Reading help...

(63 Posts)
Houseworkprocrastinator Wed 16-Jan-13 22:19:04

I need a little bit of help with explaining some sounds to my daughter. In school they follow the jolly phonics (i think) and since doing the initial sounds in reception, they haven't brought any sounds home so i have no idea what they are learning. ("nothing" according to her) She is currently in year 1 but i think a little ahead in her reading than the majority of the class but i am now struggling to help her with the 'rules' when reading.

Things that have come up recently are...

when CH makes a c sound (she has had words like archaeology, chameleon and character)

when S makes a sh sound (measure, unusual, sugar etc)

Are there any rules to help explain when these happen?

we have also been having words ending in TION and SION are these taught as whole sounds?

Thanks in advance...

kilmuir Wed 16-Jan-13 22:23:43

why not go in to school and ask the teacher? they will best be able to advise.
My children have never been very forthcoming regarding what they are doing in class!

Houseworkprocrastinator Thu 17-Jan-13 10:09:13

I could do but i have seen lots of good advice on here from teachers and parents, I don't find her teacher very approachable this year, she always seems like you are taking up her time.
I know my daughter hasn't covered these things in school as she is pretty good and once she has been taught something she tends to know it then (may need a little reminding) But i dont know where they are in their phonics learning, if they are still doing any at all. I just wanted some tips on how to explain it and rules as to when they are like that, if there are rules.
I have dyslexia myself so i do struggle a little bit with the more complex sounds.

learnandsay Thu 17-Jan-13 10:11:54

The words that you've posted where ch sounds like c are all Greek words, (or from Greek roots.) And in the other cases the s comes just before the letter u

treasure
pleasure
sure

have a look at more words and see if these are true there too.

Houseworkprocrastinator Thu 17-Jan-13 20:55:46

thanks, but i don't think "if it is of Greek origin use the c sound" will work for a 6 year old smile

and also there are plenty of words that have SU that don't make an sh sound sun, Sunday, surprise.. etc

Was really looking for any ideas to help her read them, some of the words she can guess but sometimes if it is a word she hasn't come across a lot she cant work it out.

HelpOneAnother Thu 17-Jan-13 21:07:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Feenie Thu 17-Jan-13 21:09:38

This chart should help.

Houseworkprocrastinator Thu 17-Jan-13 21:15:15

I'm sorry but i don't think i am explaining myself very well, what i am asking is, is there i rule to help her recognise when to sound them that way or is it just a 'try them both' type thing. how is it taught in phonics lessons in school?

like when C is followed by an E it make a S sound (which by the way i had no idea this was the case until teaching her to read)

my problem is i think she is a bit ahead of the actual teaching in school and i am trying to do it myself, i have managed up until now but the latest lot of books seem to have more complicated words in. With my dyslexia it can sometimes be like the blind leading the blind, and i don't want to just tell her what the words say i want her to work them out.

Housework our daughters are similar. I posted last week about sounding out long words and lack of phonics.

I sort of feel that my DD is reading way ahead of any phonics they are learning. She can read tion and sion words. We recently had a read write inc book with ure ere ur sounds. Dd finds these trickier than ORT to read. So I wander round in circles thinking school are failing her. whole other thread grin

I wonder if perhaps we over think the phonics due to the die hards on MN? It's very feasible, they are clearly very successful in teaching it. However our school is full of dinosaurs and not following current guidelines whatsoever.

Makes you feel somewhat lacking.

I've decided DD is reading way ahead of her peers. Her teacher doesn't care or seem to notice.
We are just enjoying books at home. This is a very recent decision. !

Just to add. I too am dyslexic.
Dd also learnt Jolly Phonics last year in reception. Once she had learnt them all (Feb) it simply stopped. They didn't teach her any more sounds after that.

MN teachers are like MNetters themselves. They are the cleverest, most hard working and best teachers there are. Hence all the teacher bashing I reckon!

Bunnyjo Thu 17-Jan-13 21:22:02

learnandsay - the phoneme for the s in treasure and sure is different. Treasure is /zh/ like vision and measure, whereas sure is /sh/ like shop, position and mission.

OP - I think that alternative spellings for the /sh/ and /zh/ phoneme are covered in phase 5 of phonics, which is throughout Yr1 usually. I know that DD, who is also Yr 1, covered those last term.

Personally, I would approach the teacher; I haven't a clue how they approach teaching phonics in school, I merely know my own DD's experience and what she has been taught thus far. It appears as though there may be gaps in your DD's phonics knowledge, but that could be because they haven't gone through that part of stage 5 yet. Hopefully a teacher, with experience in teaching phonics, will come along to help.

Houseworkprocrastinator Thu 17-Jan-13 21:23:48

Thanks Feenie, i will have to work through that as it looks quite daunting. smile

Shattered - yes from what i can gather they did the jolly phonics sounds in reception and then i know very little of the phonics stuff in school, she has just kind of picked things up through reading at home. (and i have learned a lot too, after just 'reading' all my life without thinking about it, helping her has made me look at word and what each combination do.) and me teaching her things but i don't know all the correct ways to teach her.

she is very retro and uses the magic E rule grin

Bunnyjo Thu 17-Jan-13 21:24:37

And, as I ended up resettling the restless and teething toddler, I realise I have cross-posted with many others blush

Still useful bunnyjo

There is no talk of phases in phonics at our school. There doesn't even seem to be any structure to reading full stop. Books sent home are totally erratic. Leaping up and down levels 3 or 4 each time (MN ensures I know exactly what's what!)

Ferguson Thu 17-Jan-13 21:32:37

Hi - ex-TA (male) here :

Gosh! I'm surprised Yr 1 are doing these kind of words, unless you are in a high-flying catchment area. I've worked with Yr 3 or even Yr 4 that couldn't manage many of those words.

As H O A said, children will accept explanations like that, and you could tell her that English is a difficult language and lot of our words came from other countries. I have never known WHY 'ph' has a 'f' sound, as in 'photograph'.

By far MN's most expert person in this field (in fact in most fields!) is mrz and I dare say you have come across her very concise and knowledgeable replies to posts already.

She may reply to you on this 'thread' but if not I don't think there would be any harm in you sending her a PM. (If you haven't done them before they are fairly straight forward, but it does work best if, when you first log in, you tick the 'Remember me till I log out' box.) If you have any problems, come back on here and I'll have a look sometime, though maybe not tonight.

Feenie Thu 17-Jan-13 21:38:43

Gosh! I'm surprised Yr 1 are doing these kind of words, unless you are in a high-flying catchment area

It's standard for Y1 to be working on those kind of Phase 5 phonemes now, Ferguson - high flying or not smile

Hi ferguson
I just think if a teacher acknowledged to a parent 'Your child is doing remarkably well in their reading' we wouldn't be so stressed out!
So we are left to wonder if they are doing well. I have no idea what other children are doing. I assume my dd is average as teacher hasn't indicated otherwise.

Sorry OP I will get off your thread now!

Ferguson Thu 17-Jan-13 21:42:46

I see I also have cross-posted, and you have had several replies now; but do try mrz, as she will probably give the most understandable explanations.

Feenie Thu 17-Jan-13 21:52:08

I have a good one atm hmm

Ds (Y2) was moved from purple to gold recently, and could read them easily. Then the teacher told them they'd 'made a mistake' and he was only allowed to choose from purple books. I let it go (he reads widely at home anyway).

Then he was moved from purple to gold again. Then they decided it was another 'mistake' and he was only allowed to choose from purple again. At which point I intervened, only because ds was understandably upset.

Have been told tartly that they don't discuss 'moving up' and any upset from ds regarding moving up/back must come from me. And that it doesn't matter which 'level' he reads since it's 'all about enjoyment at this stage' so why not let him stay on fricking gold then. hmm

This to a Literacy coordinator (me). I discussed all this via phone, but the teacher has reiterated it all in reading diary rant - am itching to put in her missing apostrophes, but probably shouldn't.

Houseworkprocrastinator Thu 17-Jan-13 22:09:36

Furguson. It certainly isn't a high flying area. its a council estate.

Shattered - i think a little bit more communication from the teacher would be good, there is loads i would love to know about but she just seems so unapproachable. reception years teacher was lovely and chatty.

The reading level thing really confuses me. i see everyone talking about colours and bands and from what i can gather my daughter is doing the reading recovery scheme but it makes no sense to me. the last week we have had 4 ginn books (2 level 8, one 7 and one 6) and a wild cat book think it was a level 5 but cant remember. they just seem to be random books with the schools levels written in pencil inside the cover.

mrz Fri 18-Jan-13 07:35:17

Houseworkprocrastinator we would teach to try the "ch" sound first (as this is most common) and if that doesn't sound right/make sense to try the alternatives "k" as in Christmas or "sh" as in chef.
<ti> & <si> are alternative spellings for "sh" so the school may teach this or teach tion/sion as a whole so best to ask.

Mashabell Fri 18-Jan-13 08:08:51

we would teach to try the "ch" sound first (as this is most common) and if that doesn't sound right/make sense to try the alternatives "k" as in Christmas or "sh" as in chef.
In short, Houseworkpr..., there are no rules. And because the trying out of alternatives is very tiresome, it's far more economical, when it comes to the words with tricky bits in them, to learn them as whole words.
Phonics is really only the first stage (roughly the first year) of learning to read.

I know this is likely to make Mrz scream or post emoticons again, but

I'll paste in the main ways of spelling the 44 English sounds.
(If anyone would like to have a clearer version of them, with the spellings in bold, they can PM me. It would take hours to do them one by one on here.)

1. a: cat
2. a-e: plate
-ain: rain
-ay: play
3. air: care
4. ar: car
5. au: sauce
-aw: saw – (0)
but in UK also: or, four, sore, war

6. b: bed

7. k/c ca/o/u: cat, cot, cut
-ck: neck
k: kite/ kept
qu: quick
x: fix

8. ch: chest
-tch: clutch

9 d: dad

10. e: end
11. er: her - turn, bird, learn,

12. ee: eat - eel, even, ceiling, field, police, people, me, key, ski,
--y: jolly

13. f: fish
14. g: garden
15. h: house

16. i: ink
17. i-e: bite - might
-y: my
18. j: jam
-ge: gorge,
-dg: fidget
19. l: last
20: m: mum
21. n: nose
22. -ng: ring
23. o: on
24. o-e: mole - o-e: mole – bowl, roll, soul; old, mould, boast, most (171 – 100)
-o: no – toe, snow, dough, (106 – 59)
25. oi: oil
-oy: toy
26. oo (long): food – rude, shrewd, move, group ...(95 – 101)
27. oo (short): good – could, put
28. or: order
–aw/awe in UK
29. ou: out
-ow: now
30. p: pin

31. r: rug
32. s: sun
-ce: face

33. sh: shop
-tion: ignition

34. t: tap
-te: delicate

35. th (sharp): this
36. th (soft): thing

37. u: up – front, some, couple (308 – 68)

38. u-e: use
-ue: cue

39. v: van (0)
-ve: have (with -, regardless of need)
-v-: river (no doubling)

40. w: window

41. y: yak

42. z: zip
-se: rose

43. zh: -si-/-su-: vision, measure

44. Unstressed, unclear vowel sound (or schwa),
occurring mainly in endings and prefixes
(mother, brother, fatten - decide, divide)

Masha Bell

Houseworkprocrastinator Fri 18-Jan-13 08:14:00

Thank you mrz. So it is just a try it and see what sounds right?
They also do a bit of welsh in school and ch in welsh is very different. (kind of like a cat hissing and clearing its throat at the same time)
It amazes me how they learn to read, wish i could remember doing it myself.

mrz Fri 18-Jan-13 17:19:02

I find the idea that children (or adults) should learn every word that contains a spelling that can represent more than one sound as a whole barking masha! There are hundreds and thousands of words in English that would need to be memorised if we take your advice.

and yes masha your lists do make me scream if you are going to post things at least get them right! [wishes MN had an appropriate emoticon ]

Mashabell Fri 18-Jan-13 19:09:41

The core English word stock consists of no more than 7,000 words, and all fluent adult readers end up being able to read them as sight words, but only 2,039 of them contain spellings with more than one sound. I shan't paste them all in, just the 108 among the 300 most used English words.

In the first 100 most HF words, 40 are not entirely decodable:
the - he, be, we, me, she,
was, want, all, call, said,
of, to, one, come, do, down, into, look, now,
only, other, some, two,
could, you, your,
when, what, where, which, who, why,
there, were,
right, are, have, before, more.

In next 200, 55 are clearly tricky:
another, any, many, saw, water, small, laughed,
bear, great, head, ready,
ever, never, every, eyes,
find, friends, giant, I’ll, I’m, key, live, river,
people, pulled, put, thought, through, were, work, would,
coming, everyone, gone,
most, mother, oh, once,
grow, how, know, snow, town, window,
book, food, good, room, school, soon, too, took, door,
Mr Mrs

Another 13 are slightly so (partly depending on accent):
after, asked, can’t, fast, last, plants
animals, dragon, magic,
clothes, cold, old, told

Feenie Fri 18-Jan-13 19:16:35

Remind me how many classes of children you've taught to read, Masha?

feenie does the teacher know you are a literacy coordinator?! You should tell them!

She sounds like she is pretty good at reading OP, but do go and see the teacher and she/he should be able to give you the info you need.

Feenie Fri 18-Jan-13 19:24:20

I have! Will email that to you when I get to my laptop, checkpointcharlie smile

mrz Fri 18-Jan-13 19:30:45

Obviously I disagree with your claim that those 95 words aren't decodable masha but if you recall what you posted we would teach to try the "ch" sound first (as this is most common) and if that doesn't sound right/make sense to try the alternatives "k" as in Christmas or "sh" as in chef. ^ And because the trying out of alternatives is very tiresome, it's far more economical, when it comes to the words with tricky bits in them, to learn them as whole words.^

how many of your 95 word list contain the spelling <ch> representing the sound "k"? ...that would be zero! so a really useful response to the OPs question. Your list doesn't help anyone read or spell Christmas, Christopher, chemist, ache, chrome, character, chasm, chrysalis, echo ...

Ta feenie !

Pozzled Fri 18-Jan-13 20:01:06

Masha, my DD1 would have no trouble at all decoding many of those words, and she's still in the very early stages of learning to read.

Mashabell Sat 19-Jan-13 07:14:27

Pozzle
Many children learn to read those tricky words quite easily - if they have been talked to and read to from babyhood and have a good vocabulary. They are much harder for less fortunate ones.
Pozzled
Those words are far more troublesome for children who have more trouble learning to read than your or my dd it. They stumble over those far more than the 181 high frequency words which have the main sounds for the main English spelling patterns and with which phonics works really well:
a, am, an, and, as, at, back, bad, can, cat, dad, gran, grandad, had, has, hat, man, rabbit, ran, sat, than, that, that’s,
came, gave, made, make, place, take, same, name, baby,
away, day, may, play, say, way,
car, dark, garden, hard, park,

bed, best, better, eggs, end, fell, get, help, let, let’s, next, red, tell, them, then, very, well, went, yes, her,
been, feet, green, keep, need, queen, see, sleep, three, tree, trees,

big, children, did, didn’t, different, fish, him, his, if, in, is, it, it’s, its, king, little, miss, still, thing, things, think, this, will, wind, wish, with,
birds, first, girl,
inside, like, liked, time, I, I’ve, cried, night, right, by, fly, my,

box, dog, fox, from, got, hot, long, lots, no, not, of, off, on, so, stop, stopped, top, floppy, across, along,
cold, old, told,
go, going, home, over, clothes,
or, for, horse, morning,
found, house, mouse, our, out, round, around, shouted, about, boy,

but, duck, fun, just, much, mum, must, run, sun, under, up, us, jumped, suddenly,
use,
their, they, new, again, air, because, began, boat, window.

If it wasn't for the words with irregular spellings which I pasted in earlier, learning to read English would be much easier and take a fraction of the time it does now, and nobody would dream of using anything but phonics for teaching reading. The difficulties are caused entirely by the rogue spellings which don't use the main patterns:
wag - was, ear - early, dream - dreamt, now - slow.

Mashabell Sat 19-Jan-13 07:22:01

Mrz
how many of your 95 word list contain the spelling <ch> representing the sound "k"?
None. Only 27 out the 7,000 most used English words spell the /k/ sound with ch (against more than a 1,000 with c and a few hundred with k).
'School' is probably the most common of them.

The OP asked if there is a rule when 'ch' is pronounced /k/. - There isn't. They have to be learnt word by word, but in the early stage of learning to read children can use other letters in those words to help them work out which it should be.

learnandsay Sat 19-Jan-13 07:39:12

Yes, there is a rule. The rule is when the ch denotes that the word has a Greek origin. Christ comes from Christos.

mrz Sat 19-Jan-13 08:03:22

Sorry masha but how on earth can you think it is easier to learn long, long lists of words, your initial 95 words then the 27 where <ch> is the spelling for "k" and then the list where <ch> represents "sh" and then the list where <a> represents "o" and the list where <a> is the spelling for "ay" and the list where <c> represents "s" and <d> represents "t" .... and <x> represents "z" is easier than try "ch" first then try "k" hmm

Mashabell Sat 19-Jan-13 11:03:42

Learnandsay
The rule is when the ch denotes that the word has a Greek origin.
And children learning to read know which ones do? - I merely explains those stupid spellings. It's useless for learning them. (Btw. Chaucer spelt 'Christ' as 'Crist'. It still referred to the same person and sounded just the same.)
And 'school' has that daft spelling because it is related to German 'Schule'.

Mrz
try "ch" first then try "k" ...and if that fails, try sh.
Thank u for making it absolutely clear that SP involves more than just sounding out and blending.

And that's exactly what all teachers would advise in the early stages of learning to read, not just SP evangelists, but they would not call that 'phonics'.

But the object of the excercise remains learning to recognise all common 7,000 or so English words by sight instantly, as we all can.

This is much the same in all European languages. Just being able to do so for 3,000 most HF words already turns children into quite fluent readers, because it leaves them with only a few words on a page that they still need to decode. Decoding is learning to read - not being able to read fluently.

learnandsay Sat 19-Jan-13 11:15:38

Children can read Christmas, Christ and Chris without knowing why they are spelled the way that they are. Children can likewise read know, knee, knot without knowing where the silent k comes from. But there's no reason not to tell them. It just adds to their knowledge.

Feenie Sat 19-Jan-13 12:13:09

And that's exactly what all teachers would advise in the early stages of learning to read, not just SP evangelists, but they would not call that 'phonics'.

No, they wouldn't, Masha - some (incredibly) would say use the picture to help hmm. But if they tried the method described, yes, they would call it phonics. Not sure why you would try to claim otherwise.

Feenie Sat 19-Jan-13 12:14:23

And Masha, you forgot to remind us how many classes of children you have taught to read successfully? smile

mrz Sat 19-Jan-13 13:20:41

Just being able to do so for 3,000 most HF words already turns children into quite fluent readers

Do you mean the 300 most HFW?

The average child has a vocabulary of 4000-6000 pre school and learns about 3000 more words each year so learning 7000 words is pretty limiting

Houseworkprocrastinator Sat 19-Jan-13 16:12:17

oops... i didn't mean for a debate blush

it is useful to know all the phonics rules and sounds, i dont think it was taught like this when i was in school. But it seems to me that some children (and i think my daughter included) are taught the initial 42? sounds and then given books to bring home and read. the rest of her knowledge has kind of come from me so far. I have taught her many of the sounds after that and some rules like the magic e (i know that isn't taught any more) but i also have at times just told her what the word is e.g through, laugh, brought etc. mainly because i had no idea how to explain the gh and ght thing. so i think she has learned through a combination of phonics and by sight.

Tgger Sat 19-Jan-13 16:19:09

Which is how many, many children learn to read. Myself and DS included. His phonics is better than mine though due to more thorough teaching smile.

Houseworkprocrastinator Sat 19-Jan-13 16:31:37

i cant remember learning to read, the only thing i remember is watching words and pictures in school smile

i don't think my daughter has learned enough phonics in school though, i don't know weather this is because her reading is slightly ahead of the teachings or that they don't follow an in depth program. I would like her to have a bit more knowledge of it even if she is reading by sight a lot of the time.

Tgger Sat 19-Jan-13 17:35:26

I don't remember really either, just have pieced together what my Mum has told me, which seemed to be flashcards and some sounding out. smile.

I know you say you don't find the teacher approachable, but it might be worth making an appointment to talk to her about this issue so you can help your DD. They seem to be revising all the sounds and particularly the difficult ones in Y1 at DS's school, but I think they covered all if not most in YR by the end of the year.

Or, you could teach her the remaining phonics sounds/the split vowels- eg i-e etc yourself. What I found with DS is that his reading was way ahead of the phonics in school, so I taught him in an amateur way myself, piecing it together as I went along, then the phonics teaching at school caught up- he would bring the sound sheets home (this was in YR) so it consolidated his learning and gave me a clue/confirmed I'd taught him right(!), re how they teach the sounds at school. They followed the RWI programme for learning the sounds.

Just had an idea for you. If you are keen you can buy phonics cards- this might help you and give you all the clue you need. I bought them for DS in the end as he really wanted to play school- they are here www.amazon.co.uk/Read-Write-Inc-Phonics-Flashcards/dp/0198386818/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1358616760&sr=8-2. Those are the harder ones but you can see the easier ones (green ones) as well. DS has both! (he knew all of the sounds when I bought them), he was just keen to "teach" me and his sister grin.

They seem to be revising all the sounds and particularly the difficult ones in Y1 but I think they covered all if not most in YR by the end of the year.

Houseworkprocrastinator Sun 20-Jan-13 17:21:22

thank you tgger, will look at those. always good to revise stuff and i still have one who starts school in september so she will be learning too.

when they did the sounds in reception they brought home photo copied sheets from the jolly phonics hand book to practice writing them. this went as far as having er, ou, ie, ue, oo but i have seen nothing since then so i don't know if they have learned any more.

mrz Sun 20-Jan-13 17:31:06

they should continue to learn the different ways that sounds can be written in English.

so er-in fern
ir in girl- ur in curl - or in word - ear in learn -ar in collar
ou in shout
ow in owl- ough in bough
ie in tie
igh in high
i-e in mine
y in cry

ue in true
o in to
ew in new
oo in moon
oe in shoe
ou in soup
ui in fruit
ough in through

etc.

Missbopeep Sun 20-Jan-13 17:57:21

masha The OP asked if there is a rule when 'ch' is pronounced /k/. - There isn't. They have to be learnt word by word, but in the early stage of learning to read children can use other letters in those words to help them work out which it should be

I think you will find that "ch" as a "chu" sound only comes after a vowel. eg church, chap, and at the end of words when preceded by either a vowel or a consonant- eg lurch. touch.

and "ch" as a "k" is on the rare occasions when it's followed by a consonant- eg chromosome and Christ.

.

Missbopeep Sun 20-Jan-13 18:01:49

p.s. 85% of words conform to phonics- the rest are either high frequency irregularwords which are learned in other ways or irregular words which are a bugger but which have to be memorised. Even the irregular wods such as those ending in - ough can usually be grouped together: rough, tough, enough, dough, although, etc etc etc.

Ther are more spelling rules ( not really rules but more words that are pronounced the same) than most people imagine- it's just that most people have not sat down and worked out why they are as they are.

Mashabell Sun 20-Jan-13 18:26:02

p.s. 85% of words conform to phonics
Wrong. For reading 80% are decodable, because some variant spellings do not pose decoding problems (fly - high, mane - lain).
For spelling, 55% of English words contain one or more unpredictable letters.

mrz Sun 20-Jan-13 18:28:10

masha those words are easily decodable!

Missbopeep Sun 20-Jan-13 18:49:45

masha I don't understand your post.

What were you trying to say?

I don't think I agree with your 55% for spelling. Most of the books and experts I studied when training ( not in primary ed but as a specialist) gave much higher figures than 55%.

Could you tell me the source of your evidence please? Be good to know.

Missbopeep Sun 20-Jan-13 18:53:28

the rogue spellings which don't use the main patterns:
wag - was, ear - early, dream - dreamt, now - slow.

ear followed by other letters can say <er> a lot of the time- earth, heard, early,

<ow> has 2 sounds- the sound as in cow, and the sound as in grow. Children are taught these 2 sounds.

mrz Sun 20-Jan-13 19:00:20

Sorry Missbopeep now you have me confused confused

Missbopeep Sun 20-Jan-13 19:27:21

sorry smile I forgot to put "..................." round masha's post- first 2 lines.

I wasn't sure if she was saying that those sounds didn't conform to a pattern or were regular.

Maybe she can help us both.

mrz Sun 20-Jan-13 19:36:22

I'll leave you try and work out what masha means ...I have a violent allergy to her lists

Mashabell Mon 21-Jan-13 07:04:57

I don't think I agree with your 55% for spelling. Most of the books and experts I studied when training ( not in primary ed but as a specialist) gave much higher figures than 55%.
Because I had seen many different claims about how regular or irregular English spelling is, I decided to establish this beyond a shadow of doubt by analysing the spellings of the 7,000 most used English words. I found that 3,695 of them contain one or more unpredictable spellings (frIend, cheQUered, coPy - cf. poppy).
The people who claim that English spelling is more regular than it is are nearly all apologists for English spelling. They try to make u believe that it is not nearly as bad as it is, and that bad spelling is simply the result of bad teaching.

Re
wag - was, ear - early, dream - dreamt, now - slow.

Unlike any other alphabetically written language, English poses spelling AND READING difficulties. - The others have no spellings with more than one pronunciation like the above.

'Wag' makes regular use of those letters, but because 'wa' is an almost regular subpattern for the /o/ sound (was, want, wash), this creates reading difficulties.

The /ee/ sound has a completely unpredictable spelling:
eat – eel, even, ceiling, field, police, people, me, key, ski, debris, quay (ea in 152 words – other spellings in 304),
and because [ea] has several sounds (treat, ear - great, threat, wear) it poses decoding difficulties as well (unlike ee which has just one sound, like all spellings in other European languages do.)

A final -o (go) has several unpredictable spellings (toe, snow, though, sew), and as u pointed out, ow has two pronunciations which children have learn to read correctly in different words.

For reading, context helps them with choosing the right one.
For spelling, they simply have to memorise the correct spelling for each word.
Masha Bell

Missbopeep Mon 21-Jan-13 08:42:19

shock You must have far too much time on your hands!
Far easier to read some of the work already carried out by experts - which you seem ignorant of.

You also show a complete misunderstnading of how spelling and reading are taught. eg

A final -o (go) has several unpredictable spellings (toe, snow, though, sew), and as u pointed out, ow has two pronunciations which children have learn to read correctly in different words

Children are taught these spellings as groups of words, not separately in isolation.
So with toe they would learn all the other -oe words.
Same for -ow
same for -ough
same for sew

If these are taughts systematically using multi sensory methods and also re-learning ( going back over them every couple of weeks) then they stick.

They also of course use context as a guide when reading, as do we as adults. eg "In the field were some black and white cows" I doubt they would struggle to know if it was ,ow as in "oh" or ow as in snow.

I don't really understand your point TBH. Are you arguing that phonics etc should not be used because some words do not fit with he majority?

Missbopeep Mon 21-Jan-13 08:43:35

sorry- typos! -ow as in how.

maizieD Mon 21-Jan-13 09:29:06

I don't really understand your point TBH. Are you arguing that phonics etc should not be used because some words do not fit with he majority?

When I first encountered marsha a few years ago she was just campaigning for the reform of English spelling. When I, and others, pointed out to her that good systematic synthetic or linguistic phonics instruction was extremely effective in teaching children to spell well she widened her campaign to include anti-phonics in her message.

She hasn't a clue about how SP or LP instruction works but she's anti it all the same. More children able to spell well would make her campaign look a bit weak...

Missbopeep Mon 21-Jan-13 09:52:08

Oh well I didn't know there was a back history to her posts.

Sorry masha but you need to read around more before you come jumpng in with half baked ideas.

Mashabell Mon 21-Jan-13 11:32:49

Missbopeep
Are you arguing that phonics etc should not be used because some words do not fit with he majority?
No. I am merely trying to explain why phonics is of limited use even for learning to read, why children also as u say
of course use context as a guide when reading.
For learning to spell English 'correctly' (rather than phonically), beyond the basic stage, it is even more useless.

Missbopeep Mon 21-Jan-13 12:37:28

You are entitled to your opinion.

However, IMO you are misguided at best and misinformed at worst.

I assume you are not a professional and have no training in teaching reading or phonics?

If so, it's a bit like me telling a surgeon how to do an opeation just because I took a splinter out of my child's finger.

Maybe take some of the time you obviously have to look at the website of the Reading Reform group, Debbie Hepplewhite ( same as RRG), Jolly Phonics and the work of Sue Lloyd.

maizieD Mon 21-Jan-13 14:39:15

Marsha was a Secondary English teacher. We all know how expert they are at teaching phonics wink

She wouldn't touch the RRF with a bargepole; we're more interested in teaching children to read and spell now.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now