Years ago, in my previous life as an investment advisor, I had a friend who died far too young. He was, in my opinion, one of the best portfolio managers in the country and he and I would do business together occasionally. His name was Russ.

While we did a little treasury bond business together that benefited both of us, my real pleasure came from conversations that we had every month or so. I would come at the economy from a top-down, or macroeconomic perspective, whereas Russ would always come at it from the ground up. He knew more about digging out little nuggets of information than anyone I ever encountered in the bond business, and this was before the internet era when such digging took real effort.

Given that we were coming at the big picture from opposite directions all the time, it was surprising how often we seemed to arrive at roughly the same conclusion on the direction that the economy and interest rates were likely to take. I would pontificate about money supply and taxes and then, invariably, Russ would say “Here’s a little tidbit that might interest you.”

He always called them "tidbits," but they usually turned out to be 24 karat nuggets of information that he’d dug out and been watching over the years. I wish I’d written them all down now; pencil and paper back then, you know.

So, this is the introduction to the Phonics Tidbits articles on my site. Some of what you find in here you might already know, but I hope that you will find some nuggets in here too, just as I did when talking with my friend Russ, too long ago now.

I'm certain that the first one is a nugget, by the way. It's from Romalda Spalding’s book, The Writing Road to Reading and it's the best way I've found to teach a child to tell b from d. I highly encourage you to read Telling b from d.