Notes from Sandy

Important Points

1. Teachers and aides need to reinforce phonemic awareness and decoding at every opportunity (teachable moment) throughout the day ­ based on the children's MP skill levels. An example of a lesson that I would do is with the words "no" and "know". It is important to use this type of application whenever appropriate . This is a great way to teach a principle and its application to other words while at the same time developing new vocabulary.
2. Teachers who are in Level E:
a. Guide children to make a Top Secret Log (TSL) and have the children review each new phonics lesson and take their TSL home for their 10­15 minutes of Magic Penny Time at home. This helps to reinforce new phonics lessons and enables parents to keep abreast of the progress their children are making. Teachers also have Decoding Practice Cards (DPCs) in black and white for easy duplication as well as many other sound/letter relationship lessons already prepared for them.
b. Remember to guide the children to encode all of their words. Have the children cover up the words in the word box (in MPR Secrets Book #1) as they encode each answer on the bottom half of the page. THEN uncover the words in the word box and check to see how well they encoded their word. This step is CRITICAL to developing self confidence and independent writing.
c. Level E has been designed as an INTRODUCTION to the most common spelling variations of the sounds of our language. Yes, they practice decoding words with these spelling variations in the 10 little Gumball Books. They also have comprehension questions and creative writing opportunities. Level F teaches the rest of the irregular spellings and contains an intensive APPLICATION PIECE. Level F is where everything comes together and children are guided to become independent readers, writers and thinkers as they go through each chapter and the corresponding skill book activities. This teaches children and it also guides teachers to better understand how to design activities that reinforce phonemic awareness and phonics through the literature selections they choose for the children during the rest of the year (or the leveled reading or basal books the children have available to them). You cannot be satisfied with a few comprehension questions at the end of a book. You need to make sure that the phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension at higher levels, and writing skills are being practiced and internalized. That is how we get independent readers, writers and critical thinkers. Then the children SHINE on the ELA Exams! 3. The sooner children complete the levels in MP, the longer amount of time they have to practice and internalize phonemic awareness and phonics skills and the higher they will score on the ELA ­ provided their lessons upon completion of Level F are differentiated and designed to reinforce and expand all of their early literacy skills.
4. Please remember to follow through with phonemic awareness and decoding (analyzing the spellings of words ­ how the letters work together to represent the sounds in each word) at every opportunity.

Q&A From Sandy

Question: Sandy, does the Magic Penny Program begin with activities that develop listening skills?

Answer: Yes, everything that is done with the children at the beginning of the program is designed to develop auditory discrimination and processing skills. The Magic Penny Program starts with the Pre­K Concept Flip Books Set. This set of 4 books and accompanying reproducible skill books, develops concepts like same/different, first/last/middle, beginning/end, colors, over/under, beginning sounds, rhyming, sound order). Teachers also can choose to use the Magic Penny FUNdations Kit ­ manipulatives for beginning sounds, rhyming, sorting and matching. These are the concepts that are also worked on in the Level A: Phonemic Awareness Kit that is used by both the teachers and the parents. These two sets are included on the Early Literacy Team Cart for teachers to use to reinforce the phonemic foundational skills as presented in the Level A: Phonemic Awareness Kit.

Levels B, C, and D are the beginning phonics levels where children learn the sound/letter relationship, and begin reading and writing very quickly because they have the phonemic foundation in place that empowers them to process and make sense of the oral/written language connection.

Level E: Magic Penny Reading Secrets Book One reinforces Levels A­D and introduces all of the spelling variations of the vowel sounds as well as the fact that some consonants work together to make a new sound: "sh", "ch", "th", etc. Many children complete this level in Kindergarten.

Level F: Reinforces Levels A­E and gives children guided application practice while teaching them many, many skills to aide in comprehension ­ vocabulary development (synonyms, antonyms, homonyms), reading and understanding graphic organizers (graphs, Venn Diagrams, outlines, webs, Cycle Diagrams, Time Lines, T­Charts, etc.), developing compositional skills (writing summaries, writing descriptive and opinion paragraphs, answering short answer questions, essay questions and book reports ), as well as how to take test successfully ( always get multiple choice question correct, correctly complete fill­in­the­blank questions and compare and contrast information in order to compose opinion/persuasive paragraphs based on connecting information given to one's experiential background. All children complete this level in Grade 1. Children are independent readers and writers when they complete this level.

Next: Notes from Dan