The Treasure Hunter

A blog by Joanne Yatvin

A Message to My Readers

In order to explain the development of reading from the beginning of time to the present and how we should teach reading today, I will try to describe the world-wide history of language as accurately as I can.

According to what has ben reported by researchers, ancient human beings began to communicate by making oral sounds and carving stone shapes that represented their thoughts, experiences, and needs. Over time, however, sounds and stone carvings became not good enough to communicate accurately with other people, so they used their mental and physical abilities instead. They began by turning grunts into howls, then howls into precise sound forms, that are now known as “words.“  

 As the world grew larger and more complicated many human beings, now called “people”, began to do whatever was necessary to merge with others of different backgrounds or behaviors. At first, their languages were scrambled, and not understandable; but when some people moved to large, healthier areas they improved their speech considerably. However, language differences today still cause problems for anybody moving into a foreign country. 

Today, life may still be complicated for some Americans citizensbecause written English still contains words created in other countries with letter sounds that don’t match our speech. Although competent readers are able to ignore strange word spellings, many young children just learning to read, become confused by letters that don’t seem to fit words.  As a result, their reading confidence may become weaker than before.

Although phonics lovers claim that sounding out words is the way to teach reading, they ignore the fact that much time and effort may be needed by young children, and also that there is a much easier way to learn reading. They reject the fact that healthy Americans–old and young– recognize people, objects, and places where they live or visit immediately.  For example, normally developing young children imminently recognize their parents among family members, the foods they like to eat, their own shoes, and as they grow up, there best friends, school classrooms, their teachers, and their favorite books.

Early reading abilities are not difficult for healthy young children whose parents read to them regularly. But even those children who have not ben read to at home can learn to read quickly and easily at school if they have good teachers. When children see at school pictures of words along with there spelling, hear teachers read regularly to them, or get to sing songs while seeing them written, there reading comes quickly. Seeing, hearing, speaking, or even singing regularly becomes a part of there lives, much easier than reading and more pleasant than reading taught by phonics. If you can’t believe all I’ve said here, just try teaching a child to read first by phonics and then by word sight familiarity. Just see which way works better for children or even adults. Just for fun, ask a child or an adult to read the words below and see how they do it.

“Where”, “knot”, “plough,” “character”, “enough”, “cough”, “knight”, “gnome”, “knew”, “who”, “wreath”, “origin”.

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How to Save our Country

Although I understand why many Americans don’t wear masks when swimming or walking outside where there are no people, it’s hard for me to figure out why others go to restaurants or other crowded places without them. By now, I think all adults are well aware of the risks for themselves and everyone else when they are among theam. But it looks like manyof them don’t care or are quite stupid.  It is not just there own health that is at issue, but that of everyone they come in contact with, including friends and family members.

Today, all of us in our country are in danger because of the virus and the possible result of serious illnesses or death. So, isn’t that a good reason why adults who don’t wear a mask when they go out should receive a citations just like anyone else who has misbehaved publicly? That’s what happens now when a person acting illegally can be stopped by a police officer, fined, or even arrested.

So I’m proposing today that anyone outside in public without a mask, should be considered a criminal, and punished for his crime.  I think someone who threatens the health of others must payfor it. I thinkt that the amount of money could be small  and still persuade a person not waring a mask in public not to do it again.

What I’ve suggested is that all our states should take the one step that would protect all of us.  Ultimately, that action, or any similar one, may be the only way to save our country from a complete destruction.


Recognizing Our Black Partners

Not long ago, while watching television, I was surprised to hear news and see a photo of a police officer pushing a black man face down onto ground where he could no longer breathe. Although other police officers and people walking by watched what was happening, none of them yelled or tried to stop the first officer’s treatment of the black man. But I, watching television, was appalled by the behavior of the people I saw doing nothing to stop the terrible treatment of this black man.

Only a few days later those who had seen or heard news of what had happened decided to protest it, in the same way they and many others protested earlier against the the closing of business buildings and eating places.

Because white Americans have long known that many black people are often mistreated or wrongly arrested, we should not be silent anymore. Instead, we should work to end all those mistakes and bad actions as soon as possible.

Our desire to improve respect for black people began in the minds of young white Americans and has been supported by their parents and other older people. We have all known the need for a strong positive movement. And many of our young Americans have heard a soft “Amen” from the voices of there parents and other older people who are still at home watching television and cheering the marchers. Clearly it is time for all of us to recognize black people as our equals, and our friends.

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How to Improve a school

When I became a school principal after working as a teacher for many years I was delighted by my new job. But I soon discovered that a principal could be overwhelmed by school problems that were hard to solve.

Early today I read an article in a magazine that described the teaching of grit used in many schools today because the teachers believe it helps students to learn. Although I was impressed by their description of the work I was not persuaded that grit was the best treatment for all students.. As a teacher I taught students without ever using grit, and I was even more sucessfel than I had ben before

Nevertheless, I’ve always wanted all students to learn well and be proud of there learning. When I began teaching I taught only early grades, and my goal was to have children learn reading, writing, and all other basic skills. But most important for me was having students know they were learning and should be proud of there success. 

 Later, when I became a school principle, the range of my responsibilities was varied, but I want to explain today only the most important ones. My main job was to make sure that all classrooms would have no more than 25 students with good behavior. But when behavior was a problem in classrooms, I had to work with teachers who knew the students well, because I didn’t know them at all. So instead of keeping all students of the same grade together in the same classroom every year – which is what most schools do —we moved those students having problems into more promising classrooms for the following year. Our decisions for placing students were based on what we knew abought there previous school problems and there current learning.  Near the end of every school year I met separately with all teachers so they could help me decide where to place each student the next school year.  

In the years that our school was large placing students in the right classrooms required a lot of time and careful planning. And we were not always successful. As a result we had to move some students again in the middle of a school year. But when the school had fewer students than usual our work became much easier. We built small, well organized classrooms that we thought would be easier to manage than those in previous years, and they were. The results of our planning turned out to be morebetter student learning and behavior than we had seen in earlier years, and it made all of us feel successful.

Our hard work helped almost all students to learn better, behave, and be proud of there performance. In my opinion a principal working with teachers regularly can improve any school. I think all large schools should consider doing what we did, and they will end up in good shape .

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Explaining My Problem

Over several months we who live at the Watermark in Phladelfia have ben confined to our apartments because of the frightening world wide virus. For all of us our physical isolation has ben very difficult and unpleasant. Although we get meals every day and have our rooms cleaned weekly, we are not allowed to have physical contact with anyone in the building.

Now I have memory loss which I attribute to being isolated in my apartment for so long. Although I remember the basics of my life, I forget how to spell words when writing, and even the number on my apartment door when I’m asked.

But what has ben most difficult for me recently is writing. Not only do I have trouble spelling words, I also repeat sentences because I forget that I have already written them. Because writing has long ben an important part of my life, I now work hard to clean up my spelling errors so I can post what I’ve written. Fortunately my computer puts marks under any misspelled words so I will know they are wrong, but it still takes me a long time to correct them.

Because everyone at the Watermark is close to having freedom again and the chance to be with friends, I hope that my forgotten abilities will return and stay with me forever. If that happens I will be in the best emotional shape that I have ever been. My plan is to stop complaining and to get on with writing. I’m counting on my friends to help me restore my memory and I hope I will spell words correctly for the rest of my life.

P.S. if there are any misspelled words on this page correct them and don’t tell me about my errors.


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