BAP068 Jordan Mayer, Phonics and Finding The Right Starting Point for ELs

I hope this podcast and blog post finds you well.  Jordan Mayer recorded this episode with me in February, prior to the current state we are in with the Coronavirus.    Instead of holding off on publishing this show, I found it a very healthy thing to do for my mindset.  I always feel centered when I am working on something productive.  I offer you that idea in case you are feeling isolated or anxious.  Blogging, journaling or reflecting in other ways might help you as it helps me. Here are the show notes:

Jordan Mayer is a former 1st grade teacher and now teaches high school in British Columbia.  He is a fantastic PLN member who shares great stuff.  You can follow him on Twitter here and you can also subscribe to his blog.

You can listen to our conversation wherever you get your podcasts or right here.

Listen to “BAP068 Jordan Mayer and The Right Starting Point for ELs” on Spreaker.

I mentioned to Jordan that I had recently read a blog post about supporting each other as teachers.  That blog post has a powerful message about support over judgement.  I recommend you check it out!

In that post he describes his years as a new 1st grade teacher.  This primary grade experience gives him a great perspective for foundations of literacy.  Jordan came on the show as a result of this blog post he wrote in February.  Jordan noticed a reading issue in one of his English Learners.  He and his team spent time working with the girl and because of Jordan’s background, they identified that the girl was unable to sound out words.

It is important to know that this student could read and could speak in English fairly well.  So this disconnect prompted Jordan to investigate further.  In the show, he discusses resources like the nonsense word test  that he shared in this post about the issue.

In our discussion, we unpack a lot of things about how we each feel about phonics instruction.  We both feel that there is a need for explicit phonics instruction but we have different approaches to how we deliver that instruction.  What we agree on is that you need to get to know your kids and make sure you are not wasting time doing lessons on sounds or blends that your students may already have or may be gaining quickly.

We mention this show by Larry Ferlazzo. In it, Larry and his guests Casey Schultz, Mandy Ellis, Dr. Carolyn Brown, Dr. Jerry Zimmerman, Kelly Wickham Hurst, and the late Dr. Kay MacPhee, who contributed a response prior to her death, discuss the role of phonics in reading instruction.

I encourage you to check out the post by Larry and the ones by Jordan.

People like Jordan, Larry and his guests are helping us with more ideas of how we might meet the needs of our unique students each year.  I’m grateful to them and I am grateful to you.

Thank you for stopping by this blog,



Many folks are disappointed in light of the recent cancellations of EL conferences.  Tan Huynh and I want to remind you that you have three years of EL Conference greatness available on YouTube.  Please join us for a reboot webinar on Tuesday March 17 at 6:30pm CT.

We are creating new content around the existing conferences for the next 3 weeks.  And this is all  leading up to the 2020 conference announcements.  Feel free to check out and share all the sessions. You can find them here.

PSS: The 1.5 hour Success for SLIFE webinar is now available in replay.  You do need to sign in to the NAELPA website to watch it, but that is a free registration.

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