The Riggs Institute Blog

Using Hand Signals to Teach Riggs Phonograms

Since I try to stay informed about how teachers and parents are using the Riggs Institute’s materials, I sometimes hear of people who use them in fun-looking ways.

When I recently searched YouTube and Pinterest for “Riggs Phonograms,” for example, I found a number of videos (none of which had been approved by Riggs) in which teachers were using hand signals to practice Riggs phonograms. Have you seen them?

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Why Can't I Use Pictures to Teach Riggs Phonograms?

The Complete Handbook of Children's Reading Disorders

Last week my friend told me about yet another Pinterest pinner who had created a cute set of cards to help children learn phonics facts. Instead of presenting each letter, or multi-letter combination, in isolation, as the Riggs Institute recommends and as the Riggs Institute’s phonogram cards do, this pinner’s set of “Riggs” cards included clever pictures that were intended to give students a visual signal for the associated speech sound.

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Are Your Students Practicing Without Understanding?

Many beginning and remedial readers are being asked to complete “learning activities” without being told how they will be helped by them. This is a problem.

In order to read efficiently, explains Dr. Hilde Mosse in her Complete Handbook of Children’s Reading Disorders, students must understand what they are supposed to be learning. Do yours? 

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Teach Phonics Like You Are Coaching Champions

Many teachers of beginning and struggling readers do not realize that the activities they've been told to use will create students who continue to struggle.

Having been mislead into teaching phonics and other decoding skills from worksheets (a recipe for failure), these teachers pass out worksheets throughout the day. They have never been shown how to create champions.

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Sending Home Spelling Lists

Since parents of school children are generally eager to help them with their homework, some parents may become confused when Riggs teachers do not send home traditional spelling lists. Unless you help them understand why you are not doing that, they may even become concerned. I’ve heard from many parents who say: “Isn’t that how things have always been done? Why can’t I have a list of spelling words so I can help my child study them? His other teachers always sent one home, and my child needs a lot of help!

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