Is this how children learn to read these days?

(485 Posts)
Bananaketchup Sat 08-Feb-14 20:10:40

Am genuinely asking. DD is in reception. She started late at the school and has only been in full-time since xmas, so they don't really know her too well. She loves being read to, she can sound out words when she's in the mood, but is also one for the easy life. She reads once a week 1-1 with a TA at school, and brings the book home afterwards until it's swapped a week later. The books are of the 'this is a house, this is a garden' level. In her reading record it will say 'DD read the book and enjoyed it'. But when she reads it at home she rattles off the sentence on each page and has clearly just memorised it, and isn't actually reading. If I mix the page order up, she can't read it. If I hide the picture, she can't read it. She will make wild guesses without even trying to sound out the word e.g. she will guess 'the' for 'house', just pure guesses. This weekend she got in a strop because I wouldn't let her see the picture (as she was just guessing from this and not reading the words at all). She then said 'but Mrs X (The TA she reads with) says look at the picture, then read it'. So my question is (if you've got this far without dying of boredom), is this how children are taught to read - to look at the picture to know what the words say? Because DD isn't paying any attention to the words, just gabbling off what's in the picture, and I can't really see how this is teaching her to read. I am minded to speak to school, but don't want to be 'that' mum if this is genuinely a method children learn to read by, which I'm unaware of. Can anyone advise please?

SapphireMoon Sat 08-Feb-14 20:14:35

I would think it is the 'this is the' bit that is important and the pictures are there for words like garden and house.
I have a ds at this level and we do use the pictures. I do run a finger under words though to make him look at them as prone to the memorising thing and can be thrown by the last page which may change format slightly!

Bluecarrot Sat 08-Feb-14 20:14:46

Obviously you already know the answer to this!

I'd go see the teacher on Monday morning or write a note if you can't be there, and ask for more info on their tesco of method- is it sight reading? Jolly phonics?

LittleMissGreen Sat 08-Feb-14 20:18:51

This is the outdated look and say method which should now have been replaced by phonics. Whilst a large number of children can eventually learn to read this way - because they work out the phonics themselves (or in some cases can actually only read words that they have specifically been taught to read) it can lead to children being left completely unable to read.
All schools should now be teaching phonics. It is possible (giving the school the benefit of the doubt) that they are teaching phonics but don't have enough phonic readers to send them home and only use them in school (but I wouldn't be holding my breathe on that given that your DD is reading the book in school too).

noblegiraffe Sat 08-Feb-14 20:21:19

No, that's not how my DS is leaning. He is also in reception. They learn the sounds for the letters and get books only containing the sounds that they have learned. They sound it out and then blend the sounds to make the words.

So his books started with things like 'a big bad bug', with three or so words on each page. Then he moved onto more complicated ones, at the moment he has one called Fish and Ships (practising sh).

Before he stared the phonics books they just sent home books without words, and normal reading books. 'Garden' and 'house' are quite complicated for someone learning to read, are you sure she is meant to be reading them?

SapphireMoon Sat 08-Feb-14 20:23:35

Interesting. My ds is definitely learning phonics at school but the books home not really supporting that which maybe why he is a bit 'stuck'...

columngollum Sat 08-Feb-14 20:29:02

Tormenting her isn't going to help.

lljkk Sat 08-Feb-14 20:30:45

'but Mrs X (The TA she reads with) says look at the picture, then read it'.

hmmm. sorry, but I think that might be a leetle bit of a misunderstanding.

NomNomNom Sat 08-Feb-14 20:32:46

Yes. Don't hide the pictures. Reading at this point is meant to be fun and enjoyable, otherwise you'll put her off it for life. Let her do it at her own pace and support her. School should have told you how to help her read the sounds and blend them, so if you don't know, then ask them.

Ease off a bit, I'd say.

My DS is also in Reception, and I observed a Read, Write, Inc (their chosen method of teaching reading/writing) lesson earlier this week.

I think most schools teach phonics-based reading now. If your DD has come home singing "a-a-ants on my arm" (Jolly Phonics) or "Maisie-mountain-mountain" (Read, Write, Inc) she's probably on one of the popular phonics methods, although I believe there are lots of ways to do it.

My DS spent the first term making sure all children knew the first 40-odd (I think!) pure sounds and could write their letters well. They're now blending and can read most short phonetically 'sound able' words, plus a small handful of words like 'the' and 'put' that have to be memorised as whole words.

They bring Oxford Reading Tree books and the odd Jolly Phonics book home (purely as the school have them left over from old schemes), but were are encouraged to use these to work on their 'story telling skills' more than reading. A large number of these book have no words at all. They do bring home reading work too (mostly photocopied sheets), but the emphasis with the reading books at home at this early stage is storytelling.

I mention this in case there have been some crossed wires with the purpose of your DD's home reading books. It does sound like very poor communication by the school though. We have lots of guidance in the front of reading journals, plus lots of opportunities to observe lessons and meet teachers.

Swimmingwithsharks Sat 08-Feb-14 21:04:05

There are many different components to learning yo read. Part of it includes memorising, recognising word shapes and using pictures as clues. The pictures at this stage aren't just there to be pretty. Stop taking all the reading tools away from her! Some children learn to read using phonics, some don't, some use a mix of decoding and word recognition. Just let her gain confidence in her reading now and before long she will be reading using different skills.

Bananaketchup Sat 08-Feb-14 21:10:37

Hmm, okay, not sure. The weekly newsletter home will have things in it like 'this week we have been learning oo and ou and the tricky word they' which made me think they learnt by phonics. But the books she brings home bear no relation - maybe like Never's school they're left overs! I should emphasise, DD started the 'hide the picture' thing, I think she was proud she'd memorised the book the day she got it! I'm certainly not trying to put her off reading. She is more than capable of trying to hoodwink the TA though, and pretending to be sounding out the words when she's just looking at the pictures, in order to try and please/conform to what she thinks is wanted, which seems a bit pointless. I've answered my own question haven't I? I need to speak to the teacher. I am already 'that' mum - hey ho. Thanks all.

Feenie Sat 08-Feb-14 21:12:04

Part of it includes memorising, recognising word shapes and using pictures as clues.

Bollocks, bollocks and bollocks. None of those are reading and all promote guessing. None are strategies which are supposed to be used in teaching reading now, and none are 'reading tools'.

Quangle Sat 08-Feb-14 21:12:11

I don't think there's anything wrong with looking at the picture. It helps with context and comprehension. I get frustrated with ds when he doesnt look at the picture and is wrestling with the sounds instead! But there needs to be a phonics backup to it. Are they doing this at school?

Idespair Sat 08-Feb-14 21:13:11

Looking at the picture is a strategy that a 5 or 6 year old can use if they can get most of the text but are missing a word. It is not a strategy to learn to read and you should tell the school to give books that she can't decipher from the pictures alone.

Feenie Sat 08-Feb-14 21:15:41

Using pictures should never ever be used as a strategy to guess a word. What happens when the word appears without the picture next to it? It isn't reading and we know from research that weaker readers over rely on picture cues.

columngollum Sat 08-Feb-14 21:18:37

I'd like to see anybody read anything anywhere without the aid of memory!

Littlefish Sat 08-Feb-14 21:19:04

If your dd only started at Christmas, is she being given additional support to help her catch up and learn the single sound phonics that the other children will have learned before Christmas? This will be important in helping her learn to read.

Quangle Sat 08-Feb-14 21:19:42

But you would look at the pics to situate the story a bit more or prompt a discussion about the story that's not evident from the words alone. May e that what the TA meant.

columngollum Sat 08-Feb-14 21:24:54

Since we don't know either the book or the pictures we can't tell what the TA meant. And we don't normally rely on face-value second hand information from infants to tell what went on. But anyway, if what's been reported is an accurate reflection of what happened it's likely that the TA thought there was some obvious correlation between the picture and the text.

In an infant reading book that's not unlikely.

Feenie Sat 08-Feb-14 21:25:52

That's fine, promoting discussion about the story is to be encouraged, as long as they're not used to help guess anything.

TeacupDrama Sat 08-Feb-14 21:25:55

phonics is used mainly but looking at shape of words is necessary for some words which do not follow phonics there are about 20 really common words like "was" which you just need to learn as the sounds do not match pronunciation

LucyBabs Sat 08-Feb-14 21:26:10

Can I ask how old are children generally in reception?

I ask because I live in Dublin and we don't have the same names for classes.

My dd is 5 she started school last September we call it junior infants.

I'm worried now because this is the 4th thread I've seen where reading and blending words has been mentioned.

My dd is doing jolly phonics she gets a new letter to learn every 2nd day.

There has been no sign of reading or blending.

I can't imagine our school curriculum is that different.

Sorry for derailing the thread!
I've been meaning to ask these questions for months!

Littlefish Sat 08-Feb-14 21:28:27

Teacup - we just teach the children that when "a" follows "w", it makes an "o" sound


columngollum Sat 08-Feb-14 21:30:10

Reception children are between four and five, usually. The children clearly have to learn the letters and their sounds before they can blend them. Some children, mine for instance, learn to recognise whole words and blend later (after they can already read.)

Bananaketchup Sat 08-Feb-14 21:31:39

Sorry got distracted by Facebook important stuff. DD has no extra support to catch up. She was being sent home those Oxford books without words, then the teacher set some homework of ticking which of a list of words the child can sound out, the result of which was she started coming home with these books which are called 'PM starters' and seem to be from New Zealand? The current one is called 'A house' and each page is 'here is a' window/chimney/roof etc. There isn't a story as such. The more I think about it the more I think this is part of DDs efforts to conform to what she thinks adults want her to do (which is a whole other thread) and I need to speak to the teacher about it. Thanks all.

columngollum Sat 08-Feb-14 21:33:31

But that's not true


Feenie Sat 08-Feb-14 21:37:00

but looking at shape of words is necessary for some words which do not follow phonics

Another guessing strategy which is now outmoded since it is next to useless. Good teachers just teach children to read - and phonics is not used 'mostly', it is supposed to be the only strategy used.

LucyBabs Sat 08-Feb-14 21:38:32

Thanks column

tinytalker Sat 08-Feb-14 21:40:53

Feenie - You are very wrong!
English children will never learn to read through phonics alone, it's just not possible. Yes there are rules to learn but as soon as you learn a phonic rule a word comes along that is an exception to that rule!! The most effective method for learning to read is a mixed method and using picture clues is just as valid to get meaning from the text. For instance, I heard a child read this week in Yr 1 and the text said, "Biff wanted to do gymnastics". The child managed to read this sentence via a range of skills, phonics, loo-and-say and picture clues. She was successful, she read for meaning and she used contextual clues. Basically she enjoyed the text and became a 'real reader'. Who are you to say that I should have covered the pictures, rendered her a failure and ruined her enthusiasm for reading?
There needs to be a balance of methods and skills teaching and the child needs to be at the centre of this otherwise they will lose their enthusiasm. I would never expect a Yr 1 child to read 'gymnastics' but she did and I applauded her for that. Do I expect her to be able to read that word again next week on a 'flashcard'? NO but by the time she is in Yr 2/3 then she will, by seeing it frequently and by associating this pattern of letters with the picture of Biff doing gymnastics!

columngollum Sat 08-Feb-14 21:43:09

Well, if phonics is the only strategy used then there will be lots of words that children can't read, lik:e women, cello, one, two, the, endless place and Christian names and so on.

tinytalker Sat 08-Feb-14 21:47:22

Totally agree Column, me thinks Feenie has either been brainwashed or is on a career break! I challenge her to substantiate her claims that phonics should be the only way to learn to read.

Feenie Sat 08-Feb-14 21:47:41

I didn't say that you should cover the pictures - I said you shouldn't encourage a child to use a picture cue to guess a word.

What you describe is the searchlights method of teaching children to read. It has been ditched because it failed 20% of children. We now know from research that weaker readers over rely on context and/or picture cues.

I wish I could be there for you to do your 'Who are you to...' speech to an Ofsted inspector. Because it isn't only me who says this - it's the DFE, the new curriculum and Ofsted. From September you will be statutorily obliged to drop your mixed methods. I can see you will need some retraining before you do that - or you will be in RI with lessons like the one you describe.

Feenie Sat 08-Feb-14 21:49:13

Read the new curriculum or go and see an HMI inspector talk about what will happen to schools who cling to mixed methods. The challenge will come from those.

tinytalker Sat 08-Feb-14 21:53:11

No worries, I work in the private sector! We are not bound by the latest trend and we can teach the way each and every child learns best! So don't worry Feenie most of our children are +2yrs above chronological reading age. Every child deserves to be a reader despite what 'current research' is the favourite of the season!

Blueuggboots Sat 08-Feb-14 21:54:17

When my stepdaughter was learning to read, she would memorise what it said or guess from the pictures.
We'd have tears if we tried to get her to read individual words etc
I bought a dr Seuss box set and started her on "hop on pop" so she could see that "op" would change dependent on the first letter IYSWIM?
This built her confidence and I believe really helped her reading.

Quangle Sat 08-Feb-14 21:55:59

But there's a difference between using phonics as the backbone for teaching and outlawing everything else. I'm sure the foundation of phonics makes huge sense - especially so the weaker 20pc don't lose their way. But children will differ and try different strategies at different times. The more able readers are definitely also memorising etc or they would never be able to read fluently. I'm not sure there's any real need to disagree. Phonics is the bedrock but other techniques will be used too.

Perhaps this argument is about making sure everyone has a foundation in phonics which makes sense.

columngollum Sat 08-Feb-14 21:58:32

In reality life is a mixed method. We had a discussion which proved that in certain cases even purely phonicsy people have to use the same contextual clues that the rest of us are using because the nature of the sentence determines it. Of course it is possible to make much of phonics and hide the fact that we all use contextual interpretation in reading. We can claim loudly that it's possible to teach reading by phonics alone, but of course that doesn't make it true. If the education system demands that teachers make those claims, then fine. Let teachers make them, just so long as they don't actually believe them!

Feenie Sat 08-Feb-14 21:59:58

Only 2 years? Last year 68% of our children achieved level 5 - that's average at 14 years old. None of our children leave our school unable to read, and 'most' are three years ahead or more.

Perhaps you could read around, update your knowledge of current research and raise your closed expectations a little. Can never understand teachers who refuse to do this. Experience goes a long way - but up to date knowledge of teaching and brain research is never unnecessary.

bigTillyMint Sat 08-Feb-14 22:03:29

I went to an RML sales training session last week. Ruth Miskin herself showed us the words which the children just have to "learn", ie look and say. So even in a pretty well thought of phonics scheme there are "tricky" words which they learn by look and sayconfused

Quangle Sat 08-Feb-14 22:05:25

Agree with columngollum. And I think the new curriculum is about ensuring access to phonics for all because we all do the other stuff instinctively anyway. I can see that poor readers might miss out if never given phonics as a bedrock but not that pupils must be banned from anything else in addition. Agree that it's better to start with phonics rather than start with other methods in formal teaching but no need to snear at them because they are obviously also useful especially as reading emerges.

columngollum Sat 08-Feb-14 22:06:38

The phonicsy fudge around "tricky" words is phonics half of the word and learn the other half. But in practice, if you have to learn any of the word you have to learn all of it because you have to remember where to use the memorised bit.

tinytalker Sat 08-Feb-14 22:07:13

Sorry I meant to say thats at 5yrs old.
Experience? I've been 20yrs in the profession state & private, pre-school and pre-prep, inner London & suburbs? My view is based on experience, an open approach and on each and every child whom I teach NOT on what Ofsted or DFE tells me! Best to learn from real life experiences rather than text books or current research!
Feenie read what other posters are saying too.

columngollum Sat 08-Feb-14 22:09:48

tinytalker, with the phonicsy people they believe info only goes one way, from them to the rest of us, I'm afraid.

tinytalker Sat 08-Feb-14 22:18:40

I know full well that I can adapt my teaching to any child to help them to learn in the way that suits them best. What would Feenie say about the Kinaesthetic approach! shock

Feenie Sat 08-Feb-14 22:23:11

What do you think Jolly Phonics uses? Ofsted say they will check each child has a decodable reading book closely matched to their phonic ability. Decodable books don't need the use of context or picture cues.

columngollum Sat 08-Feb-14 22:29:07

One argument says that all books are decodable

and another one says that (if decodable means phonetically regular, like the Oxford Phonics Dictionary) then lots of perfectly useful words are left out, which isn't learning to read normal English.

That isn't necessarily a criticism. Marinarik's books and Dr Seuss books contain a specially paired down version of English too.

tinytalker Sat 08-Feb-14 22:29:54

Ofsted schmofsted! Broaden your horizons!
Jolly phonics is not the be all and end all of kinaesthetics!

Feenie Sat 08-Feb-14 22:40:56

I've shown from our data how accomplished our children are, and how high our expectations are - compared to yours, despite a heightened adult to pupil ratio and higher funding. It's you who refuses to broaden your horizons, pshawing reading research because you know best.

I didn't say jolly phonics = the be all and end all of kinaesthetic learning, only that it involves it. You didn't seem to know that. You don't seem interested in knowing a lot of things, tbh.

tinytalker Sat 08-Feb-14 22:46:27

confused & hmm

columngollum Sat 08-Feb-14 22:51:41

Well, anybody can type 87% of our children achieve level 5 or higher into a web browser. It doesn't mean much, really.

Feenie Sat 08-Feb-14 23:02:54

You're right. Means a lot to our children who both can read and have a love of reading though.

Still grin at the idea of someone who claims to know nothing about current research telling me to broaden my horizons!

tinytalker Sat 08-Feb-14 23:05:41

I never claimed to know nothing of current research!!??
I read, I assimilate, I try it out, if it works I embrace it, if it's crap I ditch it!
Simple. Try it, it's empowering.

bronya Sat 08-Feb-14 23:10:35

The PM starters are pink level books, which focus on teaching children high frequency words by repeating them over and over (and over!) until they know them. If you are getting these now, you'll keep getting them until she knows the repeated words (A... This is a.....) - the picture gives the last word in the sentence.

When schools do this, the actual phonics they have been learning won't be of much (if any) use until she reaches the higher book bands. Some children give up trying to sound out words at this point, because the sounds they have been learning don't 'work' to help them read these books. To help her get through this stage, write each repeated word on a bit of card. Use these as flash cards to help her memorize the words. Whenever she gets a new book, add those repeated word cards to the pile, and do the words daily.

MOST children will learn the 'shape' and letters of these words by sight, so will be able to remember them. SOME children need to sound them out and link the 'odd' sounds to a word. I know a child who goes t-h-e...the for example. It works for her, where trying to memorize the word as a whole failed. Now, a few months on, she just says 'the' when she sees it, but she still sounds it out to spell as t-h-e.

CouthyMow Sun 09-Feb-14 04:29:03

I despair at hearing that nothing but phonics should be taught. My DD with SN's just COULDN'T get reading with phonics. She couldn't read her own name until she was 8yo. She learnt to read by sight reading alone, once I insisted that the school abandoned phonics with her, and got an older teacher to teach her by using look and say, she was reading within a few months.

What happens to children like my DD, who are just NEVER going to learn to read using phonics?!

bigTillyMint Sun 09-Feb-14 08:08:48

Couthy, I have direct experience of that too. A very few children just don't seem to get on with phonics at all. So whilst I agree that we need phonics to be taught systematically and comprehensively, we do need to explore other avenues when that just doesn't work at all.

BalloonSlayer Sun 09-Feb-14 08:13:27

My DCs' school do phonics but they also start the children with the ORT books with no words at all, so that they can work out what's happening by looking at the pictures.

All my DCs learned to read by being read to, memorising the text and the words on the page, and later recognising the same words when they saw them somewhere else. I think your DD is going down that path.

FlirtingFail Sun 09-Feb-14 08:20:45

My DD is in year 1 at a school that was v recently graded outstanding. In reception they did use picture clues, alongside phonics - and were strongly encouraged to use them. As the year went on, the books gradually moved away from picture clues. So it's certainly not true that Picture clues have been completely phased out.

RubySparks Sun 09-Feb-14 08:23:05

I agree not all children find phonics the best or easiest way to learn to read. Very much depends on their learning style, my son is very visual and he often read more in the pictures than I did in the text. He only got the 'little' words like an, a, the by making them in 3d using play dough, somehow that stuck when just seeing/hearing the sound did not.

Panzee Sun 09-Feb-14 08:32:31

Oh please don't get bogged down by learning styles. If they're visual they're using their eyes grin it counts for text as well as the pictures. Do all the other children close their eyes to learn?

bibbetybobbityboo Sun 09-Feb-14 08:43:18

The problem with phonics is that it has been so heavily pushed that people (the government included) seem to think that phonics is all that reading is about. This is rubbish. Phonics is important and children do need to know how to decode words they come across but the best readers have a range of strategies that they can draw on, this includes using the picture for clues, recognising words on sight, reading ahead to give context to a word etc. We teach phonics in order to enable children to access the wonderful world of literature not just to get them really good at deciphering the code. Please don't get too hung up on phonics be more concerned that the children are being taught a range of skills underpinned by phonics to enable them to access the texts they are being asked to read.

mrz Sun 09-Feb-14 09:20:11

"Is this how children learn to read these days?"

"The books are of the 'this is a house, this is a garden' level. In her reading record it will say 'DD read the book and enjoyed it'. But when she reads it at home she rattles off the sentence on each page and has clearly just memorised it, and isn't actually reading."

"she started coming home with these books which are called 'PM starters' and seem to be from New Zealand? The current one is called 'A house' and each page is 'here is a' window/chimney/roof etc." - it seems the school is using RR and associated mixed methods. [cross]

No it isn't reading and certainly not how children are taught to read in most schools.

mrz Sun 09-Feb-14 09:26:10

The theory of "Learning Styles" has been widely discredited (even Howard Gardener says he has been misunderstood) as we use different styles for different tasks and no learner relies wholy on a single style for everything.

mrz Sun 09-Feb-14 09:52:07

"The problem with phonics is that it has been so heavily pushed that people (the government included) seem to think that phonics is all that reading is about." sorry bibbetybobbityboo you are repeating nonsense ... no one has ever claimed that phonics is all there is to reading it's simply one of those good sound bites beloved by those who think all children can learn to read by osmosis.

noblegiraffe Sun 09-Feb-14 10:04:01

The phonics test doesn't come with pictures does it? And has some made-up words that the children won't have seen before.

So if they learn to read relying on pictures and memorising, they will fail the test.

mrz Sun 09-Feb-14 10:04:45

"No worries, I work in the private sector! We are not bound by the latest trend and we can teach the way each and every child learns best! So don't worry Feenie most of our children are +2yrs above chronological reading age." Only MOST and only TWO years and parents pay for THAT! shock

Panzee Sun 09-Feb-14 10:06:09

Oh Mrz I'm so glad you're here!

I am currently seeing my 4 year old learn to read by phonics, and phonics alone. He is reading words with no pictures and understands the sentence. It's wonderful to watch. smile

mrz Sun 09-Feb-14 10:12:59

Well done Panzee's son smile

RubySparks Sun 09-Feb-14 10:23:59

Text is not the same as pictures... For text, you need to code and decode which is a different skill. Some children just learn in a different way, thank goodness we are not all the same. If your child learns easily with phonics it is hard to understand children who don't. My DS didn't read properly until he was nearly 8 and only after lots of effort, my DD (younger) learnt quickly and easily with no effort at 5. Both were on jolly phonics.

RubySparks Sun 09-Feb-14 10:25:21

Agree that we use different learning styles for different things and often a mix but that doesn't mean these methods come with the same degree of ease for everyone.

Migsy1 Sun 09-Feb-14 10:28:38

This is how my children learnt to read - or more accurately, didn't learn to read. There are different ways to learn how to read but they all suit different children. One size does not fit all.

m0nkeynuts Sun 09-Feb-14 10:28:53

DS learned to read using phonics but they have always been encouraged to look for 'clues' in pictures when they come across trickier words as well.

This is from the P3 (English Year 2, I think?) class newsletter under advice on how to support reading at home:

"Support reading and discuss main ideas and features of books, encouraging children to look for blends and sounds within words and use any pictures for context clues."

I remember the same advice being given in earlier years too.

Panzee Sun 09-Feb-14 10:41:22

I've yet to teach anyone using phonics that just can't get it.

Feenie Sun 09-Feb-14 10:50:36

Oh Mrs I'm so glad you're here

I will second that - I was beginning to think I was in some kind of alternative reality last night! grin

Feenie Sun 09-Feb-14 10:51:19

Me neither, Panzee.

Feenie Sun 09-Feb-14 10:52:31

That's poor and outdated advice now, monkeynuts - we know more about reading now.

mrz Sun 09-Feb-14 10:53:32

I've met a few children who have begun to work it out for themselves and some who have been taught mixed methods who are very confused and believe that they look at the first letter then play "I Spy" using the illustrations in order to read words ...

mrz Sun 09-Feb-14 10:57:03

International evidence suggests children taught using mixed methods are more likely to experience the Y3 dip or even hit the wall as far as reading is concerned.

Feenie Sun 09-Feb-14 11:02:23

I would never expect a Yr 1 child to read 'gymnastics'

Wouldn't you? You see, I would , and have seen a whole of Y1 children -do just that - and not by using the painfully long process one child you went through to be amazed one child in your school guessed it. They read it - as soon as they were taught that 'g' could make a /j/ sound.

Feenie Sun 09-Feb-14 11:03:21

whole class

mrz Sun 09-Feb-14 11:06:46

I agree feenie gymnastics is pretty easy for a Y1 child - 3 syllables - straightforward

Feenie Sun 09-Feb-14 11:07:03

Do I expect her to be able to read that word again next week on a 'flashcard'? NO but by the time she is in Yr 2/3 then she will, by seeing it frequently and by associating this pattern of letters with the picture of Biff doing gymnastics!

Year 2 or 3? God almighty, low expectations indeed. shock

tinytalker Sun 09-Feb-14 11:28:03

MIgsy1 my point exactly!

mrz Sun 09-Feb-14 11:28:42

It takes up to 2 years of flashcards to learn to read ONE word shock

tinytalker Sun 09-Feb-14 11:29:45

By the way I work with SEN.

CouthyMow Sun 09-Feb-14 11:29:47

Panzee, Feenie, I am deadly serious. In 3/4 of my DC's , phonics worked or is working, in the case of 3yo DS3, perfectly. Fir my DD, she would NEVER have learnt to read using phonics. We tried, from age 3 to age 8. Five years, and she still couldn't read her name using phonics, let alone a book. Look and say was the ONLY thing that worked for her.

And before that, I had been of the opinion that phonics worked for everyone - I'd taught my DBro to read at 3yo using phonics.

CouthyMow Sun 09-Feb-14 11:32:01

It may be because DD is partially deaf, she found the slight differences in the phonics sounds very difficult to distinguish. But it still proves that phonics isn't going to work for everyone!

tinytalker Sun 09-Feb-14 11:32:57

If you read my previous posts I stated that I used a variety of methods based on each child I work with. I use phonics as part of my toolkit and don't have a problem with it but what I do have a problem with is people saying I am wrong to employ a variety of methods and that phonics is the only way!

maizieD Sun 09-Feb-14 11:38:54

I wonder what happens when it's not Biff doing the gymnastics? hmm

Where was an interesting experiments done years ago where children were taught to read 'whole words' by being exposed to them by flashcards. One of the cards had a thumb print on it. When they went through the flashcards all the children could read the word on the thumbprinted card perfectly. When they were shown the same word without a thumbprint hardly any of them could 'read' it.

I would very strongly recommend that posters read this essay on 'Whole Language'. WL being a source of the ideas about guessing words from pictures etc. and a strong influence on reading instruction even now.

It is very long but does set out the evidence.

maizieD Sun 09-Feb-14 11:52:09

It may be because DD is partially deaf, she found the slight differences in the phonics sounds very difficult to distinguish.

In which case the correspondences can be taught by attention to how the sounds are physically produced and through cued articulation.

Not even the most fervent phonics fan would assert that phonics will absolutely work for every single child; Sue Lloyd (Jolly Phonics) once told me that in all her years of teaching phonics she did have one child who just never 'got it'. Dr Jonathon Solity estimates that some 3 - 5% of children may struggle, even with good phonics instruction. I probably worked with about 3 children (KS3 'struggling readers') in 10 years who couldn't potentially improve with phonics instruction. Other phonics practioners could tell you similar (feenie & mrz already have).

The point is that with the 'mixed methods' which so many are supporting on this thread we have a nationwide failure rate of at least 20% of children struggling with reading at the end of KS2. Compared with the 3 -5% for phonics which method looks more effective?

mrz Sun 09-Feb-14 11:58:58

and I'm a SENCO tinytalker what's your point?

I've got a profoundly deaf child in my class and he's doing fine with phonics CouthyMow although his speech is obviously delayed

mrz Sun 09-Feb-14 12:03:33

"I use phonics as part of my toolkit and don't have a problem with it" that's very generous of you but the facts are that having phonics as part of your toolkid dilutes the effectiveness.

CharlesRyder Sun 09-Feb-14 12:07:03

My school was teaching by phonics alone 18months ago. We have now been instructed by the Literacy Advisor to bring in a specific sight reading programme to pick up the children falling behind only using phonics. I haven't had the training yet but I gather they learn to recognise and write 200 sight words as an intervention.

We are RI (but rapidly progressing to good) and have the authorities all over us so I am guessing this is 'current' advice.

We also use the PM scheme, again new since the school went RI and the 'help' arrived.

mrz Sun 09-Feb-14 12:15:31

No CharlesRyder it isn't current advice - have you read the 2014 curriculum?

PM is basically RR and mixed methods won't match new curric I'm afraid.

Can I ask what phonics prog you followed previously

CharlesRyder Sun 09-Feb-14 12:18:55

Letters and Sounds

Maybe you need to write to the Director of Education in my LEA then, because all the schools are doing the same and the children, in my school anyway, are progressing faster.

mrz Sun 09-Feb-14 12:23:22

Perhaps they would have been better served investing in an effective (cheaper than PM ) phonics programme rather than going for the freebie version.

Is the sight word prog Action Words by any chance?

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Sun 09-Feb-14 12:28:05

It's one of the arguments against private Ed I guess that there isn't the same need to keep up to date with teaching practices.

I read quite a few of these threads prior to daughter starting school as I wanted to support and get it right. Im so grateful to mrz et al. And she's flying by.

It's all the "little" things too. Like sendinghome a book that corresponds to the sounds they've learnt and increasing confidence etc.

CharlesRyder Sun 09-Feb-14 12:34:19

I have used RWI before and liked that.

I teach an UKS2 SEN class (behaviour) so what goes on in EYFS/KS1 is slightly off my radar. Apparently this sight reading programme would be useful for one of mine who is still only 1b after 2 years of intensive phonics intervention, hence I will be doing the training.

I can't remember what it's called but Action Words does ring a bell.

L&S is still being used but all the school's existing reading books and the new PM ones have been levelled according to PM levels and they are using PM benchmarking. Definitely mixed.

As I say though, none of this was off the school's own bat. We are basically being told by County that the 'phonics only' message is now outmoded. I'm not surprised as it has been around for at least 5 minutes.

mrz Sun 09-Feb-14 12:39:12

The problem with L&S is that teachers are given the book and expected to get on with it regardless of own phonic knowledge, there are no resources and it's quite slow.

Many advisors know far less than those at the chalkface and grasp at straws to justify their own role.

mrz Sun 09-Feb-14 12:39:58

and were probably the people handing out the L&S document with no guidance on how to teach it effectively.

CharlesRyder Sun 09-Feb-14 12:44:40


I feel pretty jaded with the politics of what gets taught and how. I think if the kids are learning to read well and enjoying it, which ours are, then it works.

Shame the same can't be said for the writing.

ShoeWhore Sun 09-Feb-14 12:49:47

Couthy I had a similar experience re phonics with ds, who is also partially deaf. He understood totally the correspondence between the letters on the page and the sounds they made (although sometimes his differentiation between similar sounding consonants in his deafest bit of the frequency range were a bit shaky) but the blending he just couldn't do. It made reading a pure phonics based reading book absolutely tortuous for him and he was very demoralised. He does however have a good memory for high frequency words.

His teacher and I had a big chat about it and she suggested digging out some of the older reading books for him. It really boosted his confidence and he got much more out of practising blending on a small number of words per page than struggling to decode every single word imho. As his hearing has improved (he got a hearing aid and his glue ear is naturally getting better as well) he did get the hang of blending as well. Was so chuffed for him that he passed his phonics check last year. He's still behind where his brothers were at the same age but he is making really good progress and applies his phonics knowledge sensibly (if a bit creatively at times!!) in his writing too.

Phonics was brilliant for my older two, btw. It was a bit of a waste of time reading any book more than once with ds2 though, as he memorised them pretty much instantly - once he had seen a new word once or twice he just knew it (even in a different context) and didn't seem to need to sound it out again. (which I guess is Look and Say but not sure how you can stop that?)

mrz Sun 09-Feb-14 12:54:05

Our reading/writing levels have always been high but we are always looking to improve.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sun 09-Feb-14 13:13:46

Goodness, it works both ways with Private Ed I think. IME there are many independent schools that never went in for the whole 'searchlights' using context/picture cues and stuck with a phonics based approach. Admittedly with fewer resources than are available now. They've just switched to more comprehensive programs.

Letters and Sounds is fine if it's taught by experienced teachers with a good knowledge and understanding of phonics teaching. Unfortunately I think it just got dumped into schools with no real explanation of how to use it.

maizieD Sun 09-Feb-14 13:22:16

@ mrz & Charles

What is PM, please?

shock at literacy advisor pushing whole word learning, but then, many advisors never really took to phonics after 2006 so not surprised that they cling to old prejudices.

Feenie Sun 09-Feb-14 13:22:23

From Sept 2014:
From the new curriculum which becomes statutory for Year 1 from Sept 2014:

Year 1
During Year 1 teachers should build on work from the Early Years Foundation Stage, making sure that pupils can sound and blend unfamiliar printed words quickly and accurately using the phonic knowledge and skills that they have already learnt. Teachers should also ensure that pupils continue to learn new grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and revise and consolidate those learnt earlier. The understanding that the letter(s) on the page represent the sounds in spoken words should underpin pupils' reading and spelling of all words. This includes common words containing unusual GPCs. The term ‘common exception words’ is used throughout the programmes of study for such words.
Alongside this knowledge of GPCs, pupils need to develop the skill of blending the sounds into words for reading and establish the habit of applying this skill whenever they encounter new words. This will be supported by practising their reading with books consistent with their developing phonic knowledge and skill

Word reading
*Pupils should be taught to:*
* apply phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode
* respond speedily with the correct sound to graphemes
(letters or groups of letters) for all 40+ phonemes, including,
where applicable, alternative sounds for graphemes*
* read accurately by blending sounds in unfamiliar words
containing GPCs that have been taught*
* read common exception words, noting unusual
correspondences between spelling and sound and where
these occur in the word*
* read words containing taught GPCs and - s, – es, – ing, – ed,
er and – est endings*
* read other words of more than one syllable that contain
taught GPCs*
* read words with contractions, e.g. I’m, I’ll, we’ll,
and understand that the apostrophe represents the omitted letter(s)*
*read aloud accurately books that are consistent with their
developing phonic knowledge and that do not require them
to use other strategies to work out words)
 re-read these books to build up their fluency and confidence

No picture cues mentioned whatsoever - in fact, the curriculum requires them to read books at this level that do NOT require them to use other strategies.

*Pupils entering year 1 who have not yet met the early learning goals for literacy should continue to follow the curriculum of the Early Years Foundation Stage to develop their word reading, spelling and language skills. However, these pupils should follow the year 1 programme of study in terms of the books they listen to and discuss, so that they
develop their vocabulary and understanding of grammar, as well as their knowledge more generally across the curriculum. If they are still struggling to decode and spell, they need to be taught to do this urgently through a rigorous and systematic phonics programme so that they catch up rapidly.*

Personally, I don't think that could be any clearer.

bigTillyMint Sun 09-Feb-14 13:24:16

The problem with L&S is that teachers are given the book and expected to get on with it regardless of own phonic knowledge, there are no resources and it's quite slow.
Many advisors know far less than those at the chalkface and grasp at straws to justify their own role.
and were probably the people handing out the L&S document with no guidance on how to teach it effectively.

So true!

Feenie Sun 09-Feb-14 13:26:06

Maizie, some literacy advisors spout any old guff - we had one on here that claimed airily that KS1 assessments were no longer statutory, and got very huffy when challenged.

My ds's school swear blind that the LEA told them specifically not to report phonics test scores or national/school KS1 comparisons.

Actually, the LEA deny that totally, but that's a different story.

It is laughable that in the face of the new 2014 curriculum, which an LEA would be obliged to help schools implement, an advisor would declare phonics strategies as 'outmoded'. Prat.

maizieD Sun 09-Feb-14 13:28:28

once he had seen a new word once or twice he just knew it (even in a different context) and didn't seem to need to sound it out again. (which I guess is Look and Say but not sure how you can stop that?)

If he sounded it out the first couple of times he was exposed to the word then it is not Look & Say'. It's perfectly normal learning with phonics instruction.

It is one of those strange phonics myths that children have to go on sounding out and blending words for ages before getting them into long term memory. Some children need minimal repetitions, some need loads and loads; because 'all children are different' (wink ) and learn at different rates.

maizieD Sun 09-Feb-14 13:36:10

Maizie, some literacy advisors spout any old guff

Alas, too true, Feenie. We had a perfectly ghastly 'phonics' Inset a couple of years ago (I should have done it but plans were changed angry)with 2 Primary Advisor bods. They gave a very garbled account of phonics, badmouthed the Phonics Check, mystified all with their take on the Simple View of Reading and said that some words were undecodable and had to be taught as sight words...
Prats indeed.

Feenie Sun 09-Feb-14 13:39:25

Sounds about right!

mrz Sun 09-Feb-14 13:39:52

PM is the reading scheme developed for the original book banding method. Were published by Nelson now by Rigby

Australian clip

CouthyMow Sun 09-Feb-14 13:44:46

I still stand by the fact that if a pure phonics method of teaching children to read has a failure rate of 3-5%, that that is too high. What is going to be done for those children in that 3-5%? What if they ARE like my DD and just cannot 'get' phonics.

It was blending that caused the issue. My DD's hearing issues can't be helped by a hearing aid, she has other SN's too, and didn't lip read well at infant age. She couldn't 'get' makaton either.

DS3 has just turned 3yo, has GDD and other SN's, including a speech delay of over 18 months, yet is managing to spell 3 letter words with phonics.

Phonics works in the vast majority of cases. I still think phonics is a very good system...for MOST children.

But a curriculum that stops other methods from being used is quite short sighted, I feel.

They don't only teach ONE method of doing things in Maths - they accept that different children will fare better with different methods, and teach lots of methods in order that ALL children can find a method that works for them.

Why should reading be any different?

mrz Sun 09-Feb-14 13:57:39

"I still stand by the fact that if a pure phonics method of teaching children to read has a failure rate of 3-5%, that that is too high." the figure accounts for those children with significant severe SEN couthymow.

"They don't only teach ONE method of doing things in Maths" really? think about it, children children begin by adding concrete objects then move to written forms but aren't taught that it's a good idea to mix horizontal and column addition for a reason

maizieD Sun 09-Feb-14 14:30:59

But a curriculum that stops other methods from being used is quite short sighted, I feel.

I really doubt if 'other methods' will cease to be used in the case of a child who has failed to learn with good phonics teaching and with intervention which has explored all possible ways of presenting the information which has to be learned (i.e letter/sound correspondences + decoding and blending). Believe me, there is definitely more than one way to teach phonics and all ways should be thoroughly explored before implementing a method which is second best.

I'd be interested to know how old CouthyMow's whole word taught child now is and how she compares with phonics taught peers.

Of course 3 -5% isn't brilliant, but it is a darn sight better than the current 20% and if we could stop having to waste time and money on 'remediating' children who could have learned perfectly well from the start with good phonics instruction we could start putting some proper resources into finding out how best to help the 3 -5%.

CouthyMow Sun 09-Feb-14 14:36:15

She is almost 16, and her last reading age was 11y8mo.

Which, for a child that was unable to read their own name, much less anything else, at 8yo in Y4, is quite good progress. She will continue to have reading support to increase her reading age until she is 18, through the new literacy measures for students age 16-18.

ShoeWhore Sun 09-Feb-14 14:37:10

Thanks maizieD - I have no worries re ds2 but I understand better now.

Millais Sun 09-Feb-14 15:02:35

My LA is putting a lot of funding behind ELS, Better Reading and another similar programme which are all whole word and searchlight approach methods. Makes for my pushing of a phonics approach in my new school rather lonely!

mrz Sun 09-Feb-14 15:13:19

but ELS was scrapped years ago shock

maizieD Sun 09-Feb-14 15:31:33

Well, I'm afraid that recent findings by an Educational Endowment Foundation funded study of TAs found that TAs using a Reading Recovery based intervention at Secondary school produced average improvements of 3 months in reading age in 10 weeks of one to one instruction.

BUT, that is absolutely pitiful! For intervention to have any benefit gains should be at least 6 - 9 months in that period! (I was getting that and more working with groups with an SP based intervention at KS3!)

Millais Sun 09-Feb-14 16:25:44

I know! shock

CharlesRyder Sun 09-Feb-14 16:34:01

It's not just my authority or one duff advisor then Millais.

Panzee Sun 09-Feb-14 16:39:06

I don't think you can get just one duff advisor. Don't they hunt in packs?

CharlesRyder Sun 09-Feb-14 16:51:09

They do but occasionally the pack turns in on itself and one dies. grin

Millais Sun 09-Feb-14 16:54:10

Millais Sun 09-Feb-14 16:54:54

Link fail there! I wonder if we have the same people?

CharlesRyder Sun 09-Feb-14 17:04:58

Not the same but ours are in a similar corporate group. The group has taken over the entire authority so all the Ed Psychs, outreach teachers etc. all work for them now too whether they like it or not which they don't.

Millais Sun 09-Feb-14 17:17:58

I don't understand how they are pushing something which directly contradicts the new curriculum.

mrz Sun 09-Feb-14 17:19:16

Isn't that from the old Devon site Millais ... thought they were either too lazy to remove or wanted to impress with other's work

Millais Sun 09-Feb-14 17:25:18

It is the same company as my LA- I am not in Devon , just used it as an example. TAs in my school has this training as recently as last school year.

FrameyMcFrame Sun 09-Feb-14 17:31:25

late to the thread but a lot of reading as a skill is guessing and filling in the gaps. That's why picture cues are ok at this stage, it promotes a way of thinking that's entirely desirable as a skill

Feenie Sun 09-Feb-14 17:32:08


Not read the whole thread so sorry if any of this is repeated. Reception are taught to read using phonics now. My 5 year old is currently learning to read, and although he does look at the pictures, he uses his knowledge of phonics to read the actual words.

If you are not happy then write in her reading diary!

maizieD Sun 09-Feb-14 19:38:41

late to the thread but a lot of reading as a skill is guessing and filling in the gaps.

No it isn'.

That's why picture cues are ok at this stage,

No they are not

it promotes a way of thinking

No it doesn't, it promotes guessing.

that's entirely desirable as a skill

Which is, of course, highly undesirable.

Do people have these wierd and illogical beliefs because that is the way they read or is it just not knowing anything about how the reading process works?

I should add that I love pictures in books, even as a very old adult. But they are there to enhance the text; not to give 'clues' as to what words might be.

Can I again recommend a thorough read of this:

Feenie Sun 09-Feb-14 19:43:04

Do people have these wierd and illogical beliefs because that is the way they read or is it just not knowing anything about how the reading process works?

The latter, I think - and, in the case of some teachers, a refusal to even try to find out.

mrz Sun 09-Feb-14 20:21:52

It's much easier to "teach" guessing and accept the wrong word than to teach a child to read acurately.

On another forum a teacher seriously couldn't understand why I wouldn't let the child read pan when the word in the text was pot... I wonder if she would like the doctor to put a pan on her broken leg hmm

Feenie Sun 09-Feb-14 20:27:28

That is shocking shock

columngollum Sun 09-Feb-14 20:36:13

It takes up to 2 years of flashcards to learn to read ONE word

Where are you putting the flashcards?

Feenie Sun 09-Feb-14 20:37:48

I know where I would like to put the flashcards....

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sun 09-Feb-14 20:38:10

The notes on the inside page of one of the newer reprints of the original ORT stories says something along the lines of 'many children will naturally read the sentence X as Y. Accept this as correct'.

I think the common mistake involved adding a word to the sentence that was written.

TheCrackFox Sun 09-Feb-14 20:51:22

I know that anecdote does my equal data but I thought I would chip in anyway.

When DS1 started primary 1 (we live in Scotland so no reception year) he was sent home with ORT books and, well, it was an utter disaster. He was trying to remember the whole page, not the actual word. Despite constant reassurances from the teacher that this was "fine" or "normal" I knew it bloody wasn't. At the end of P1 he was on level 3 and this had been a big struggle and it tainted his view of school and learning.

Anyway, I decided that I would take over the teaching during the summer holidays so I invested in Jolly Phonics and set aside half an hour a day devoted to learning to read. He learnt how to sound out the alphabet and then blend letters successfully and he positively flourished.

After 2 weeks back at school he was promptly promoted to level 10 of ORT - a huge jump of 7 levels.

Now, I had the time, money and patience to do this but a lot of parents don't. Some teachers need to realise that look and say is shit for some children and is actively failing them.

Feenie Sun 09-Feb-14 20:57:44

At the end of P1 he was on level 3 and this had been a big struggle and it tainted his view of school and learning.

Yes, the reading is easily fixed by good phonics teaching - but picking a child's self-esteem off the floor can take much, much longer sad

Well done to TheCrackFox and her ds thanks

TheCrackFox Sun 09-Feb-14 21:05:06

I am quite well educated but we live in a very mixed area (a proper comprehensive school) and it does worry me about children whose parents aren't as pushy as me. I can remember learning to read (freaky memory) and found it exciting learning how to find out how to break the code and I can vividly recall learning about the "the magic e" when I was 6 and thinking "I wish someone had told me earlier, makes so much more sense now."

DS1 has just started high school now and bloody loves it but if I hadn't intervened early on I strongly believe his love for learning would have been permanently damaged.

Feenie Sun 09-Feb-14 21:13:26

Had exactly the same with my ds in a leafy lane school - they couldn't understand and weren't really interested in why ds was upset at being unable to read words given to him in ORT in Y1 like 'naughty', 'furniture' and 'curtains'. They taught phonics three times a week instead of daily 'because of time table constraints' and were unconcerned that two thirds of their 60 Y1 children were still at Reception level phonics-wise.

I took over using decodable texts and, like your ds, he rocketed several levels in 3 months and was so much happier.

His school is due an Ofsted now and panicking big time.

mrz Sun 09-Feb-14 21:15:19

"It takes up to 2 years of flashcards to learn to read ONE word"

"Where are you putting the flashcards?"

I imagine tinytalker puts them in her toolkit so she can employ them whenever a child needs to memorise "gymnastics" columngollum

teacherwith2kids Sun 09-Feb-14 21:32:59

I think it is unfortunate for the reputation of phonics as a way of leqarning to read that it is sop often REALLY badly taught.

I suspect that many of those children who 'didn't get on with phonics' were just not taught it very well, perhaps by teacjhers who didn't understand it or didn't really believe in it so went quickly fior mixed methods instead.

The difference betweem rhetoric ('we teach phonics') and reality ('well we do a bit of Jolly Phonics for a bit before we go back to doing what we've always done, supported by non-decodeable early readers') is, IME, huge in many schools.

Feenie Sun 09-Feb-14 21:41:15

I think you're right - poor training and poor subject knowledge are also big problems. You only have to look at comments on this thread, such as English children will never learn to read through phonics alone, it's just not possible to find some prime examples.

columngollum Sun 09-Feb-14 22:20:05

I'm not advocating flashcards (or maybe I am) but at the moment it's taking my 2yo about ten minutes per new word on flashcards. They're words like: off, in, top, cat, bus somehow rabbit got in there, don't ask me how. We seem to have a continuous problem with the word the.

All in all I think I'm at the same point this year as I was with her sister 3 years ago. We are reading sentences ( albeit simple ones: the cat sat on the mat) using sight recognition. (And vague/sporadic phonics)

columngollum Sun 09-Feb-14 22:22:45

Feenie, they won't, though. That's your problem!

maizieD Sun 09-Feb-14 22:47:25

The proof of the pudding will come, cg, in a few years time when they just can't 'memorise' any more words as wholes. I hope for their sakes that they manage to survive your teaching 'method' but you're on the path that has left many children struggling.

columngollum Sun 09-Feb-14 22:54:28

The elder daughter switched to sounding out of her own accord. It's too early to tell what the little one will do.

The struggling path can't be followed to my door because if I had seen my children struggling, no doubt I would have accommodated their difficulties.

I can't be blamed for other people's errors.

tinytalker Sun 09-Feb-14 22:56:04
teacherwith2kids Sun 09-Feb-14 22:58:10

Maizie, tbh I think column's children are in the 'lucky' 80% who will learn to read despite, rather than because of, the method used to teach them. The 'internalising' of the phonic code they are doing will never be visible to column, or necessarily articulated by the children, and thus she will believe that her method not only workks, but is superior to any used by those teaching a statistically significant number of children to read.

Equally, my DS was one of the lucky 80%. He taught himself to read, through memorising whole books, and it was only as a careful observer, already interested in the teaching of reading (and enlightened by a very knowledgeable reception teacher who was very interested in him) that I spotted that he in fact had an excellent self-taught knowledge of the phonic code, which he had worked out for himself.

In a sense, it doesn't matter what we use for the 80%, and so it doesn't matter what column uses for her own children as long as she doesn't interfere with the better, more research based and knowledgeable teaching of everyone else. They will learn to read whatever we do. It is the successful teaching of the 20% that matters, and reducing that 20% to the minimum % possible - and that is where synthetic phionics, well, exclusively and exhaustively taught (not one sound per letter or digraph and then abandoned) comes into its own.

teacherwith2kids Sun 09-Feb-14 23:02:30

Interesting, column - so your elder daughter has now articulated that she has managed to work out the phonic code despite whole-word teaching and is now preferring to use that better toolkit when reading new texts.....

Wouldn't it be more interesting to simply teach your younger daughter, very well indeed, using the phonics method, and 'cut out the middle bit', so to speak? Seer whether that in fact works better?

After all, the look and say method works (when it does work) because readers eventually work out the phonic code and can thus decode new words. Synthetic phonics merely makes that 'invisible' method explicit and thus accessible to more people. it is more successful simply because it is more direct - it teaches children directly what they need to know, not by 'showing them lots of stuiff and hoping that eventually they work it out for themselves'.

columngollum Sun 09-Feb-14 23:03:11

But 80% is not a bad puddle to aim for.

If I had good reason to believe that my daughters were in the unlucky 20% I'd have burned the flashcards and would be skimming back madly for every posting the phonicsy people had ever made.

tinytalker Sun 09-Feb-14 23:03:43

All I am advocating is an approach which starts with the child and is not dictated by Ofsted or DFE. An open mind to all methods not an attack by the phonics police!

teacherwith2kids Sun 09-Feb-14 23:06:38

OJK, so if 95%+ of children will learn to read using phonics, and only 80% using mixed methods, surely 'starting with the child' starts with the most successful method first, does thast really well, identifies whether they are in the tiny minority that doesn't learn to read this well and then ibntervenes effectivekly? It is surely less than child centred to deliberately choose to teach a method that is less effective, in the hope that a child is NOT one of the 1 in 5 for whom it won't work?

teacherwith2kids Sun 09-Feb-14 23:07:42

But why aim for the 80% when the 95+% is available to you? That's what I really don't understand?

RubySparks Sun 09-Feb-14 23:10:46

Agree tinytalker phonics is useful for many children but not for all. They need other methods too.

columngollum Sun 09-Feb-14 23:11:08

Maybe, but phonics does require multiple stages. You have first to learn the letters and then their sounds, whereas with L&S you only have to learn the whole word.

So, by the time phonicsy people have fiddled about with this and that, L&S people have children reading whole stories.

(OK, it's the same story every time) but at least it's a whole story.

teacherwith2kids Sun 09-Feb-14 23:11:54

Ruby - well-taught phonics works for 95+% of children. Mixed methods, however well taught, only teaches 80% of children to read. Why this insistence on adding the failing method to the one that works?

teacherwith2kids Sun 09-Feb-14 23:13:58

Why is it ibnteresting to read 1 story? Why devote so much time to achieving the backwater of 12 story? Wjhy not go 'straight for the jugular' and teach the method that will enable a child to access all stories? DD went from total non-reader to completely fluent decoder in a term - 3 months. OK, maybe if I'd done the flashcards thing she could have read her first story in a month - but a month per story is not the same as 3 months to access ANYTHING.

teacherwith2kids Sun 09-Feb-14 23:15:29

(And I'd go for 44 sounds = reads everything in preference to thousands of individual words to read anything worthwhile EVERY time)

teacherwith2kids Sun 09-Feb-14 23:17:03

I apprecate that you like the 'performance' aspect of it 'Oooh, my child read her first books at 2 or 3', and I appreciate that if that is your goal, look and say is a way of achieving that limited ambition. I'd go for making my child a proper reader, instead.

columngollum Sun 09-Feb-14 23:17:51

I think you can do both. I don't know what's going to happen with the younger daughter. But the older one learned (as you say) 12 stories and then decided that phonics (making your own words as you go along) was preferable. Good for her.

But at least she had the choice.

RubySparks Sun 09-Feb-14 23:19:19

teacher I think it is in reaction to the phonics as a miracle cure that works for all.... Yes teach phonics as it gets great results, some children will learn to read regardless of how they are taught, but some won't. There needs to be options for the children who don't learn with phonics.

teacherwith2kids Sun 09-Feb-14 23:20:36

(By your measure, DS was 'reading' at 3, or a little earlier. He could recite many books, pointing word to word precisely, that he had already had read to him. He knew which word coprresponded to the word he was saying BUT he did not generalise that - he could not pick up an unknown vbook and read it until the months before he started school, by which time he had oworked out the phonc code. It depends, as ever, what you mean by rerading - for me it is the picking up of an unknown but appropriate text and being able to make sense out of it.)

teacherwith2kids Sun 09-Feb-14 23:24:29

Ruby, yes, but well-taught, those children are very rare, much rarer than you seem to think.

Mrz, if you are still out there, as know that you teach phonics very well and have done so to hundreds if not thousands of children: how many chikldren, well taught - and I include those who have significant learning difficultiesm, as I know you have your fair share of those - have not been abkle to learn to read well using phonics?

columngollum Sun 09-Feb-14 23:26:51

Sure, I agree; at the level of pre-reading, we can all disagree about what reading really means. (And we do.) If we listened to a teenager struggling with reading, doubtless our respective views of reading would have converged significantly.

But, on the whole, I don't think it matters much. I think for teachers the reading ethos and methodology matters far more than for individual parents because teachers are responsible for the performance of the cohort, whereas parents are only responsible for their own children.

So, I don't much care whether L&S or phonics does the trick. But I do care whether or not the trick gets done.

duchesse Sun 09-Feb-14 23:34:44

Look and say is like learning to read Chinese.

It never made any sense to me that that was the system adopted in the 1990s when my older children were learning to read. I taught them phonics instead, incurring the wrath of the teachers who for some bizarre reason seemed to think that if they didn't do look and say then they weren't reading.

Phonics seems to me to be the only sensible option in getting from 26 letters to being able to read tens of thousands of words. Look and say means you have to learn every word individually. It's nonsensical.

duchesse Sun 09-Feb-14 23:35:45

And I was reading fluently at just 3, fyi. My mother taught me using phonics and the alphabet and letter sounds I'd known since 18 mo.

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 00:08:35

I don't know how good your Chinese is, but my English tells me that lots of our words are closely related

bookworm book & worm
handbook hand & book
L&S people can actually spell, you know (or maybe you don't know!)

Anyway, from what I understand of Chinese characters, the pictorial representations are symbolic. And therefore any similarities in meaning are nowhere near as likely to be conveyed to the next most similar word as they are in English.

Please feel free to disagree.

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 06:56:03

"Maybe, but phonics does require multiple stages. You have first to learn the letters and then their sounds," perhaps that's where you are going wrong columngollum ... i'm not sure what is being taught in your descroption but it certainly isn't how phonics is taught!

Pumpkin567 Mon 10-Feb-14 06:57:43

I think children learn best using lots of methods, phonics, memorisation, the pictures.

Yes they do memorise books and spot the patters ( John had a book, rod had a bug..etc)

I think different methods work best for different children and one of mine likes to memorise whole words. He can sound out, but only needs to read a word once or twice to remember it. That is a fast way to learn and he then uses his phonics for new words.

Horses for courses and schools should use many approaches IMHO.

Feenie Mon 10-Feb-14 07:02:32

But 20% fail to learn using the mixture of methods you describe - and there is no way if knowing which children will fall into that 20% until that child's self-esteem is well and truly rock bottom.

Why take that risk?

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Mon 10-Feb-14 07:02:57

Whereas I've tried to avoid the "memorising the book". That's not learning to read as knowledge doesn't carry over to the next time you meet the word!

Feenie Mon 10-Feb-14 07:05:25

Btw, what you describe with your ds isn't memorising whole words - if he sounds it out even just once, he is tackling it using phonics. Some children need to sound out a word many times, some don't. And it's good that he uses phonics again to tackle the next unknown word.

Pumpkin567 Mon 10-Feb-14 07:09:43

He does both, he uses phonics for new words but many words are learnt as sight words only. ( they can't be sounded out) also we read by just recognising the word do we not...I don't need to sound out because I know them as sight words.
I'm not anti phonics, i they are great and definately the starting point for ALL children. I just think it not so black and white. Like most things in life lots of different methods get you to the end result.

Feenie Mon 10-Feb-14 07:15:49

No, being able to read a word to automaticity isn't sight reading, it's the ultimate aim of reading words using phonics.

I think you wouldn't be so laissez-faire if you had a child who fell into the 20% who failed to read using a hotch-pitch if methods.

Feenie Mon 10-Feb-14 07:18:50

Hotch-potch: silly auto correct.

Pumpkin567 Mon 10-Feb-14 07:19:58

Sorry I though recognising the word was sight reading?

I'm not lazzez- fair, far from it pushy mum he's on blue band and is 4 in reception.

He memorised hundreds of words before three, then I taught him some phonics. It's just how HE learns. Same with times tables he know lots of the times tables, he learnt them by rote also.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Mon 10-Feb-14 07:27:09

It can back fire later though if they start having memorised words. They need the phonics knowledge to meet new words as they expand their vocabulary.

For what it's worth my daughter is on yellow/blue having not been drilled pre starting school, only learning some of the sounds! It's a much better donating as fast as I can see.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Mon 10-Feb-14 07:27:39

Donating? Foundation.

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 07:28:55

being able to read a word to automaticity isn't sight reading,

That's just pointless semantics. Being able to recognise a word on sight isn't sight reading. hmmm. And I suppose chewing and swallowing food isn't eating, it's masticating thoughtfully.

Pumpkin567 Mon 10-Feb-14 07:50:57

LO it's not drilling, he chose to learn the words himself, then i taught the phonics. ( as I was worried he needed phonics.)
As i said he only need to be a word a few times then he knows it.

Not sure how your DD can be on two reading levels BTW.

I think phonics are great, I have already said that. I also said ALL children should learn phonics first.

Please explain how your DD learns the word that are not phonetic.

Feenie Mon 10-Feb-14 07:50:59

That's my point - your ds learnt fine using mixed methods, so you aren't that interested in the 20% who are actually damaged using your horses for courses method you are shrugging over.

Collumgollum, they are the definitions of reading, I can't help it if you don't like them. Sight reading means learning words as wholes without reading the sounds within them - learning to read a word on sight is the ultimate aim of both methods.

Pumpkin567 Mon 10-Feb-14 07:56:12

Freebie, you knew what I ment by sight reading, if you read it in the context of the sentance it's clear. ( think that another reading skill I think) smile

Pumpkin567 Mon 10-Feb-14 07:56:48

Feenie, sorry I'm being distracted by the small children who are building a den.

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 07:57:08

The terms you're referring to are Whole Word or Look & Say

sight reading is simply reading by sight. In fact all reading except Braille is sight reading.

maizieD Mon 10-Feb-14 08:21:49

If a 'cure' for cancer was discovered which had 95% success rate as opposed to an 80% success rate everyone would be screaming to have it implemented across the board.

RubySparks Mon 10-Feb-14 08:46:06

teacher that is because in my house only 50% of the children learnt to read with just phonics! As someone else said as a parent you want the result for your child not the 95% ... Does someone have a link for that statistic? The school was no help when my DS struggled with phonics, advice was 'read more' for a child who took hours over reading homework (if I had let it go on which I didn't). I had to do my own research and find ways to help him.

SchnitzelVonKrumm Mon 10-Feb-14 09:03:04

My DD2 did this. She had hearing problems and couldn't do phonics at all because she couldn't discriminate the sounds. So she eventually taught herself to read using look and say - after two years of total misery that I think will negatively affect her self-image for the rest of her life. hmm

maizieD Mon 10-Feb-14 10:49:47

She had hearing problems and couldn't do phonics at all because she couldn't discriminate the sounds.

I would ask why the school didn't teach her in a way that she could access the 'sounds'; with cued articulation, for example.

Or did they? There is no excuse for batting on with something that a child really cannot do, without looking for alternatives. And I mean alternatives within the context of the body of knowledge which a child needs for competent independent reading, not a flight to Look & Say.

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 10:54:59

Doesn't that suppose that the teacher knows how to look for alternatives within the context of the body of knowledge which a child needs for competent independent reading?

If I had a daughter who couldn't hear very well and I thought that the teacher was being ideological in her approach rather than helpful I'd be furious. Lots of parents couldn't give a monkeys about the philosophy of the reading method just as long as it works.

maizieD Mon 10-Feb-14 10:58:42

As someone else said as a parent you want the result for your child not the 95% ... Does someone have a link for that statistic? T

I can post the Solity paper in which he makes the statement about the %age of children. It is a long paper and you would have to read through it to find the statement. I'll search out the link and post it if you will tell me that you will read it!

I appreciate how you feel as a parent but, as I say repeatedly we will never find out the best way to teach the -5% until we stop wasting money and time on the 15% who could well have learned if taught properly from the start.

maizieD Mon 10-Feb-14 11:03:14

Lots of parents couldn't give a monkeys about the philosophy of the reading method just as long as it works.

And it's OK if it doesn't work because we'll just call the child 'dyslexic' and give them lots of crutches. Still won't be able to read, but hey, that's not the problem of all those parents who don't give a monkey's.

SP is not a philosophy. It is a method of teaching reading.

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 11:08:31

Sure, but all the ideological guff that phonicsy people spout is a philosophy, albeit not a very well thought out one.

Katnisscupcake Mon 10-Feb-14 11:10:31

My understanding is that it's a combination of the two.

DD is also in reception and just been moved onto level 4 ORT. They always go through the book first looking at the pictures and talking through what they 'think' is happening in the story, then they read each page using the pictures to help with more unusual words for example 'pavement' which isn't easy to sound out and isn't a high-frequency word. When we read at home we add the more unusual words to a poster on the wall so that she can recognise them.

When DD comes home and reads a book to me that she's read at school, she has also memorized some of it (because sometimes she says completely the wrong word without bothering to read it - so I ask her to read it again and she gets it right), but afterwards I go back through the book pointing out some words, to make sure she really knows the tricky ones (because/couldn't/wouldn't - from her latest book) and isn't just guessing them.

But there is definitely still emphasis on using the pictures to assist, but doesn't replace learning to read the words.

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 11:17:10

katniss, I grew up learning to read with books which had pictures of a single item on each page with the noun printed underneath it. In such a case it's hard not to identify the word with the picture.

maizieD Mon 10-Feb-14 11:35:27

What 'idealogical' stuff, cg? Are we reading the same thread?

It's idealogical if it flatly contradicts everything we know about the psychology of learning. Read some Daniel Willingham.

maizieD Mon 10-Feb-14 11:39:58

My understanding is that it's a combination of the two.

After reading this thread, you still think that?

Mumsnet Towers, could you please give us a 'bangs head against brick wall' smilie?

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 11:43:00

Books on the psychology of learning are of no use whatsoever to me. All I want is my youngest daughter to be able to read and she's well on her way.

Feenie Mon 10-Feb-14 13:11:27

So I'm alright Jack - my dd learnt to read using a combination of methods and stuff the 20% of children whose reading is actively damaged by mix of methods.

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 13:16:27

Well, if you send the 20% round to my house I'll teach them too.

tiredbutnotweary Mon 10-Feb-14 14:13:21

You mean teach them with the method that your oldest DD rejected column?

FWIW - not much admittedly, I too taught my daughter to read at 2. Well only just 2 (i.e. nearly 3) as I felt slightly uncomfortable doing it earlier despite all of her interest in how words worked. I used phonics, and just before she turned 3 she blended her first word c-a-t and she literally jumped for joy.

I took a very low key approach (10 minutes here and there) but when it came to school and their blasted mixed methods, guess from the picture and stupid look and say books that don't match the code the DCs have learnt thus far, I took teaching her to read back into my own hands and gave her the code she needed to decode the look and say books. She finished reception on white band.

She's now in year 1 (a summer born 5 year old) and the longest book she's read to herself so far is 10 chapters and over 100 pages. She loves reading and has a decoding age of 9.5.

There is no need to guess when you can sound out and blend.

I have no problem with the idea of using other methods when children have issues that inhibit or delay them from sounding out and blending, but those children are in that 3 - 5%.

I also think there are a few children that have such excellent visual memories (photographic or nigh on) that they will learn via whole words, they see it once, and it's in there. However those children are likely to teach themselves to read and will come into reception reading fluently. They are also very few and far between.

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 14:20:23

Yes, that's right, with that method! The thing is, L&S works brilliantly on words like cat, dog, rug and so on, but it's rubbish for dinosaur names.

kesstrel Mon 10-Feb-14 14:25:51

"As someone else said as a parent you want the result for your child not the 95% "

I'd say that's a bit short-sighted, at least if your child is going to carry on sharing a classroom with those other children. Subliteracy is a big cause of disruptive behaviour, as kids try to cover or distract attention from their inability to do what's being asked of them.

Low literacy among part of the cohort also seems to be a major reason for the kind of dumbing down that leads teachers to get kids to make posters rather than write coherent paragraphs for homework, for example. The wider the gap in ability in a classroom, the harder it is for teachers to differentiate effectively enough to provide challenging work for those of higher ability.

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 16:10:42

"As someone else said as a parent you want the result for your child not the 95% "

I'd say that's a bit short-sighted

Well, as a parent you've only got control of your child and not at all of the 95% So, even if you cared about the others there's nothing you could do about them. If you're keeping an eye on your child's progress at least you can provide workarounds where necessary. Even the children of friends, if you know they're struggling, there's not much you can do.

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 17:06:43

"how many chikldren, well taught - and I include those who have significant learning difficultiesm, as I know you have your fair share of those - have not been abkle to learn to read well using phonics?"

zero have failed to read at an age appropriate level teachwith2kids and the main secondary school the majority of our pupils move onto tell us none need support after they leave us.

maizieD Mon 10-Feb-14 17:09:39

Come on, cg. What 'idealogical stuff' are you talking about?

So books on cognitive psychology are no good to you? You don't have to read a book; there's loads on the web. But of course, reading about it isn't as much fun as making it all up as you go along.

Thank heavens you are not a teacher; you could be potentially damaging 30 children belonging to other people instead of your own 2.

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 17:39:04

Don't worry, next time the ideological guff gets spouted I'll point it out, don't worry.

I've damaged my children, oh, my!! They can read. Oh, horror. What ever next? Writing, maybe.

Feenie Mon 10-Feb-14 17:53:42

I've seen you say in other threads that you don't care about anyone else's children, collumgollum, but I'd forgotten it until now.

teacherwith2kids Mon 10-Feb-14 17:57:32

Well, your older child has managed to work out the phonic code from your L&S teaching, and is now able to use that in order to read. Your other DD is starting to recognise word shapes - a bit like seeing a triangle and saying 'triangle' - which is not yet reading in any real sense. However, it sounds as if she too is in the lucky 80% and so will be able to move hugger-mugger from this process to reading despite the indirect approach.

Whereas Mrz has 100% success in teaching reading to hundreds of children of very, very mixed abilities. Do you know what - I'd follow her method, myself.

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 17:58:40

I didn't care about the unread 20% until I heard that without my intervention they'd continue to be unread. But I understand that someone is bringing them round to my house for tuition.

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 18:00:15

2 children out of 2 is 100%

Feenie Mon 10-Feb-14 18:00:48

Your smuggery isn't funny - just the opposite, actually.

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 18:01:21

^but my English tells me that lots of our words are closely related"

"bookworm book & worm"
"handbook hand & book"

I would hope your English would tell you they are compound words

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 18:05:38

"Reception children are between four and five, usually. The children clearly have to learn the letters and their sounds before they can blend them."

incorrect assumption

teacherwith2kids Mon 10-Feb-14 18:07:19

The thing is, if I used my DS as my only example (as column uses her children as her only example), I could say:
'Teaching children to read is easy. You read them lots of books. After a while, they will be able to recite them from memory. Then a little while later they will be able to read anything that you put in front of them. All you ever have to do is read to them for the first 3 years of their life, they do the rest of it themselves'

However, I would never 'push' that message repeatedly on a public forum as 'the best way to learn to read, everyone else is wrong / spouting ideological guff', because I KNOW that would be ludicrous. I KNOW that statistically such a method if acquiring the ability to decode wholly unknown texts is rare, and I know it would have a massive failure rate if applied generally. So instead I learn about other, more effective methods that would work for absolutely everyone, not just my own child.

teacherwith2kids Mon 10-Feb-14 18:12:19

If column gave her 2 year old s a t p i n and taught her the associated sounds and how to blend, she would immediately be able to make, blend and read:
tan etc.

(at 1 sound per day, this can often be achieved within the first 2 weeks of reception)
There is no need to learn ALL letters or ALL sounds before a child can learn to blend to create a whole variety of words. With 1 nerw sound being added each day, the range of words that can be blended and read increases exponentially.

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 18:14:16

Who said anything about being the best way? So far I'm not convinced that anyone has hit upon the best way. As far as I can see there is simply an argument about who thinks what they do is the best for the children concerned. Well, OK. But I'm sure the priests in Ireland who are getting locked up thought what they were doing was best for the children concerned too.

In fact everyone believes that. Whether it's true or not is a different matter.

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 18:16:29

she would immediately be able to make, blend and read:

Not necessarily. Some children struggle to blend.

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 18:17:58

If it was that easy you'd just give the children all the sounds in one go and then the King James Bible and they'd read it by tea time.

teacherwith2kids Mon 10-Feb-14 18:18:14

OK, let's askl the question in another way:
- Given that mixed methods / L&S have a 20 % failure rate
- Phonics has a 3-5% failure rate, possibly less if really well taught
- Even your daughter has abandoned L&S now she has worked out the phonic code

what else would you like to see to agree to the proposition that 'excellently taught synthetic phonics is the best method known of at the moment for learning to read, as it has the greatest success for the largest % of children?'

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 18:18:49

I use Sounds~Write and after the first lesson our children can blend and segment words - mat, sat, sit, at, it, Sam, Tim, Tam ...
In that first lesson they learn to read and write words (having not previously been taught letters or sounds as columngollum seems to think is necessary)

teacherwith2kids Mon 10-Feb-14 18:21:16

" Some children struggle to blend."

Which is why I said 'often be achieved'. Also the reason why satpin are used is because they have a very simple sound / spelling correspondance - complexity does arise in phonics when it comes to multiple ones of these, which is why continuing to teach phonics for the at least the first 3 tyears of school is so vital.

If cjhildren struggle to blend, then help them to blend, don't say 'let's abandon phonics'. If a child takes a little while to learn to walk, we don't instantly say 'oh well, given them a wheelchair', do we?

maizieD Mon 10-Feb-14 18:21:16

So far I'm not convinced that anyone has hit upon the best way.

Isn't that because you can't be arsed to inform yourself about it?

Feenie Mon 10-Feb-14 18:23:01

But I'm sure the priests in Ireland who are getting locked up thought what they were doing was best for the children concerned too.

Ofgs, you have just convinced me that you repeatedly join phonics threads purely to troll. What a disgustingly crass remark.

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 18:23:40

to agree to the proposition that 'excellently taught synthetic phonics is the best method known of at the moment

plus all the other things needed to read words without regular grapheme/letter correspondences...

which ultimately means I don't agree with the proposition at all. What I do agree with is the statement that phonics is useful. But so too are other things.

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 18:26:51

At last, the great internet refrain: anyone who doesn't agree with my point of view is a troll.

Well, you could try putting together a coherent argument, for a start.

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 18:32:28

perhaps you should follow your own advice columngollum rather than post your own opinion as facts when they are far from the truth.

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 18:35:00

My argument is this: several different techniques are necessary in order to successfully read English.

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 18:35:17

I always find it hillarious when someone throws that well known educationalist Michael Rosen into the mix grin

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 18:36:24

Your argument has no basis in fact so it is purely your opinion

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 18:40:55

Does it not?

Let's suppose one technique alone is sufficient for the task, which is the contrary of my argument, what would that be?

Feenie Mon 10-Feb-14 18:51:02

No, anyone who thinks it's appropriate to make the comparison you did is clearly not here for a serious discussion, but would prefer to wind people up. You've been doing the same thing for years.

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 18:51:10

I prefer not to suppose when a child's future is at stake columngollum

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 19:02:16

The comparison simply highlights the fact that the argument of being in the best interests of those concerned has happily been used by some of history's worst offenders.

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 19:09:21

The comparison is indefensible

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 19:14:04

If you prefer not to think about then you might reach that conclusion. The "we make the world a better place" philosophy is responsible for many ills.

I can see why people who use that argument might not want it examined.

Feenie Mon 10-Feb-14 19:16:41

You are a piece of work, McCollum, you really are. I have reported your comment.

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 19:17:01

Perhaps you should think twice before making that argument then columngollum

Feenie Mon 10-Feb-14 19:18:28

McCollum? confused

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 19:18:42

I don't use it.

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 19:45:09

True columngollum you haven't really got an argument because repeating your personal opinion over and over doesn't make it true

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 19:47:42

An argument is merely a proposition. I think what you mean is: it doesn't make it correct.

But proving it incorrect requires a counter argument.

teacherwith2kids Mon 10-Feb-14 19:52:39

I have to say that I find your line of reasoning increasingly bizarre.

As an educator, I seek to use the best possible, research proven, methods that work for the largest possible number of the children I teach.

As a parent, I COULD choose to use my parental experience as a coumnter-argument to established scholarship, as my DS happened to learn to read via a rare route.

But I don't.

Your anrgument, as I understand it, is that as a method which works for 95% of children when well taught does not work for 100% of children, it should automatically be combined with, if not replaced by, a method that only works for 80%. It would be an interestibng argmnent IF the two sets are non-overlapping - ie if the up to 5% who do not successfully learn to read via phonics alone are DEFINITELY in the 80% who WILL succeed using mixed methods.

What I suspect is the case is that the sets overlap - the 8-0% of children who learn to read via L&S are in fact also in the 95% weho learn to read via good phonics instruction. The remaining 5% - some of whome will be in the % of children with significant SEN affecting learning, others of whomn may in fact succeed if phonics teaching is even better, as mrz's experience is of 100% of children earning to read this way - may indeed need something different, but whatever it is it is probably NOT flashcards.

(It is interesting that the mopst successful reading intervention in my old school, for children who came from other schools who arrived with us not reading well, was simply a 'back to basics' phonics prrogramme, suggesting that the 'reading problem' was simply due to poor phonics instruction, and possibly the use onf non-phonic readers in the early stages, rather than phonics per se)

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 19:55:43

That's not my argument.

My argument is that phonics alone is not sufficient to teach reading because some words have irregular grapheme/letter correspondences and that there are more reasons than that one besides.

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 20:07:19

But you haven't got a proposition columngollum

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 20:11:25

That is a proposition. It's a statement and a statement is a proposition. (The idea that a proposition is a proposal is a colloquialism.)

maizieD Mon 10-Feb-14 20:12:08

my argument is that phonics alone is not sufficient to teach reading because some words have irregular grapheme/letter correspondences and that there are more reasons than that one besides.

And that is merely your opinion. Which really counts for absolutely nothing as you have never taught SP or LP and have no idea of, and no intention of informing yourself about, how the alphabetic code works.

What bothers me is that other mothers might take you seriously..

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 20:12:53

We've been here many times columngollum ... just because you keep saying some words have irregular graphemes doesn't make it true.

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 20:15:35

OK, you can take the we disagree with your argument because we don't like it approach.

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 20:22:04

I prefer the evidence argument myself columgollum

teacherwith2kids Mon 10-Feb-14 20:28:26

"My argument is that phonics alone is not sufficient to teach reading because some words have irregular grapheme/letter correspondences and that there are more reasons than that one besides."

The point is, good teachers of phonics teach the less common phoneme / grapheme correspondances necessary to decode these words.

I realise that your understanding of phonics, being relatively limited, does not encompass this, but experienced teachers of phonics DO teach unusual correspondances and thus teach children to decode all through what you might see as 'words that can't be approached using phonics'

teacherwith2kids Mon 10-Feb-14 20:30:46

(I also appreciate that, as you have a goal of 'apparent early reading performance' for your children,. and you don't understand phonics well enough to teach it well, you use flashcards. That is very different from saying 'chuildren in general, in schools, taught by experienced phonics practitioners, also need to use flashcards')

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 20:44:18

The point is, good teachers of phonics teach the less common phoneme / grapheme correspondances necessary to decode these words.

In the cases of yacht, Wymondham and women and others they are the only examples of their kind. Teaching the correct correspondences equates to teaching the word...because it's the only example. In other cases, like one and once they are the only examples.

teacherwith2kids Mon 10-Feb-14 20:49:26

And if the teacher says 'here is an uncommon correspondance. It only occurs in this one word, but we need to use it to decode the word. The rest of the word is entirely regular - y and t are entirely phonically regular so you know how to sound out those parts of the word already. Let's add this unusual way of spelling this sound to our display, with a note to say that it is rare and only occurs in this word', that is phonics teaching. It is certainly no reason to reach for the flashcards.

teacherwith2kids Mon 10-Feb-14 20:52:31

(The flashcards that you are using fr your DD2 are, if I recall, mainly of phonically regular words. If your only objection to phonics is that a tiny minority of words are the only example of a particular grapheme / phoneme correspiondance, then I would entirely understand, and it would be intellectually coherent, if you teach those parts of those words, and those parts of those words only, via flashcards What I don't understand is the rejection of a phiole successful teaching method because you can't work out how to deal with a small number of exceptions. the words 'baby and bathwater' come to mind.)

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 20:53:44

if the teacher says 'here is an uncommon correspondance. It only occurs in this one word,

Effectively that is teaching the word as a whole because in order to use the correspondence the teacher has given the pupil needs to remember the word. (The correspondence on its own serves no purpose since no other word uses it.)

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 20:55:16

Once again you are incorrect columngollum - take yacht the letter <y> represents the sound /y/ in many words - the letter <a> sometimes represents the sound /o/ so only part of the word has a unique spelling pattern and in the word "women" only the <o> is unusual as for the place name really that depends on the county

teacherwith2kids Mon 10-Feb-14 20:55:45

No, you don't need to teach the word as a whole, because the rest of the word is regular.

In 'women', for example, w, m, e and n are all regular. Any Reception child who has been taught phonics would decode them instantly. The only uinusual part is the <i> would for <o>. So it can be taught in isolation.

teacherwith2kids Mon 10-Feb-14 20:58:56

(As usual I have my <> and // in the wrong places, see mrz for a much more accurate explanation!)

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 20:59:25

I agree, other parts of the word may be regular but it is the combination of the letters which makes the word. And, in order to read this particular word, the pupil has to remember a unique combination.

The unique combination is the word.

teacherwith2kids Mon 10-Feb-14 21:02:06

Child sounds out and blends: <w><o><m><e><n>. Does that make a word they know? No. Ah, mrz said that very rarely, the o makes an <i>. sound, let's try that. Sounds out, blends, makes a familiar word. Moves on...

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 21:03:53

It's not very rarely, though, is it?

It's in one word.

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 21:04:09

What you don't seem to understand is that all is needed is to explain to the beginner reader that in this word (woman) the letter <o> is the spelling for the sound /i/ and the child can read the word and for spelling a reminder that in this word the spelling for /i/ is <o>.

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 21:05:32

It's in one word.

* Therefore that word must be remembered.*

Huitre Mon 10-Feb-14 21:07:56

The point is that teaching 'tricky' words as unusual sound/letter correspondences that only occur very rarely (or once) appears to have a measurable effect in success as a reader for the children being taught. Teaching them (or other sound/letter correspondences) as look and say appears to severely disadvantage a statistically significant number of children, according to the evidence so far available. I have not seen any evidence that phonics disadvantages those children who would also learn to read with look and say and, I suspect, nor have you.

I'd just like to add that I have no idea why I am posting this as it does no good.

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 21:10:01

It doesn't matter.

The word has to be remembered therefore it has to be taught as a unique word to be remembered.

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 21:10:08

The word is remembered but not by the use of flashcard .. which research shows is an inefficient way of committing words to long term memory

Feenie Mon 10-Feb-14 21:12:41

Me too, Huitre. Except that perhaps others will hopefully read and heed them. Had forgotten how these threads end up with even column's initial supporters giving her posts a wide berth.

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 21:13:12

The point is that unique words must be taught as words to remember (even if the reason for remembering the word is to apply the unique grapheme).

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 21:16:27

The point is you are wrong!

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 21:17:21

And that would be because?

Huitre Mon 10-Feb-14 21:17:26

The one thing that is quite amusing about these threads is that we always end up bogged down in one tiny point that is almost insignificant to the greater argument. Column is very good at reducing an argument to the point of absurdity.

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 21:19:28

Personal attacks aren't going to improve your arguments.

If you've got a point to make just make it.

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 21:20:59

yes a Wymondham always gets thrown into the mix it's nearly as predictable a ghoti and Michael Rosen

tinytalker Mon 10-Feb-14 21:21:03

Not true Feenie, I'm just bored of going round in circles and I've got things to do! Haven't you?

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 21:22:01

there's another "word" where the <o> is representing the sound /i/ [rolls eyes]

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 21:26:08

Well, if you find another word then you won't need to rely on ghoti to be your only other earthly example of o making an i sound.

Then you can cross women off the list of words which have to be remembered as unique words.

maizieD Mon 10-Feb-14 21:26:48

And that would be because?

I told you the difference between memorising by whole word and memorising by decoding and blending a week or so ago. You didn't believe me then, why would you believe anyone now.

Have you heard of the Third grade slump? I would keep quiet about your DDs' reading prowess until you've passed that milestone. That's when learning words as 'wholes' turns sour. It's a big worry in the US, where your methods are favoured.

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 21:27:07

no sense of humour either [rolls eyes again]

Feenie Mon 10-Feb-14 21:27:31

And yet you still have time to read the thread. wink

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 21:28:04

Rolling you eyes till they fall out of your head won't improve the quality of your arguments.

Huitre Mon 10-Feb-14 21:29:05

It wasn't a personal attack! It was an observation.

teacherwith2kids Mon 10-Feb-14 21:30:02

Column, moving away briefly from the unique words - let's look at much more frequent 'alternative' ways to pronounce a grapheme (as the thought process is exactly the same, it illustrates the point).

For example, when teaching the grapheme th, children are taught that it can make the sound as in both, or the sound as in thus. So when decoding, they can sound it out in two alternative ways, to find out which creates a word (and, in the rare cases where both alternatives produce a known word, a word that makes sense). Similarly oo in cook, or oo in zoo - most schemes teach the two alternative phonemes side by side, and children try out both alternatives, the most common first, to decode the word.

(I appreciate that there is also further guidance that can be gven to children as to which is more likely in certain places in a word etc, but in my experience, children tend to sound it out in the first way, then try the word with the second way, and prounounce the final blend with an 'ah, that's it!' tone).

However rare the phoneme / grapheme correspondance, if children have a knowledge of the possible correspondances andjhave been taught them systematically, they can work their way rapidly through the options to decode the 'unusual' part of the word successfully (I mean, children don't know that 'women' is the only word with that correspondance. It will be common for the, to have some correspondances that are rare in their experience, and so they will adopt a systemaic approach to tackle them. Whether the correspondance is also rare in an absolute sense does not affect the process). .

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 21:30:54

Australia reports similar issues MaizieD

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 21:31:14

Personal attacks are always observations, they're just rude observations!

maizieD Mon 10-Feb-14 21:32:20


If you're really worried about how phonics instruction deals with all those unusual correspondences you should read Share on how phonics instruction promotes a self teaching mechanism.

Oh, I forgot blush; you don't read anything that might inform you about the teaching of reading.

Huitre Mon 10-Feb-14 21:32:37

Well, I am very sorry that you thought I was being rude as I didn't intend to be rude. However, here we go again, getting bogged down about something which does not add to either your or my positions.

teacherwith2kids Mon 10-Feb-14 21:33:42

Column reports that her elder DD has now worked out the phonic code for herself - or been taught it well in school - and prefers to use that to decode unknown words. So luckily the third grade slump shouldn't affect her. She is, of course, very lucky to be in the 80%.

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 21:34:57

Definitely no sense of humour

Feenie Mon 10-Feb-14 21:35:57

But by Y3 they may at least have grasped that Biff does gymnastics grin

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 21:38:05

Well she's complained often enough about the school using phonics and phonic books ... so I would say her daughter has been taught the phonic code and unlike mum realises that it's more efficient than trying to memorise thousands of whole words.

mrz Mon 10-Feb-14 21:39:10

Unlike the poor child taught phonics who would be able to read it in Y1 feenie

columngollum Mon 10-Feb-14 21:42:34

I'll let you know tomorrow if my 2yo can read it. Maybe not, but who knows.

Feenie Mon 10-Feb-14 21:43:08

Still shock that anyone would 'never expect' a Year 1 child to read it - or even recognise it again till years later. It's truly an eye opener.

PaulMuadDib Mon 10-Feb-14 21:43:33

This is fine, enjoyment of 'reading' and book is the most important thing, they will be doing phonics to supplement reading. Both mine learnt this way and are great readers now.

columngollum Tue 11-Feb-14 13:47:33

OK, she can distinguish (by holding the cards up) between gymnasium, gymnastics and gymnast

but she can't pronounce any of them.

Huitre Tue 11-Feb-14 14:31:26

Why don't you tell her what gymnastics says and see if she can then pronounce gymnast? Just as an experiment.

columngollum Tue 11-Feb-14 15:38:32

She can't say gym properly. Adding anything on the end just makes it worse. And she doesn't know what any of it means. I thought about showing her a gymnast but she'd just think it was a man (or a woman.) I've thrown the words away.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Tue 11-Feb-14 16:05:49

I was just about to say why are you even trying to do Flash cards with a 2 year old when there's far more fun be had...

... But you're already there! Well done.

mrz Tue 11-Feb-14 19:10:53

It's what CG does GoodnessIsThatTheTime so her children can read the classics in nursery

columngollum Tue 11-Feb-14 19:35:31

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition (or reads the classics in nursery).

mrz Tue 11-Feb-14 19:40:02

Rubbish columngollum!

anchovies Tue 11-Feb-14 19:45:52

Just want to say thanks for this thread! I know some of you may be done to death with the discussion(!) but I have just done a unit on synthetic phonics as part of my PGCE and got into some quite heated discussions on exclusive phonics vs mixed methods. Plenty of background and info here that has been invaluable (plus some interesting anecdotal evidence wink!)

mrz Tue 11-Feb-14 20:03:37
allchildrenreading Tue 11-Feb-14 20:43:14

Anchovies - also have a look at - a goldmine of information.

I'd love to have your estimate of % for the exclusive phonics as opposed to the mixed methods group. Also your lecturer/s pov, if you've time.

anchovies Tue 11-Feb-14 21:14:19

Thanks for the links. Have found this all so interesting. Sadly it's me vs the rest of the course (inc the lecturer) wrt exclusive phonics!

There's a lot of focus on the "Synthetic phonics and the teaching of
reading: the debate surrounding England’s ‘Rose Report’" paper and like on here plenty of anedotal evidence.

On a recent teaching practise we talked to some Year 8 boys at a school for complex learning difficulties who had effectively started learning to read again using exclusive phonics and were on phase 3. They said that reading was "making a bit more sense" because they hadn't realised there were rules you could follow. No one seems to have picked up on this because we have a discussion forum where the argument continues. There is a lot of talk about fluency and comprehension.

During our lectures we were told that exclusive phonics isn't ideal because:
a) there are a large number or irregular words in the English language

b) high frequency words (the top 100) are recommended to be learnt to be recognised

c) the evidence is that children from “word rich” environments will do better academically

PaperMover Tue 11-Feb-14 21:22:47

hello Bananaketchup! Are you still around? Your child's experience in reception sounds very much like my child's. I've started a few posts about it in the last couple of months, many MNers have posted on them with lots of useful links and advice.

I suppose you have to read all the available evidence and decide for yourself. If you decide the school is correct you do nothing. If you decide the school is wrong I think you are going to have to help your child yourself. That is what I am trying to do at the moment.

My daughter is being taught phonics at school, so that has been a start. It's really slow, and the school don't use phonics for reading, but at least phonics is acknowledged. I am trying to teach her faster and in more depth. The other thing I am doing is ignoring the reading books the school sends home. Instead she practices to blend by reading sentences I have written for her, using sounds she has learnt. We are also using Phonics International, the Early Years stuff is free! It's been a godsend!

Sadly I don't think our children are alone in being taught this way.

PaperMover Tue 11-Feb-14 21:28:55

Oh and I am "that mum", and although I haven't changed anything, and have obviously annoyed some people at the school, at least the school know I care. At least the school are aware that it isn't going to be good enough if my child doesn't learn to read. I think she could learn to read and spell better if she wasn't being taught by them ( mixed methods) and me ( confused, time poor, stressed, no expert) but its better than nothing.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Tue 11-Feb-14 21:34:37

Anchovies, I'm not an expert (like mrz) but that seems very outdated advice, and in direct contrast to current advice....

Papermover - there's some phonics readers free on the Oxford Owl website. You have to be careful though, the songbirds, rwi and some of the others are phoneticly organised but not some of the older ORT ones!

PaperMover Tue 11-Feb-14 21:44:50

Goodness, I've had Oxford Owl recommended to me on a few occasions, I even created a username. I just forget to use it! Ridiculous as DD Loves the iPad.

I've heard Teach Your Monster To Read is great too, but it doesn't work on the iPad which is all we have access to.

I'm subscribed to Reading Chest, just the phonics books, but even that is a bit hit and miss. I've chosen red band, some of the books seem to be SATPIN and are a bit too easy, but some of them are sounds we haven't covered yet. There seems no way of knowing which you'll end up with.

I'd be interested to hear how you get on Anchovies. Will you

PaperMover Tue 11-Feb-14 21:47:05

Only apply for jobs in schools where the SP approach is used? I'm just wondering how easy it would be to be a lone SP voice in the borough my dd goes to school in. Although I'd imagine you would be welcomed with open arms a couple of Boroughs along.

maizieD Tue 11-Feb-14 21:57:03

There is a lot of talk about fluency and comprehension.

The daft thing is that phonics improves both these things! It teaches children rapid and accurate word recognition. They aren't struggling to recognise words, so they can attend better to the meaning of what they are reading.

I taught SP to 'struggling readers' at KS3 for 10 years. Made a big difference to their reading and to their confidence.

During our lectures we were told that exclusive phonics isn't ideal because:
a) there are a large number or irregular words in the English language

English spelling is about 95% regular if you have a good understanding of how the 'alphabetic code' works.

b) high frequency words (the top 100) are recommended to be learnt to be recognised

Most of the words on that list are perfectly straightforward to decode. The very odd ones are taught as 'decodeable' with a 'tricky' bit. There's no pressing need to teach them as early as they are taught, it's just that some are useful for writing more 'natural' text.
If they do 'have to be learned' they can do it far better with phonics.

c) the evidence is that children from “word rich” environments will do better academically

II don't see that this has any thing to do with phonics but it's funny how the 'anti-phons' are willing to believe 'evidence' when it suits their purpose but decry it when it doesn't! Really this is just a cop out for when pupils don't learn to read.

Children from non 'word rich' environments need lots of compensation in school; lots of encouragement to read and enjoy reading. No-one ever seems to consider that in the past plenty of children of illiterate parents learned to read perfectly competently. If they hadn't, we'd still have 19th century rates of literacy!

fuzzle Tue 11-Feb-14 22:04:22

Just something ive always wondered. Given that all us who learnt to read pre-phonetics seemed to have managed fine, how can it be so inconceivable for people to understand that phonetics is not the only way to teach people to read and presumably is not necessarily the best way for each child? Everyone is different and research can't show what suits everyone. Like medicines research - some people don't respond to treatment, some respond better than expected. The phonics obsession really baffles me.

Feenie Tue 11-Feb-14 22:09:38

It's only 'obsessive' when you can see something which works for nearly all children eschewed for something which actively messes up and confuses one in five children. It's massively frustrating.

Feenie Tue 11-Feb-14 22:11:35

And you only 'managed just fine' because you worked the code out for yourself. Some children can't.

PaperMover Tue 11-Feb-14 22:12:07

Could I ask about "fluency and comprehension"? Today my DD read a large chunk of text from Phonics International. She blended 95% of the words fine. However I don't think she really knew what the text was about, I has certainly forgotten the beginning if the story by the end! Is this wrong, should she stick to texts she can decide easily, and does comprehend, and uses expression in her reading? Or, should we do both??

Feenie Tue 11-Feb-14 22:15:14

Definitely both.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Tue 11-Feb-14 22:23:25

Oh another online game we've found my daughter liked that is mainly phonics based is reading eggs. You can get a trial for free to see if its your cup of tea or not.

Not at all necessary,but if you were looking for additional games that work on an ipad that one does! They also do some mini-phonics games that are a bit different to the whole package.

maizieD Tue 11-Feb-14 22:24:36

Get her to re-read it. Re-reading has an evidence base as a good technique for improving reading.

It'll give her more decoding practice, toogrin

Would she have understood it if you'd read it to her?

PaperMover Tue 11-Feb-14 22:38:19

Reading Eggs, will check that out, thanks. Anything that works on the iPad is good as she thinks its a treat to use it.

Ok, we will do both. Or rather, we will aim to do both wink.

Yes, she would have understood it if I had read it to her. I see what you mean though, she could comprehend the story, just not at " beginners" speed.

zebedeee Tue 11-Feb-14 23:48:36

Just had a quick look and Reading Eggs may mean contaminating your SP ideals with mixed methods (e.g. onset and rime, not all sounds 'pure sounds', sight words) however it 'is based on the most up-to-date research on how children learn to read' and 'based on solid scientific research' ...

tinytalker Wed 12-Feb-14 00:30:23

My point too Fuzzle but this seemed to get lost in translation/polemics!

prh47bridge Wed 12-Feb-14 01:04:51

Yes, 80% of children will learn to read regardless of the method used. However, 95%+ (according to some studies 99%+) of children will learn to read if synthetic phonics is the only method used. I struggle to understand why some people want to persist with teaching methods that fail 20% of the population.

The average English-speaking adult has a spoken vocabulary of around 5,000 words but a somewhat larger total vocabulary. If whole word recognition or similar is used that is thousands of words to memorise, although it is helped a little by compound words.

English has around 40 phonemes represented by around 70 graphemes. English has a fairly deep orthography, which means most phonemes are represented by multiple graphemes and many graphemes can represent multiple phonemes. In order to read pretty much any English word around 150 grapheme to phoneme mappings need to be grasped. That is a lot less to learn than thousands of individual words. It also gives the reader the tools to decode words they have not previously encountered.

We are learning more and more about how the brain works. The latest research strongly suggests that we read by sounding out words subconsciously at very high speed regardless of the method used to teach reading.

The above is facts, not polemics. Based on these facts, my personal view is that synthetic phonics is clearly the way we should be teaching reading. Other approaches seem to me to be akin to teaching someone to fly a jumbo jet without telling them what the controls do or what the instruments mean.

Feenie Wed 12-Feb-14 06:50:21

Your point is lost in the low expectations you have persistently demonstrated on this thread, tinytalker.

I would not recommend Reading Eggs - mrz has posted about Sounds Write apps but I haven't seen them yet, bet they are more than worth a look though.

Feenie Wed 12-Feb-14 06:52:21

Clear post, phr47, thanks.

mrz Wed 12-Feb-14 07:45:11

Feenie I'm using the S~W with a child who is profoundly deaf (gave in and bought an ipad) and it's already having an effect.

Feenie Wed 12-Feb-14 07:52:58

That's excellent news!

moldingsunbeams Wed 12-Feb-14 08:02:45

Dd learned to read in the old look and remember way mentioned in the op.

She is level 5 sats wise so ahead for her age for reading but her phonic knowledge is appalling, she can't break words down at all.

Everything she reads is from memory and ed psyc said it can't last.

columngollum Wed 12-Feb-14 09:13:33

molding, how good is her spelling?

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Wed 12-Feb-14 09:50:24

Mrz you sound a fantastic teacher smile

PaperMover Wed 12-Feb-14 10:02:07

Prh47bridge, thanks so much, such a clear post. I might take that to show to the school if that's ok? Not that it will make any difference, but I do need to get something in writing. I keep trying but i get bogged diwn in to much information.

The school have told me they don't care if decodable books are statutory in next years nat c. They have shown they think they are above the law in other ways too, grrr.

Ok, thanks Zebedee, I won't bother with reading eggs then. I've tried sounds-write but the iPad needs to be updated to get it and I don't want to mess around with it, it's got all DPs work on it. So am waiting impatiently for him to sort it.

prh47bridge Wed 12-Feb-14 10:38:16

PaperMover - Feel free to use my post in any way you want.

columngollum Wed 12-Feb-14 10:56:25

The only facts that I can see in the post referred to as fact and not polemics is that the studies may make those claims. It may indeed be a fact that the studies claim that. But that does not preclude the fact the studies themselves are mistaken. (Or those studies might explain how it is not necessary to be able to read some irregular English words.)

prh47bridge Wed 12-Feb-14 12:43:09

Which bit do you dispute?

The proportion of children who will learn by each method? There is extensive research to back that up. And of course those conducting the research do not ignore what you persist in describing as irregular English words. The researchers have not found any evidence to support your contention that those who learn through synthetic phonics struggle with any part of English vocabulary.

The size of the average adult's vocabulary?

The number of phonemes, graphemes and phoneme to grapheme correspondences?

The research that is coming up with increasingly strong evidence as to the mechanisms we use when reading?

If you want to dismiss any research that disagrees with your preconceptions that is up to you. But don't accuse others of polemics when you persist with positions that are not supported by any research.

moldingsunbeams Wed 12-Feb-14 13:27:48

Spelling is really poor column but she does have learning difficulties and just can't get phonics even with one to one so I think had they not allowed her to learn this way she probably wouldn't be able to read properly still.

Imo she can read pretty much anything with a reading age of 13 or so.

If as ed psyc suggest her mind won't take much more I am happy she can read solidly enough to manage.

in her adult life she can use spell checks and dictionaries, at least she can read.

maizieD Wed 12-Feb-14 14:07:08

Which bit do you dispute?

She won't tell you,prh47bridge.

She said this on p8 of this thread

..all the ideological guff that phonicsy people spout..

I asked at the time exactly what 'idealogical guff' we spouted. I'm still waiting for an example.

She's a real constructivist, you know; constructs her own meaning of words and constructs her own realitygrin

Sadly, as far as the teaching of phonics is concerned, there are a lot of people around who operate the same way as cg. Most noticeably education 'academics' who think that 'research' means 'my opinion and a few unattributed anecdotes'. My dd works in research at a very 'good' university. She says the education academics' 'research' is regarded as a bit of a joke... It's amazing that every other discipline which has researched reading reaches the same conclusions about how it works, what children need to know and how best to teach it. Education 'academics' just say 'talk to the hand' sad

Bumpsadaisie Wed 12-Feb-14 14:07:43

My DD is prob about ready to move up a book band as she is reading without sounding out.

How do I/we know whether she has just "memerised" the words and can just look at them to know them, or whether she is sightreading?

Bumpsadaisie Wed 12-Feb-14 14:15:09

What I mean is, what is the difference between memorising whole words, and sight reading?

My DD is being taught phonics. But when she reads, eg "They washed Floppy" - how do we know what method she is using to read that?

Re pictures, I notice that my DD reads the word silently to herself then scans the pictures for, I guess, confirmation that it does say what she thinks it says. I would have thought using the pictures for confirmation/confidence is normal.

If there is a new word, I think she both sounds it out and uses the pictures to help. Eg last night we had "watched". She sounded out w-a-t-ch-d and then obviously realised that wasnt a word - so she used the picture (in which biff and kipper were watching Floppy) for help and read it correctly. The whole process took her a few seconds.

There were other words - "wanted" - "washed" - later in the story and she was quicker with those, having already seen from "watching" that "w-a" is sometimes read "w-o". The use of the picture initially to help her read "watched" then helped her to read "wanted" and "washed" without using the pictures.

Once she knows a word, even if she learnt it through phonic sounding out initially, I think she remembers it as a whole word and says it (and doesn't sound it out quietly in her mind).

maizieD Wed 12-Feb-14 14:48:45

If there is a new word, I think she both sounds it out and uses the pictures to help. Eg last night we had "watched". She sounded out w-a-t-ch-d and then obviously realised that wasnt a word - so she used the picture (in which biff and kipper were watching Floppy) for help and read it correctly. The whole process took her a few seconds.

There were other words - "wanted" - "washed" - later in the story and she was quicker with those, having already seen from "watching" that "w-a" is sometimes read "w-o". The use of the picture initially to help her read "watched" then helped her to read "wanted" and "washed" without using the pictures.

You are very lucky to have a child who can intuit the phonics for herself. Shame on the school for using an outdated Look & Say reading scheme which is giving her words to decode before she has been taught the correspondences they contain.

I'd not be keen on a child using pictures for word ID but, in the circumstances (i.e no help from school) your dd is doing the very best she can. At least she's trying to sound out words and only using the picture for 'confirmation'.That's a better strategy than trying to guess the word from the picture. Sadly, many children are taught to use the picture to guess what the word might beshock.

Trouble is, there will be a significant number of children in her year group who can't work it out for themselves; they will dislike reading, underachieve and feel stupid. Not a nice thing to do to children, really.

kesstrel Wed 12-Feb-14 15:46:14

"Everyone is different and research can't show what suits everyone. Like medicines research - some people don't respond to treatment, some respond better than expected. The phonics obsession really baffles me."

But how do doctors deal with this problem? People who don't know much about medicine often think that if taking one drug is good, taking three must be better (similar to the mixed methods approach to reading).

But doctors know that approach is often problematic. They know about drug interactions, and that some medications will weaken or make others ineffective. So they normally use the most widely effective treatment first, and only turn to different ones if the patient doesn't respond.

Mixed methods teaching creates a similar problem to drug interactions. Those children who need phonics to learn get too little exposure to it, or are confused by the multiplicity of approaches on offer. The result is 15-20% of children not reading properly, who would not have had this problem had they been taught by phonics alone.

By contrast, only 3-5% of children initially taught by phonics will need a different method.

I think a trained doctor would have no trouble deciding which option is preferable.

columngollum Wed 12-Feb-14 16:34:25

I don't dispute the fact that phonicsy reports exist. I'm sure there are people who believe that phonics alone is sufficient. There are also people who believe in ghosts, black magic and the devil.

Bumpsadaisie Wed 12-Feb-14 16:36:19

Thanks Maizie

So in teaching phonics properly if guess the school should have taught that "wa" can sometimes make the sound "wo" ?

For all I know they might have done and Dd had just forgotten what she was taught. How do you know what phonics sounds they have been taught - is there a standard pathway through them all?

And I think I remember seeing a chart of 44 phonic sounds and I don't think "wa" as in "wo" was on it! Is "wa" a phonic that they learn?

blush I find it all a bit confusing tbh.

columngollum Wed 12-Feb-14 16:40:37

There may be people who believe, as prh47 suggests, that not being taught irregular English words has no effect on children's reading abilities. That, presumably is one of the premises of their report.

I wouldn't be satisfied with that definition of reading.

Feenie Wed 12-Feb-14 16:57:17

<rolls eyes>

Bumpsadaisie, you may find these charts helpful.

mrz Wed 12-Feb-14 17:10:53

No Bumpsadaisie "wo" is two sounds /w/ & /o/ children learn that the sound /o/ is often spelt <a> when it follows the sound /w/ - was - want - watch - what- squat - quad etc

columngollum Wed 12-Feb-14 17:14:59

I'm not sure if that was a contribution to the discussion. But it's perfectly valid to redefine reading as not including any irregular words

just as the Oxford Phonics Spelling Dictionary carefully avoids any irregular words.

People can then feel free to ask each other what they mean by reading.

maizieD Wed 12-Feb-14 17:15:56

And I think I remember seeing a chart of 44 phonic sounds and I don't think "wa" as in "wo" was on it!

As all the charts show you the 'sounds' (phonemes) and then ways they are spelled you wouldn't have found the 'a' as /o/ after 'w' unless you already knew it. (In which case you wouldn't be looking for it!)

Years ago, when I was organising TAs listening to children read, I did a kind of 'reverse' chart, listed the graphemes and then the 'sounds' they could represent.

I don't have my original, but I could have another go at it and upload it to somewhere if anyone would find it useful. So, if you weren't sure about what a letter/s was spelling you could find the letter and then all the sounds it can spell, the reverse of the usual charts.

It wasn't a 'teaching' resource, just a crib-sheet smile

mrz Wed 12-Feb-14 17:30:33

What are these irregular words columngollum?

Words aren't irregular! Some may have unusual or unique spellings for some of the sounds but that doesn't make the word irregular.

duchesse Wed 12-Feb-14 17:38:50

Apart from people's surnames such as Featherstonehaugh or Cholmondley there are very few irregular words.

Bumpsadaisie Wed 12-Feb-14 17:39:56

Maizie that would be a fantastic thing to have if you were able to do it.

thanks for you.

Bumpsadaisie Wed 12-Feb-14 17:40:50

Thanks Feenie for the link. Very helpful. smilethanks

Bumpsadaisie Wed 12-Feb-14 17:41:49

Thanks mrz too for the explanation. I get it now. thanks

prh47bridge Wed 12-Feb-14 17:48:07

I'm sure there are people who believe that phonics alone is sufficient. There are also people who believe in ghosts, black magic and the devil.

You will find plenty of serious scientific research showing that synthetic phonics alone is sufficient for 95%+ of all children. You will struggle to find any serious scientific research that supports the existence of ghosts, black magic and the devil. Given the lack of serious scientific research that supports your position it would make more sense to lump your beliefs with ghosts, etc.

columngollum Wed 12-Feb-14 17:53:26

Do you need a scientist to tell you that the word women has an irregular phoneme/letter correspondence in it?

Do you need a scientist to tell you which way is up and which is down?

mrz Wed 12-Feb-14 17:58:41

No columngollum we just need our eyes and ears to work out that the spelling for the sound /i/ in the word women is spelt <o> ... and we don't need to learn the word by sight or to use flashcards

columngollum Wed 12-Feb-14 18:01:44

Regardless of how the learning takes place it is necessary to remember that this word has a unique spelling.

columngollum Wed 12-Feb-14 18:03:44

Or it can be accepted (by some people) that having an ignorance of unique or irregular words does the pupil no harm.

teacherwith2kids Wed 12-Feb-14 18:06:15

ciolumnn, the reading reserach that quantified the success of phonics looked at the readiing of ALL words - ie 'real reading of unrestricted texts', which of course will include a sprinkling of the words with some unusual / unique graopheme / phoneme correspondances.

You seem to think that it says '95% of children will learn to read phonically regular words through phonics'. It doesn't. It says 95% of children will learn to read, full stop - yes, including words like one and women and yacht. Whereas 80% of children taught to read via mizxed methods will achieve the same.

Is that clearer?

columngollum Wed 12-Feb-14 18:09:06

Previous arguments in this thread have stated that phonics alone is sufficient. teacherwith, that would not concur with your last post. I would in fact agree with your statement. Phonics plus whatever else is necessary to teach the children to read is sufficient. Yes.

teacherwith2kids Wed 12-Feb-14 18:09:09

So it does not say, for example, that the 95% will NOT be able to read 'One of the women walked down the street', and that this is OK because it contains two words containing unusual phoneme / grapheme correspondances. It says that the children who have learned using phonics will read that sentence, and many other texts, whereas 15% less of a L&S-trained sample will not read to the same level of fluency.

teacherwith2kids Wed 12-Feb-14 18:11:27

"Phonics plus whatever else is necessary to teach the children to read".

No, that is the 'mixed methods' bit that fails children.

The point is that children who learn to read BY PHONICS ALONE, including proper teaching of unusual phonemes / graphemes, will read such sentences USING THEIR PHONIC TOOLKIT.

mrz Wed 12-Feb-14 18:13:59

Columgollum phonics alone is sufficient for reading ANY word because all words are made up of sounds and those sounds are represented by letters in texts. Of course if the word isn't in the reader's vocabulary they may struggle with comprehension but that applies equally to your flashcards (as you found with gymnastics)

teacherwith2kids Wed 12-Feb-14 18:14:12

By which I mean, instead of somneone saying 'because there is an unsual pgc in women, here is a flashcard with a word on it', they provide exactly the explanation that mrz and orthers have posted already, which is an exactly analolous process to the teachign of the two ways th is promounced, oo is pronounced etc etc. Good teaching of alternative pgcs is a critical part of good phonics teaching - and, to be fair, the bit that is usually missed out in poor phonics teaching, which may explain your scepticism.

teacherwith2kids Wed 12-Feb-14 18:14:52

(Excuse appalling typing. Keyboard issues.)

maizieD Wed 12-Feb-14 18:42:13

Let's just remind cg of the practices which SP does not 'allow'.

Do not teach children to guess unknown words by using context, picture or initial letter 'clues'.

Do not teach words as 'wholes' (i.e as a whole unit without regard to the significance of the letters of which it is comprised).

Do not give children words to read (in text) which contain letter/sound correspondences which they haven't been taught.

There are very sound cognitive reasons for all these. It is not at all difficult to teach children to read well without using these 'strategies'.

I expect cg can be forgiven for pooh poohing this as there are plenty of teachers around who do the same. If teachers can't get their heads round the psychology of learning why should an uninformed amateur do any better?

maizieD Wed 12-Feb-14 18:44:37

^ If teachers can't get their heads round the psychology of learning why should an uninformed amateur do any better?^

Except an awful lot of 'amateurs' do do better. There's many a child been rescued by parentally taught phonics grin

columngollum Wed 12-Feb-14 19:13:09

I agree, mrz. All words are made up of sounds which is why ghoti is a valid word. (It's made up of sounds.)

I also agree with maizie. Don't teach words as wholes. So, teach the o as i sound in women, tell the child that the o letter can represent the i sound, but don't tell her which word it occurs in.

(The danger of revealing the word is that the child will remember the word with its unique spelling.) (Only L&S children are allowed to know that piece of information.)

mrz Wed 12-Feb-14 19:36:36

Sorry columngollum but are you really as obtuse as you are trying to portray in your posts?

You really are posting absolute rubbish!

columngollum Wed 12-Feb-14 19:41:14

A personal attack isn't an argument, mrz. You either agree with your own statement or you don't.

mrz Wed 12-Feb-14 19:42:24

I disagree with your interpretation of my statement columngollum ...hence the rubbish comment!