Phonics versus Biff, Chip and Kipper

(406 Posts)
Lukethe3 Thu 31-Jan-13 14:09:57

I find it slightly irritating that at DS school he is taught phonics but then sent home to read the old ORT stuff which has tricky words at even the easiest level. Is this purely because the school has no money to buy new books or is there actually an advantage to be taught like this?
I have bought some Songbirds books for DS and these seem to make far more sense to me as they include the sounds that DS is learning.

learnandsay Sat 02-Feb-13 11:47:42

Yellow, if you want to know how well my daughter can read why don't you just ask me instead of misquoting me constantly in a half baked attempt to imply that I'm saying she can't read very well.

plusonemore Sat 02-Feb-13 11:49:59

I'm not interested in finding out about research ON HERE- that is what I do when I am at work! Having taught for 14 years I have read plenty of information on teaching children to read and seen some inspirational trainers. I have also seen the teaching of phonics become much more focussed and effective (anyone remember Boris and Sid??) I have also seen amazing success for 'weaker' readers with interventions such as Reading recovery- which focuses on reading as a whole and using a range of strategies. Again, I am not advocating using any one method or strategy on its own, but together. Using pictures alongside phonics and grammar cues is an effective way of developing fluency.

Feenie Sat 02-Feb-13 11:55:57

Oh dear sad

That would be the Reading Recovery brought in from the US and Australia that has been declared a huge waste of money as it still fails the bottom 20% then.

www.avko.org/Essays/reading_recovery.htm

Using pictures alongside phonics and grammar cues is an effective way of developing fluency.

No, it isn't, for quite a lot of children. Weaker readers have been found to over rely on pictures and/or grammar/context cues.

Feenie Sat 02-Feb-13 11:58:21

And neither is reading - both are just guessing.

Mashabell Sat 02-Feb-13 11:59:11

Using pictures alongside phonics and grammar cues is an effective way of developing fluency.
It is indeed.

Feenie Sat 02-Feb-13 12:00:38

Based on your experience of teaching..........how many children is it again, Masha? wink

maizieD Sat 02-Feb-13 12:11:06

Reading Recovery

Says it all really [rolling eyes smilie]

I spent a lot of time investigating Reading Recovery a few years ago. The 'exemplar videos on the Dfes website and Teachers TV were harrowing. I could have wept for those poor children being 'taught' a mishmash of guessing strategies when all that was needed was for them to sound out and blend the bl**dy word...

And it is really interesting that the RR organisation won't 'allow' any research which directly compares RR with an SP intervention (I know of at least 2 researchers who have tried).

maizieD Sat 02-Feb-13 12:13:32

Using pictures alongside phonics and grammar cues is an effective way of developing fluency.
It is indeed.

So we don't really need to reform spelling then, marsha? Just give 'em all picture books...

plusonemore Sat 02-Feb-13 12:14:26

Perhaps it depends on who is leading it?

And from ACTUAL experience of RR I saw children make huge progress and become confident readers.

(I wasn't the RR teacher btw grin )

Feenie Sat 02-Feb-13 12:29:16

I have seen RR children make huge progress - largely because of the one to one tuition - and then stall again a year or so later, because the strategies RR equipped them with often fail them at a certain point, usually around Y3.

Why not the one to one tuition alongside a fail safe method that will equip them beyond that? It's baffling, it really is. They don't need to guess.

maizieD Sat 02-Feb-13 12:29:41

Perhaps it depends on who is leading it?

These were exemplar videos. Presumably RR would only have sanctioned showing what they considered to be good RR practice.

I've also read Marie Clay's 'Literacy Lessons, part 2' from cover to cover (my own copy). This was recommended as the most up to date RR manual. I'm afraid that, to someone used to the ease and simplicity of synthetic phonics St Marie's methods look like a complete dog's dinner. She even appears a bit mystified herself about the process from time to time!

teacherwith2kids Sat 02-Feb-13 13:15:11

Why would anyone need Reading Recovery IF initial tecahing of reading was successful for virtually all children?

We only NEED Reading Recpbvery because the initial teaching of reading - using mixed methods - has failed so many children.

In schools where excellent phonics teaching, by teachers who believe in it so don't do it in a half-baked way and confuse the issue by saying 'oh no, you have to use other clues when you read a real book, that phonics teaching is just something that we have to do', is the norm, there simply aren't the children who need Reading Recovery...

Of course, once children can decode the words well, then they are ready (very quickly) to move on to comprehension and inference and expression and all the rest. And with good phonics teaching, that initial 'learning to decode' period is very short so the maximum amount of time can be spent on the next phase of reading skills - equally if children are given books where they can decode all the words (by using phonics skills on phonic books, using the phonic sounds that they know) they can learn those 'additional' skills immediately without having to learn unhelpful non-reading strategies alongside them...

teacherwith2kids Sat 02-Feb-13 13:15:33

(Beeping keyboard, sorry)

Feenie Sat 02-Feb-13 13:27:49

Good points, teacherwith2kids.

maizieD Sat 02-Feb-13 15:33:39

We only NEED Reading Recpbvery because the initial teaching of reading - using mixed methods - has failed so many children.

I do know what you mean, but I would say that in that situation RR is the very last thing a child would need as it is only more of the same stuff that has already failed them.grin

You will, I'm sure, be interested to know that RR, in a very clever move to make sure that their highly indoctrinated trained teachers are never short of a job, always work with the 6 'weakest' readers in the year group.

Think about it, you could have a Y1 cohort where every child is reading, say, 6 months or more ahead of their chronological age. There will, inevitably, be 6 children who have the lowest reading ages, so they will get RR. And, because they were reading absolutely fine before they had RR they will appear to have improved at the end of RR and they will go down as a 'success' for RR. if they've been taught initially with good phonics instruction RR will love that even more, because then they can be classed as 'struggling despite having had good phonics instruction' (which, of course, makes SP look bad). RR is such a devious operation..

On the other hand, if a proper cutoff point was fixed, say reading at 6 months below CA, RR would have no 'customers' in that particular school! One expensive teacher out of a job...

mrz Sat 02-Feb-13 15:41:03

Here is the conclusion from a report into the effectiveness of RR carried out by Macquarie University Sydney

Research by independent researchers who have employed control group designs and who have used standardized assessment instruments have typically found that RR students make statistically significant gains but that these gains are more modest, are typically made by students with less severe reading difficulties, and that this occurs at considerable financial cost. *The most methodologically sophisticated study completed in Australia found that RR was probably effective for only one in three children who entered the
program*, since one child in three did not benefit appreciably while another child would have been recovered without the intervention.

Conclusions
Reading Recovery appears to be mildly effective but possibly not as effective as it should be given its high cost and limited utility.

Alternative option

Interventions for at-risk Year 1 readers have been suggested and trialed using more explicit teaching of phonemic awareness and phonic decoding and in small groups of about three children instead of one-to-one instruction.

maizieD Sat 02-Feb-13 16:16:53

Research.....found that RR students make statistically significant gains but that these gains are more modest, are typically made by students with less severe reading difficulties, and that this occurs at considerable financial cost.

If you look at RR data from across the world you find that they consistently 'refer on' some 23% of their pupils. 'Referring on' means that the pupil has made little or no progress and is 'referred on' for further intervention. In other words, despite their claim to be able to teach the 'hardest to teach' pupils, they actually don't succeed with them at all!

See from the research mrz quotes: these gains are more modest, are typically made by students with less severe reading difficulties...

mrz Sat 02-Feb-13 16:26:21

and only 1 in 3 benefitted from the programme hmm

yellowsubmarine53 Sat 02-Feb-13 20:13:21

lands, you've already explained how well your dd can read - you told us that she's reading yellow books after the best part of two years of being 'taught' to read.

From what you've said, she'll probably progress much faster now that she is being taught strategies to work out unfamiliar words ie phonics.

It doesn't make sense to say that she 'learnt as a whole word reader' when she's now using phonics to read fairly simple words like 'telephone' and 'tomorrow'. She's now learning to read.

learnandsay Sat 02-Feb-13 21:16:40

What on earth are you talking about? The child is four. When she started learning to read she was two. If you think she should now be doing a degree in physics I'd suggest you're a little over ambitious.

learnandsay Sat 02-Feb-13 21:49:11

Before your next misquote I should point out to you that the speed at which my daughter progresses through her scheme reading books is determined by the teacher and not by me. And she has decreed that the books are to be read in stage order. Therefore it will depend on how many books the school has at each stage and how regularly they are changed.

How my daughter progresses through the scheme bears no relevance to how well or how badly she can read. It's determined by policy.

Now, if you'd like to discuss the relative ease of reading words like telephone, tomorrow, dandelion, grapefruit, shotput, (shopping centre) and emergency exit, I'd be happy to.

yellowsubmarine53 Sat 02-Feb-13 21:52:40

No, I don't think that your dd should be doing a degree in physics.

My point is that two years of teaching to now read yellow level books is a lot of input for not a lot of progress. To contrast, my dd was reading yellow/blue books before Christmas in reception having only been able to read a few words before she started school in September. So she got there in 2 months rather than 2 years.

I'm not being at all critical of your dd's reading abilities by the way. Yellow for this point in reception is very sound, but it doesn't mean that she's 'learnt to read'.

learnandsay Sat 02-Feb-13 22:03:51

You're arguing about two separate things. One is controlled by the teacher: the reading scheme.

The other is supplied by me: learning to read.

Your argument makes about as much sense as saying French pork is healthy because Wales is too small for American farming methods.

The two are not related.

yellowsubmarine53 Sat 02-Feb-13 22:10:34

It was you that said that yellow 'non decodable books' were about right for your dd, lands.

learnandsay Sat 02-Feb-13 22:15:36

It was, yes. They're shorter and simpler than the Ladybird books that she reads with me. But I'm happy with them as school books. I haven't seen any others. She can read Tree Tops All Stars too. I bought some second hand.

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