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Kipper, Chip et does it actually work?

(93 Posts)
TheProvincialLady Fri 07-Oct-11 17:12:38

DS1 started reception 3 weeks ago (late due to an operation). He is 5 and can read basic words and a few more complex ones, from my having taught him the basic phonetic alphabet and then him asking questions about other sounds. School ran a 'how to support your child's reading' session but sadly I missed it as I only had 2 days notice and an important work meeting at that time.

Last week he brought home his first book, which had no words but a list of questions to ask and things to talk about which we did every day as requested. DS says his teacher has listened to him read some words in a book and so today he brought home a reading book with words. But the words contain sounds that we haven't covered at home like AI (which AFAIK can be read as either air or aid) - how do I teach these if he hasn't already covered them at school?

I was a bit surprised TBH as the reading scheme they were using at his Montessori nursery seemed a bit more structured, ie each book built on the foundations of the last one - whereas this is more dive straight in and get on with it. I've seen rumblings of Kipper discontent on MN before but never really paid much attention before, oops.

I guess what I am asking is, how does this scheme work and what should I be doing to teach this stuff? Thankssmile

Fairenuff Fri 07-Oct-11 17:20:18

What was the book? Is it stage 1 ORT. Some words can just be learned from sight reading - recognising the word after several readings. Lots of high frequency words can't be sounded out phonetically such as like, said, go, the. Children just get used to reading them through repetition. The 'air' sound will be taught but probably not yet in reception.

TheProvincialLady Fri 07-Oct-11 17:28:17

Yes it's a stage 1 book which is supposed to have no words but but seems to hav short sentences stuck in. The reason I mentioned the AIR sound is that the word haircut appears.

purpleturtletoise Fri 07-Oct-11 17:30:19

DS2 (Y1) would look at the picture, might take into account the first letter of the word, and then make a guess. grin

mrz Fri 07-Oct-11 17:30:55

The original ORT is a look and say scheme hmm so it looks as if the school are using these rather than phonic books.

"ai" is initially taught as representing the sound /ay/ ...
the grapheme "air" is taught in reception but is normally one of the later ones introduced.

All words can we learnt from sight reading although it isn't a good idea and needs an exceptional memory and all high frequency words can be sounded out phonetically /l/ /ie //k/ (i_e represents the sound /ie/) /s//e//d/ (ai can represent the sound /e/) /g//ow/ (o represents the sound /ow/)

TheProvincialLady Fri 07-Oct-11 17:50:21

mrz I think I am fortunate then in that DS has a freakishly excellent do did I, which might explain why learning to read was quick and simple for me as a child. I did think that phonics was the method by which reading was taught in all schools these days though, so this is a bit of a surprise.

It looks like we will have to make the best of it for now and I will speak to his teacher next week.

TheProvincialLady Fri 07-Oct-11 17:51:27

purple I like your boy's stylegrin

mrz Fri 07-Oct-11 17:55:57

My son is hyperlexic and has no problem learning to read new words but with a quarter of a million to learn even he might struggle.
All children (in Y1) will be tested on their phonics skills and ability to decode not on their ability to sight read and the new Ofsted inspection has a focus on phonic instruction so the school may find they need to review what they are doing.

TheProvincialLady Fri 07-Oct-11 18:16:31

I didn't realise that. Yes it sounds like the school will have to change its approach then. Any idea when that comes into effect?

mrz Fri 07-Oct-11 18:19:08

It's effective now

TheProvincialLady Fri 07-Oct-11 18:28:13

Oh ok, thanks. Maybe the school will change its approach before DS2 starts in a couple of years.

The more I look at this book the more bizarre I think it is.

talkingnonsense Fri 07-Oct-11 18:35:26

Lots of schools have all the old ort books about- it was v popular- so he may have been allowed to choose it as a book to bring home. If he has only just started he may not have been assessed and put on a proper reading book yet. Also some schools might not had enough books with synthetic phonics for everyone to have the first ones at once! I wouldn't worry till you speak to the teacher.

virgiltracey Fri 07-Oct-11 18:48:55

They might mix them. At the DSs school they have the ORT magic key books but they also use floppys phonics, songbird phonics and an assortment of others which are clearly from the 80s. They have put them into an order which means that sometimes DS2 gets a magic key book and other times he might get a floppy's phonics.

I'm sure someone will come on and say they shouldn't have any sight words but it seems to work. He did have purely phonetic books (songbird phonics) until stage 3 though which meant that he raced through them and had a really good phonics knowledge and confidence to build upon.

mrz Fri 07-Oct-11 18:56:55

The government has made up to £3000 pounds available to buy new phonics based products but schools have to match the money.

TheProvincialLady Fri 07-Oct-11 18:59:38

It's parents evening next week so I will have more of a chance to disusss it with the teacher. I think they are going to 'do' Kipper etc though because they spent last week learning about the characters and hearing stories about them, did a homework on them etc. I don't really care what scheme they use as long as it works and I don't accidentally mess it up. I am a bit bemused by having to teach him so many of the words though and there being no repetition of sounds, it just doesn't make sense.

mrz Fri 07-Oct-11 19:04:29

No it doesn't does it!

ASByatt Fri 07-Oct-11 19:07:53

This is a bugbear of mine - such a basic point, that the materials children are supposed to be using to reinforce their newly developing reading skills do not match the method used to teach reading.


blackeyedsusan Fri 07-Oct-11 19:45:34

our school doesn't have phonic books either.

mrz Fri 07-Oct-11 19:50:49

Many schools invested heavily in ORT books (a favourite with parents apparently hmm ) and now can't afford to replace these. It looks like the school is attempting to adapt the books to make them more useable.

mrz Fri 07-Oct-11 19:51:00


TheProvincialLady Fri 07-Oct-11 20:10:33

The adapting they have done is terrible, but the school has a good reputation locally and I daresay the children learn to read the same as any other children so I will stop over thinking it.

Going back to my earlier point, do you think I should explain to DS now that AI can be read as AIR or AY now or just stick with AIR as that is what he needs for this book? I don't know anything about phonics.

mrz Fri 07-Oct-11 20:18:49

/air/ and /ai/ are two different phonemes explain that he will learn both later and that the letters a-i-r are one way we write the /air/ sound

anthonytrollopesrevenge Fri 07-Oct-11 20:25:06

My DD had magic key stage 1 and 2 and found them very difficult, in fact refused to have anything to do with them. Having moved up to stage 3 we have just been given some songbirds which she finds easier as they are more phonetically based. I bought some floppy phonics books over the summer and she enjoyed them, we did stage 1 and 2 books and they were very helpful. Libraries have them too.

TheProvincialLady Fri 07-Oct-11 20:35:18

Thanks for the link mrz that is really helpful.

Anthonytrollopesrevenge (fab name!) I will look out for those books in our library too.

Thank you everyone for your replies, I appreciate it.

2kidsintow Sat 08-Oct-11 22:32:53

Phonics isn't everything. The children need at an early stage to learn a mixture of strategies and approaches. My children's school used ORT and they got on well with them. They had phonics work in class and were given books of sounds (Jolly Phonics) to learn to support their class work. Then they moved on to learning sight words and brought a little box of sight words home with them. Most of the words were the ones from the ORT first books. You can buy a set of flashcards from ORT which I did and played all sorts of matching games and making sentences games from them.
There are many words in the english language that are decodable through phonics, but there are many many more that are not and the children need to be tackling those from the start too.

That said, at the start of their reading journey, they are mostly learning skills like the conventions of holding a book, turning the pages correctly and using the pictures to help them with their reading. In school they usually read the short text through a couple of times, making it fun and modelling good expression etc. When the children are familiar with the text they then have a go. They are mostly remembering the story. Then they progress to pointing to the different words as they read, then looking more at the words to start to actually decode. Initial sounds first and a guess at the word as someone else said.
As they progress from the single letter phonic sounds to the other patterns like ae ai ea etc they will start to learn the different sounds they make and practice them. Then the children start to chunk the words they are attacking and break them into their different parts, sounding out them and then trying to put them together. This is where learning sight words is important, because there are some words that just CANNOT be decoded due to their unusual structure.

Is the English language great!

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