational products based on his unique pedagogies.”
How Mind Wins Over Matter
NEW YORK - When it comes to the mind and the brain and what came first, you’ve got what is perhaps the key question that was asked by Dr. Caleb Gattegno in developing his Science of Education.
In The Mind Teaches the Brain, Dr. Gattegno admits it is a classic chicken and egg question that he solves in a very classic way by not fully choosing either the chicken or the egg. Instead, he postulates that what makes us who we are is already present at the time of conception in the form of energy, something along the lines of what Einstein has given us to believe about universal energy.
Therefore, that lump of grey matter we call the brain is far from determining who we are and most importantly for Dr. Gattegno, how we learn. What really determines all this, as well as what makes us different from everyone else, is actually determined by “the self”, which almost immediately after conception begins building our soma and eventually all of our personal attributes throughout the rest of our lives. This would seem to favor the concept of something we call our mind teaching us as opposed to our brain doing the teaching, or mind over matter, if you like.
For Gattegno the self conducts the process of our development through learning without the need of a teacher in the traditional sense of someone who conveys information and facts. Therefore, for Dr. Gattegno, the role of a good teacher is simply to stimulate the self. Hence, his famous call for the “subordination of teaching to learning.”
“The concept of the self is fundamental to all the theories and pedagogues that were to inform Dr. Gattegno’s groundbreaking approaches to teaching Mathematics (Gattegno Mathematics), foreign languages (The Silent Way) and literacy (Words in Color),” said Eaton Donald, CEO of Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc (ESWI).
Now ESWI is making The Mind Teaches the Brain available in a newly published Second Edition; and for the first time can be read online for free or downloaded for $5.
NEW YORK – Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc. (ESWI) today announced the release of a Special Home Edition of its renowned Gattegno Mathematics Series designed for parents to help their children get a leg up in mathematics.
The 20th Century’s leading educator and visionary Dr. Caleb Gattegno created the original series of books in the 1950s as a guide to using the Cuisenaire Rods, the world’s most successful and enduring math manipulative.
The Special Edition puts together all the elements of the original series in an attractive set of six books, a parents’ guidebook and a complete set of Algebricks Rods. Along with the easy-to-follow program instructions there are hundreds of well-crafted games and activities intended to have your child thinking like a mathematician within a few hours of use.
“This Special Home Edition is ideal for parents as no teaching or mathematical experience is required and it takes as little as 15 minutes a day,” said Educational Solutions CEO Eaton Donald. “The results for Kindergarten to Grade 6 students are unquestionable having been proved over decades of use.”
"As this year marks the centennial of Dr. Gattegno’s birth, we are also today announcing a special anniversary price of $99.”
Textbook 1 starts out with the simple instruction: “In your set of colored rods, find all those that are the same color. Mix all of the rods together again. Now find all of the rods that are the same length.”
With that accomplished, students begin to manipulate the Algebricks Rods in particular ways and describe the relationships between the rods in their own language, such as ‘two white rods are as long as one red rod.’ Once, aware of these relationships, students are introduced to mathematical language. The above statement can then become, “white+white=red” or “2w=r,” or “1+1=2”. The student never has to rely on their memory to produce these mathematical truths.
With this experience, students can easily verify their answers – they do not have to rely on the teacher to know if they are correct. Students build on these initial experiences in the process of moving to the higher mathematical concepts of Algebra and Geometry.
Dr. Gattegno spent his lifetime researching how children learn. His system for teaching math is based on the idea that students can learn mathematics best by working on challenges which generate first hand experience. He believed that systems based on memorization are doomed to fail.
For more information on how it works, please refer to Re-inventing Mathematics Education.
Work of Leading Educator Caleb Gattegno
Featured at IATEFL Annual Conference
Brighton, UK – Advanced and current insights into the work of one of leading educator and visionary Dr. Caleb Gattegno will be presented on the first day of the world’s largest gathering of instructors devoted to teaching English as a foreign language.
Pronunciation is one of the largest challenges of language instruction and most methods are variations on “listen and repeat.” However, Gattegno scholars Dr. Roslyn Young and Dr. Piers Messum will present alternative “non-imitative ways” of teaching pronunciation in their presentation on April 15th at the 45th Annual Conference and Exhibition of the Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL).
The session will be a unique opportunity to gain an in-depth acquaintance with how Dr. Gattegno’s Science of Education would advocate teaching pronunciation in the same natural way that children learn how to speak.
The Brighton Conference will host 1,400 delegates from 100 countries who will participate in workshops and special events for four days (April 15-19). As well, extensive online video coverage will be broadcast to thousands of teachers around the world by British Council.
Dr. Gattegno would have turned 100 this year. His revolutionary approaches to teaching reading and writing (Words in Color), foreign languages (The Silent Way) and mathematics (Visible & Tangible Math) were rapidly and widely adopted in 46 countries on six continents. By the time of his death, Dr. Gattegno had begun using his vast understanding of how people learn in a variety of ways including experiments with children’s television (Pop Up series) and the “Infused Reading” program for the Apple computer.
Dr. Young and Dr. Messum have chosen this anniversary year to jointly publish a book titled: “How We Learn and How We Should Be Taught: An Introduction to the Work of Caleb Gattegno,” which explains the basis of The Science of Education for all learning.
Media Enquiries, please contact:
Tel: 1-800-491-1615< /span>
About Dr. Gattegno
Dr. Gattegno was born in Alexandria, Egypt on November 11, 1911. By the time of his death in 1988, his highly unique approaches and materials for teaching math, foreign languages and literacy were being employed in 46 countries on six continents. His vast scientifically-based inquiries had produced seminal books on the potential of mass media and new technologies to facilitate the learning of reading and writing, which found early expression in the successful “Pop Up” series designed for U.S. network commercial television, and the “Infused Reading” program for the Apple computer. Dr. Gattegno’s theories and materials continue to be developed and applied throughout the world.
As a part of Exceptional Children’s Week, we released “Barnaby” an anecdotal story about how a teacher using Words in Color was able to teach a dyslexic boy how to read.
Written by Sister Mary Leonore Murphy, the book is very easy to go through and worthwhile for parents and teachers of children with special needs.
“Barnaby” is still on sale for $9.99 at our online store. We have a very limited supply of these classic books (originally printed in 1968), so once they are gone, they are gone.
“Barnaby is diagnosed with dyslexia. He is nearly ten years old and he cannot read,” said our school inspector to me one day towards the end of June. “He has been attending the X Clinic since early last year. The speech therapy program he is receiving there is splendid but he needs a course of remedial reading.” Then he challenged me, “Do you think that you could teach him to read using the Words in Color method?”
Barnaby’s case is more than one child learning to read when every investigator of his case had concluded that he might never. The book will be perhaps an eye-opener for all teachers who will read it. It tells that they must be less quick at putting all the blame on the learner who fails to learn. Because there is so much we miss about learners with the ordinary tools of testing centered on teaching, we should be more guarded.
The 2011 National Spelling Bee will be held in the first week of June. This is the time of year where tweens and teens start searching for an edge in competitive spelling.
Here are some sample words from last year’s competition that caused contestants to exit the event:
It is amazing how children are required to spell these challenging words by only using their ears. The first step in mastering spelling – and possibly mastering The National Spelling Bee is to understand and be aware how written English is constructed.
By our count, there are 59 sounds (including diphthongs) in English, and these sounds must be made by a combination of only 26 letters in the alphabet. What makes English even more challenging is the fact that some of these sounds have many different spellings – hence why the National Spelling Bee is so entertaining.
The first challenge a participant has to face is the need to break down the word he or she hears into its sounds and spellings. How many beats and how many sounds do the words fustanella, dysautonomia and phytoplankter have? By breaking the words into sounds, the participants can then start to mentally rebuild the word based on the various spellings. This requires years of practice to master – however, it can be done simply by using or visualizing a color code.
One of the common ways to confuse the participants is the use of the schwa. The schwa is a low energy vowel sound used in words such as father, mother, chicken, ever, chorus and restaurant.
The following image shows the words fustanella, dysautonomia and phytoplankter with our universal color code. Our universal color code attaches one unique color to every sound (including the diphthongs which are given two colors). The schwa is in bright yellow. As you can see from these words, the schwa is represented by the letter a, o ande.
Another major benefit to our universal color code is that it makes words easy to deconstruct. If we ask the questions how many sounds does a word have, the color code makes it easy.
- fustanella - 9 Sounds
- dysautonomia – 11 Sounds
- phytoplankter – 12 Sounds
As mentioned before, the participants would then have to reconstruct the sounds based on the appropriate spellings. Herein lies the challenge, the schwa sound for example has 23 different spellings – this requires the participant to know which one to use.
Our Words in Color program is designed specifically to help students to master reading, writing and spelling. You can take a look at all the spellings in American English organized by sound and color on our Fidel Phonic Code – can you find the schwa?