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?

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Wed 18-Jun-14 23:15:52

There appears to be a bit of a gap in the selection of British history books on my bookshelf/Kindle. Although I have heard that quote now I come to think of it. I may have to go and pay off the library fine and see if they have a copy I can borrrow.

maizieD Wed 18-Jun-14 22:41:47

but I don't really remember ever hearing 'Wainy, Weedy, Weaky' as a pronunciation for veni, vidi, vici.

Ah, you've never read '1066 and All That' (written in 1930s, I think). They said that the Romans summed up the British in 3 words; weany, weedy & weaky grin

FinDeSemaine Wed 18-Jun-14 22:09:41

Yes, in this case it seems 'new' was anything in the last fifty or a hundred years! Bless. I remember my fairly ancient Latin teacher imparting the v pronounced like a breath of wind thing as though it had been discovered yesterday. I suppose in her terms it was more or less yesterday. Anyway, the classical pronunciation is more akin to what Latin would have sounded like as a living language and the church pronunciation is what we were all doing when Latin was a posh leftover from another era.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Wed 18-Jun-14 21:22:52

I was assuming 'new' would have a fairly broad definition when talking about Latin. grin I do have a vague recollection of discussing the different pronunciations of the 'v' in Venite. Possibly in the context of Adeste Fideles.

SoundsWrite Wed 18-Jun-14 20:56:39

Very interesting discussion! But diamondage, if your child can read those words, she ain't got a problem. I can think of many an adult who might just have problems with some of them. And, surely, one or two are a question of accent: 'radiolarian' could easily be /ar/ or /air/, though with the sound /r/ pronounced because it is followed by a vowel sound.
All I'd be thinking about here is clearly defined strategies for spelling the words and meaning (of course).
Oh, and enter her for the Spelling Bee in the states next year! smile

diamondage Wed 18-Jun-14 20:48:11

You really, really like to get to the bottom of things don't you, Diamondage
blush Ah, well, yes I can get a tad inquisatorial when I want to understand something I've become obsessed passionate about. I also rather like things to make sense, in a logical way, and I could never ever understand spellings at all (thank you look and say). Since teaching DD2 to read, however, I know there's a system, albeit a complex one.

perhaps not all recently imported words from another language
Good point masha!

Also all those pointing out that not everyone pronounces Latin words etc. in the same way is right - I was reading a paper introducing Greek and Latin medical terms with pronunciations and it was written by Hungarians who showed the various ways the words were sounded out in Hungarian and English. I suspect that languages with a transparent code just say the words following their own code, which makes their lives so simple!

I like to pronounce words correctly for my accent, so knowing how to correctly pronounce a word is important to me. Bouquet is never bucket, whatever your accent!

mrz
The spelling for banquet is French, but not the pronunciation (I checked, the French end it with /ay/ just like bouquet), the way we pronounce it more closely resembles the middle English word banket, which has a similar meaning.

FinDeSemaine Wed 18-Jun-14 20:43:48

Googling, it seems it came in a long time before that! I turned up something where Winston Churchill was complaining about the classical pronunciation (new version).

FinDeSemaine Wed 18-Jun-14 20:38:05

I learnt Latin in the mid-eighties and I think the new pronunciation was coming in around then (I was 11 so I can't remember the details but it was certainly presented as something new and interesting - not sure how new is new for a classical scholar). Unusually, we were taught to actually speak Latin and spent a lot of time in class actually talking. Our teacher rarely addressed us in English.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Wed 18-Jun-14 20:20:50

Roughly how new is the newer version? I do remember the fact that ecclesiastical Latin has a different pronunciation being pointed out at school, but I don't really remember ever hearing 'Wainy, Weedy, Weaky' as a pronunciation for veni, vidi, vici.

Having said that, we didn't do an awful lot of spoken Latin at all. It was mainly written translations from Latin to English or vice versa, so most of the Latin I've heard spoken has come from hymns/antiphons etc at church, which will have been ecclesiastial.

FinDeSemaine Wed 18-Jun-14 19:54:40

There are a couple of schemes of Latin pronunciation in currency, interestingly. One is the old version, used in churches in England in the past and strongly related to Italian pronunciation. The other is the newer version based on texts that were intended to teach Latin to foreigners, complete with pronunciation guide (stuff like V should be pronounced like a breath of wind). Lots of differences - eg hard v in the old version and w in the new version for a V. Veni vidi vici is generally Vainy Veedy Veechy in the old version and Wainy Weedy Weaky in the new.

mrz Wed 18-Jun-14 17:47:20

banquet and bouquet are both borrowed French words

mrz Wed 18-Jun-14 17:43:05

diamondage I'm sure that children from countries with transparent code have to look up the pronounciation of words that enter their language from other sources as frequently happens as the world is shrinking thanks to technology

Mashabell Wed 18-Jun-14 15:50:26

'Phospate' is 'fostfat' in German, with the /a/ sound of ask, task, mask of S England, rather than 'fosfait'.

In the 16th C printers stuck -e endings on many words in English, irrespective of need and undermined the vowel-lengthening role of -e, e.g. gave, have; survive relative.

English changed the pronunciation of many imports too, but sometimes without changing the spelling (couple, double), as used to the case with earlier imports from French (bataille - battle; boeuf - beef).

That's what u get when there is no authority of any kind whatsoever to keep an eye on things and spellings are allowed to 'evolve' according to the whims of printers and dictionary makers.

Bonsoir Wed 18-Jun-14 15:48:30

Latin when spoken by a French person does not sound the same as when it is spoken by an English person!

maizieD Wed 18-Jun-14 15:27:59

But given that the scientific names are scientific names aren't they the same in every language, so French/Finnish etc children won't be able to pronounce them using their own phonetic code either?

Interesting point! I wonder if the pronunciation of these words does vary a bit, anyway, according to the nationality of the speaker?

maizieD Wed 18-Jun-14 15:23:56

You really, really like to get to the bottom of things don't you, Diamondagegrin

I don't think that the pronunciation aspect is such a compelling one when you consider the enormous variation in the pronunciation of words among English speakers world wide. Even UK wide. As a southerner I could tell Northerners until I was blue in the face that 'grass' is pronounced 'grarss' but it wouldn't change the fact that they pronounce it with a 'short' 'a'. The very essential point is that we can all read the word 'grass' and get to its meaning of a plant with sword shaped long green leaves which has a multiplicity of forms and uses. People can read a word and mentally mispronounce it for years without it affecting the fact that they know what it means (though it may cause a bit of embarrassment when you find you've been pronouncing it wrongly all that time...) and can understand it correctly when read and use it correctly in writing.

I agree that with some words, coelacanth, bouquet etc. you may have to be 'told' how to pronounce them at some time, but is this an insuperable problem for competent readers? You get to know the correct pronunciation and use it from then on; it really isn't a problem. And somehow you manage to remember all those odd correspondences, as will most children who have learned to read and are extending their vocabularies.

I suppose what I am trying to say is that we never stop learning and encountering new words and that we are quite able to take them in our stride. (Which is why I get a bit cross with objectors to the Phonics check who say that 'good readers' are thrown by the nonsense words; as if 6 year olds know every single word in the English Language already and don't need to learn anything new!)

LittleMissGreen Wed 18-Jun-14 15:06:18

But given that the scientific names are scientific names aren't they the same in every language, so French/Finnish etc children won't be able to pronounce them using their own phonetic code either? Certainly when I worked in a lab with fluent Welsh speakers I could only keep up with some of the conversations was because I could follow the common scientific words.

Mashabell Wed 18-Jun-14 12:17:44

Diamondage
I suppose the point is that perhaps most 12 year old children taught a language with an entirely transparent code can literally read (and correctly pronounce) any word in their language.

Perhaps not all recently imported words from another language, but otherwise yes. Completely.

In English, many secondary pupils are regularly tripped up by quite common words. Bouquet would make the majority hesitate or stumble. Being asked to take part in reading a play is mortifying for many for this reason.

Hooliesmoolies Wed 18-Jun-14 11:39:14

MazieD Thanks for that! It looks really helpful. flowers

diamondage Wed 18-Jun-14 11:30:56

Coelacanth doesn't have a 'g' in it

Indeed, but the same principal applies for 'c' with respect to the soft rather than hard sound we produce when followed by vowels representing the /e/ee/i/igh/er/.

The tricky part is that 'oe' is representing /ee/ which is a rare or less probable sound for this spelling to represent.

But you already know all that grin

diamondage Wed 18-Jun-14 11:17:41

mrz while it's true that some schools ensure 100% can read I'm still not sure it's with the same competence as an equivalent 100% from a country with an entirely transparent code.

Do countries with an entirely transparent code ever have adults discussing how a word should be pronounced?

Surely when most children leave our schools, they will still need to look up or be told how to pronounce some words originating from Greek, Latin or French?

Unless you're suggesting that what happens with adults at the moment is purely down to them having been taught with mixed methods, and that children with a thorough understanding of the complex code won't ever need to look up words to discover their pronunciation?

Personally I think our code is too complex for this because it includes phonics from too many different alphabetic codes, so unless you can recognise which country or language a word originates from then you will need help to decode it.

In fact, even this isn't enough, for example take banquet and bouquet. In the former we do not use the French pronunciation, whereas in the latter we do.

Presumably this is because we decided to tweak our own Middle English word banket, to match the spelling banquet but only changed the /k/ to a /kw/.

Whereas bouquet is a wholly French word that we've 'borrowed'.

Knowing that 'et' can be a spelling for either /ay/ or /e/t/ helps me know it is one of the two, however in this case even knowing that the words are typical French spellings doesn't help me know for sure. I have to first learn the pronunciation so that I can then encode the spelling.

I suppose the point is that perhaps most 12 year old children taught a language with an entirely transparent code can literally read (and correctly pronounce) any word in their language.

I don't think the same can be said for most UK 12 year olds. Perhaps most can read banquet and bouquet but that's because they're reasonably common. Nevertheless, unlike their counterpart from a country with a transparent code, I'm sure it would be possible to find some English words that they'd find a challenge to decode without help.

maizieD Wed 18-Jun-14 09:34:46

Hooliesmoolies
You might find this site helpful;particularly the charts which show the common spelling alternatives for phonemes.

www.phonicsinternational.com

maizieD Wed 18-Jun-14 09:30:49

But that's what catches people out with coelacanth,

Coelacanth doesn't have a 'g' in it wink grin

But I know what you mean!

Mashabell Wed 18-Jun-14 07:18:01

Findesemaine
In Latin, Greek or German ... They tell you how the alphabetic code of that language works, just as we do when a child learns to read English.

The difference is that in those languages the alphabetic code is phonically completely consistent: eins, zwei, drei... vier, Bier, hier. Once u learn the code, u know exactly how to pronounce those letters in every word u meet, with very, very few exceptions, unlike:
ei in eight, height, ceiling, their or
ie in friend, fiendish, pie, science,
ea in treat, great, threaten,
o in on, only, once, other, woman, women, who,
ou in sound, soup, soul, should, double.....

That's why most children take several years to become proficient readers of English - even with excellent phonics teachers like Mrz - while most other Europeans do so in a few months, or even just a few weeks, e.g. Finns.

mrz Wed 18-Jun-14 07:14:24

Perhaps you should look at the schools who manage to teach 100% of their pupils to read and write masha and ask if they can do it why can't everyone

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