Phonics training for teachers

(70 Posts)
mrz Thu 14-Feb-13 19:24:33
ClayDavis Thu 14-Feb-13 19:55:45

Looks good. How do you find teaching Sounds write compared to other programs?

mrz Thu 14-Feb-13 20:11:00

As the Ofsted report says it is a "no frills" multi sensory method of teaching phonics. We are finding it very effective for reading and spelling including using it as an intervention.The children love it because it makes sense to them and they feel successful. We sent FS & KS1 staff to the training in the autumn and are hosting a training event in March so that all staff are fully trained.
My colleague who moved from KS2 said that this was the first phonics training he had attended that made sense to him and he feels really confident teaching phonics.

Feenie Thu 14-Feb-13 22:44:36

We had a Phonics International trainer in to train the whole school in January for the same reasons - she was v good too. Even our Head stayed he needed training the most really, normally known for hiding in his office, having far more important things to do. hmm

OutInAllWeathers Fri 15-Feb-13 12:08:57

Just out of curiosity why do you consider this to be better than RWI for example? I have no allegiance to any program but reading the web page it looks similar? Thanks in advance

mrz Fri 15-Feb-13 16:00:47

I haven't attended RWI training so I can't compare.
The teaching method differs from that used by RWI which is one of the things that appealed to us as a school

OutInAllWeathers Fri 15-Feb-13 16:21:51

Sorry to quiz you but could I ask how?
Both the school I work in and the school attended by my ds who is in year 1 use RWI and personally I find it quite dry but others think its great.

mrz Fri 15-Feb-13 17:06:24

As a school we were looking for an effective programme that compliments our "creative" approach to reading and writing.

mrz Fri 15-Feb-13 17:19:19

The S-W method starts from the sounds in words rather than teaching single sounds first. So on day one children are introduced to using phonics to read and spell words rather than learning "m".

Cinammonandcaramel Fri 15-Feb-13 18:45:55

I like SW better because:

* they don't do sounds by themselves, but always do them in words

* you aren't meant to follow a script to rhe same extent you are in RWI, so you can do much better differentiation.

* you don't do anything that's not actually reading or writing. So no mucking around with other multisensory stuff like writing on your partners back.

* it goes much faster than RWI

* phenomes which sound the same (eg ay ai a-e and a) are presented together instead of one a week in RWI.

allchildrenreading Fri 15-Feb-13 18:49:01

Jolly Phonics, RWI, Sounds~Write, Sound Reading System, Sound Discovery, for instance, all excellent when teachers throughout primary understand synthetic phonics and teach their particular programme effectively. With Sounds~Write and the other major linguistic/synthetic phonics programme,Sound Reading System (btw SRS has v. informative website) the focus is on the logic of the code. Children learn quickly to understand alphabetic code logic and can rapidly progress to books which have more to offer than the paint by numbers type approach .... once they understand the rationale of the code and have some practice, the world is their oyster and endless word cards aren't necessary. Laborious explanations aren't either. The aim of learning to read is to get children into the habit of reading as soon as they can competently decode. In this way, they'll have acquired the reading habit, leading to sustained reading and an ability to tackle the secondary curricuoum.

mrz Fri 15-Feb-13 19:03:14

Thanks Cinammonandcaramel I've not taught RWI my experience of it is secondhand (as an observer and from parents) so I didn't feel qualified to compare.

It is a no "gimicks" approach, just good teaching and as I said from day one children are reading and spelling words.

TwllBach Fri 15-Feb-13 19:07:46

I really like the sound of this - I've just been moved sideways to boost reading and it sounds, from the brief description, that I am doing a few similar things. I might see if I can suggest a training session for school!

Cinammonandcaramel Fri 15-Feb-13 19:10:23

You can get match funding for SW - and if you haven't heard match funding is now available for junior schools!

DomesticCEO Fri 15-Feb-13 19:13:47

This is really interesting - I have just had lunch with a friend who was waxing lyrical about the Sound Reading System, is this a similar approach?

I'm very interested in this as an ex-primary teacher but also as a mum of a YR child who's just learning to read. He's now on Level 2 ORT and already finding his 'sounding out words' approach isn't working for anything above 'cat', 'mat', etc. I'm struggling to help him blush.

Is SRS the same as this approach then?

mrz Fri 15-Feb-13 19:28:00

Yes they are both linguistic phonic programmes

Cinammonandcaramel Sat 16-Feb-13 08:20:09

Thing I really don't like about RWI (and JP) is how they have a picture, rhyme and action for each sound (eg ay - may I play, ea - cup of tea)

This sounds like it helps but is actually Information overload for a child who struggles.

Ie when they see 'team' you want them to think or say 't' ''ee' 'm' - teem. Not t - tiger, ea - cup of tea, m - mountain. So it's actually worse than letter names or putting 'uh' on the end of every sound.

Combine that with actions and they aren't thinking about how to read a word at all.

Plus the huge emphasis on stand alone sounds. 'ea' has no meaning outside of a word. It could be 'ee' or 'ae' depending on the word it's in! (team or great)

DomesticCEO Sat 16-Feb-13 09:12:58

Cinnamon, this is our problem at the moment - DS is now hitting words where he sounds out all the individual letters, puts them together and comes out with entirely the wrong word!

May investigate getting training in one of these programmes. Mrz, are they starting to become more widely used in state schools?

Cinammonandcaramel Sat 16-Feb-13 09:27:19

Domestic - is he still at CVC words? Or onto harder ones?

DomesticCEO Sat 16-Feb-13 09:51:03

Is he onto harder ones - words like fight and play, etc.

He has a very good memory so can generally remember words once he's read them a couple of times, but that doesn't help him decode new words!

mrz Sat 16-Feb-13 10:00:32

DomesticCEO unfortunately we are the only school in my LEA using Sounds-Write at the moment (a number of schools are interested but waiting to see how well it works for us) but in other parts of the country it is more widely used with great success.

DomesticCEO Sat 16-Feb-13 10:06:14

Thanks mrz, will have a look at that.

I'm looking to get back into teaching in the next couple of years and would like to specialise in literacy issues - this could be an interesting avenue to explore.

allchildrenreading Sat 16-Feb-13 12:50:21 (declared interest) work brilliantly well with Sound Reading System and with leading Synthetic Phonics programmes for children who really struggle.
If you want Sounds~Write or Sound Reading System training do look at their websites - both give outstanding traiining.

maizieD Sat 16-Feb-13 13:12:11

you don't do anything that's not actually reading or writing. So no mucking around with other multisensory stuff like writing on your partners back.


You don't get trained to do that in RWI, surely?

Do you teach it, C & C?

Cinammonandcaramel Sat 16-Feb-13 14:09:38

I don't teach RWI.

But both my kids have done 'drawing on a partners back' as part of their RWI lessons - at 2 different schools.

And RWI is very much 'follow a script lessons', so I concluded it was part of RWI.

I have certainly observed RWI being taught where there was lots of making actions every time you said a sound.

maizieD Sat 16-Feb-13 14:25:07

To be quite honest, I have never seen a RWI training, not have I seen it in action in an infant/primary session. Drawing letters on backs sounds like the wildest excesses of 'specialist dyslexia teaching' and has no useful purpose in learning to 'read'. But it may be being used in this context as a way of learning letter formation (the only reason I can think for it). Or it may not be part of the official training at all; just a twiddly bit introduced by a particular teacher to make the lessons 'fun' sad

As I understand it, the nmemonics relate to letter formation as well as the sounds. JP actions are just nmemonics for the sounds. They may seem absurd and overload to some people but don't forget that both JP and RWI are long established SP programmes with a very successful track record.

It would be very useful if there could be some proper research done on the different SP/LP programmes; it might determine just which aspects of them are most effective and enable programme developers to really fine tune their programmes. At the moment, all we know is that SP and LP programmes are the most effective way yet of teaching all but a tiny handful of children to read.

DomesticCEO Sat 16-Feb-13 14:27:13

thanks allchildrenreading - assume I don't have to be working as a teacher currently to access the training?

DS1 isn't struggling but I'm struggling to move his reading on cos I don't know how to get him past the 'sounding out' stage without just getting him to memorise the word, which thankfully he's very good at but it's not going to help him when he's reading alone!

mrz Sat 16-Feb-13 15:06:56

"It would be very useful if there could be some proper research done on the different SP/LP programmes; it might determine just which aspects of them are most effective and enable programme developers to really fine tune their programmes."
I agree this needs to be the next step to ensure we can teach "every child" possible to read
Like you I haven't attended the training but I have observed lessons where children write the "sound" on their partner's back but I'm not sure if this is part of the programme or something the teachers added.

Cinammonandcaramel Sat 16-Feb-13 15:17:41

It would be pretty hard to design a study to compare different schemes. Too many variables you can't control.

And of course, who would pay for the study?

I think the key though is to observe the kids with learning difficulties. Only the best schemes will reach those kids.

(And IME RWI does not reach those kids)

mrz Sat 16-Feb-13 15:33:07

I think the key though is to observe the kids with learning difficulties. Only the best schemes will reach those kids.

Using that criteria Sounds-Write is working for our pupils

maizieD Sat 16-Feb-13 18:37:05

It would be pretty hard to design a study to compare different schemes. Too many variables you can't control.

Until such time as it happens all you have to go on is anecdotal experience and results from various schools. Every programme developer I know (and I know more that one or two...) can point you to schools where their programme has excellent results and where no children are left struggling.

Cinammonandcaramel Sat 16-Feb-13 18:48:33

Yes, I'm happy to look at anecdotal data.

But a big factor in program effectiveness is how well it works in all schools that adopt it, not just the model schools.

Which is why there are so many uncontrollable variables.

For example I know a school that uses Sounds Write 15 minutes 3 times a week. I don't think that will give them the results they're hoping for....

What I mean is that these schemes are brands. You would expect RWI or SW or whatever to have the same effectiveness in every school. But they don't. For lots of reasons. Only some of which are due to the program.

maizieD Sat 16-Feb-13 21:34:34

What I mean is that these schemes are brands. You would expect RWI or SW or whatever to have the same effectiveness in every school.

I think that is rather a novel way of looking at it! Brands...hmm

No, I wouldn't expect them to work in every school because, for a start, teachers aren't always trained to use them. Sounds~Write is the only programme that I know of in schools which you cannot buy 'off the shelf'. The cost of the programme includes their training, you can't get it without training. Even then, it doesn't always get used as it should.

maizieD Sat 16-Feb-13 21:44:44

DS1 isn't struggling but I'm struggling to move his reading on cos I don't know how to get him past the 'sounding out' stage without just getting him to memorise the word, which thankfully he's very good at but it's not going to help him when he's reading alone!

Domestic CEO,

There are various suggestions you can make to encourage your child to stop sounding out every word, but he may be doing it because he still needs to sound out the words. Some children 'get it' quite quickly but others take multiple repetitions of sounding out and blending in order to get words into long term memory (sometimes hundreds). If you force him to say the whole word without sounding out you may well end up with a 'guesser' on your hands as he tries very hard to please you by saying a complete word straight off when he still really can't work it out without sounding it out.

You can ask him to sound it out 'in his head' before saying the whole word, or whisper the sounding out bit first, or sound it out very fast so that the word comes first time. Timed accurate reading may help him to break what might have become a habit. But please don't give him the idea that sounding out is undesirable. It's fine for as long as he needs to do it.

DomesticCEO Sat 16-Feb-13 21:49:04

Thanks Maizie smile.

I don't think I explained myself very well. I'm more than happy for him to sound out words like cat and pat, etc, but then he sounds each letter in words like fright and play and of course when he puts the letters together they don't spell the word!

Does that make sense?

Cinammonandcaramel Sat 16-Feb-13 21:53:15

He needs to learn 'ay' and 'igh' etc as sounds. it's a big leap from CVC words.

You say (something along the lines of) these 2 letters 'ay' make one sound - ay

2 letters 1 sound.

maizieD Sat 16-Feb-13 22:27:01

What C&C says grin

Has he been taught these graphemes at school yet?

allchildrenreading Sat 16-Feb-13 22:30:30

DomesticCEO - no you don't have to be a teacher. I've done two SRS trainings and one before that - the original U.S. training that S~W, SRS,and others on the Reading Reform Foundation Committee attended. The feedback from SRS is phenomenal - but those who have S~W training might well say the say.

MY difficulty is that I've learned a lot from linguistic phonics and also from synthetic phonics programmes but simply love the pared down, pragmatic, economical and long-term researched programme that I now promote. BRI was originally designed so that it worked 'whatever...' Possibly, in 4-5 years time, there won't be the money to spend and it's worth 'digging' into the alphabetic code logic so that its characteristics can be simply applied - by teachers, tutors, volunteers -and needn't cost an arm and a leg. And, more than ever, we need children to get into sustained reading asap.


DomesticCEO Sat 16-Feb-13 22:32:48

Thanks for the replies - don't know if he's learnt these sounds yet, he's in YR and I used to teach Y6 so this is all foreign to me!

Thanks allchildren, will def look info this!

allchildrenreading Sun 17-Feb-13 10:22:23

DomesticCEO - Maizie is right - some children need hundreds of repetitions before they progress from sounding through the word to reading words smoothly. If you look at a couple of minutes of the 4 year old Reception boy sounding out words it may seem laborious but now 2 years later he's got a reading age of 9.Good foundations and plenty of practice pay huge dividends.

DomesticCEO Sun 17-Feb-13 13:14:15

I'm still not making myself clear smile.

He knows all his individual letters but when he hits a word he doesn't know and sounds out each letter then builds the word back up it doesn't make the word IYSWIM? That's why I think the sound-read system makes more sense because it teaches the combination sounds.

mrz Sun 17-Feb-13 13:54:22

Does he know that a sound can be written with 1, 2 , 3 or 4 letters or is he sounding out each individual letter in the word?

using your example of light does he say l-igh-t or l-i-g-h-t?

TwllBach Sun 17-Feb-13 14:14:09

Mrz is making a really good point.

IM(limited)E pupils that struggle with reading are saying l-i-g-h-t and then are utterly baffled as to why the word has no g sound in it.

ATM I am picking sounds and emphasising that it is a sound made up of letters. This can be quite a novel concept apparently - and the pupils I am teaching are years 3 - 5.

I think it is difficult to get them to look for patterns/sounds that they know instead of just the letter on its own.

So, when I look at the word 'light' I see l - igh - t because I know that more often than not, the 'igh' makes an 'eye' sound.

The pupils I am teaching see luh i guh huh tuh - there is no way they are goign to make l eye t out of that!

allchildrenreading Sun 17-Feb-13 14:58:05

Twilback - How early on the teaching do you introduce the concept that 2 or more letters can represent a single sound? Or do you think that one-to-one correspondence is too embedded for some children to cope with l sound /2-3-4 letters?

choccyp1g Sun 17-Feb-13 15:12:54

allchildrenreading: I think you might have hit a good point there. Around here the nurseries and daycare settings start playing with jolly phonics when the DCs are maybe 2 years old. Most of the children love it and learn the a-a-ants and s-s-nakes with actions etc. But they probably stick mainly with single letters until they get to reception, by which time one letter one sound is pretty entrenched.

TwllBach Sun 17-Feb-13 15:18:39

I know that in the nursery in our school they do as choccy says. I have no experience of the foundation phase whatsoever, so I am pretty useless in terms of answering your question I'm afraid blush

mrz Sun 17-Feb-13 15:35:43

Sounds-Write (and I imagine SRS) teach the concepts that sounds can be represented by one, two, three or four letters, that one sound can have different spellings, that one spelling can represent different sounds as well as the knowledge that there are approx 175-180 ways to spell the 44ish sounds of spoken English. I would imagine it is more difficult when children reach KS2 without this understanding.

DomesticCEO Sun 17-Feb-13 17:33:53

Mrz, no be only gets the idea of one letter one sound so I need to move in from there.

This thread has been v helpful both personally and professionally!

mrz Sun 17-Feb-13 17:37:35

It might be helpful to start with double letters <ss> hiss <ff> huff <zz> buzz then <ck> <th><ch> <sh> ...

DomesticCEO Sun 17-Feb-13 17:42:30

Thank you smile. Will try that. He's poorly at the mo or would be doing it now! grin

maizieD Sun 17-Feb-13 19:35:50

Interesting discussion.

All the SP and LP programmes teach that a sound can be represented by more than one letter, but I can see that if the children are 'doing' something like JP very early and not moved on from 'single' letter sounds at the pace set out in the programme they can end up with a mistaken impression of how letters 'work'. Which is a real shame because that is just the sort of thing which SP & LP programmes were written to circumvent.

allchildrenreading Mon 18-Feb-13 20:55:32

Mrz -
there are approx 175-180 ways to spell the 44ish sounds of spoken English.

This is something I've been meaning to clear up for ages - Do you limit this number of sound-letter correspondences to the 10,000 , 20,000 most common words or is this open-ended? If you include dialects, place names, christian and surnames, constantly expanding vocabulary, I would calculate that the number of ways to spell the 44ish sounds of English are way in excess of 170+

mrz Mon 18-Feb-13 21:03:47

I should have said common ways to spell the sounds of spoken English.

The number of sounds also depend on accent and word origins etc of course.

Londoncentric Wed 20-Feb-13 14:19:22

Hi. I'm new to talk boards so please forgive lack of lingo, etiquette etc!

I'm looking for a synthetic/linguistic phonics tutor for my 9 year old son for some remedial reading/writing/spelling work. He is struggling at school and all the interventions in Action and Action+ have done little to help him catch up.

I've emailed, googled etc but can't find names of tutors that are trained in this way. I've read lots of research on and RRF so I'm ready to give 'proper' phonics a go before we get pushed any further down the dyslexia/ADHD route by the school and various medical practitioners.

Can anyone help? We live in south London SW16 but can travel south and central London.

Thank you,
Desperate mum

allchildrenreading Thu 28-Mar-13 22:27:03

I'm sorry, Londoncentric, I've only just seen your post. I'd strongly recommend the Bloomfield Centre, cited on Guy's Hospital. The teachers there are highly experienced and all use Sounds~Write.

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 07:29:57

We've just completed our second wave of Sounds-Write training based in our school and staff are really buzzing.
The data from my Y1 class is very promising with highest gain in reading age in a term and a half of 32 months and an average gain of 10 months across the class.

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 20:06:14

and they love phonicbooks wink

mrz Sat 30-Mar-13 09:10:09

Just looking at the gains in reading comprehension age in the same period and they are equally impressive. So much for "phonics teaching" doesn't improve understanding wink

Feenie Sat 30-Mar-13 09:38:01

Sounds amazing, mrz - what are you using to test your Year 1s?

mrz Sat 30-Mar-13 10:04:40

We are using the New Salford Sentence Reading Tests which give a RA and a Comprehension RA. Stupidly I've forgotten to bring home the handbook to look at standardised scores etc. Y1 & Y2 children were assessed at October half term and before we broke up for Easter.

I'm also going to assess all classes in the summer using Spelling Ages to plot progress from reception to Y6.

Feenie Sat 30-Mar-13 10:17:14

That looks very useful, may have to get that in.

Feenie Sat 30-Mar-13 10:20:47

I can see the manual, plus various other options like test cards, comprehension cards, specimen sheets, etc - I wish they would just tell you what you need and not price them up separately. Would I need all of it, mrz?

mrz Sat 30-Mar-13 13:07:13 contains the manual test cards and one recording sheet.
I think it's slightly cheaper on Amazon

There are 3 different tests so you could use a new one each term if you planned to use it to monitor progress.

Feenie Sat 30-Mar-13 13:40:08

Thanks, mrz, that's helpful.

Hope you have a lovely Easter x smile

mrz Sat 30-Mar-13 14:27:44

You too x smile

Londoncentric Wed 03-Jul-13 22:37:17

Anyone still on this thread? I've been looking for a synthetic phonics tutor (pref Sounds Write-trained) for my 10 year old son in south London. He struggles still with reading and spelling but I'm having real difficulty finding a suitably trained tutor and not just a standard 11+ crammer.

Anyone know of one who works in London?

maizieD Wed 03-Jul-13 23:38:45

Anyone know of one who works in London?

I'll post a link to this thread on the RRF message board, there may be someone there who knows of a tutor in London.

Mashabell Thu 04-Jul-13 08:53:29

there are approx 175-180 ways to spell the 44ish sounds of spoken English.

Below u can see the 91 main English spelling patterns and their 114 variants. Several are used for more than one sound (e.g. ou in 'sound, soup - double') but they pose reading rather than spelling problems.

a: cat – plait, meringue

a-e: plate – wait, weight, straight, great, vein, reign, table, dahlia, champagne, fete

-ay: play – they, weigh, ballet, cafe, matinee

air: air – care, bear, aerial, their, there, questionnaire
ar: car – are + (Southern Engl. bath)
au: sauce – caught, bought, always, tall, crawl
-aw: saw – (in UK with the same sound in: or, four, more)

b: bed

ca/o/u: cat, cot, cut – character, kangaroo, queue
cr/cl: crab/ clot – chrome, chlorine
-c: lilac – stomach, anorak
-ck: neck – cheque, rec
rocket - crocodile, soccer, occupy, liquor
kite/ kept - chemistry
seek - unique
risk - disc mosque

ch: chest – cello
-tch: clutch – much

d: dad – blonde

e: end – head, any, said, wednesday, friend, leisure, leopard, bury
ee: eel – eat, even, ceiling, field, police, people, me, key, ski, debris, quay
--y: jolly – trolley, movie, corgi
er: her – turn, bird, learn, word, journey,

f: fish – photo, stuff, rough
g: garden – ghastly, guard
h: house – who

i: ink – mystery, pretty, sieve, women, busy, build
i-e: bite – might, style, mild, kind, eider, height, climb, island indict sign
-y: my – high, pie, rye, buy, i, eye

j: jug / jog
jelly, jig – gentle, ginger;
-dg: fidget – digit

k: see c: ...
l: lips – llama
m: mum – dumb, autumn
n: nose – knot, gone, gnome, mnemonic
ng: ring

o: on – cough, sausage;
want – wont;
quarrel – quod
o-e: mole – bowl, roll, soul, boast, most, goes, mauve
old – mould
-oe: toe – go, dough, sew, cocoa, pharaoh, oh, depot
oi: oil – oyster
-oy: toy – buoy
oo: food – rude, shrewd, move, group, fruit, truth, tomb,
blue, do, shoe, through, manoeuvre
good – would, put, woman, courier
or: order – board, court;
wart, quart – worn, quorn
-ore: more – soar, door, four, war, swore, abhor
ou: out – town
-ow: now – plough

p: pin

qu: quick – acquire, choir
r: rug – rhubarb, write

s: sun – centre, scene
-ce: face - case
-cy: fancy - fantasy

sh: shop – chute, sure, moustache, liquorice
-tion: ignition – mission, pension, suspicion, fashion
-tious: ambitious – delicious, luscious;
-cial: facial – spatial

-cian: musician

t: tap, pet – pterodactyl, two, debt
-te: delicate – democrat

th: this thing

u: up – front, some, couple, blood
u-e: cute – you, newt, neutral, suit, beauty, tuesday, nuclear
-ue: cue – few, view, menu

v-: van
-ve: have – spiv
-v-: river – chivvy

w: window – which
x: fix – accept, except, exhibit
y: yak – use

z: zip – xylophone
-se: rose – froze

-si-: television
-su-: measure – azure

Endings and prefixes:
-able: loveable – credible
-al: vertical – novel, anvil, petrol
-ary: ordinary – machinery, inventory, century, carpentry
-en: fasten – abandon, truncheon, orphan, goblin, certain
-ence: absence – balance; absent – pleasant
-er: father – author, armour, nectar, centre, injure, quota
butcher – picture

de-: decide – divide
in-: indulge – endure

Consonant doubling:
merry (regular) – very(missing) – serrated(surplus)

Masha Bell

maizieD Thu 04-Jul-13 22:00:00


You could try contacting these people: The Bloomfield Centre.

The link takes you to a course in SP for teachers, tutors & parents, but the centre may be able to suggest tutors to contact.

maizieD Thu 04-Jul-13 22:02:10

Below u can see the 91 main English spelling patterns and their 114 variants. Several are used for more than one sound (e.g. ou in 'sound, soup - double') but they pose reading rather than spelling problems.

As an extremely experienced phonics teacher I'm sure that mrz will not find your list very helpful, masha wink

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