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Making Reading Heavenly Blog

Two Learning Opportunities

by Cathy Angel on 06/11/21

1.  I will be presenting three sessions at Vermeer Workshop 2021

Transformational Instruction in Language Arts on June 16th. This is a three day event. If you are interested contact Craig Juffer, Pella Christian principal,

2. I am will also have a booth at Homeschool Iowa on June 18 and 19th. This event will be held at Grandview College. I will be presenting a workshop on the 19th at 9:30A.M in the PRINCIPLE CONFERENCE ROOM GV Student Center 1st Floor

It would be great to see your smiling face!

End of Year Celebrations/Disappointments

by Cathy Angel on 05/19/21

The end of the year for teachers can be rewarding or frustrating!  In reality, most of the time teachers will experience both emotions.  As we give the final assessments for the year, we rejoice at the great accomplishments we see in many of our pupils.  However, there are usually a few pupils who have not shown the growth we had anticipated or hoped for.  When analyzing the cause, it is always painful when we feel it might have been due to some sort of inadequacy on our part.  This quote from Louisa Moats, founder of the LETRS program and a giant in educating teachers for teaching reading, says it quite bluntly.  "95% of children struggling to read are instructional casualties."    OUCH!  

The sad fact is that many teachers aren't even aware of some of the strategies that might have enabled their students to experience more success.  
Many teachers have reached out to me this year for support.  It is not that I have all of the answers, because I certainly don't, but perhaps I can help provide one or two new strategies that would enable a student to achieve more success next year.  If you or your team are interested in Zooming with me,  I would LOVE it! Go to and we will get something set up!

Free Zoom Sessions

by Cathy Angel on 03/18/21

During this crazy time of COVID and diminished learning, I would like to reach out to teachers and offer some free support!    

If you are feeling frustrated with the lack of progress from some of your students or are dissatisfied with strategies you are using to teach certain aspects of reading, I would love to collaborate with you individually or with your grade-level team of teachers.

I am certainly not saying that I have all of the answers, but sometimes just brainstorming together can give insights that might prove beneficial in the course of everyday stagnations.  This could be as short as twenty minutes or as long as it takes to get a clear direction to enable you and your learners to move forward.  

If you or several teachers would be interested in Zooming, I would LOVE to encourage you.   Just send me an email at and we will set up a Zoom session!   

Four-year-old Reading Lesson Ideas

by Cathy Angel on 05/06/20

Our focus for today will be on some ideas for reading lessons for a four-year-old. Pre-readers must be able to name the letters and say the letter sounds. Many children require a high number of repetitions to be able to attain mastery of these two skills. Continually using the same format can cause children to become disinterested and learning becomes a chore. Low interest leads to little or no focus on the part of the child. When this happens, you are losing more than you are gaining. Learning through games increases student engagement.

Initially, I like to begin to teach the alphabet using the letters in the child's name. There is a distinct advantage of using something very personal to introduce letters. Start with what is known and build on it. Place these letters on the table in the incorrect order and ask the student to name them. As soon as the child can name all of these letters, continue to add new letters one at a time. Another great strategy is to teach the letters in alphabet order while singing the alphabet song. This will enable the student to teach himself. Movements cement learning, so add meaningful movements to each letter sound. (Sound Moves)

Play Alphabet Tic-Tac-Toe by putting letters in the boxes before the start of the game. When a box is selected and the letter can be named, an X goes into the box. This same format can also be played to practice the letter sounds.

Alphabet Flash Cards using MRH Playing Cards is another way to increase the automaticity of either letter naming or letter sounds. Be sure you time your child to see how long it takes to get through the pack. Keep a graph to show improvement, and be sure to share it with the child. To provide some handwriting experience, write or show an uppercase letter. The child must write the lowercase partner.

There are so many easy games that will amuse your little learner. Do not be content to do the same thing every day!  

More another day! 

Session Seven-- Magic E Syllable, Kindergarten Style!

by Cathy Angel on 04/21/20

Dear Friends,

Today I realized that one nine-word Tic-Tac-Toe could teach the Magic E Syllable to my kindergarten grandson.  He is not at all interested in me telling him about rules and syllable types, so I have to sneak knowledge in during games. You might remember me saying that we do a quick Tic-Tac-Toe game each lesson.  He likes these games because they are quick and he wins every time.  Many times, this is the first thing he chooses to do during our lesson. Although he always asks to see his cousin's graphs before we start anything!

He is getting quite efficient at spelling and reading closed syllable words. I wanted to move him forward into another syllable type without spending a lot of time explaining it. The Tic-Tac-Toe provided the perfect opportunity. On the Tic-Tac-Toe board, I wrote these words: make, bake, time, Pete, bite, mule, woke, ride, and cape. He already knew the word 'make' from his sight word card pack, so he picked that word first. That allowed me to use his knowledge of that vowel sound to talk about the "Magic E" at the end of each of the words. It was amazing how quickly he adjusted to reading them after we sang:

"When Magic E sprinkles its dust

When Magic E sprinkles its dust

It makes the vowel say its alphabet name

When Magic E sprinkles its dust!"

He was able to read all nine words quite easily! We will see tomorrow how much he remembers!

Profound Thought # 16  One new rule goes a long way in learning to read!

Stay tuned for our next adventure!