I was wondering ...

(102 Posts)
mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 13:45:16

How many of your children's schools send home words to learn by sight?
reading posts from parents and teachers on MN I just wondered how common this practice still is ...

christinarossetti Sun 31-Mar-13 13:50:30

In reception, my dd's school sent home some 'black' words and some 'red words' - I think the red words might have been 'tricky'.

I remember being told at a parental involvement event that in order for children to become fluent readers they needed to be able to recognise HF words very quickly, although most or all (can't remember) will be decodable once the children have be taught the code.

There were no tests or instructions to sight read, and dd still hasn't had spelling test at this point in Y1.

DieWilde13 Sun 31-Mar-13 13:52:51

Ours does. Dd is in year 2 and her teacher started doing this in September when she had assessed the reading abilities of all children in dds class, taken into account that over 50% had failed the phonics screening and was shock by it all.

As much as I believe in teaching phonics, I have noticed a lot of quick improvement with these sight reading exercises.

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 14:26:52

So when the children who failed last year are re checked in the summer they are going to show improvement in their ability to decode unknown words?

DieWilde13 Sun 31-Mar-13 14:33:14

Yes, they are. Because they are still learning phonics.

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 14:41:29

or they will be the children who try to read pseudo words as a whole and end up guessing

DieWilde13 Sun 31-Mar-13 14:51:57

I can tell you're not a fan, but I have been a parent reader with this class since the beginning of Y1 and have seen a massive improvement in reading since the introduction of a mixed approach.

The children I read with know that they will be asked to decode real and nonsense words during a phonics screening. They know that this is a totally artificial task and do not end up guessing as they are aware that there are no sight reading words in the test.

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 15:01:15

yes all the research show it can be a quick (but unfortunately it also shows that for 1 in 3 children the gains are short term).

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 15:02:47

quick fix

DieWilde13 Sun 31-Mar-13 15:12:09

Well, if it works for 66,66% of the children it seems good enough for me, as phonics only worked for less than 50% of my dds class...

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 15:27:23

Sorry that should read but unfortunately it also shows that for 1 in 3 children the gains are long term.

Not as far as I know - DD (year 1) has a handful of words most weeks, but she has to write them in a sentence and practise her targets (eg using adjectives & connecting phrases etc) so I think that's different.

AryaUnderfoot Sun 31-Mar-13 16:28:46

mrzwe have never had a list of words/spellings to learn.

We have been given the list of high frequency words as per letters and sounds, but we have never been told to learn any.

Many of my friends' DCs at other schools have been coming home with lists of spellings/tricky words to learn since reception.

DS is in Year 1 and his reading and spelling are fine.

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 16:38:53

I ask because I've noticed that an increasing number of teachers seem to believe that the high frequency words listed in the Letters and Sounds. What ‘high frequency’ means is that the words in the list are the most commonly occurring words in children’s books and stories not that they need to be memorised as whole words or that they can't be decoded.

quip Sun 31-Mar-13 17:31:48

?Our school does this in reception before the kids get books. The mixed approach to reading is really the only thing I dislike about the school. Fortunately I was able to teach the kids phonics myself in their pre-school year, so it didn't matter what the teacher did.

ArabellaBeaumaris Sun 31-Mar-13 17:39:18

We get lists of high frequency words & tricky words home. Dd is tested on them each week when she reads to the teacher.

Should I be concerned about this, then?

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 17:48:12

I'm just wondering how widespread the practice is Arabella

Not here. They do have a 'rainbow' of common words and every term we are updated on which of these words they can read without having to sound them out. I think we are sort of encouraged to work on reading the other words but by sounding out and blending, not just recognition.

ipadquietly Sun 31-Mar-13 17:58:43

No, we don't send them home. However, we do provide a list of the RWI red words (by group colour) on our website so that parents know what words their children are expected to recognise. (Of course, not all parents look at this grin)

In our RWI groups, we practice the 'red words' everyday (reading and spelling) so there's no real need to send them home. It works OK for us (and saves one hell of a lot of faffing around with tins, cards, lists....etc, etc)

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 18:00:37

Do you teach "red words" as sight words ipadquietly? [curious]

1969Sarah Sun 31-Mar-13 18:03:17

At parents evening a couple of weeks ago one of my child's targets given to me was "recognise the 100 high frequency words immediately". The teacher told us these are the words they need to know by the end of Reception and gave me a list of them.

I thought that they were following RWI and whilst I know we get ridiculously outdated reading books home I was surprised to be told that learning this list was a target :-/

SizzleSazz Sun 31-Mar-13 18:04:37

Our school uses L&S and last year Dd1 had no word lists. Dd2 has this year but they have been described as high frequency and are stuck into her phonics practice book.
When I get out of the bath I'll go and check if there was any commentary with them.....

SizzleSazz Sun 31-Mar-13 18:05:46

Sorry Dd1 was in reception last year and dd2 is this year. Thinking about it dd1 has a spelling and reading list too

montmartre Sun 31-Mar-13 18:10:14

we have tricky words sent home to learn, but only after they're secure with decoding (I think?) 42 phonemes.

Betterbet Sun 31-Mar-13 18:14:19

yep our school has sent home 45 words and now we're doing the next 45. most of them seem to be sound out able. I was a bit hmm about it but actually I think it has given ds a confidence boost and speeded up his reading which stops him getting bored or frustrated. what is the perceived problem with mixed methods out of interest?

ipadquietly Sun 31-Mar-13 18:15:41

Yes, but there are very few of them!

Sometimes RWI includes less common spellings of graphemes in the 'red word' list (words such as 'br*oug*ht', or 'm*e*'), so only some of the red words (such as 'want' or 'one') really need to be learnt by sight.

ClayDavis Sun 31-Mar-13 18:23:22

I'm not sure Ruth Miskin meant any of the 'red' words to be taught as sight words. They're supposed to be blended like any other word. And 'want' is definitely decodeable.

learnandsay Sun 31-Mar-13 18:29:25

Our school does, so I'm told.

ipadquietly Sun 31-Mar-13 18:31:09

For children who have only learnt 'a' as 'a', they're not suddenly going to decode it as w-o-n-t. So they have to learn it by repetition.

Periwinkle007 Sun 31-Mar-13 18:31:45

my daughters school don't. They do send home the 100 words or whatever it is I gather (they didn't with her because she knew them when they tested her) but they just say try to read these words and then something about them being are common words so it is helpful if children can read them quickly.

Periwinkle007 Sun 31-Mar-13 18:33:36

can I ask though how to teach was decodabley (sorry - made up word).

my eldest just learned words very quickly, DD2 is happy to learn to decode but I can't work out how to teach her was, want etc.

learnandsay Sun 31-Mar-13 18:41:31

I didn't. I just let her mispronounce them. She soon fixed the words herself.

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 18:50:48

the letter <a> in was is a spelling for the sound /o/ and the letter <s> is a spelling for the sound /z/ so the sounds in was are /w/ /o/ /z/

want, wasp, quad, watch, swat, wash, what

is, as, trees, cosy, eggs, desert

Periwinkle007 Sun 31-Mar-13 18:51:43

ah ok.

I must admit it is quite sweet to hear her read lots of words with a northern accent as my parents are northerners. My mum always said children seemed to find spelling a lot easier in the north than in the south when she moved down here because grass glass etc were more logical

ipadquietly Sun 31-Mar-13 18:58:22

Yes, I agree - but at the beginning of RWI, the only way 'a' is pronounced is 'a'. It is only later (in 'Get Spelling') that the children meet the less common spelling patterns such as ough/ey/augh.

It's just the progression of the scheme - so, although 'want' may be decodable to you or me, it is not decodable to a child in a group C RWI group, and they learn it by repetition.

(I'm not having an argument about phonics - it's just that children are expected to recognise the 'red words' because, at that stage, they can't decode them. grin)

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 19:00:48

ipadquiety I was replying to Periwinkle's question about how to decode the word "was" not arguing with you about "want"

ClayDavis Sun 31-Mar-13 19:00:54

ipad, I've always taught it quite early on in Reception so its never really been a problem. It means that common words such as 'was, want, what' can be decoded early on. However, I realise if you are using RWI you may have less choice over the order of PGCs taught.

simpson Sun 31-Mar-13 19:02:11

DD's school sends home "tricky" words to learn I believe although DD has not had any as she can already read them. I am going on what other parents say...words like the, there, said, she, one, he etc etc....

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 19:05:53

Like Clay I would teach how to decode "was" "what" "want" early in reception even though they haven't been taught the alternative spellings for /o/ and /z/ and /w/ at that point.

I have not taught RWI so can't comment which is why I asked if you would teach "red words" by sight as this seems contrary to phonic methods.

BrigitBigKnickers Sun 31-Mar-13 19:17:03

Yes these are known as "tricky" words in letters and sounds and need to be learned by sight.

I used to make a game of these with DD when she was in reception- I wrote them all on little card fish and attached a paper clip then used the fishing rods from her magnetic fishing game. We would have about 12 or so words on the go at a time- If she could read the ones she "caught" she got to keep them and then we would try to make a sentence out of them.

ClayDavis Sun 31-Mar-13 19:18:06

To be honest mrz I'm pretty sure I taught it that early on the advice you gave to a poster on TES. grin.

WRT RWI I'm sure I read somewhere that there is an error in the RWI guidance. In one book it says red words are supposed to be sounded out with 'tricky' graphemes pointed out but then somewhere else incorrectly states that they should be taught as sight words.

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 19:19:40

Yes these are known as "tricky" words in letters and sounds and need to be learned by sight.

That isn't what Letters and Sounds says Brigit

ipadquietly Sun 31-Mar-13 19:22:49

Semantics re. 'red words'.
They're words that don't follow spelling rules and we learn by repetition, repetition, repetition (which could be described as 'by sight') grin

Anyway, the main thing is, it seems to work!

ipadquietly Sun 31-Mar-13 19:24:28

'supposed to be sounded out with 'tricky' graphemes pointed out '

It's a 'talk to your partner' exercise - what do you notice about this word? etc.

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 19:29:43

They're words that don't follow spelling rules sorry now I am confused

lljkk Sun 31-Mar-13 19:31:13

DC4 in reception, has sightwords this year. I can't remember them at all with the older DC.

it's good for DC4, he can decode okay but he is much better at reading the whole word. Needs all the help he can get...

formicaqueen Sun 31-Mar-13 19:35:12

Yes we have a list of sight words we have to learn and it's in addition to the reading books.

missmapp Sun 31-Mar-13 19:40:00

Ds1 was taught to recognise sight words- initially he made great strides, however he has now reached a plateau with his reading as he does not have a firm grasp on phonics and is unable to decode unknown words ( he is now in Yr3) . Fortunately, the school changed its practise and ds1 is taught phonics alone and has a much better grasp and therefore is a better reader and speller.

ipadquietly Sun 31-Mar-13 19:40:03

I thought I'd explained - 'don't follow the spelling rules that the children are aware of at that stage of the scheme.'
For instance, 'brought' is a red word fairly early on in the scheme when children have only been taught 'or' as 'or'. They will learn the 'ough' spelling later.

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 19:47:27

As I said I have never taught RWI so I'm trying to understand how it works ... I'm quite surprised that "brought" is taught early in the programme.

ipadquietly Sun 31-Mar-13 19:50:58

I think they'd be a bit limited with the words they could use in the reading books if they didn't introduce a few anomalies smile (The early books are tedious enough as it is!)

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 19:53:01

Interesting hmm

ipadquietly Sun 31-Mar-13 19:59:51

I'll go with a 'real' example this time, rather than 'brought', which I have to admit I plucked from the sky!
'Paint' is in the red word list before the children access the ai spelling. (They are taught 'ay' in RWI)

I'm painting quite a bad picture of RWI here, I feel. You have to take into account that most children will progress by one or two groups over a half term/term, so there is rapid progression through to alternative spellings.

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 20:03:34

I clearly don't understand RWI ... sorry for being dense

CharlotteBronteSaurus Sun 31-Mar-13 20:06:46

yes, dd1's school did this in reception IIRC correctly
<only last year - shite memory>
they send home a bunch of words suggesting the DC learnt them as they would appear very frequently in texts.
oddly, i think lots were words like "in" and "and" which are totally decodeable confused

ClayDavis Sun 31-Mar-13 20:11:31

I don't think you are necessarily painting a bad picture of it. What is interesting is that it may be the only phonics program that uses a sight vocabulary. The programs I'm aware of (Jolly Phonics, Phonics International, Phonics Bug, Letters and sounds) all teach 'tricky words' differently.

So, if you were teaching 'no' you would teach that 'o' was code for /oa/ and then get children to blend through the word /n/ /oa/.

I can't speak for Sound reading system but learning sight words has never been part of my nieces HW so I suspect they don't.

ipadquietly Sun 31-Mar-13 20:37:51

No, you'd teach it by repetition/writing on white boards in your daily lessons and you would get the children to talk about what was different about it.

In RWI, children learn 'ow' as the 'oa' sound, and only learn alternative spelling o-e and oa in fairly high groups (prob around the middle of Y1 for an average learner).

One of the funny things about the Y1 phonics test last year was that u-e and oi were used in 4 of the words, and these are taught in the later stages of RWI!

Pozzled Sun 31-Mar-13 20:46:03

mrz, my daughter's school still send home word lists, as do other local schools. I think it's still a pretty common practice. It's very bizarre, a lot of the words sent are full decodeable, and someof the easiest to decode are on the later word sheets. My DD has been given sheet 7, which includes 'on' and 'as'; while 'my' 'with' and 'he' were on sheet 3.

The school apparently follow something called ERR- do you know it at all?

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 20:48:48

We would simply points to the spelling not yet covered and tells the child the sound it represents. The child says the sounds in the word and then reads the word. So in the HFW go the teacher would point to the letter <o> and tell the child it is a spelling for the sound /oa/ and the child would say /g/ /oa/ go.
in paint the teacher would point to the <ai> say this is a spelling for the sound /ay/ and the child would read /p//ay//n//t/ paint

ClayDavis Sun 31-Mar-13 20:50:08

Sorry I wasn't very clear there. I edited the post slightly before I posted it. When I said 'you' I meant if you were teaching the other programs. Not you specifically teaching RWI.

I think u_e and oi are taught earlier in other schemes. Would be interesting to look at the results of Y1 check in schools using different schemes.

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 21:03:29

Early Reading Research Jonathan Solity identified a 100 words which he claimed are all that we need as adults to read most books

ipadquietly Sun 31-Mar-13 21:11:28

Same thing really, mrz. We'd expect the children to notice the difference in 'paint', and then spell it on our fingers p/ai/n/t. We wouldn't learn the sound pattern at that time though.

I think it would be really interesting to compare the outcome of the phonic screening with different phonics schemes. My analysis certainly showed that children missed the oi and u-e words!

I'm really interested to see what happens this year, as RWI has cranked up a gear and more children are on higher levels.

mrz That's interesting. Presumably that would be words with the 44 sounds plus a few oddities, then!

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 21:19:31

We wouldn't teach "paint" by "sight" but if a child needed to read it in a text or wanted to write it we would explain the <ai> spelling so the child could decode /spell the word ...we wouldn't repeat repeat repeat. They would be formally taught the <ai> spelling later.

Our Y1 children also made errors with the <u-e> spelling

This is our first year using Sounds-Write so it will be interesting to compare with last years class but next year will give a better picture as they will be the first group to have been taught from reception.

simpson Sun 31-Mar-13 21:24:05

I don't have a clue in which order DD is being shown the phonics sounds in class (they use JP) I know she covered o/e, I/e, a/e, u/e etc the other week and are now doing alternative sounds OW as in snow/grow/know etc....

ipadquietly Sun 31-Mar-13 21:29:15

Each RWI book has a few 'red words' that they repeat during the week.
At the end of the day, we're doing much the same thing!

Do you start phonics in nursery?

ClayDavis Sun 31-Mar-13 21:30:10

That would be about right, simpson. JP taught as set out in the handbook introduces one way of writing each of the 44+ sounds during the 1st 12 week of reception and then covers some of the more common spelling alternatives during the rest of the year.

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 21:35:06

No we focus on language skills

ipadquietly Sun 31-Mar-13 21:36:34

Have you used talkboost?

mrz Sun 31-Mar-13 21:39:38

No we don't use Talk Boost but we do use other resources from I Can

beanandspud Sun 31-Mar-13 21:47:11

DS (reception) had flashcards of HF words right from the beginning of reception. They have helped his reading, in conjunction with learning phonics, and certainly seem to have given him confidence in reading (he's gone from being a non-reader in September up to now reading level 5 books. They also have a weekly spelling test of these words shock.

After reading far too many threads on here I was very sceptical as I don't think the school uses a particular scheme but it appears to be working - or maybe we are just lucky?

simpson Sun 31-Mar-13 21:51:46

My DC school start JP in nursery singing "A a a ants on the arm" etc etc but I go into another local school as a volunteer (they use RWI) and don't do any phonics in nursery.

learnandsay Sun 31-Mar-13 22:55:03

100 words are here news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/4514106.stm#lists

So if the book says

Stephanie needs fresh butter

we can't read it. hmm, OK. Send Jonathan my regards. Oh, no, don't. He won't be able to read them.

mrz Mon 01-Apr-13 08:25:53

To be fair to Jonathan Solity he also says children should be taught phonics albeit a small selection of the ways sounds can be written in English hmm

Pozzled Mon 01-Apr-13 09:40:16

Interesting. No wonder I don't feel DD1 is making enough progress at school, if that's the scheme they're using.

mrz Mon 01-Apr-13 14:08:29
teacherwith2kids Mon 01-Apr-13 17:08:41

DS (at a school we will call 'School A') did not. Good quality JP phonics teaching.

DD (at 'School B') did. Good quality JP phonics teaching, so we never touched the 'high frequency words' box she used to bring home.

Schools I have taught in do not send HFW home.

lougle Mon 01-Apr-13 18:02:19

DD2 is in Y1 and recently moved schools. Both schools send home 'tricky' words.

My ds school sent home a list of the 45 key words (broken into smaller lists) from reading your threads Mrz I found out this is no longer the approved system. However there main focus is phonics using sounds write. My DS approches the 45 keys using his phonics just some of the tricky ones he has memorised. It is working well for him.

mrz Mon 01-Apr-13 18:37:16

When I asked the question I didn't expect to find schools still using the 45 word list that was superseded by the 100 word list FIVE years ago

Their not there - what hope do my children have!

Campaspe Mon 01-Apr-13 19:16:26

My DD got key words to learn in YR, but this hasn't happened in Y1. She is quite a good reader. I am aware that other children in her class do have key words to learn, so it is definitely a practice at DD's school.

1969Sarah Mon 01-Apr-13 19:29:51

Should they be getting the 100 words Mrz or only using phonics?

mrz Mon 01-Apr-13 20:23:08

I don't send home word lists or teach words by sight

beanandspud Mon 01-Apr-13 20:30:17

Mrz this is a genuine question as I have very little knowledge of teaching methods but when do children learning to read by pure phonics learn common words like 'want', 'go', 'I', 'like' and 'come'? I guess that they are decodable but perhaps not immediately obvious at the start of a phonics programme. Do the reading books simply use other words until these are ready to be covered?

mrz Mon 01-Apr-13 20:40:41

We would teach a child to decode these words right from the start, as you say they are very common words that children will meet in text and want to use in their writing.
The difference is we would only need "tell" the child the part they don't know rather than expect them to memorise the whole word. So in "want" the part the child doesn't know yet would be the <a> spelling for the sound /o/ and in "go" it would be the spelling <o> representing the sound /oa/ etc

simpson Mon 01-Apr-13 20:50:45

So how early on would you teach these words? Before the first 12 sounds or after? <<curious>>

sheeplikessleep Mon 01-Apr-13 21:03:49

DS1 started reception in September.
He started learning phonics from the beginning of the second half term (i.e. 6 weeks in).
In January, as well as continuing with phonics, he also gets 10 high frequency words to learn each week. We have been asked to keep showing these to our DC / make it into a game etc.
DS1 now seems to be efficient at phonetically decoding words (well the words for his level) as per the phonics, but just immediately 'reads' the high frequency words.
TBH his progress seems to have stepped up since introducing the high frequency words, or maybe it just appears that way ...

mrz Mon 01-Apr-13 21:03:58

It really depends on the child's ability to blend and segment.

ClayDavis Mon 01-Apr-13 21:05:43

To a certain extent it depends on the scheme. Letters and Sounds starts teaching tricky words in the first few weeks. Phonics international starts at about unit 2 I think, but tends to leave it up to the teacher to decide.

Personally, I would do it once some children can blend words and are moving towards reading and writing captions and sentences independently.

simpson Mon 01-Apr-13 21:24:50

That's why I ask...in DD's class there is her and one other who are reading chapter books and there are also some kids who are struggling to get the blending so find reading the word cat hard iyswim.

Would you split into ability groups (each group learning the same thing but at a different pace) or wait until all the class can blend?

What is segmenting? Is that putting 2 letters together (or more) to get one sound?

mrz Mon 01-Apr-13 21:29:54

Segmenting is splitting a word into sounds for spelling.

simpson Mon 01-Apr-13 21:33:45

Ah thanks ie ch a t for chat etc etc...

Spelling wise in DD's class she just has to learn the spelling of tricky words ie could, would, should etc. which is why I turned to MN for help (cheers mrz DD is very consistent in spelling them now).

mrz Mon 01-Apr-13 21:42:30

We teach blending and segmenting as reversible skills right from day one.

Ours send home 45 word list. And teach Jolly Phonics in reception. They only have ORT and even older schemes.
DD is now yr1, she had grasped the JP sounds in Feb reception.

She reads gold level
Her work book is full of phase 3 phonic worksheets. (Seen at parent eve a fortnight ago)

Thankfully our head just announced her retirement. .

simpson Mon 01-Apr-13 22:24:25

What do you mean by reversible??

DD is having issues with sound time. They have a competition at the end to be the fastest to write a tricky word to get a coveted sticker so DD writes "I" every time <<sigh>>

mrz Mon 01-Apr-13 22:38:56

A bit like addition is the reverse of subtraction - if you know that 2+3=5 you know that 5-2=3 the same with blending and segmenting if you can blend <c>-<a>-<t> = cat when reading then you can segment cat into <c>-<a>-<t> for spelling

simpson Mon 01-Apr-13 22:51:31

I never really realised that spelling is taught differently than reading iyswim. Well not differently but separately iyswim.

I guess I just assumed that if you could read cat you could write it too (big assumption I know).

DD does have some "interesting" ways of spelling words (all phonetic) ie she wrote the word radiator "raideeaiter" but I guess it's all good as she has the confidence to give tougher words a go...

mrz Mon 01-Apr-13 22:58:30

I think lots of teachers assume the same simpson. I know I did and was puzzled why my class couldn't write the words they could read with ease. We now teach both skills together.

beanandspud Mon 01-Apr-13 23:16:35

mrz thank you for the explanation, that makes sense.

Simpson I'm the same and amused by the spellings but we are slowly learning that 'phonetically plausible' is a good thing even if it looks a bit odd grin

simpson Mon 01-Apr-13 23:16:53

It definately makes sense kind of like teaching division and multiplication together which DS (7) has learnt/is learning....

simpson Mon 01-Apr-13 23:20:24

Bean - I am sometimes amazed that DD's teacher can read and understand what she has written grin

But I have a little folder for each DC which I keep any certificates they get, school photos etc and a couple of pieces of work from each school year and bin the rest and it was interesting looking at how far DS (now yr3) has come on in his writing.

montmartre Tue 02-Apr-13 00:38:52

I think our school must do the segmentation thing too, as my youngest is walking around spelling everything atm!

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