Topic outline

  • What is Johnny Can Spell?

    Johnny Can Spell is a way to teach knowledge of English and develop specific literacy skills. It is an instructional approach with lesson content and learning routines that aligns with the science of reading.

    Johnny Can Spell is not a curriculum; it is not a program. It is a way of teaching that uniquely integrates phonemic awareness, phonological awareness, phonics, spelling, vocabulary, word grammar, and handwriting concurrently in daily lessons.

    In the beginning weeks of school, the heart of each lesson is experiencing the 70 Orton phonograms. Alice Nine calls these lessons the front-loading lessons. Around the sixth week of school, the lesson focus shifts to the study of words to develop word recognition skills using phonogram knowledge.

    Five basic routines frame a JCSpell lesson.  The central purpose of these routines is to provide hands-on activities that develop encoding and decoding skills simultaneously. Research shows that "it is important to note that encoding (spelling) and decoding (reading) are reciprocal skills. Decoding is internalized when tactile and kinesthetic opportunities (encoding) are provided."1   

    In other words, begin with oral language. All JCSpell routines begin with oral language and move to the written form.

    Whole group instruction is easily scaffolded to include all students, regardless of age or level.
    1Quoted from Chapter 110. Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for English Language Arts and Reading. Subchapter A. Elementary. ยง110.2. English Language Arts and Reading. (a) Introduction. (2) [paragraph].

  • JCSpell works from encoding to decoding

    Using multi-sensory activity, we begin our work in oral language and take it to written form. In other words, we encode (spell, write) a words we speak and then decode (read) the words we write.

    In the beginning weeks of school, the phonograms are the heart of the lessons; later, that shifts to words and sentences. Over time, three things happen.
    1. Students master* the English code (phonics)
    2. Students master* the process of sounding out words to write and to read
    3. Students internalizes words for automatic recognition

    Alice Nine often says, "I teach students to write what they can say, and they know how to read."

    *The word master is used here to describe obtaining a high level of automaticity in recognition and use.

    • Video Sketch:  A look at the cycle of language: oral to written to oral. Plotting the smallest components of language, four sensory modes, basic ELA skills, and JCSpell routines on the cycle.  (09m 14s)

      Please note: This video is from JCSpell Word Study, the professional development course by Alice Nine.

  • Where does JCSpell fit in an ELA lesson?

    • Video Sketch: How does JCSpell instruction align with five components of reading instruction identified in NPR Report Put Reading First, a meta-analysis of reading research? (03m 24s)

    •   Print a copy for to use to take notes as you watch Video 4: Framing Literacy Instruction with JCSpell (below).

    • This document identifies the instructional content of ELA and aligns it within the Framework for Literacy. Print a copy for to use to take notes as you watch Video 4: A Framing Literacy Instruction with JCSpell (below).

    • Video Sketch: What ELA instructional content is addressed during Word / Sentence Study with JCSpell instruction? What is JCWrite and AliceNine Grammar with the Interactive Grammar Notebook?

      Documents for this video:  Document 1 and Document 2 (above).

      Professional development --
      1) More information about JCSpell Word Study (training course) and link to enrollment form.
      2) Alice Nine has combined her Johnny Can Write and GRAM-MARvelous workshops into a Grammar Boot Camp workshop which is supported with online, on-demand courses (Grammar Boot Camp Jr.; Grammar Boot Camp 1 and Camp 2 ) at Alice Nine Academy  (06m 17s)

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