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?

mrz Wed 11-Dec-13 19:10:08

I use the linguistic phonics programme from MaizieD's link and our children all have spelling ages at least equal to their chronological age.

mrz Wed 11-Dec-13 19:06:33

masha, I applaud your academic knowledge of the history and development of the English Language. grin

Mashabell Wed 11-Dec-13 18:56:12

Lougle
I'm more interested in how children today learn to read and write the English language of today.

And i don't blame u for it.
I am very interested in that too and have been very much involved in helping my grandchildren with that, but because of my familiarity with several other languages, i am also keenly aware that learning to read and write English takes an exceptionally long time, because it is the most irregularly spelt alphabetically written language and that it could be easily much improved.

For pupils in the lower half of the ability range, for whom coping with the irregularities of English spelling is especially difficult, the long time they need for learning to read and write is especially disadvantageous. It leaves them less time and energy for other learning and is also demotivating.

For a country as a whole, having a more learner-friendly spelling system, like Finnish or Korean, has enormous advantages. Finland and Korea both had rotten, learner-unfriendly spelling systems before they modernised them.

maizieD Wed 11-Dec-13 12:14:43

Maizie were you involved in writing this document?

Good Heavens, no! Why do you ask?

It's just the data from one of the well known SP/LP phonics programmes. I linked to it because it shows excellent results for spelling when you were implying that spelling would get worse because of phonics instruction.

lougle Wed 11-Dec-13 11:57:29

masha, I applaud your academic knowledge of the history and development of the English Language. It must frustrate you that the rest of us don't understand the complexities of the development of the system. I'm more interested in how children today learn to read and write the English language of today.

wonderingagain Wed 11-Dec-13 11:45:23

Maizie were you involved in writing this document?

maizieD Wed 11-Dec-13 11:20:27

they should move towards pictorial / memory based learning in context much sooner and save phonics to the early stages.

Why?

If you want me to read a link please repost it.

You only had to scroll back up the page a little bit. Now you'll have to back a page..

Mashabell Wed 11-Dec-13 10:47:34

wonderingagain
I don't think Masha you advocating re-definining the english language, I assume you mean that it's time we accept that the english language needs to be learned in a way that will make allowance for its peculiarities.

Like so many people, u also confuse the words language and orthography (or writing system). When Turkey switched from Arabic to Latin letters in 1929, it did not change the language in any way. Nor did Finland's adoption of a brand new, very regular spelling system in the 19th century change the Finnish language. It merely enabled children to learn to read and write the language much faster than before. - I am advocating that intelligent people should get together and give serious though to making some similar improvement to English spelling.

But i felt that an essential first step towards this was to establish exactly how irregular English spelling is and which of its irregularities impede literacy progress most seriously. The work which i did for this has ended up being very useful to teachers, parents and many students as well. And i am very pleased about that, because until English spelling gets modernised, several more generations of children will have to put up with its current difficulties. I am as keen to help with that, as i am to get modernisation of English spelling of the ground. I value literacy extremely highly and don't dislike anyone being needlessly left educationally marginalised.

For many people, me included, it helps to understand what u have to learn and what's difficult about it. But i am intensely disliked for trying to improve understanding of English reading and writing difficulties by evangelical phonic furies who like to blame all poor literacy progress simply on insufficient use of phonics.

wonderingagain Wed 11-Dec-13 10:01:43

Maizie if you had read my post you will see that I didn't suggest in any way that children should make no phonetic connection with written words.

Of course they shouldn't learn 3500 words by recognition, but they should move towards pictorial / memory based learning in context much sooner and save phonics to the early stages.

Yes I have worked with children, yes I know how hard reading can be without phonics, yes I know how hard spelling can be with too much phonics.

If you want me to read a link please repost it.

maizieD Wed 11-Dec-13 09:51:14

^ If we taught it in the same way that we learn Chinese we would be much better spellers.^

Did you look at the data I posted the link to, wonderingagain?

Chinese is taught by memorising the symbols representing the words as 'wholes'. From what I have read it seems that the 'average' Chinese learns somewhere in the region of 3,000 symbols. this is very difficult and takes years, far longer than it takes to learn to read and write English. The written English vocabulary would be far in excess of this and it would be impossible to 'learn' each individual word. I wonder if you have ever worked with children who have absolutely no knowledge of the fact that the spellling of a word is closely related to the sounds of which it is made up? I have. Their 'spelling' is non-existent.

wonderingagain Wed 11-Dec-13 09:15:33

masha has an entire spelling reform agenda (starting with changing 'you' to 'u') and has bored teachers to death campaigned on TES about it for years.

Aaaaaaah

Penny drops. Thank you Feenie.

wonderingagain Wed 11-Dec-13 09:10:49

Mashabell, changing the english language to accommodate quirky spelling is a novel idea but I really doubt whether it would ever happen. If we want language logic we can always try Esperanto, or even abandon latin/germanic English altogether in favour of Welsh.

The point I am trying to make is that English isn't that hard to learn, it's hard to learn because we teach it in the same way that we teach other European languages. If we taught it in the same way that we learn Chinese we would be much better spellers.

I remember the Maisy mountain mountain thing, it is a very old system and was initially used to connect the abstract letter symbol with the recognition of sound. Great for early learning but rubbish for spelling later on.

mrz Wed 11-Dec-13 07:35:33

Once again you seem to imagine that English sounds the same around the UK or do you want us all to speak with your accent?

mrz Wed 11-Dec-13 07:33:33

Perhaps you should take the time to actually learn how phonics is taught in schools in England before making blanket statements about usefulness masha

Mashabell Wed 11-Dec-13 07:28:21

Maizie
Please stop repeating the lie that i am anti-phonics. I've corrected u on this many times before.

I merely want English spelling tidied up a bit, so that phonics works better - more like in the six other languages which i learned to read entirely with phonics and to write largely just with phonics too.

Mashabell Wed 11-Dec-13 07:21:47

Lougle
Why do you suggest that if the English language is complicated to learn, we should change it?
The English language is exceptionally simple and easy to learn - thanks to the lower classes ridding it of most of the Latinate grammatical dross which still encumbers most other European languages. They did this between 1066 and roughly 1350, when 'educated' people abandoned English in favour of French for everyday usage, and intellectual discourse continued to be conducted in Latin.

Most children already speak English remarkably well by the time they start school, but the inconsistencies of English spelling make learning to read and write it exceptionally difficult and very much slower than in any other alphabetically written language. I would like us to do for English spelling now what the peasants did for the language between 1066 - 1350.

Children can indeed often be heard to ask 'Miss X, is it 'ou shout it out' or 'ow brown cow'?,. And because they keep having to do so, it's much harder for them to concentrate on what they are trying to say and to learn to use language well, at secondary as well as primary level.

When letters have just one sound (keep sleep deep) learning to read is easy (unlike 'how slow'). Learning to spell is easy when sounds have just one spelling (cat, sat, mat) and beastly when they don't (speak, shriek, seek, see, me, ski, key...).

If learning to read and write English was not quite so ridiculously time-consuming (in comparison to all other European languages), children could learn more maths and science, spend more time on creative activities, learn more about health and nutrition, history, geography, etc., etc.

That's why i would like to see English spelling made a bit more sensible. Not changed root and branch. Just tidied up - removing the worst gremlins that needlessly waste precious learning time.

lougle Tue 10-Dec-13 22:35:20

"so it's not the sounds that are important in the spelling of the word."

The sounds are important. What is as important, is building up a knowledge bank of the different way those sounds can be written. For example, DD2 insisted that 'sable' couldn't possibly be 'sable' because it would be 's-a-b-e-l'. I compared 'sable' with 'table', when she then insisted that it couldn't possibly be 'table' because 'table' is 't-a-b-e-l'. I helped her use her Oxford Phonic Spelling dictionary to look up 'table' and see that the 'bel' sound is 'ble' in that case.

mrz Tue 10-Dec-13 20:36:54

All letters are silent columngollum people make sounds if they read aloud the letters on the page are totally mute.

columngollum Tue 10-Dec-13 20:34:04

Contractions, for example, contain apostrophes which have no sound and yet it is necessary to remember them and not to include them in possessive pronouns.

columngollum Tue 10-Dec-13 20:31:25

When writing many English words the sounds are not particularly useful because the words include letters which are silent or the word itself can be spelled in more than one way, so it's not the sounds that are important in the spelling of the word. The important skill is in remembering which letters the word in question possesses.

mrz Tue 10-Dec-13 19:03:25

So written words aren't a visual representation of spoken words? columngollum confused and letters aren't the symbols we use to visually represent spoken sounds in our language? very confused

mrz Tue 10-Dec-13 18:55:58

I assume you mean that it's time we accept that the english language needs to be learned in a way that will make allowance for its peculiarities. you assume wrongly

maizieD Tue 10-Dec-13 18:51:59

Ah, well. The signs are all there for those who can read them...

columngollum Tue 10-Dec-13 18:26:07

I'm not all that sure that masha is all that anti phonics. Phonics has close to bugger all to do with spelling which is masha's main concern.

maizieD Tue 10-Dec-13 18:15:29

Moreover, their snippy and often quite rude comments don't fill me with respect. They merely leave me believing more strongly that* i must keep explaining what makes learning to read and English exceptionally difficult. *

I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with you doing that, marsha, apart from the fact that it is extremely boring.

Where you get the grief is when you start badmouthing phonics because it is absolutely clear that as far as phonics is concerned you have very little knowledge of how it 'works' and you post a load of nonsense about learning to read.

I still think that the reason you are anti phonics is that it is so successful in teaching children to read and write that one of the main rationales of your spelling reform campaign, the difficulty of learning to read & write, is minimised by good phonics teaching.

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