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More than a Building Block: The Journey to Decoding Starts Here

Tuesday, March 21, 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT

Teaching 6 Essential Phonological Awareness Skills: The Journey to Decoding Starts Here

Presented by Sam Deffes, M.Ed., Professional Learning Literacy Advisor, Learning Without Tears; and Jessica Finell, M.Ed., National Presenter, Learning Without Tears

Sponsored by Learning Without Tears

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Phonological awareness is essential for reading. It sets the stage for students’ future success with decoding and encoding. Multiple research studies indicate that phonological awareness skills are a strong predictor of a child’s success in learning to read. The awareness of the sounds that make up words is a critical key that must be developed and taught in an explicit and systematic manner. Educators can introduce these concepts to young children through meaningful and engaging experiences that tap into children’s need for play.

During this fun and engaging edWebinar, viewers learn a variety of instructional strategies that can be implemented immediately to teach six essential phonological awareness skills along the phonological awareness continuum through hands-on, minds-on activities. At the end of this learning experience, viewers are able to:

  • Distinguish the difference between phonological awareness and phonemic awareness
  • Integrate fun phonological awareness lessons and activities to help emerging readers recognize, discriminate, blend, segment, and manipulate sounds
  • Explicitly teach, model, and reinforce how to isolate, delete, and substitute phonemes

This recorded edWebinar is of interest to individuals working with children from PreK to second grade.


Sam DeffesAbout the Presenters

Sam Deffes has been an educator for over 16 years. She began her career at SP Livingston Elementary in Duval County and taught grades K-4 where she led the MTSS team. She has also served Duval County as a reading coach and district literacy specialist. Sam is an accomplished professional development facilitator, coach, and content developer. She received her master’s degree from University of Florida with a focus on curriculum and instruction in reading. She is currently a Literacy Advisor for Learning Without Tears.

Jessica FinellJessica Finell received a dual master’s degree in childhood special and general education from Bank Street College of Education in New York City. She has over a decade of teaching experience in classroom settings and worked as a learning center specialist, working with small groups and individual students, focusing on areas of literacy and math. Her experience using Learning Without Tears in the classroom and in private tutoring sessions allows her to see firsthand the program’s benefits and the progress and success of her students. In addition to her work as an educator, she trained and completed the Polinger Fellowship with the nonprofit organization Hidden Sparks. She acted as an internal coach for a New York City private school, working to help teachers and their students achieve success within their classrooms.

Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

Join the Building Foundational Literacy Skills community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.

Learning Without TearsLearning Without Tears’ mission in today’s changing learning landscape is to ensure that the path to student success remains simple and fun. We provide child-friendly, hands-on, innovative instruction for early learning, handwriting, keyboarding, and writing strategies, and our programs reach more than 31 million students in Pre-K through fifth grade.

Learning Without Tears


Tuesday, March 21, 2023
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT
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