Phonics Friday Part 1 – Bedroom Phonics Chart

I am on a mission to teach my son to read. My older kids eventually learned to read but for my son who struggles with learning difficulties ranging from Dyslexia to auditory processing issues reading is hard! I thought I would share my experiences hopefully every Friday. I also hope to post a free copy of the resource I create for teaching phonics.

While I was casually talking to my wife about teaching our kids to read I asked my wife what she remembered from her school years when she learned to read. To my surprise, she responded with the fact that she didn’t remember and that she just learned. That was an ah-ha moment for me. My wife has always been able to read well. In fact from her description, it sounded like she just picked up a book and started reading.

I on the other hand had to learn to read. It wasn’t always easy. But I remember how I learned to read. I was taught using a structured phonics approach. I attended a grade school where they used A Beka. One of the vivid memories I have from learning to read I still remember it while I am reading to myself or sounding out words subconsciously. What I remember most from my school years learning to read were phonics drills. I don’t remember how often we would work on those drills but I can hear them in my mind. I looked up the charts and they are about the same. You can see a sample one here. I remember it was on a big flip chart at the front of the room. When I think back to learning to read I am convinced that drills helped me learn to read. I decided to go to that method to help reinforce phonics for my son.

So here is a picture from my son’s room of what I am doing.

Wall poster in my son’s bedroom for drilling vowel sounds.

I quickly made this phonics chart last night. I ended up using MS Word but you could do it on the iPad also. In fact, I probably would have used Keynote if I was doing it again. The picture of the Indian I got from a great site for free images here. I let my son pick out the picture so it was something that interested him. I chose vowels since my son keeps mixing up simple words with i and a as a short vowel sound. My goal is to work with him every night before bed. I make him say with me “a-a” in apple “i-i” in Indian. So far it works pretty well. The only change I think I will make to the poster is to put the letter first and then the picture. Also here is another great resource for free phonics charts.

What do you think of my phonics chart? What have you done to help your child learn to read with phonics? What do you remember from when you first started to learn to read? Was it easy for you or hard?

If you would like more information on teaching phonics and teaching boys to read I suggest you check out my post on free reading resources. Also here is a free copy of my phonics vowel poster. If you would like to see more of what I am doing to teach my son to read with phonics check out Part 2.

How to create great video memories on the iPhone and iPad

While I’d like to think someday I’ll be a great videographer that probably won’t happen anytime soon. Thankfully the memories section in the iOS photos app has you covered. Apart from a few quirks, the memories app will help you quickly put together your favorite memories into a nice video.  You can quickly create awesome movies to preserve your memories using just the iOS photos app. Here is a quick guide on using the photos app to make a video memory.

How to get to the memories app

  1. Open the photos app
  2. At the bottom select the second icon labeled memories
  3. There will be several memory videos already created.


How to customize

You have to play the memory video first before you can customize or edit the Memories movie.  If the video looks exactly like you want and the music is to your liking, then you can go on to the steps below to preserve this Memories video.  Otherwise you can edit the the video by selecting the “Edit” link in the upper right hand corner.

(in iOS 10 it will be a small icon with lines on the bottom right) .The easiest edits are to change the Mood of the music and change the length of the video as shown above.  You can set the movie length to short, medium, or long.  You can also change the music to dreamy, sentimental, gentle, chill, happy, uplifting, epic, club, or extreme.  The photos Memories app will automatically update the movie with your new choice.

Choose more pictures or videos

The app does a pretty good job choosing pictures, but what happens if you have a picture in your Memory video that you don’t want? You can choose not to include some of the pictures or videos in the memories video.  You can also add more pictures and videos to your Memories movie. 

Select the Photos & Videos to edit what pictures are used in the Memories video.  You can scroll along the bottom to see all the pictures included in your Memories video.  Tap on the picture or video you want to edit.  You can change the length of the video clip or you can remove the picture or video by putting it in the trash.  (It does not delete the picture on your iPhone or iPad)

 

You can also add more pictures by pressing the + sign at the bottom left.

Edit title and song choice

Now that you have the pictures you want you can edit the title and song.  You can either choose from Apples song Soundtracks or music you have saved from iTunes on your iPhone or iPad.

How to save and export video memories

Since the Memories movies are always changing you need to preserve your favorite memories so they won’t get changed or removed.  To preserve the memory movie scroll to the bottom of all the pictures and then select “Add to Memories”.

 

Having finalized the memories video I highly recommend you export and save your video. Ideally you would think the logical export option would be iMovie but alas I was dearly disappointed. You can indeed export to iMovie but there is little you can do since the whole memory is exported as a video. To save your Memories movie file press the box with the up arrow at the bottom of the screen where you edit the Memories movie.

You now have several options on how you want to export your Memories video.


https://support.apple.com/en-us/ht207023

P.S. Memory movies only work on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV. You won’t see Memory movies on your Mac (for now).

5 reasons why I updated to the new 2017 iPad

ipad-2017I am back with the new iPad! I had kind of fallen off the tablet bandwagon recently. It was partly due to having a new baby two years ago! I have been so busy that haven’t updated this blog in a long time!
My iPad 2 had a broken screen which I successfully replaced! Yay! However, I damaged the wifi antenna and my thirty pin connector had become difficult to connect to the computer. This limited the usefulness of the iPad 2. Thankfully Best Buy gave me about $50 for it!
Here are five reasons why I bought the new 2017 iPad:

  • Price: While the new 2017 iPad is not the cheapest Tablet it is cheaper than my previous iPad 2. Also there was a $30 discount which brought the price down to $300.
  • Storage: The 16 GB iPad just doesn’t work anymore. I was constantly having to manage my storage on the iPad 2. The base storage on the cheapest 2017 iPad is 32 GB. While that still is not humungus for a tablet but it is double the storage of my old iPad. Now I have enough storage to keep some downloaded movies on the iPad for traveling and still download multiple apps and other storage hog items.
  • Smaller size: It was appealing to have a slightly smaller iPad but keep the same screen size. I like my iPad mini but the screen is a little small for some tasks. The newer iPads have nice form factor. Since I mostly use a protector the smaller bezel isn’t an issue.
  • Multitasking with iOS 11: I never realized how wonderful multitasking is since it never worked on my iPad 2. Even with iOS 10 multitasking on the iPad is wonderful. You can actually type and have a book or web page pulled up in split view. The upcoming iOS 11 multitasking update really shows that the iPad can be used for serious work.
  • Swift Playgrounds: Since Apple announced Swift Playgrounds to help learn coding I have been intrigued. The app would not work on my old iPad 2 so I could never evaluate it. Now that I have the 2017 iPad I can run the swift playground app. The Swift playgrounds app helps you learn programming for free!

What do you think? Is the new 2017 iPad worth the update?

How to create an iBook on the iPad with Pages

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This last weekend I had to give a talk and unfortunately my printer refused to print! My next option was to use my iPad. I really did not want to use Pages on my iPad for my talk so I discovered that you can export a documents right from Pages into iBook! (With one small intermediate step) Once my document was in iBooks it was easy to increase the font size.  This made reading my notes was easy on the iPad.

Setting up the Document:

Before exporting to iBooks, I would recommend adding chapter headings to your document. I just used heading 1 and titled it Chapter 1. I added three chapters.

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Open Pages document in Another App:

Once you have the document finished you can export to another App.  Select the box with the arrow pointing up located in the upper right side of the screen as shown below.

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Choose ePub format for iBooks.

You are then offered several different format options.  You can either convert the document to PDF or ePub for iBooks.  I chose ePub since it allows you to increase or decrease the font size and it also allows for headings.

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You will then need to enter some information about your document. Important: Make sure that the option “Use the first page as the book cover image” is not selected! I accidentally selected this and found out that it makes the first page unreadable because you only see the first page when you look at the bookshelf.

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Your document will now be converted tot he ePub format which can be opened in iBooks.

Make sure you do not include important information in the header and footer since they are removed when Pages creates a ePub file.

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Select which App you want to use to view your document:

Select iBooks to open your Pages document in iBook.  Once opened the document is then saved to your iBooks bookshelf.

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Now you have a simple ePub book that can be read in iBooks.

 

 

Reading Raven 2 Phonics app review

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One of my favorite Phonics apps is the Reading Raven app.  Now that my son has progressed in his reading and phonics skills I was thrilled to find the Reading Raven Vol 2 HD app.  This extends the Reading Raven path to a higher level that is a little more advanced than the first Reading Raven app.

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Reading Raven Volume 2 HD continues the Reading Raven series of superbly engaging learn-to-read games. Your child is ready to move on to Volume 2, if he or she can read or sound out simple words that follow the consonant-vowel-consonant pattern.  If you are familiar with the first Reading Raven App then you will notice that the games and formats are similar but  harder then the original reading raven app.

If you are looking for an App that  is not just a games but also enforces Phonics then consider the Reading Raven apps.

Reading raven app review

Status

As a firm believer in phonics for reading I am always looking for good phonics Apps.  The Reading Raven HD iPad app is one of the few apps that start with a phonics based approach to reading.  20140314-221822.jpg

Reading Raven Features

  • Step-by-step curriculum lets kids learn at their own pace.
  • Multi-sensory reading games that children find engaging.
  • Based on proven phonics-based approach.
  • Customizable for children ages 3 to 7.

Reasons why I recommend the Reading Raven App

What I appreciate most about the app is that in the beginning lessons, Reading Raven introduces very few sight words.   I also like  that Reading Raven has an emphasis on the letter sounds not the letter names.  In the early lessons most of the games are based on sounds.  Sounds are introduced a few at a time.

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You can configure different users and different levels for each user.

Ages 3 and Up
– Letter matching
– Letter tracing
– Letter recognition
– Word matching

Ages 4 and Up
– Vocabulary
– Word beginnings
– Word building (spelling)
– Word spotting

Ages 5 and Up
– Reading aloud using voice recording
– Word tracing
– Word groups (rhyming and beginning sounds)

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Be sure to check out Reading Raven.