March 2014 – This month we are focusing on letters, sounds and phonology. Combining a sight word approach with effective phonics instruction may result in more effective and independent readers than a sight word approach alone. In the past, we focused on sight word instruction and left most of the phonics instruction for school (they did that piece well and the Learning Program was simply a supplement to that instruction). What we are learning now, however, is that much of the phonics instruction is wrapping up by third grade, but many of our students are not ready to apply phonics until higher grades. Natalie Hale, in her blog, did a good job summarizing the reading approach discussed at our recent DSE Conference (see http://specialreads.com/blog/?p=1948). Contact us if you have questions!