Introduction to the Ziff Technique for Teaching Children to Write and Read

You may be a beginning teacher or a seasoned veteran. Maybe you’re a home school parent or an administrator looking for a meaningful and effective way to give your students a fast track to literacy. You might be a professor of education in a university or a director of instruction in a large or small school district. Perhaps you are just trying to find a way to meet the challenges of the recent changes in the standards (the Common Core Standards)

Mr. Yossie Ziff has been a classroom teacher for over 25 years and a kindergarten teacher for the last eight. He has developed a revolutionary process to teach comprehensive literacy to very early learners. Working within the structure of a state mandated public school system, he and his wife Joan, also an educator, have evolved a “whole language”approach and successfully taught their kindergarten students to read by teaching them first to write.

Donald Graves, the father of the “Writing Process” and “Writer’s Workshop,” supported this idea of writing first in order to read back in the 1980’s. Other educators have and are using this method in the classroom. We are presenting a codified and simple to use technique for early reading acquisition, incorporating the use of phonics and sight words while at the same time emphasizing writing skills.

As you are probably well aware, children learn best when they feel the joy and freedom to invent and create their own stories and ideas. Mr. Ziff is highly successful in allowing the children to take their thoughts and create their own sentences on paper even at this early stage in their learning. From the writing that they do, the invented spelling that they use, and the use of sight word recognition they ultimately learn to read comprehensively.

The goals in this teaching program are not simply to teach a child to read, though read they will! We aim to give structure and the right learning tools to inspire and promote that innate genius which, we believe, every child has, and to impart a sense of joy in their learning, which will hopefully last for the rest of their lives.

In this guide and throughout the video, Mr. Ziff will show you each step necessary for implementing this method of teaching. We will give you Ziff Tips and templates that will support and clarify the method, to ensure success. Mr. Ziff believes every child possesses his or her own genius, but children today are exposed to highly sophisticated levels of language and ideas via the media and the internet. Computer technology makes this barrage of ideas instantly available. It is our goal to get past these external influences and tap into what is going on inside the mind of a child. In this way, we can help them to regard their own ideas as more interesting to them than the things that are coming in from the outside. Using this method, it is easy to ignite a spark for each child’s sense of curiosity and natural intelligence.

It is our job and our aim as teachers to make learning a living experience. As teachers, we instill our own values — our sense of courage, action, and love to our students. We have the gift and the responsibility of affecting our charges in the most positive way we know how. Additionally, a strong sense of play, coming from you, their teacher, must be present for them to absorb and accept what you are trying to give over to them. We strongly encourage your own personality and brand of teaching while using the technique.

It can further be tailored to suit your needs. This method is great for beginners, intermediate and advanced readers. It can be used in a classroom or a home school setting. Its concepts can be transferred into other areas of curriculum such as math, science, and social studies.

We wish you and your students the very best as you embark upon this joyful and fascinating journey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *