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AIBU to think that phonics should just be called "learning to read"?

(111 Posts)
lukeiamyourmother Sun 30-Sep-12 20:15:21

I was taught phonetically, so was my brother, husband, mother as was every friend I have talked to about this over a range of ages. I can't see any other way of learning to read? I am probably completely naive to this topic but I have overhead so many people praising phonics lately, so many forum posts about it, blogs etc.

Phonics just sounds like such a hot new buzz word for a pretty standard and old fashioned way of learning to read. I am 36 so it isn't even new! In fact I was a bit confused when someone recently proudly announced that their child was learning phonetically "Its just like, sooooooo great." Er... Doesn't everyone?

AKissIsNotAContract Sun 30-Sep-12 20:16:46

I was, but someone I work with wasn't. She was taught to memorise words instead of breaking them down and sounding them out

Fobwatch Sun 30-Sep-12 20:16:55

No, there's a method called "look and say" which relies on memorising entire words. Lots of them. It is now discredited.

Birdsgottafly Sun 30-Sep-12 20:20:56

YABU, not all children learn to read by using Phonics.

It would be making Phonics the 'normal' way and anything else 'strange', iyswim.

There is no one way to learn to read, or learn anything else.

just sounds like such a hot new buzz word for a pretty standard and old fashioned way of learning to read

Once again, not everyone learned to read that way because the method of teaching didn't suit their needs, but were branded 'thick' because of that.

Birdsgottafly Sun 30-Sep-12 20:22:29

Doesn't everyone?

Depends on whether any disabilties or addittional needs are present.

badtime Sun 30-Sep-12 20:22:47

It should be the same thing, but for some reason the 'look and say' method was used widely for a couple of decades. It always confused me - the whole point of an alphabet is that you just have to learn a few symbols to know how to read. It's not like Chinese ideograms where you have to learn thousands of separate 'words'.

lukeiamyourmother Sun 30-Sep-12 20:22:51

Blooming 'ell, I take it back then. Memorising words? What an arduous way of learning!

BUT I still stand by not liking new names for old things. Especially boasting about said old thing like it is the hottest new thing.

phantomnamechanger Sun 30-Sep-12 20:22:58

the trouble is OP, that somewhere between your generation and todays kids, it all went wrong - many kids were NOT taught phonetics and the result was that generations grew up unable to decipher words they did not know - they could not sound, segment, and blend to work out what a new word was!

Phonics is great because it works. yes, there are exceptions to the rules and you just have to learn those, but it really does equip children to become independant readers quicker than learning every word by size/shape/sight

children can "learn" all the words in a book, point at each one, and seem to be "reading" them - but then not recognise the same word in another book

Llareggub Sun 30-Sep-12 20:23:39

I am 37 and didn't learn to read phonetically. It is making life quite difficult at the moment, as I am expected to support my DS's phonic learning at home. I have no idea what most of sounds are. I have an MA and I am feeling pretty dim, I can tell you. Hopefully by the time DS2 learns to read he'll have picked it up from the sessions DS1 and I are having every evening!

PedanticPanda Sun 30-Sep-12 20:24:35

Phonics isnt the only way to learn to read. My son can't learn to read by phonics, he just can't figure it out, so memorises loads of words. He can read his reading books fine just by memory and if he encounters a new word then once he's told it he memorises it for next time.

It might not be the best way to learn to read but it's the way he does it.

lukeiamyourmother Sun 30-Sep-12 20:25:56

I am currently googling this "look and say" business...

kim147 Sun 30-Sep-12 20:26:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

YouMayLogOut Sun 30-Sep-12 20:27:11

YABU. There are other ways to learn to read. "Look and say" isn't discredited, it's just out of fashion. Some children learn better with one method than another.

meditrina Sun 30-Sep-12 20:29:01

Phonics is the traditional way - it's been around for centuries. Other methods were briefly popular in 20th century; it has now been shown they are
less effective (as are mixed methods). So yes, returning to 'learning to read' meaning what it always used to (sounding out, decoding) wool probably remove heaped of misunderstanding from discussion.

McHappyPants2012 Sun 30-Sep-12 20:29:14

I was taught to look, cover, write then practise.

I couldn't sound out words so my infants school had to be creative ( I have a speach problem)

badtime Sun 30-Sep-12 20:30:47

I believe the evidence shows that stronger readers pick reading up at similar rates whatever method of teaching is used, but weaker readers benefit from phonics, and learn to read significantly quicker.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 30-Sep-12 20:33:52

Look and say relies on the child working out the phonic code themselves from the words they have already memorised. Otherwise no one who had learned through look/say would ever be able to decipher a new word, would they?

Properly taught phonics is the most effective way to teach reading for most children.

lukeiamyourmother Sun 30-Sep-12 20:37:16

Look and Say : what if a teacher failed to show you a really fundamental word. Like Poison or Danger. You would be pretty screwed! Obviously that is a silly example but it does highlight that you can only learn the words you are shown which would leave you limited when reading alone.

But if phonics is what everyone is now doing (obviously aside from those with special needs) we could just cut the arbitrary titles and just say "Little Johnny is learning to read"

BenandBolly Sun 30-Sep-12 20:37:42

I didn't learn by phonics

BenandBolly Sun 30-Sep-12 20:38:25

When you learn by look and say eventually you remember the sounds, simple as that.

GnomeDePlume Sun 30-Sep-12 20:38:27

DH finds the phonics approach will not work for him - he is straight down the line dyslexic. He cannot split up words so has to recognise the outline of the whole word. If it is an unfamiliar word then he spells it out and tries to work out what the word is from that.

We dont all learn in the same way so why assume that reading should follow one scheme only?

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Sun 30-Sep-12 20:41:13

My ds taught himself to read while he was still at pre school. He was fluent just from memorising words. When he got to school he was still encouraged to learn phonics and I definitely feel it was worth him learning that system because now he's in Y8 and learning all sorts of new words that he would never have come across before, and I think he would struggle with some of them if he hadn't been taught how to break words down and 'sound it out'.

lukeiamyourmother Sun 30-Sep-12 20:41:42

But remembering the sounds still comes back to phonics, doesn't it?

meditrina Sun 30-Sep-12 20:42:13

Those who have extra needs may well require specialist intervention. That's not just true if reading - after all no one calls for, say, not teaching times tables because those with dyscalculia don't get it nor are children expected to just work out multiplication for themselves by seeing a lot of sums.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 30-Sep-12 20:42:16

remembering the sounds = phonics. Why not teach the sounds?

we don't assume that reading should follow one scheme only. The evidence is there that the vast majority of children learn to read more effectively with phonics than with mixed methods which leave up to 20% of children struggling. If a child had additional needs then that needs to be taken into account of course. But look/say is really quite ineffective.

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