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Teachers - please, how bad is this?

(71 Posts)
CinammonAndCaramel Sun 10-Feb-13 09:46:28

Could any teacher please level this recount for me?

I am talking to HT this week and want to be prepared.

(DD is in Y5. I know the work is very bad for Y5. I need an idea of how bad)


Dire Dire
we have aried at the Camp. it was a long gerne mast of the way we cam by ship then We all aot a camel to rid a and then we cnowd dawn the rive nils
oun we got the the camp sit it was mid day and we were agsorst Matthew mad diner he dernt the fish but it dint Mate bacusme We We hungry ruffle 10 o'cklo we go to in aw slepping bag and Quickly Went to sleep

Badvoc Tue 12-Feb-13 16:47:18


mrz Tue 12-Feb-13 16:42:59

Phase 6 is suffixes and prefixes so knowing when to double the final consonant before adding "ing" etc.

Badvoc Tue 12-Feb-13 10:05:20

Have looked at that resource mrz and it does tally with what we did in bear neccessities (we did half of book 1 but then I decided apples and pears was the way to go and we are now halfway through book b)
Ds can do all of that, so I don't think that's what I need.
I am pretty sure he is working at phase 6 phonics but other than phonics play I can't find any other resource to tell me what he should be doing/able to do.
In apples and pears ATM he is doing endings eg: ing and what happens to the initial nothing, lose the e etc.
Sorry, I am not a teacher so don't know the correct terminology!
He is currently able to read chapter books like astronauts and dinosaur cove quite well.
He also loves the usborne non fiction historical series, but they seem a bit easy for him tbh.
It's assessment week 1st week in march at school so will have a better idea of his levels then.
I set a target for him that he would be level 4s across the board at end of year 5 smile not sure whether that will happen now but it won't be for want of trying!
ATM he is doing brain training type exercises to help with spatial awareness, memory, etc. he is doing pretty well.
Will carry on with apples and pears after we have finished them.

mrz Tue 12-Feb-13 06:53:18

and why do you imagine for one minute that phonics teaching isn't multi sensory CeceliaStrange?

CeceliaStrange Mon 11-Feb-13 22:47:50

maize, maybe with some of ours the letter tracing etc. just gets a bit more concentration?

CeceliaStrange Mon 11-Feb-13 22:44:50

That article sounds interesting, reminds me of how as a ToD we used to teach children to feel sounds, e.g. 'fff' sound to blow out candle ('th' doesn't), c shape with fingers at throat to feel where it formed, lots of mirrors to see movement.

My latest headache is we've always performed well above local/ national levels for reeading progress/ attainment and our SEN perform particularly well as a group in reading progress...yet with the introduction of the new yr 1 phonics we did quite poorly, relatively. In particular it was a challenge for higher and lower attainers with middle doing the best.

maizieD Mon 11-Feb-13 21:59:28

I am always fascinated by the belief that tracing letters on a child's back can teach them to read. How? Just what is the scientific explanation for this? Likewise, feeling letters in bags and laying out alphabet arcs? They have nothing at all to do with reading. To learn to read a child has to learn to associate a sound with the letters that represent it.

I have to say that from your description I think you have seen and experienced some poor phonics teaching, but I'm afraid that some of the 'multi sensory' methods promoted by the dyslexia 'establishment' just defy logic.

That's not to say that good phonics teaching isn't multisensory. It is visual, aural, oral and kinaesthetic ; see the letters, say the sounds, hear the sounds, write the sounds. It can also involve 'feeling' how sounds are formed in the mouth and 'seeing' how they are formed. A while ago I read a long article about Dr Orton* and the beginings of his work with 'dyslexics'. That article characterised 'multi-sensory' in the way that I have just done. Nothing more. I fear that all the other stuff is add-ons over the years. I have searched for academic studies to back up the practices you outline, but there is nothing.

I did use a 'conventional' dyslexia programme, many years ago, trained by our then SEN teacher, and it was frustration at children's slow (or non-existent) progress with it that had me looking for other ways of working.

*I didn't bookmark it, unfortunately and I've never been able to find it againsad

CeceliaStrange Mon 11-Feb-13 21:10:44

Replace 'over rely' with 'non visual' and it's funny? You don't want to discuss it I take it? I personally find exploring multi-sensory learning very interesting, but each to their own. I'm not attempting to say phonics is bad or not to be used, what I'm saying is like anything I've seen it taught badly and for me there was a lot of listening to sounds, matching things that sounded the same and a lot more spoken discussion in phonics lessons than for other methods. I've seen many a session filled with pointing to a sound, saying and repeating the sound aloud only, no whiteboards even. Listen to the sounds, blend them out loud etc. Poor/lazy phonics teaching is likely to be the reason phonics failed for me and others, rather than phonics as a system. I had high frequency hearing loss as well which further impacted on my ability to blend sounds after they were spoken to me, I got a lot of the approach of saying the 'sound buttons' e.g. c-a-t then asking me to blend them. I recognised many words before I spoke them correctly and relied heavily on memory rather than sounded out, I loved my dictionary! I later improved with phonics recognising the building blocks to make words, e.g. the familiar endings 'tion' or 'ful'. The way to correct this is simply more multi-sensory approaches in early phonics teaching, e.g. drawing letters on a child's back as they are spoken, tracing letters, using colours for breaking down words, moving letters/ sections physically, playing snap with sounds, relying on motor skills through continuous cursive writing when spelling etc.

I feel I've wasted my time posting this as I'm sure you'll pick out one sentence to make a dimissive comment on...

mrz Mon 11-Feb-13 20:34:05

I think you will find Morse code is transcribed from sound into written words learnandsay ...and it's pretty difficult to draw around the shape of the word or the trace over it if it's written in Braille

learnandsay Mon 11-Feb-13 20:27:13

Braille, Morse Code....

Badvoc Mon 11-Feb-13 20:16:01

I will check that out mrz thanks

mrz Mon 11-Feb-13 20:01:05

Isn't it about 80% that learn best through phonics? no
Phonics teaching can (not always) over rely on listening to sounds, other methods may have simply been presented through more visual means
How do you learn to read by non visual means? confused

CeceliaStrange Mon 11-Feb-13 19:48:07

units of sound is from the dyslexia association, tracking pupils progress at school over the past 3/4 years it was the intervention with the best progress. I didn't like it as such, but came to like it over the years. What it can do is offer some way towards a multi-sensory approach that dyslexic children often require

I currently have two children at my own school that made no progress in phonics interventions, probably knew about 8 over the years and I was one myself, though maybe in retrospect it was my poor abilities learning through auditorymethods. Phonics teaching can (not always) over rely on listening to sounds, other methods may have simply been presented through more visual means (eg flash cards and look/ cover) or kinsetic (eg laying out wooden letters/ cards, drawing around the shape of words, tracing over spellings, active games etc) Isn't it about 80% that learn best through phonics? It's not likely, but at this stage with a dx of dyslexia deserves some thought before being dismissed out of hand.

There's no point in arguing it out though, I think you want advice other than mine. I can advise on phonics but I think you have advice here already. The main thing is a child becomes a confident reader, something we all want.

maizieD Mon 11-Feb-13 18:44:27

It is something I have been guilty of In the past tbh...I.e chopping and changing approaches (SP, learn and say etc) through sheer desperation to help my son

Don't beat yourself up about it! It won't have done much harm so long as you are consistent from now on smile

mrz Mon 11-Feb-13 17:55:37

That should be Units of Sound doesn't fit at all

mrz Mon 11-Feb-13 17:54:40

your earlier question about Letters & Sounds

Not really's one of the better publications from the DfE but has lots of flaws

mrz Mon 11-Feb-13 17:51:10

Have you looked at the assessments on the Sound Foundations web site ...they are very detailed used by the Gloucestershire LEA in their intervention

Badvoc Mon 11-Feb-13 17:46:13

Mrz...Yes, I checked it out last night online and I was very confused! smile
I really rate bear neccessities and apples dn pears as you know, but I just think I need to know what ds is missing wrt phonics knowledge iyswim?
His teachers are nice but I think they see me as one if "those parents" smile
I.e. interfering.
Ds has made huge progress in the last year and I want him to continue to do so.
(He has gone from level 1s across the board at the start if year 4 to 3s across the board ATM on year 5)
He hates apples and pears, sadly smile but it has really helped his spelling and writing.
My son got a star writer of the week certificate last week for a book review he wrote...never thought I would see the day smile
I will check our Debbie Hepplewhite, thanks.
It is something I have been guilty of In the past tbh...I.e chopping and changing approaches (SP, learn and say etc) through sheer desperation to help my son sad
Thank for the advice x

mrz Mon 11-Feb-13 17:05:38

Units of Sound does fit at all with how phonics is taught Badvoc and would probably be very confusing.

I was going to say that ICT isn't a substitute for good teaching and can actually cause more problems than they solve if not supported by a knowledgeable "teacher".

I've encountered two children in 30 years who couldn't grasp phonics (one being my own son) and both were disadvantaged ...

maizieD Mon 11-Feb-13 16:45:03


As Apples and Pears is phonics based it will do fine for learning letter/sound correspondences. If a child can write a word , saying each sound as they write it (this is really important; sounds not letter names) they should be able to read it, too.

I think that Debbie Hepplewhite has a phonics assessment sheet on her Phonics International website. (Plus lots of other information). If you can use that to find out the gaps in his phonic knowledge then you really needn't look any further than her site for resources to 'fill' the gaps at an extremely low price. (disclaimer: I know Debbie but I have no commercial interest whatsoever in her programme; I just know that it is very good)

Quite honestly, I don't think that an ICT based programme like Units of Sound is as good as direct teaching by a human! There's an interesting post about this HERE by an EP and Reading Researcher (original was posted on a SENCo Forum).

I would also question the statement that 'Phonics does not work for every child' The number of children who cannot grasp phonics is absolutely minimal and it is highly unlikely that CandC and Badvoc's DCs are among them. It's phonics mixed with 'other strategies', as CandC recognises, which really confuses children. I know that mrz, with whom most of you are familiar, would agree with me and she is a SENCo, toosmile

I have worked with KS3 'strugglers' for the last 8 years and I have never yet encountered a child for whom phonics doesn't work. That's well over 100 children, so statistically I should have had at least one or two.

CeceliaStrange Mon 11-Feb-13 10:08:44

badvoc, sheets to find what gaps are

Badvoc Mon 11-Feb-13 09:39:40

Like ops dd, my ds has what I would call gaps in his phonic knowledge.
I have been using apples and pears for spelling and grammar and handwriting with great success but that a can I use for phonics?
Can't really afford to buy a programme ATM letters and sounds a good resource?
Start from beginning? Straight to phase 5-6?

CinammonAndCaramel Mon 11-Feb-13 09:37:14

It's a junior school, with no KS1, which is why they get away with still doing searchlight instead of phonics.

I could ask them to do phonics with her in 1:1 - but I don't trust them to do it.

If they fundamentally don't agree that phonics is the best way to teach children to read, they won't teach it properly.

I need her to stop being encouraged to guess, look at the first letters, look at the pictures, etc. And the only way I can do that is by stopping the 1:1 (although she'll still get that in guided reading)

She's had an awful lot of 1:1. It's only now that I've realised why it' not been helping......

CeceliaStrange Mon 11-Feb-13 09:18:57

units of sound (computer programme) is what I've had most success with with older children/ non-phonics trained staff (only so many...)

could she mentor younger children having phonic interventions? Infant staff have more phonic training generally, could she be talked up as a role model and take on the special job of helping as an official mentor/ reading buddy (and benefi herself from going back?)

also at home go right back and work through again each phase. ask this is what she does in 1-2-1 or

try to remember she's not behind as such, it looksage appropriate aside from a specific area of difficulty

CinammonAndCaramel Mon 11-Feb-13 05:20:15

Thanks Cecilia.

She gets 1:1 like you mention from the class TA. It's only being withdrawn for 10 minutes to read ORT and then do flash cards which I've asked to stop.

But all the 1:1 from the class TA doesn't help either because they're not doing phonics. So they'll choose 3 words she spelt wrong and correct them and ask her to write them out 3 times - but those 3 words won't have anything in common. They won't show her the phenomena in the word, they'll just ask her to copy them out. And it does not help at all.

Absolutely no point in talking to the teacher. He's a Y5 teacher. He's never taught a child to read in his life. He has never been on a phonics training course.

I have had lots and lots and lots of talks with her teachers and SENCOs. Which is how I know they don't know what they're doing.

Phonics does work with DD, just school won't teach her that way sad

I'm well aware how much extra support DD needs but when the support they give her is bad for her because the school is not good at teaching children to read, what can I do?

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