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Best reading schemes: ORT / jolly phonics / other?

(40 Posts)
Greythorne Tue 02-Nov-10 23:46:40

We live abroad and DD1 goes to a local school, so I am having to sort out teaching her to read in English sort of by myself.

We have "done" Letterland and now DD knows her letters really wsell, we still read the books as she enjoys them.

We also have the ORT "Read at Home" box set.

Wondering if we should go for ORT / Jolly phonics / another scheme completely as well / instead of?

Also, in the ORT parents' notes, it says "please do not hide the pictures" and yet on MN I have seen that "proper" phonics teaching means that the pictures are not useful as guess aids. I think it was a poster called mrs something, sorry not to be more specific

Any views opn pictures / no pictures / covering the pictures etc?

Greythorne Tue 02-Nov-10 23:52:56

Just remembered, the poster i refered to was mrsz

mrsz are you out there?

delphinedownunder Tue 02-Nov-10 23:54:26

i really like JP in my classoom, but as a support, not as a reading scheme. ORT is fine and i also use it on occasion. However, it is best, IMHO, to select a range of reading books at an appropriate level and including very easy books for independence that reflect the interests of the child and that cover a range of genre. i would say never cover the pictures - they are always there for a reason and are a strong scaffold. I'm sure you know this, but read lots of rich picture books with your child, over and over.There is a book for you to read called Reading Magic by Mem Fox that is brilliant on extending the reading to experience.

MrsShrekTheThird Wed 03-Nov-10 00:12:16

mrz knows lots, hope she wanders in soon

I don't often air my opinions on this topic, but imho reading schemes are better used as you're already doing, the read at home is probably the best of a bad job... we use "DK readers" books at home as otherwise I'd truly kill Biff, Chip and co grin. or myself hmm
That said, the first level of the DK is quite high, probably the equivalent of level 6ish ORT. The bonus being that you can play to your dc's interests with your choice of books.

Greythorne Wed 03-Nov-10 00:13:05

OK, after much searching, I have found the thread I was thinking of: ding-books-week-One

Not meaning to do a thread about a thread, but on this thread, mrsz says the following about not guessing:

mrz Sat 11-Sep-10 13:03:25
I'm not a fan of wordless books in reception I don't think they are necessary (more revenue for the publishers) sending home a quality "library" book is far better as children can still look at the pictures and talk about them and also listen to the story (read to them) and reinforce the concept that words carry the meaning not the pictures - no guessing!

I can see why the pictures help the overall enjoyment, but they also, presumably help with guessing...which mrsz seems to think is a bad idea.

Any thoughts on pictures / wordless books / covering pictures to avoid guessing?

MrsShrekTheThird Wed 03-Nov-10 00:13:18

am a teacher, btw.

How old is your dd?

Greythorne Wed 03-Nov-10 00:13:49

Blooming link did not work. Here goes: oks-week-One

Greythorne Wed 03-Nov-10 00:19:40

thx for your reply
my DD is still quite little
I am thinking ahead more than anything

she is in a local French school, but English is still her majority language (for now)
we read loads and loads in English and have a very english environment

i do of course want to support her reading in english.

i know reading is a transferable skill and that once she has learnt to read in French, it should be a relatively quick exercise to get the english reading going.

but they don't teach reading here until age 6, so I am trying to get the info (and best books / materials) ready

We also have the Usborne phonics books (Fat Cat on the Mat / Shark in the Park / Hens Pens etc) but I don't know how useful they will be to help DD read as we have read them amlot as storybooks, so she knows them pretty much off by heart. I think she will spout them parrot fashion or guess (they rhyme).

Greythorne Wed 03-Nov-10 00:27:48

BTW, any other books explaining how to go about synthetic phonics? As I mentioned, we have the parents' book from the ORT Read at home and it is useful, but something more detailed might be useful.

MrsShrekTheThird Wed 03-Nov-10 00:29:31

I reckon you're on the right lines. The spouting parrot-fashion thing is something that they all do, it's developmental and quite important to do this step. My dc (7&4) have done all the Room on the Broom / Smartest Giant / Snail and the Whale etc and their vocab is fantastic - the words are then easy for them to spot when they do learn to read.
A set of flashcards is your best resource.
Also - no idea why I didn't mention before - the scheme taught for reading / speaking in English infant schools, is letters and sounds the website is fantastic and children learn to recognise letters, words, develop the sounds related to each letter or combination of letters (digraph = two letter sound, like 'sh' or 'oo') and the different ways that letters are 'blended' (sounded out when they are next to each other)
Hope I've not baffled you with teachery jargon, LAS can be used from - well - pretty much now!! Also take a look at the education city website. Both the ones I've mentioned have printable resources, and although they're not 'books' they are fantastic resources. Over here, just as a guide, they tend to teach phase 1 letters and sounds in Nursery class, from age 3, and then phase 2 as soon as they start reception (4yrs) and phase 3 after a term or so in full-time school.

Greythorne Wed 03-Nov-10 00:31:02

i am grateful

MrsShrekTheThird Wed 03-Nov-10 00:34:15


Malaleuca Wed 03-Nov-10 04:08:39

A set of instructional books designed for beginners, covering the complete English alphabetic code, with the full emphasis on decoding through the word, where the pictures are used to carry the story without giving overt clues to the words, is BRI/ARI, available in UK from
The readers are low-cost.
They are my particular favourites (tried and tested and enjoyed by small children and parents)but there are others.

Greythorne Wed 03-Nov-10 07:59:09

going to check out your recos right now.

maverick Wed 03-Nov-10 10:25:51

All the best decodable reading schemes listed here with a brief description -scroll down

IndigoBell Wed 03-Nov-10 11:52:09

dancing bears is a very good scheme you can do easily in 10 minutes a day at home.

roundtable Wed 03-Nov-10 19:23:17

Rigby Star
Songbirds Phonics
Collins Big Cat

are good - phonetically based stories where you focus on a grapheme or phoneme per book/s. Mixture of fiction and non fiction too.

Hope this helps.

Sassyfrassy Wed 03-Nov-10 19:25:17

I really like read write inc, we use it at the school where I work.

BumpedUpandOut Wed 03-Nov-10 23:03:04

Hi, we also live abroad and, like you, I am teaching the DC English as they study at a local language school. I'd warn you to think about costs and availability as well as 'what's best'. A lot of people who recommend books on here have access to English language libraries, but you probably don't! I don't. And when they're learning to read, you get through a LOT of books.

My oldest is now 7. Have used JP for early phonics which worked well, and it's easily available via Amazon. It is proper synthetic phonics (I think Maverick will agree, and her dyslexics site it well, well worth checking out - it's not just for dyslexics!)

The JP reading books were fine - not overly engaging but not bad. I've also used readwrite as they do lovely, very cheap packs of black-and-white booklets for phonic literacy. Songbirds are great but very expensive.

Don't worry about sticking to a 'scheme' once you're past the basics. You can pick and choose according to your child's interests. (Though a scheme can be reassuring and cost effective when you're starting out, and clueless. grin)

kodokan Thu 04-Nov-10 09:58:16

Agree with Bumped on the 'churn' angle of early readers; we live overseas too and I've been teaching my DD to read in English.

I used JP to get the basics in place - I'd say the only essentials are the handbook and the coloured room frieze; I cut it up and added each sound to her room as she learnt it.

Then, to get round the problem of not having library access for millions of one-shot readers, I use the website (sorry, can't find square brackets on weird Swiss keyboard to do a proper link).

The website has thousands of printable graded readers to cover beginners up to age 12. It also has games and lesson plans to do the phonic sounds, but we'd already done that by the time I found it; they look quite helpful, though. Books are all sorts of formats, fiction, non-fiction, poems, comic strips, in series, ones to drill high frequency words or a particular sound, etc.

You just print the one you want (search by reading level, subject matter), staple it together, have the child read it, and then they can colour in the pictures if that's their sort of thing.

You can also not staple them, and instead stick up pages like a running frieze on the wall opposite the loo or next to the toothbrushing sink, to maximise reading exposure. smile

The subscription is about $70-80 a year, which works well for me because I'm using the books across two children and two languages (hundreds of the books are also translated into Spanish and French). There are examples of different levels to look at before deciding.

maverick Thu 04-Nov-10 10:31:04

Thanks for the heads-up on my website, BumpedUpandOut smile

I'd really recommend sticking to proper decodable readers initially -the new UK government guidelines now say this.

For completely online decodable text I recommend the Phonics International programme -it's all online and includes all culmulative text you'll need throughout the programme -v. cheap too:

geraldinetheluckygoat Thu 04-Nov-10 10:46:15

we have a set of ORT "snapdragons" at home, which are lots of different stories (not about Biff et al!)- there's lots of variety in the subject matter, and repetition of certain words in each book. DS1 has really enjoyed reading them and has found the stories in them interesting (in that he has wanted to find out what happens next!). smile

here's one of them

I think you might be able to get them from the book people...

BumpedUpandOut Thu 04-Nov-10 10:49:20

I also love phonicsinternational. And is fabulous, especially for quite young children - and free!

Didn't know about readinga-z, kodokan. Will check it out.

After some initial troubles with reading, I have now stuck slavishly to maverick's only-decodables rule and things improved tremendously. So it is worth sticking to synthetic phonics.

joanibel Fri 13-May-11 15:47:04

email me privately

joanibel Fri 13-May-11 15:50:37

email me privately

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