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Ok, what's all this phonemes stuff then? [thicko emoticon]

(17 Posts)
ConstanceNoring Mon 19-Sep-11 12:37:21

I sort of know what it is, sounds in words right?

DS (just started y2) has been given a 'phonics' work book combined with a spellings book. The front cover is labelled 'spellings', and the back cover labelled 'phonics'. In the spellings section there are about 10 simple words written by him and ticked by the teacher - great so that's his spelling test, fine, I get that bit.

But then in the 'phonics' section of the book on the first page there is a printed grid with the typed words the, I, go, to, no, into, and then listed he, she, me, we, be, was.

In the front cover is a printed note to parents about "Phonics Book" and how the children will write words containing phonemes in their books, and please help your child spell these words and find more examples to add to the lists.

I don't geddit, - or have they just not started this bit yet hence I can't really see what i'm supposed to be doing, or, or, or <grasps straws> have they stuck the grid in the wrong end of the book, perhaps these are his spellings? (seem a bit too simple for this though)

I don't want to let him down by not helping him, but apart from the spellings I can't see what I'm supposed to be doing with him..

I'm panicking aren't I ?


[they didn't do it like this in my day]

IndigoBell Mon 19-Sep-11 12:47:38

I'm guessing they going to do things like


next, and you help them to come up with


The point being that words that rhyme might not have the same phoneme in them ie, rain, plane. So if they're learning 'ai' you have to tell them rain is spelt that way, but plane isn't.

Again, most words that rhyme with 'go', aren't spelt that way (blow, dough...) and most words that rhyme with 'he' aren't spelt that way (see, knee), so I think for this week you don't have to do anything else....

(Well that's my guess )

Tillyscoutsmum Mon 19-Sep-11 12:52:07

Are the spelling phoenetic words ? Obviously the other words in the phonics section are not. Go would phoenetically be pronounced like Gok but without the 'k'. Do they want you to find examples of other words which don't work phonetically (like "the").

Caveat: I'm also just guessing grin

ConstanceNoring Mon 19-Sep-11 12:58:27

You may have a point there Tilly, all the words listed there do not work phonetically do they, perhaps that's what they're saying.

Fancy sticking 'em in there without an explanation..


Perhaps it's to expose the thicko mums like me


IndigoBell Mon 19-Sep-11 13:00:57

No, they are phonetic.

'e' making the 'ee' sound is a phoneme. As in she, he, we, be, me as listed.

Basically almost every word is phonetic because there are an awful lot of phonemes.

ConstanceNoring Mon 19-Sep-11 13:05:35

Ok I have confused myself, - what about 'was' though? this sounds like 'woz' doesn't it..

can't believe I'm 'stuck' on Y2 homework grin

IndigoBell Mon 19-Sep-11 13:18:36

the a normally makes an o sound after a w

and normally a single 's' makes a z sound at the end of the word (you use 2 ss for the 's' sound at the end of the word)

ConstanceNoring Mon 19-Sep-11 13:20:53

Ah, I think i'm getting it, - in he, she, we, be the phoneme would be 'ee'

but in peg, bed, head the phoneme is 'e'

and in 'want' and 'was' the phoneme is 'o'

ConstanceNoring Mon 19-Sep-11 13:23:56

Still doesn't explain what to do with the two lists of words though, maybe they are supposed to write the phonemes used within the word next to them, it just doesn't say.

May I have my badge yet?

ConstanceNoring Mon 19-Sep-11 13:26:02

And there are vowel phonemes and consonant phonemes...

<bell rings for lunch>

thanks for your help smile

IndigoBell Mon 19-Sep-11 13:27:00

Here you go.

/o/ octopus - (w)a wasp , (wh)a what, (qu)a quad
/z/ zoo - zz buzz, s was, se please, ze breeze
/ee/ eel, ea eat, e me, y rainy, ey key, e-e swede, ie thief, i radio

betterwhenthesunshines Mon 19-Sep-11 14:32:39

Great link IndigoBell thank you!

ConstanceNoring Mon 19-Sep-11 14:36:02

Yes, thanks Indigo! Glad i'm not the only one, eh betterwhen wink

blackeyedsusan Mon 19-Sep-11 19:13:40

<rruns into thread>

<gives indigo a big kiss>

<runs off>

blackeyedsusan Mon 19-Sep-11 19:14:14

<pops back to say.. "thankyou" >

maizieD Mon 19-Sep-11 20:08:06

I think I'd be very confused by that book, and I teach phonics!

To clarify:

There are about 44 phonemes (smallest unit of sound in a word) in English
There are about 160 -180 common ways that the phonemes are represented by a letter, or groups of letters. Children need to know these in order to read and spell competently.

The two 'phonics' lists you quote don't seem to have much system to them as they 1) mix different phonemes (go, to) represented by the same letter ('o' in the first list) and 2) the second list suddenly sticks an /o/ (as in dog) sound into a series of /ee/ words.
They look suspiciously to me like the teacher trying to sneak in the old High Frquency Word list under the guise of 'phonics'. Nothing wrong with the old HFWs, they are just as decodable as any other word, but why mix them like this?

mrz Mon 19-Sep-11 20:17:52

But then in the 'phonics' section of the book on the first page there is a printed grid with the typed words the, I, go, to, no, into, and then listed he, she, me, we, be, was.

These are words from Letters & Sounds which contain "tricky" phonemes (which the child won't have been taught yet).
The book is very confusing and I would guess whoever produced it doesn't really understand either grin

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