Beginners start with a vowel card, a picture, and a color for each vowel sound--only one vowel for each sound. The vowels are introduced a few at a time and practiced through playing the first seven vowel games.
After a year, students memorize alternative vowel spellings, moving gradually from 18 to 31 spellings and playing the other four vowel games.
The manual shows how to picture-match the vowels and how to ease students into the intersensory technique of writing the vowel spellings while they pronounce or spell them, so that eye, ear, hand, and speech are working together simultaneously and reinforcing each other.
Colors make it easy to teach short vowels to kindergarten children because colors jump at you in a way that black letters don't. Actually, young children often do better than older students with short vowels because they are still at the "parrot" age.
For beginners, it doesn't take long to teach the other vowel sounds because the colored "blob" joins pairs of letters like or and ow and makes them stand out from the black consonants. Since the colors match colored key-word pictures, the key words are easy to memorize.
The Transition Packets (See the link below) help a child to make the leap from three-letter words to a more varied vocabulary. They combine the packets approach with the color code.
The Color-Matching Games and the matching Two-Sided Cards, which have the same words, prepare for books that can be read by first graders and second graders. The Basic Vocabulary Set can be used by students of any age with any reading program.
For students who are too old for games, color coding works well because the colors are age-neutral, and they make sense. The manual describes how to speed up progress
in older students by making individualized vocabulary lists ("special lists") with columns in color and black.
With non-beginners, always pre-test new words in black and use colors only for the missed words. To make a special list, all you need are ten Crayola crayons and three flair pens. With advanced students, color only the tricky vowels and leave the
regular spellings alone.
The colors are mnemonically connected with their key-word pictures.
The ai in said matches the key-word picture of a gray elephant.
The ou in soup matches the picture of a yellow moon.
The or in world matches the picture of a blue bird (a blue jay).
Vowel sounds are easier to learn with the colored key-word pictures that go with the Color Code, and words with "crazy" spellings make sense when the sounds are matched to the colors. In these Color-Matching games, the vowel is highlighted in the color that goes with its sound. A color swatch matches each word. And the picture of a blue bird is on the table as a reminder. A player gets a "book" when he or she draws a matching card.
This color code provides training wheels for non-phonetic words, which are hard to decode without guessing at the vowel in the middle. After practicing their words in color, children can kick away the training wheels and make the transfer to black because the sequence of consonants makes more sense when a word has been systematically decoded.
This color code has been used for over forty years with kindergarten children, adult basic-literacy students, and all ages in between. With these colors and pictures and games, the tutor or the home-schooling parent can do what can't be done in the classroom--make both vowel spellings and sight words easier to memorize.
Eleven colors plus black and white take care of eighteen vowel sounds. All long vowels are orange, silent letters are hollow (in print) or circled (by hand), and "crazy" consonants have respellings on top and a red line under them. Each color (except orange) matches a colored key-word picture on the composite picture. Most pupils memorize the colors easily, but they are always free to consult the pictures on the colored composite picture.
Students in phonetic reading programs learn to sound out phonetic words, but then the nonphonetic words are thrown into the pot as sight words, which are very difficult for many students. With the Color Code, a student can sound out "crazy" words as easily as phonetic ones. We don't have to violate the systematic sounding-out habit we have tried to help them develop.
Besides translating irregular vowels and alternative spellings, the colors make the vowels stand out from their surrounding consonants. They also help students who have trouble with fine-tuned sounding because you can introduce words that are not as confusingly similar in appearance as many phonetic words.
Some students learn vowel sounds quickly, and some need a lot of ear-training, but lock-step workbook pages don't provide for these differences. These materials are on movable cards for maximum flexibility.
Children don't have to memorize the colors by rote because the colors make sense.
They also don't have to memorize their sight words by rote because the colors translate all those vowel spellings that make English so hard for beginners.
The words in the Color-Matching Games are non-phonetic words with tricky spellings (like said and laugh) or difficult phonetic words (like here and when) or high-priority two-syllable words (like again and second).
Each Color-Matching Game has nine words. The same words also come in Two-Sided Cards. These cards are in color on one side and in black on the other. The game number is listed on each Two-Sided Card. The Two-Sided Cards are for pre-testing to see what games a child needs, and they are also for practicing the words in color, then making the transfer to black.
34 Go Fish games are also available for those who use six popular trade books
like Go Dog Go. (See below.) These games are color-coded and include all the words in the six trade books.
You have a choice of three options, depending on what books you are using. They can be sent to you as e-mail attachments.
24 games for basic vocabulary - to use with any reading program
Two-Sided Cards, which have the same words
37 games to prepare for the Nine Retold Tales. (See the link below.)
Two-Sided Cards, which have the same words
14 games to prepare for the six popular trade books
Two-Sided Cards, which have the same words, plus additional words.
The additional words are because all the words in the six trade books,
phonetic or non-phonetic, are included in the Two-Sided Cards.
The Transition Packets combine the packets approach witih color coding. They help a beginner with the transition between three-letter words and a more varied vocabulary.
Nine retold fairy tales--less familiar ones--with large print, double-spacing, and a controlled vocabulary keyed to the Color Code games and Two-Sided Cards.