Sight reading as a strategy in EYFS/KS1 - mrz?

(161 Posts)
Guilianna Wed 11-Jun-14 21:17:44

What would you say to a SLT convinced that 'sight reading' is as effective a strategy as phonics, and who advocates teaching mixed methods?

Euphemia Wed 11-Jun-14 21:30:15

Marking my place, as I'm in the same position!

Guilianna Wed 11-Jun-14 22:35:20

Nice to have some company Euphemia! grin

Panzee Wed 11-Jun-14 22:41:07

I am a wuss who just wants to get on with my own class and not worry about management. So I would nod and smile, then ignore it for my children. That doesn't help you , I know!

mrz Thu 12-Jun-14 06:10:02

Point out that if you teach them 44 sight words they will be able to read 44 sight words but if you teach them 44 sounds and how to decode they will be able to read any word they meet.

diamondage Thu 12-Jun-14 06:21:23

Only a parent but I thought both the EYFS & new NC, which comes in from Sept so not that long, were a) statutory (in parts) and b) highly prescriptive & explicit in stating that mixed methods are not to be used & even that early readers must match phonic knowledge? If so then perhaps start by asking your SLT whether or not they are interested in following their legal duty? Bit confrontational I suppose, but if they're not interested in best practice & research (of which Mrz has referred to in many previous posts) not sure where else you go!

Euphemia Thu 12-Jun-14 07:04:25

My problem is that my HT taught infants for years and years, and is convinced her way is right. confused

diamondage Thu 12-Jun-14 10:26:36

Well not literally any word they meet, mrz.

Even as an adult I come across words that are new to me and could sound like this, or like that, and I have to find out which this or that is correct by looking it up or asking someone else.

The 44 sound/spelling correspondences don't enable you to know the right way to pronounce, and therefore read, all words, just all the phonetically regular ones and the commonly used phonetically irregular ones (such as eye, of, one). Of course this covers the vast majority of words, but definitely not all of them.

This might seem a pointless quibble but I think it's better to be 100% accurate so that there's the least amount of wriggle room for sight / mixed method proponents, and that, after all, is who the OP is having to convince.

You can't get away from the fact that the reason many old school teachers (I mean teachers using old school methods not teachers that are old grin) and heads are convinced that mixed methods work is because they do work for 80% or so of children. So I think the arguments against using mixed methods have to be water tight. Like having a statutory duty, or because well taught phonics allow children to decode the vast majority of words and will enable the majority of children to learn how to spell well, rather than just those with excellent visual memories.

I think some schools have managed to dismiss phonics because they've never actually taught it exclusively - they've continued with mixed methods and consequently their results have stayed they same.

orangepudding Thu 12-Jun-14 10:30:16

If mixed methods are not to be used from September what happens to those children using reading recovery?

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Thu 12-Jun-14 11:17:30

Maybe someone will helpfully use an effective reading program with them rather than one that has been proven not to work long term, orangepudding

However I suspect that schools using RR will just ignore the statutory requirements and carry on doing what they are doing.

Mashabell Thu 12-Jun-14 11:39:56

* if you teach them 44 sight words they will be able to read 44 sight words*
- Only if u insisted that they must not pay any heed whatsoever to the letters which spell them.
If u chose the words carefully, for example,
cat
sat
man
ran
had
mad
etc. and the children really learned to read them, they would learn far more than just to read the 44 words.

And teaching the 44 sounds and how to decode is nowhere near enough to enable children to read any word they meet, because English spelling is phonically too variable:
a: and – any, father, apron
a-e: gave – have
ai: wait – said, plait
al: always – algebra
-all: tall - shall
are: care - are
au: autumn - mauve
augh: daughter - laugh
ay: pays - says

cc: success - soccer
ce: centre - celtic
ch: chop –chorus, choir, chute
cqu: acquire - lacquer

e: end – English
-e: the - he
ea: mean - meant, break
ear: ear – early, heart, bear
-ee: tree - matinee
e-e: even – seven, fete
ei: veil - ceiling, eider, their, leisure
eigh: weight - height
eo: people - leopard, leotard
ere: here – there, were
-et: tablet - chalet
eau: beauty – beau
- ew: few - sew
- ey: they - monkey

ge: get - gem
-ger: anger - danger
gi: girl - ginger
gy: gym – gymkhana
ho: house - hour
i: wind – wind down, ski, hi-fi
- ine: define –engine, machine
ie: field - friend, sieve
imb: limb – climb
ign: signature - sign
mn: amnesia - mnemonic

ost: lost - post
-o: go - do
oa: road - broad
o-e: bone – done, gone
-oes: toes – does, shoes
-oll: roll - doll
omb: tombola - bomb, comb, tomb
oo: boot - foot, brooch
-ot: despot - depot
ou: sound - soup, couple
ough: bough - rough, through, trough, though
ought: bought - drought
oul: should - shoulder, mould
our: sour - four, journey
ow: how - low

qu: queen – bouquet
s: sun – sure
sc: scent - luscious, mollusc
-se: rose - dose
ss: possible - possession
th: this - thing
-ture: picture - mature
u: cup – push
ui: build – fruit, ruin
wa: was – wag
wh: what - who
wo: won - woman, women, womb
wor: word – worn
x: box - xylophone, anxious
- y-: type - typical
- -y: daddy – apply
z: zip – azure

That's why phonics is an essential but not exclusive way of learning to read. Children need to practise word recognition as well. - Nobody becomes a fluent reader of English until they recognise the majority of common words (around 5,000) by sight, instantly, without the need for decoding.

Masha Bell

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 12-Jun-14 15:56:57

I have a friend who has been a primary school teacher who says of phonics over the years has been something you either have had the door wide open and taught loudly or shut the door and teach quietly.

mrz Thu 12-Jun-14 18:28:04

Yes diamondage literally any word in the English language

mrz Thu 12-Jun-14 18:29:10

"If mixed methods are not to be used from September what happens to those children using reading recovery?"

they will be taught to read

AuntieStella Thu 12-Jun-14 18:51:12

Masha does not get at phonics is not a one to one correspondence.

In learning all 44 sounds of English and the various spellings which indicate them, to can indeed read any natural English word.

If you think (wrongly) that phonics means there is a single spelling for each sound, then you will indeed see all sorts of problems. But at is based on an nadequate understanding of how phonics makes the bridges between the phonemes (ie meaningful sounds) and the spellings of a language.

mrz Thu 12-Jun-14 18:55:07
Guilianna Thu 12-Jun-14 20:21:49

I have the same situation as Euphemia, compounded by a Head of EYFS/EYFS with no lower KS experience who agrees and a jobshare colleague who talks about the magic e. Bringing up statutory requirements hasn't made a dent.

Guilianna Thu 12-Jun-14 20:25:17

The NZ study may help but I fear minds are made up.

mrz Thu 12-Jun-14 20:39:04

Sorry the NZ study was for orangepudding.

I think you need to point your SLT towards the new statutory curriculum and remind them that phonics teaching is very much a focus for Ofsted,

Guilianna Thu 12-Jun-14 21:48:49

They know phonics is here to stay, but see it as one possible strategy along with the wretched sight words. Thanks anyway. We are RI and Ofsted's due to come knocking. Happy days ...

mrz Thu 12-Jun-14 21:50:31

Ofsted just left here and they wanted to see phonics

diamondage Thu 12-Jun-14 23:03:59

Even if you know all of the alternative spellings it is still not always possible to know how to pronounce a word that isn't already in your vocabulary when the spelling corrispondances have more than one sound option. This is why many people read Mowgli as m/oe/g/l/ee instead of m/ow/g/l/ee or Smaug as s/m/or/g instead of s/m/ow/g.

It's not just names either, I regularly have to tell my daughter how words are pronounced because they are not in her vocabulary yet. It doesn't help her to know that there are 3 common options for /?/ because even if the word is in her vocabulary how does she know it's not a totally new word to her. And that's before even taking into consideration rare correspondances.

For example how could anybody read the word labyrinth without first being taught that in this word 'by' is spelling /b/ (we say labrinth, not sure if some have a schwa in there). If it's already in their vocabulary and they get it right it's still a guess. Sure they've used all the regular correspondances to help them get there but they sure as heck haven't sounded out the word and then blended it because if they had they would add an /i/ as is crystal or an /igh/ as in style. If the word isn't in their vocabulary then they can not read the word correctly without some one telling them (or looking it up).

If a person comes across a new word to them, that has more than one option for how it could sound, then they can only work out which sound / spelling correspondance apply once they've heard someone else pronounce it. It just isn't possible to know from the text alone, you have to hear it.

The thing I don't get is that I think the arguments for synthetic phonics are water tight - it's the best system & I'm a fan BUT I still think it's disingenuous to say you can decode any word with it. Encode any word, sure, I can work out the spelling / sound correspondences for yacht because I already know the sounds. Decode any word just from text, I don't think so.

No doubt you'll either ignore me or add a one liner just telling me I'm wrong, but not actually explaining why you think I'm wrong. Of course I think that's because I'm right wink

mrz Fri 13-Jun-14 06:00:29

For example how could anybody read the word labyrinth without first being taught the point is that children are taught and they have an EFFECTIVE strategy that works when they do meet new words.

mrz Fri 13-Jun-14 06:06:23

Interestingly you picked Mowgli and Smaug as your examples as they are both pseudowords (as in PSC) made up by their authors.

Cheryzan Fri 13-Jun-14 06:13:00

Can someone point me to the new guidance that sight words / mixed methods should not be taught.

And does it (legally/ofstedy) apply in KS2?

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