Dr. Barbara Wise has always been fascinated by languages, language development, and how children do and do not master reading. She grew up in NM, a trilingual state, and spent her senior year in Brussels, living with a Flemish family on a French speaking street, a natural lab for learning the “taalgevoel” or “feeling” of Germanic vs Romantic languages, so crucial in English morphology. As an adult, she taught children with learning difficulties in public and private schools up and down the Rocky Mountains, including on the Blackfeet Reservation and at Santo Domingo Pueblo. She later earned a PhD and Post Doc in Developmental Psychology, while developing computer-assisted assessments and interventions for children with Reading Disabilities, with her research teams at the University of Colorado. She still enjoys an educational therapy practice with children with language-based learning difficulties and their parents, and she teaches occasional contract classes for teachers and parents.
Decades of research has supported benefits of instruction in phoneme awareness, phonology, and phonics, for young aspiring readers and especially for those with dyslexia, whose core deficit is in phonological processes. However, the promotion of teaching morphological awareness and the history of language for children with language-based difficulties like dyslexia is more recent and less widespread. Also, most practitioners are more familiar with direct, didactive approaches with morphology than with approaches that encourage as much discovery as possible. Piaget, Bruner and Lepper all emphasized benefits such as engagement, excitement, strong transfer, and later retrievability, from learning concepts in well-grounded approaches that guide children’s own discoveries. This talk demonstrates a few examples of guiding discoveries of morphological and etymological concepts to ground the learning of spelling patterns. It will also display a few examples, of after discovery, after practice, finally later applying the concept independently in writing in context.