Friday, November 28, 2014

Time Away To Be With My Family

I am taking two months off of Soundabet to be with my family. My time off will begin on December 3, and will extend until January 31, 2015.

It's the first real break I've given myself since starting this cottage industry almost 15 years ago.

If you've already sent an order form and it arrives in my mailbox by Wednesday, December 3, 2014, I will fill it. But please know that if your order arrives after that date, it will languish, unfilled, until February 1, 2015.

Meanwhile, I wish you all a very happy holiday season with those closest to you.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Flash Cards Are Back

I've got a new supply of Soundabet Flash Cards. They appear on the order form that you can print from the Soundabet website.

There is a new freebie on the website as well on the Free Resources page: the Flash Card Story Starters. You can print these out and glue them to the back of the cards.

Happy weekend!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Free Resources Available at Website

I want to let everyone know that there are now free resources available at

There you will find links where you can download and print Soundabet on one Page and a parent letter for those of you who send home Kings and Queens decks for at-home practice.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Soundabet's Website Is Back!

I just put up another website for Soundabet at the original URL

Not too much has changed, except:
  • You can print a mailable order form right off the website, and, 
  • hopefully the new website will make it easier for people to find me.

As before, there's no online ordering.

You still have to use the USPS and old-fashioned mail delivery.

Have a great summer.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Summer Ordering

I am now back from vacation and filling orders.

Please email me so I can send you a Summer 2014 order form. Do not use an older form as it contains some discontinued items.

I am revising the Flash Cards. They are discontinued for now and are not available to order.

I've dropped the price on the Kings and Queens decks of cards.

Again,  please get a Summer Order Form to place an order.

Have a good summer—what's left of it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Taking a Break

I will be taking a break from filling Soundabet orders beginning on June 16 and extending through July 16. If you have already sent in an order, I will receive it in time to fill it before I leave on my break.

Please wait until mid-July to send in future orders.


Saturday, March 15, 2014


From time to time people who've been using Soundabet for some time email me requesting re-orders and take the time to say some nice things about Soundabet. It makes my day when I get those and I like to share them here. Yesterday I got this one:

Hi Dan,
I purchased and used your program at another school, several years ago.  Now I'm at a different school and interested in purchasing another set, since the other one was purchased by my previous school and not me, personally.
I really appreciate your philosophy about kindergartners not being too young to learn some digraphs and diphthongs--too many times random words are thrown into leveled books that contain them.
Love your blog too!  You're dynamite!
Thank You an Happy Teaching!

Best regards,L. C.
Resource Specialist K-2Early Literacy Teacher

Thanks to all who've sent me these!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Blending Bigger Words

Right around the 100th day of school many if not most of the class has mastered the basic 41 Soundabet sounds. Our emphasis shifts to blending the sounds we know into words we recognize.

For some children it is best to begin with very easy words, mostly three-letter consonant/vowel/consonant words like "hid" and "fix."

But there is NO reason to confine the words you give students to blend to such simple (and often boring) words.

In fact it can be counterproductive to go too slowly because you will lose the brighter, quicker learners.

With the Soundabet onboard, you can practice CVC words that include one or more digraphs. Words like "north" are easily decodable for kids who have the decided advantage of having learned the Soundabet.

And more.

There is no reason to confine yourself to one syllable words. I have found that a lot of kids in my class enjoy the delicious challenge and satisfaction of tackling multisyllablic words.

Here is what the pocket chart in my kindergarten classroom after a ten-minute session of blending words.

At the top are those easy three-letter CVC words. We used them as warm-ups.

Things got a lot more fun for them when I challenged them to read "complicated" "northern" and "california"—words that they read with ease and great pleasure.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sometimes My Students Are My Teachers

When I was a youngster back in the 50’s school was hard for me. I struggled in almost every subject—the 3 R’s especially—and I was keenly aware that many of my classmates found school easier than I did. I liked lunchtime, P.E., recess, and, when no reading was involved, science.

My difficulties in language arts had a lot to do with inspiring me to come up with Soundabet. A tool like Soundabet ought to make it easier for teachers to show the code that underlies reading and writing. If Soundabet could save other kids from struggling like I did, then it was worth going to the trouble of bringing it into the world.

Of course, not every kid struggles with language arts. For some kids, reading and writing come naturally.

Friday I was taking one of my English language learner through the mid-year DIBELS benchmark assessments. I was working on the test that is said to measure how many letters a student can name in 60 seconds. 

The page I was working on looks like this.

I gave him the scripted instructions and started the stopwatch.

“Karate.” I thought I heard him say.

“What?” I asked him, thinking that he had misunderstood the directions.

“Karate!” I thought I heard him say again, though it sounded like it ended in the “D” sound, more like “karoddy” than “karate.” 

He pointed to the top line, and drew his finger across the first five letters (C-R-O-D-Y) and blended them into a make-believe word, “Crody.” 

He couldn’t understand why his answer confused me. 

Sometimes it takes me a little while to catch up with my students.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Blendmaster Game

In my kindergarten we have been playing the "Blendmaster" Game.

In Blendmaster, a child is selected randomly to be the "Blendmaster." He or she comes up to the pocket chart and takes out two black cards and one red card and arranges them on the pocket chart in a BLACK—RED—BLACK pattern.

This will form a Consonant-Vowel-Consonant word, either a familiar word that we have heard before or a brand new uncoined word that could be making it world's first appearance.

Having built the word, he or she picks out a classmate (we do this randomly by drawing straws) to sound out the word. If the classmate successfully sounds out the word, they become the new blendmaster. If not, we pick another classmate to sound out the word.

Here is a photograph of the pocket chart as it looked when we finished this morning's session of the Blendmaster Game.


I don't worry about non-standard spellings. Yes, I know how to spell chief. But at this early point in learning to read we can let that lesson wait for later. And yes, the kid who put BEECH up on the board was thinking more about sand and waves than a deciduous tree.

As for the two vowel-consonant-vowel words (Archy and Ella), well, we decided we'd let them get up there because we know and like them.