How to teach a child to use the correct spelling pattern when you have multiple spelling pattern choices that can be used to spell the same sounds?

Some examples of these tricky spelling pattern choices are:

  • Plain, plane, pay, steak (all make the long sound of ‘a’ /ā/ but are written with different spelling patterns)
  • Meet, meat, mete, sea, piece, key (all make the long sound of ‘e’ /ē/ but are written with different spelling patterns)
  • Light, tide, pie, type (all make the long sound of ‘i’ /ī/ but are written with different spelling patterns)
  • Home, toad, crow, toe (all make the long sound of ‘o’ /ō/ but are written with different spelling patterns)
  • Argue, new, mule, sleuth (all make the long sound of ‘u’ /ū/ but are written with different spelling patterns)
  • The list goes on

Introducing to you

Decodable Orthographic Mapping Resources

Answering the question: how to teach a child to use the correct spelling pattern when you have multiple spelling pattern choices that can be used to spell the same sounds?

Vowel Team Series

These books help students who struggle with spelling the confusing long vowel spelling patterns.

The books in this series aim to facilitate learning spellings through association of focus words to a fun storyline.

AVAILABLE NOW

Book 1

Train Trip To The Bay

Train Trip To The Bay is the story of Fay, a young girl who takes the train to visit her friend, Den the Donkey, for a picnic at the bay. She has a few escapades on her way, but she reaches there safe and has a great day with her friend.

Vowel Focus Words: /ā/ – ai & ay

Decodable resource that can help students in the orthographic mapping of words that are spelled with the below spelling patterns.

This book aims to address how to teach a child when to use ai & ay rather than ‘a consonant e’ (a-e) when spelling words or how to differentiate between homophones while spelling, e.g., plain vs. plane?

ai and ay

No of focus target words covered in the story

83

This book utilizes 83 focus words that use ONLY the ai and ay spellings to tell a simple but engaging story that will captivate young minds.

The book has been carefully authored to ensure that words with the long a sound /ā/ using spelling patterns other than the ai and ay, spelling patterns are NOT included in this book.

This step has been taken to avoid confusion while students are becoming familiar with the focus words in this story.

Focus Words represent 

 long sound of a /ā/

The book also comes with a free pack of educator resources which can be used in conjunction with the storyline to aid in the orthographic mapping of these words. The resource includes:

  • 2 sets of printable flashcards of all focus words
  • => A4 (classroom size)
  • => A7 (homeschool size)
  • 4 sets of board games
  • => Bingo
  • => Snake & ladder
  • => Race to the top
  • => 4 in a row

The intention is for children to become familiar with these focus words in a fun and engaging manner thereby associating the focus words with the storyline and subsequently becoming fluent in encoding and decoding those words.

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Book 2

Teens Go To The Reef

Teens Go to The Reef is a story of three teens Ben, Lee, and Pat, who drive to Ben’s Nan’s village over the weekend. They go diving at the Reef, where they are disheartened at the sight of plastic trash everywhere.

Vowel Focus Words: /ē/ – ee

Decodable resource that can help students in the orthographic mapping of words that are spelled with the below spelling patterns.

This book aims to address how to teach a child when to use ee rather than ea or ‘e consonant e’ (e-e) when spelling words or how to differentiate between homophones while spelling, e.g., feet vs. feat, meet vs. meat vs. mete?

ee

No of focus target words covered in the story

98

This book utilizes 98 focus words that use ONLY the ee spellings to tell a simple but engaging story that will captivate young minds.

The book has been carefully authored to ensure that words with the long e sound /ē/ using spelling patterns other than the ee spelling pattern are NOT included in this book.

This step has been taken to avoid confusion while students are becoming familiar with the focus words in this story.

Focus Words represent 

long sound of e /ē/

The book also comes with a free pack of educator resources which can be used in conjunction with the storyline to aid in the orthographic mapping of these words. The resource includes:

  • 2 sets of printable flashcards of all focus words
  • => A4 (classroom size)
  • => A7 (homeschool size)
  • 4 sets of board games
  • => Bingo
  • => Snake & ladder
  • => Race to the top
  • => 4 in a row

The intention is for children to become familiar with these focus words in a fun and engaging manner thereby associating the focus words with the storyline and subsequently becoming fluent in encoding and decoding those words.

App Store Review

How many more books to come?

20

20 more books to come!

Stay tuned!

Are there any early bird discounts?

Yes. Everytime we launch a book in a series, we will introduce an early bird discount for that book.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is included as part of these books?

When you buy a book, you will also get free access to a pack of educator resources which can be used in conjunction with the book’s storyline to aid in the orthographic mapping of focus words used in the book. For example, the Train Trip To The Bay book comes with the following resources:

2 sets of printable flashcards of all focus words

  • A4 (classroom size)
  • A7 (homeschool size)

4 sets of board games

  • Bingo
  • Snake & ladder
  • Race to the top
  • 4 in a row

1) What are these books about?

The books in the vowel team series have been developed to help children with orthographic mapping of focus words. Every book in this vowel team series will focus on one or two related vowel teams and will include multiple words that children of school age will potentially come across during reading and spelling. The intention is for students to associate these focus words with the story and subsequently become fluent in encoding (spelling) and decoding (reading) those words. The books include quirky and silly characters that children can associate with regarding a particular scene to increase the bond with the narration.

Each book is accompanied by specifically developed resources that align with the story so that they can be used in conjunction with the particular book to aid in the orthographic mapping of specific target focus words.

Literacy instruction needs to be explicit and systematic, so each book includes what phonemes, graphemes, rules, affixes, and spelling patterns need to be taught explicitly to the child before they are expected to read the book. Please note that unless all prerequisites have been explicitly taught and the student can read this book independently, it is recommended that you read with or read to the child.

Instructions specific to using the book in conjunction to the games is provided in the book.

2) How to use these resources?

(1) Read the story

Read this book to or with the student multiple times across sessions to familiarise student with the story.

(2) Use Word Flash Cards

Present the cards to the student in the correct numerical order (the cards have been numbered to assist in arranging as per the story’s sequence) and request for a short sentence about the word relevant to the story.

Example (1):

  • Educator: Display flash card “snail” and ask “Tell me a short sentence from the story.”
  • Student: “snail” – “Fay had a pet snail.”

Example (2):

  • Educator: Display flash card “tray” and ask “Tell me a short sentence from the story.”
  • Student: “tray” – “The stray dog had a tray of food.”

 

Follow this procedure so the sequence of the story is strengthened. The intention is to have quickly gone through the story every time you work through the word flash cards. You may have to provide the student with this short sentence until they become familiar with the story line and do not require your prompt or assistance anymore.

(3) Play Games

Use the games (instructions to download free printables is provided at the end of this book) with the student to aid in fluent word recognition and reading. Every time the student reads a focus word, request for or provide the student with a quick sentence or two about the word from the story to strengthen association with story.

(4) Encode and Decode in Isolation

While decoding (reading) and encoding (writing) during sessions, DO NOT mix with homophones and other confusing spellings of the same phoneme (sound).

Decode and Encode these focus words ONLY in isolation at this stage.

When encoding in isolation, make mention of the association with story if the student is having trouble encoding the words.

Example:

  • Educator: “Please spell rain as in, it might rain today.”
  • Student: Confused… “Is it rane or rain?”
  • Educator: “Remember Den tied up the basket with a chain so it wouldn’t get wet in the rain?”
  • Student: “It is from the Fay book so I’ll write it with ‘ai'”. Writes down ‘rain’.

(5) Moving Forward

Once a concrete association of word with the story is established, the scaffold of the story can be removed and the student can start encoding (spelling) these words in conjunction with other words that use different graphemes (spellings) for the same phoneme (sound).

(6) Maintain Faimiliarity

Revisit the story as often as required to maintain familiarity.

3) How to download the books?

The books are available in Apple App store and Google Play store.

4) How to get the printables (the games and flashcards?)

The last set of pages in the book have a link to click that will take you to a page where you can enter your email address to receive a link to download the printables associated with the particular book.

5) Do your books follow the scope and sequence of any popular OG programs?

Train Trip To The Bay is the first book of the Vowel Team Series. The book doesn’t follow any specific program’s scope and sequence because the main intention of the resource is to strengthen the orthographic mapping of focus words and I want the story to be interesting as well so children can retain the focus words through association with the story. Also, since the first book addresses vowel team spellings, I have had to start at a higher level than most basic decodable readers that start at SATPIN.

Children need to be explicitly taught all the prerequisites that I’ve included in the prerequisites section for every book. I’ll keep adding more graphemes, rules, affixes, etc cumulatively as we progress through the series. If they do not know some of the graphemes yet, the book can be read out to them or you can read with them so educators/parents can provide them with words that they are not familiar with yet.

Both Google Play (for Android) and Apple iOS (for iPhone and iPad) have read-out-loud features built-in within the book app if children are using the book independently.

The Spelling Step by Step and The Next Step books (available on Amazon) by Anne Italiano explains all the rules and patterns that I’ve included in the prerequisites section.

6) Does the child need to have completed the pre-requisites to use the resources?

No. The resources can be used with the child even if they haven’t completed the pre-requisites.

  • The child can read the story by themselves if the required pre-requisites have been taught/completed.
  • If the child has not yet completed the pre-requisites, please read out the book to the child.

Either way, the resource can be used with the child.

Please remember – The intention is for students to associate these focus words with the story and subsequently become fluent in encoding (spelling) and decoding (reading) those words. The books include quirky and silly characters that children can associate with regarding a particular scene to increase the bond with the narration.

7) My students have not been taught all the components of your scope and sequence, Can I still use this resource with them?

Yes, you can still use this book with students who have NOT been explicitly taught all the components listed as prerequisites in the prerequisite table of the book. This book can be used as decodable for children at a higher level in the scope and sequence that you are following with them who have been explicitly taught all the components in the prerequisite table. For students at a lower level or younger children, you can read the book to them. Just ear hearing the story is enough as the main intention of the book is for students to become thorough with the ai/ay words.

All students need to be able to do is to follow the flash card drill and give you one sentence from the story (you can scaffold this in the beginning and give them clues or whole sentences from the story yourself) the idea is for students to associate those 83 words with this story line and become familiar with these words and know that these words are written with ai/ay just because it’s from the Fay book.

Being decodable is just an additional option for children advanced in the scope and sequence and can decodable by themselves.

8) How do I use this resource while teaching virtually/remotely?

The printable resources down also includes a PowerPoint slide with one flashcard per slide so educators teaching virtually can use this PowerPoint. The link to download the printable resources is provided at the end of this book.

9) How did I come up with this resource?

One child that I work with bonded with me over the elaborate stories with wacky characters that I made up for her. Being on the spectrum, she loved talking about these characters and imagining them as part of our sessions. She looked forward to our sessions where we would make up silly characters and use stories about them to remember our ever-increasing list of spelling rules. She found spelling patterns and rules hard to remember but never forgot about the delicate princesses, brave dwarves, wicked witches, and silly animals that we created together. When she progressed to writing vowel team spellings, she struggled to remember spelling patterns like most other children do. We persisted in practice, practice, and more practice for a few weeks before I resorted to making up a story for her that included only the focus words with the spelling pattern that we were working on including some of the characters she loved.

The first vowel team story I created for her, the focus was on the long sound of a /ā/ spelled with ai and ay. The story covered 83 focus words spelled with ai or ay and did not include any of the other homophones or words with the same /ā/ sound. We then read and reread the story over four weeks and played games like bingo and snake and ladder using those focus words. I found that she was getting better at spelling those focus words as she associated the words with the story. Every time we had to spell one of those focus words, she would cheerfully tell me, “Zahra, this is from the Fay book, so that’s how I know to spell this with an ai and not a-e.” We made similar stories for every vowel team that I introduced her to, and we have had no trouble remembering spellings for words with similar sounds such as er/ir/ur, oa/oe/ow/o-e, ai/ay/a-e/ea/ei, etc.

10) What’s next?

Next in the Vowel Team Series, are the following:

  • Book 2: ee-/e/
  • Book 3: igh – /i/
  • Book 4: oa/ow – /o/
  • Book 5: ue – /u/ , /oo/
  • Book 6: ew – /u/ , /oo/
  • Book 7: oi/oy – /oi/
  • Book 8: ou/ow – /ou/
  • Book 9: au/aw – /or/
  • Book 10: ea – /e/
  • and more…

Next Series:

  • R Controlled Vowels
  • Silent Graphemes
  • and more…

Train Trip To The Bay

Book 1

ai and ay

long sound of a /ā/

83 Focus Words

Teens Go To The Reef

Book 2

ee

long sound of e /ē/

98 Focus Words

20

more books

to come

Stay Tuned!

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