Monday Mornings: Proverbs, Quotes, and More

I have been feeling the need to add a little inspiration and beauty to my blog. As such, I am going to begin doing a weekly Monday morning post with quotes, proverbs, etc.

Children and students need this as well.

Don’t you do better with encouraging words?

I looked out my window and saw these sweet birds in the tree. It made me so happy; I had to grab my camera. Life can be tough at times, but there is still so much beauty…


Language and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Children may or may not have speech delays and be on the autism spectrum; however, most all children/students on the autism spectrum have language delays, and many receive services for language development.

As educators, co-workers, and friends (people in general), it is important to understand language as relates to autism.

Students on the spectrum may or may not:

  • understand body language, understand turn-taking/social skills, understand similes, metaphors, personification, hyperbole, understatements, clichés, and idioms
  • use the correct word/put their words in the correct order, or use correct grammar
  • have processing delays and need extra wait time
  • be interested in only their topics of choice and perseverate (e.g. only want to discuss Thomas the Train), think from detail to big picture, have difficulty generalizing concepts and using their imagination

These are generalities, and it is important to always keep the individual in mind before any generalization. 

Many of the skills and concepts above must be taught directly.

Understanding Speech and Language

Speech and Language are not the same thing. Your child or student(s) may be receiving services for speech, language, or both.


  • deals with articulation, fluency, and voice


  • deals with communication (including spoken and unspoken),
  • deals with syntax and pragmatics, including figurative language
  • deals with the processing of receptive and expressive language
articulation, fluency, and voice– refers to pronunciation/enunciation, quality of voice/tone, and rhythm (e.g. is the student a stutterer?)
communication– the process of conveying a message or meaning with a shared understanding with another
syntax– grammar, sentence structure, word order, and phrases
pragmatics– language in its social context (how the language is used including the inferred intents of the speaker)
receptive and expressive language– the ability to understand verbal and nonverbal language and the ability to express thoughts, ideas, and feelings


Mini-Lessons in Reading

Studies have shown that doing “mini-lessons” are very effective in teaching phonics and reading. A mini-lesson should last about 5 minutes. In it, your child or student reviews a concept that has been previously taught.

For example, if you have recently taught CVC words and CVCe words (consonant-vowel-consonant and consonant-vowel-consonant-silent e words), then you do a mini-lesson: “When you see an e at the end of the word, it is a silent e, and that makes the previous vowel in the word a long vowel sound.” Then have the students practice.

For CVC and CVCe words, I really like using letter tiles and adding the silent e onto CVC words to make a new word. Letter tiles are a great visual and kinesthetic tool. For example, spell the word “hop,” and then add the e to make “hope.” Have the students practice moving the e tile to make and read new words.

Flashcards, one page worksheets, using small whiteboards, etc. are all excellent ways to do a mini-lesson.

Remember, keep mini-lessons short and do them frequently!


A Balanced Approach to Teaching Reading

While phonemic awareness and phonics are at the core of learning to read, according to The National Reading Panel, a balanced approach to teaching reading includes five tenets:

  • Phonemic/Phonological Awareness
  • Phonics
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension
  • Fluency

Depending on your child/students, there may be areas of strength and weakness. I have had students that have specific learning disabilities in the area of reading, and they have had a rich vocabulary and speaking skills. Or, some of my students on the autism spectrum have been great decoders, but have had low comprehension.

Make sure you are addressing all five of these areas in your overall teaching approach.

Proverbs and Education

I am a big proponent of using proverbs in education. In fact, I looked at proverbs and teacher use as part of my master’s thesis, and I found that most teachers use proverbs on a regular basis.

Why use proverbs?

Proverbs and maxims have been shown to be a powerful teaching tool in that they are easily remembered, recognizable, and convey a message. Proverbs often deal with such topics as: the value of learning, the value of help-seeking, the value of task persistence–all vital components of motivation and school success!

A few examples of proverbs that deal with work ethics and character are:

  • Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
  • If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
  • Slow and steady wins the race.

Don’t these instantly convey a message in your mind?

K-W-L Chart for Individual Use

A K-W-L Chart is great way to engage students in the learning process. Your child or students will ask themselves questions before reading or learning about a topic. (designed in 1986, Ogle)

The K-W-L Chart is divided into three columns: What We Know, What We Want to Know, and What We have Learned. I have designed mine for individual use by using the word “I” instead of “We.”

Use the chart to help build vocabulary, comprehension, and learning. The activity should be teacher guided, but student led.

What I really like about the chart is, at the end of the lesson, you can encourage your students/child by saying, “Wow! Look how much you have learned!”

Click to download: K-W-L download

Word Families

Word Families are a group of words with the same spelling/sound pattern.

(The term can also apply to words with the same base word.)

Why teach word families? As your child/students begin to learn to read, you want them to move beyond the phase of sounding out each letter sound. Students need to learn to chunk letter patterns together and recognize their sound combination . For example, learning that the letters /i/ /n/ /g/ make the new sound /ing/ will help with reading and fluency.

Examples of some common CVC and CVCe word families are:

-at family: bat, cat, fat, hat, mat, pat, rat, vat

-en family: Ben, den, hen, Jen, men, pen, ten

-op family: cop, hop, lop, mop, pop, sop, top

-ake family: bake, cake, fake, Jake, lake, make, rake, sake, take, wake

Give your child/students multiple ways and opportunities to practice reading word families.

Basic Beginning Reading Plan

At the core of education is reading and comprehension. That is why I have been focusing on these two. I have so many topics I want to discuss, but these two are foundational.

Here is a recap of what I have been discussing in my blog (read previous posts for a fuller description), and some of the first steps to teaching beginning reading:

  • phonemic awareness
  • building your child’s/students’ vocabulary through exposure to rich language
  • teaching letter to sound correlations (beginning phonics)
  • teaching CVC words (consonant-vowel-consonant words) e.g. cat, dog, kit, hug, pet, etc.
  • teaching beginning high frequency sight words (see dolch’s word list under my reading navbar) e.g. the, said, want, like
  • teaching CVCe words (consonant-vowel-consonant-silent e words) e.g. bake, hike, rose, cube
  • teaching consonant digraphs (letter combinations that make a new sound: ch, ph, sh, th, and wh) e.g. chat, phone, ship, there, whale

Remember, different children work at different rates; customize to meet your child/student’s needs.

More steps and teaching tips to come!