When do children stop needing to sound out words they've seen many times?

(82 Posts)
AcrylicPlexiglass Fri 06-Dec-13 20:08:23

My daughter is in reception and being taught phonics. She seems really good at sounding out and blending simple cvc words but it doesn't seem like she is getting to the stage where many words are entering her long term memory- ie every time she sees a word it's as if she's never seen it before and she has to use her phonic knowledge to work out what it says. She is able to do this successfully but it makes reading a whole sentence, even a short one, kind of laborious! Is this fairly normal or something to worry about?

Iwaswatchingthat Fri 06-Dec-13 20:12:37

Fairly normal - they learn blending then overdo it for a time! It is fine to point out that they have seen this word before and ask if they can remember it is maybe blend in their head a bit faster.

tiredbutnotweary Fri 06-Dec-13 21:33:21

Read Write Inc starts with phonic ditties before books. The idea is that the DC reads the ditty or little sentence sounding out and blending and then keeps practising the sentence until they can read it without blending. Once the ditties are mastered you then move onto the books.

The books have a page to practices the sounds learnt so far, then a page of words to practise blending (which will be in the story) called green words, as well as red words that have a new / less usual spelling for one of the sounds. Finally at the end is a table of speed words which the children are aiming to say quickly. However I would always give 1 tick for sounding out & two ticks for saying it without sounding out (sounding out is always better than guessing, though too many teachers seem to have a different view)

The point is learning to read takes time for most DCs and this part is the hardest bit. Taking time & practising just words, or short sentences can really help to build confidence too. My DD loved Read Write Inc stuff & I found this methodical approach worked for us (though it's not everyone's cup of tea)!

You can make up your own ditties of course - it's just the practise little & often that's required.

hopskipandthump Fri 06-Dec-13 21:38:54

My YR child has only just stopped doing this for 'the' - it was driving me mad, he'd have to sound it out every single time, even though it occurred so many times! He has started recognising it now though. I think it just comes when they're ready. He is still doing it for many other words, but generally slightly more complicated ones now.

MillyMollyMama Fri 06-Dec-13 22:29:49

This, of course, is one of the problems with over reliance on phonics instead of basic recognition! Some children recognise the word very quickly but others like to keep sounding it out when it should just be learnt. Using various methods works best, but phonics is all the rage right now. It will be interesting to see if our reading levels suddenly soar. I suspect not. Phonics can be a bit habit forming!

maizieD Fri 06-Dec-13 23:55:29

This, of course, is one of the problems with over reliance on phonics instead of basic recognition!

Utter rubbish!

For a start, it isn't a problem. Some children just take longer to get words into long term memory. It's only just nearing the end of the first term of reception, she's doing fine.

For the rest, I CBA to go into it all, yet again, when it's bed time. Suffice it to say that 'Look & Say' (which is the only other 'method' known to man) might 'appear' to have short term gains but it doesn't work in the long term and can be positively harmful.

@OP There's nothing wrong with apparently laborious reading at this stage, either. You wouldn't expect a child to be able to play a piano concerto aftr 3 months tuition, why should fluent reading be instantaneous? If you don't think she's understood what she's just read (though I think you'll find that she does) just get her to read it again.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Sat 07-Dec-13 00:33:04

My dd2 is a bit like this and it is worrying me now. Spells out perfectly but seems to have real trouble remembering that ker-aah-ter actually spells cat. She thinks it spells keraahter. Phonics seems to have had the opposite effect on her. She's learnt the sounds but not the words. We help her read all the time and I also volunteer at the school so I know how her peers do and she definitely needs extra help.

my2bundles Sat 07-Dec-13 05:33:27

it sounds like your lo is doing exactly what they should be doing at this stage in reception. My son is in yr 1, he is still sounding out some CVC words and Ive been told this is normal at this point in his school life. Your child will more than likely still need to sound out well into yr 2 so dont worry. At this point in reception some schools havent started reading books and are working purely on phonics in class.

mrz Sat 07-Dec-13 07:16:15

Some children can sound out a word once and then recall it next time they see it, others need to sound it out a dozen times before they can remember it and others will need to sound it out time after time before it becomes automatic.

spanieleyes Sat 07-Dec-13 08:38:59

But ker-aah-ter does say keraahter, whereas if your child had been taught phonics correctly she would say "c" then "ca" and then "cat" without the er's and ah's at all. The sounds should be as "clipped" as possible to create the pure sound, not a long drawn out one.

AcrylicPlexiglass Sat 07-Dec-13 09:13:02

Thanks, everyone. I guess it will come in time, then.smile

mrz Sat 07-Dec-13 09:34:29

I've never used RWI but I would be shocked if they are meant to read sentences over and over until memorised!

Iwaswatchingthat Sat 07-Dec-13 09:36:32

RWI is awful.

mrz Sat 07-Dec-13 09:40:30

I'm not a fan but I'm making judgements based on what I've seen in schools which may or may not be taught as intended.

bronya Sat 07-Dec-13 09:43:10

You'd expect them to sound out everything to start with. There are some high frequency words in phase 2 that they will then see a lot in the books they read. As time goes by, they begin to recognize those words on sight AND their sounding out gets faster. So then you get to the stage where they get a sentence like: Sid did it. They know 'did' and 'it' because they've seen them so many times, so they read 's-i-d sid did it.' They need to read an awful lot for that to happen, so what you can do is make sure you read her reading book every night.

www.highfrequencywords.org/phase-2-high-frequency-word-cards-precursive.html is a list of phase 2 high frequency words.

bronya Sat 07-Dec-13 09:44:44

Obviously some children 'get it' faster and don't need so much practice, but many do!

AcrylicPlexiglass Sat 07-Dec-13 10:13:45

Thanks, bronya. My daughter would read: "s-i-d- Sid d-i-d did i-t it" at the moment, even though we read daily and she has sounded out and blended "did" and "it" many many times! I think she is actually very good at the sounding out/blending/decoding side of things. It's just that pretty much every word has to be decoded as if it's never been seen before, even when it has been seen many many times. But I guess we just need to keep going as you and others have said and it's reassuring to see that this is pretty par for the course for many reception children. It's very early days, after all!

hopskipandthump Sat 07-Dec-13 11:24:56

DS1 just jumped straight past blending to sight reading.

DS2 LOVES blending and is rather good at it - I think he could be an advert for how phonics works! I think he partly likes to sound out and blend every word precisely because he is so good at it, and he rather enjoys doing it. He has begun moving to sight reading for a number of words now though, saving blending for the more unfamiliar ones.

It sounds to me like your DD is similar to DS2 and rather enjoys / is good at the phonics process, so likes doing that way. I would think she'll make the move when she starts getting bored of it!

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Sat 07-Dec-13 11:43:37

My DD is Y1 now but she was doing the same as your DD for ages (not sure exactly how long but definitely well after Christmas. Eventually I told her that it wasn't necessary to sound out every word and to try and do them without sounding first and only sound if necessary. This sort of gave her permission not to sound out every word and she made really good progress after that just sounding out trickier words. I think she'd got the impression sounding out was compulsory smile It still early days for your DD and she sounds like she doing well.

ReallyTired Sat 07-Dec-13 13:55:26

I think we had the book that Op dd is reading at the moment. Is it the one where sid's sister ned sits on a pin?

I think that some people have unreasonable expectations of reception children. Blending takes a lot of practice and eventually children learn to do blending rapidly in their heads without having to blend out loud.

AcrylicPlexiglass Sat 07-Dec-13 14:30:48

I don't have any particular expectations, tbh, reallytired. I have 2 much older twin children and they were not taught phonics as it wasn't the fashion then. One of them was a very fluent reader at 5 and the other not till well over 6. I worried quite a bit about the later reader as he just didn't seem to "get" reading despite working v hard (and it felt very unfair as his twin was flying away with literacy despite putting zero effort in!) but then suddenly he clicked with it and could do it. Both are doing fine now and I feel pretty chilled about the whole thing this time round. It's interesting watching my daughter being taught by a different method, though, and having more formal teaching at a much earlier age. She doesn't "get" reading yet in the sense that she cannot read words with fluency and I do wonder if she will be a child who suddenly "clicks" as well. But learning the phonics decoding skills is helping keep her confidence high so I am a fan on the whole. My later reading son was feeling quite sad about the whole thing at one point and I think phonics might have helped him feel more competent and confident.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Sat 07-Dec-13 21:47:06

But ker-aah-ter does say keraahter, whereas if your child had been taught phonics correctly she would say "c" then "ca" and then "cat" without the er's and ah's at all.

That's how they do phonics at our school. You sound out each individual letter and then say the word. Not sound out parts until you have the whole. So they learn c,a,t spells cat. Only my dd pronounces it very exaggeratedly and can't make the connection between the letters and the words.

She does sometimes, but not often.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Sat 07-Dec-13 22:00:48

Acrylic it sounds normal, don't worry. I think the over-decoding is probably a good thing, otherwise they tend to see similar words and guess or read them wrong e.g. reading dog where the word says bog. At 3 months or so into phonics it's definitely normal for them to still sound everything out - the important part is that they can decipher the word from what they're reading even if they are reading each individual letter separately.

Ilove it sounds like the school aren't sounding the letters properly because "c" shouldn't be "cuh" at all but more of a sound made in the throat. It's harder to explain with hard sounds like c, g, t etc (mmmmm, nnnnnn, rrrrrrrr are easier for example) but if you ever have Alphablocks on you can hear the sounds on there made by the letters. It's also harder to hear them because some of them come out very quietly like "p" is really just making a popping noise with your lips.

It might help to correct her, "not cuh ah tuh, /c/, aaaaaaah, /t/"

But this is in fact the entire reason why schools moved away from letterland type teaching which does say the letters as muh, ruh, cuh etc, because it is confusing and doesn't help them to decode at all.

They don't have to necessarily put /c/a/ together before adding the /t/ but they should be able to run the sounds together and it sound like a very elongated stilted version of the word. C-aaaaaaaaa-t with the - denoting a very brief stop. Again, it's easier to practice blending with softer sounds - mmm-uuh-mmm is a very easy and familiar one.

lougle Sat 07-Dec-13 22:05:43

DDs' school uses RWI and she's never been expected to read ditties over and over again.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Sat 07-Dec-13 22:22:22

Yes I see what you're saying Bertie and I think that's what the school does, but my dd doesn't. I think it's just the way she speaks. Perhaps she'll learn in her own time then. I think the school are doing it right.

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