for primary school children in grades
K- 2 (we have all experienced their proficiency in completing our sentences when
there is a pause) because their verbal vocabulary contains thousands of words
more than their reading vocabulary. It is
estimated that children enter school with
about 5,000 words in their verbal vocabulary, while many have a zero-word
In rare cases when a child is unable to
“twist” the mispronunciation of an unphonetic word into the meaningful context of a sentence based on the left-to-right phonics clues, the teacher will just
tell him the word and then point out the
left-to-right phonics clues in the word,
e.g., friend: f r i e n d.
Now here’s what drives the outcome.
When children enter third grade, their
reading vocabulary is nearly equal to
their verbal vocabulary, and their read-
ing vocabulary begins to pull up their
verbal vocabulary. The more they read,
the more words they incorporate into
their verbal vocabulary. Oftentimes, this
is where the problem begins because
they will come across words that are
not in their verbal vocabulary; many of
these words are unphonetic or they have
no idea how to pronounce them or what
Now it’s time to shake things up and
unlock that key in your dictionary!
Next to each word in the dictionary
is the phonetic respelling and the definition. For example, vignette (vin yet’),
bouquet (bō kā’), enough (i nuf’), etc.
There is meaningful context in the liter-ature-based readers and the key in your
dictionary: (kof), (ruf), (thō).
Now you’ve released the students from
the phonics trap of endless exceptions,
By following a few simple rules and
learning how to unlock the key in their
dictionary, every child can succeed.
Mary F. Pecci is the author of SUPER
SEATWORK- WORD SKILLS, which
provides step-by-step directions for teaching dictionary skills, and includes a wide
variety of child-friendly fill-in exercises,
tests, and reviews, which assure success.
Pecci has also written At Last! A Reading
Method for EVERY Child! and PECCI
BEGINNING READERS, which are
listed in 100 Top Picks for Homeschool
Curriculum, by Cathy Duffy. At Last! is
now on DVD’s, which demonstrate every technique as you go through the book
(see FREE excerpts at http://youtu.be/
bVRuxKoqul0.) In addition, she has produced SUPER SEATWORK SERIES and
SUPER SPELLING - Book One. Check
out her website and 20% discounts at
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simple rules and
learning how to
unlock the key in their
dictionary, every child