Signs for Sounds Teacher Responsibilities


Signs for Sounds: Adapting the program


If students are having difficulty moving successfully through the program or if they are ready to move at a faster pace, you can adapt the instruction for sound-out words, spell-out words, or dictation sentences. Information on adapting the program is described below. For additional suggestions, see "For Students Who Need More Support..." (shaded in gray) in the Presenting the Lessons section of the Signs for Sounds Teacher's Manual.


If students have difficulty with the phonics element or syllable pattern for the lesson, repeat the lesson with a new form, using a different word list, until the students demonstrate mastery (80 percent correct or higher on the sound-out words). A whole group may need to repeat a lesson, or an individual student may be taken aside to learn a difficult phonics element or syllable pattern using a different word list.

If students working in Signs for Sounds 2 are easily passing the teaching and testing phases for the sound-out words, consider using a practice list for the teaching phase and switching to a mastery list for the testing phase. Then have students complete the dictation phase for the lesson. This technique will accelerate the pace at which students move through the program.


If students have difficulty on a spell-out word, continue to include it as a review word in the dictation phase until they have mastered the word.

If you have administered the spell-out words assessment to monitor progress, you can use the results of the assessment to identify difficult words. Recycle any previously taught spell-out words that are still difficult for some of the students into the review section of the dictation phase.


If students have difficulty on the dictation sentences, determine whether the weakness is with the sound-out words, the spell-out words, or mechanics (capitalization or punctuation).

  • If the difficulty is mostly with sound-out words on a specific lesson, students may not have truly mastered the element or pattern. Consider reteaching that lesson using another word list with a new copy of the lesson form.
  • If the difficulty is with spell-out words, consider adding those words to the review section of the dictation phase for the next lesson. Alternatively, direct students not to fold down their papers; this way, they can see the spell-out review words as they write the sentences.
  • If students have difficulty with mechanics, encourage them to check more carefully for capitalization and punctuation in the next lesson. Emphasize double-checking by awarding bonus points to students who correctly capitalize a proper name or the first word in a sentence and use correct punctuation.

Please let us know what questions you have so we can assist. For Technical Support, please call us or submit a software support request.

Click to refresh image