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Ok, I know I sound pushy but why do they still need to do all the phonic stuff when they can clearly read?

(102 Posts)
AudreyCox Wed 17-Oct-12 21:51:09

DD is in reception. SHe has always been a precocious reader and could read basic reception type stuff at 3. So at that point I did all the jolly phonics stuff with her with she took to like a duck to water. So by the time she went to nursery last year she was reading and they supported her in that. Now in reception she is having letter sheets home with all those sounds we did 2yrs go. She is spending whatever literacy time they do in yR doing phonics but she knows all this. The teacher has assessed her and admitted her reading in around y2 level but her comprehension around y1 level. It is probably true that she reads better than she understands but clearly she understands better than basic letter sounds. Her teacher has basically just said that they all need to work through the programme then they can move on.

So I'm asking if ths is usual. Is it not the standard thing to spend the first few weeks assessing and then progress each child from where they stand?

AChickenCalledKorma Wed 17-Oct-12 22:02:38

Because a thorough knowledge of the sounds that make up the english language, and they myriad ways they can be spelled, is extremely useful higher up the school when dealing with complex spellings etc.

At least that's how it's been explained to me.

And I hate to break it to you, but DD2 is still doing phonics in Yr3 (she has been reading very fluently for two years) and DD1 still moans about being made to break long words down into sounds in Yr 6.

AudreyCox Wed 17-Oct-12 22:07:37

Yes, I understand why phonics is important but she's done it. She knows all 40 sounds or whatever there was. She knows that ow usually make the sound heard in cow and brown and all that stuff. Nursery tested her last year, said she knew them all and supported her with her reading. Now she's at school she's gone back to where she was at 3yrs! I just assumed they'd test her as they have to be fair, and then teach her from where she was at if that makes sense.

moonstorm Wed 17-Oct-12 22:08:27

It links to the spelling
It makes sure she knows the basics (even if she already does)
It gives her a shared experience with the class - she is not singled out.
Does she really need it? I don't know, but why don't you talk to the class teacher again?
I'm not sure she should be doing it just to make the teacher's life easier... there's nothing to stop her having some sort of individual program...

moonstorm Wed 17-Oct-12 22:09:41


tooearlytobeup Wed 17-Oct-12 22:16:06

My daughter is doing this too. Shes doing phonics sounds in reception but has passed through all the reading scheme books and has been a 'free reader' since nursery.
She picked up reading naturally so we hadnt learned phonic sounds at all.
Her teacher says its to help her with spelling and writing.
She enjoys it and i dont want her to be singled out so Im happy to trust her teachers judgement

simpson Wed 17-Oct-12 22:20:56

DD is also in reception and reading very well.

She has been put into a higher phonics group (with one other boy) to cover some harder phonics sounds ie she covered "ew" yesterday (even though she knew it) whilst the others are doing SATPIN....

Tbh her writing/ spelling is not as good as her reading so I guess it will help her in that.

Going to have a chat with her teacher in parents eve next month just to see what she will be doing over the reception year re phonics but her teacher has a good grasp of her tbh. She taught DD in nursery too. So I do trust her to know what she is doing...

Also re homework, DD does the same as the other kids ATM but also has extension work to do each week so it might be worth asking about that (if you think your DD would want it, my DD loves doing her homework, odd child!!)

AudreyCox Wed 17-Oct-12 22:31:33

Thank you all. Yes, she would probably love piles of hw but she just gets those sheets with the action on. If I'm honest she probably does need the handwriting practice they offer but she doesn't need to be learning the sound. I'm not a big lover of hw at infant level despite sounding pushy on this thread. I just want her to move on from where she came in rather that following the 'reception programme' that was explained to me. I think my back is just up because the teacher almost seemed annoyed that she could read so fluently and acted as if I shouldn't have hothoused her when in reality she was desperate to read without much input from me and picked it up effortlessly.

AudreyCox Wed 17-Oct-12 22:33:53

You're all probably right about the singling out too but I assume there must be a few like that in every year, no? Because dd may be a precocious reader but she certainly isn't what I'd call academically gifted, just bright.

EvilTwins Wed 17-Oct-12 22:35:54

Arf at "done phonics". Hate to break it to you OP but she'll probably still be doing phonics in ks2. My DDs are in yr 2 and they are split into ability groups for phonics. They are in the top group but still need it. I teach secondary and we "do" phonics in yr7. There's a whole lot more to learn than those 40 sounds. You are doing your DD no favours here.

zombieplanmum Wed 17-Oct-12 22:40:15

what evil twins said - you do sound awfully pushy actually, its nice that your DD can read already, but why do you want to push her ahead of where she needs to be? If she is stimilated and happy and school surely thats all that matters?

Rosebud05 Wed 17-Oct-12 22:41:10

Phonics is about writing and spelling too. Lots of children get very 'ahead' with reading (my dd is) and 'doing phonics' teaches her spelling, sentence structure, punctuation etc

ChippyMinton Wed 17-Oct-12 22:43:35

What eviltwins said - our entire school does phonics every day, as it helps the older ones to decode increasingly complex words.

Maybe focus your attention on improving your DD's understanding of the words, and on spelling and writing, rather than worrying about phonics.

AudreyCox Wed 17-Oct-12 22:50:38

Ok, maybe phonic is a broad discipline but if it carries on then all the more reason for her not to be doing single letter sounds, surely? She can actually spell very well, again due I'm sure to jolly phonics so she 'sees' the sounds when she spells. Am I naive in thinking that children are assessed and then taught at their level? Surely you can't teach a whole class at the same level. I just don't understand why their class phonics time is all single letter sounds; learning the letter and what sound it makes. Why not something more complex?

maizieD Wed 17-Oct-12 22:54:26

TBH, if OP doesn't know how many 'sounds' there are, despite having 'done phonics' with her DD (there are 42 taught in Jolly Phonics and probably 44 in other programmes) then it is possibly that DD's phonic knowledge isn't quite as good as she thinks it is. Does the DD know all the 160 - 180 common letter/sound correspondences which should be covered in the first couple of years of phonics instruction?

I can see that it is galling to see the 'sounds' she already knows being sent home to learn, but how does DD feel about this? Does she mind going over stuff she already knows in class? If she doesn't then it won't really matter that she does it again and it probably will help with spelling. She can extend her reading at home and you could maybe focus a bit more on comprehension.

On the other hand, if the child is bored rigid have a quiet word with the teacher. Boredom can lead to other problems..

AudreyCox Wed 17-Oct-12 22:59:43

Oh that's a bit catty, maizied! I haven't really looked at it for a while but I remember there being 40 something sounds. I am always happy to hear her read at home but I certainly don't want to be extending her at home or filling in any gaps. Surely that is school's job?
I am just surprised that they haven't got maybe 5 or 6 different groups doing different levels of phonics depending upon where each child is at individually.

simpson Wed 17-Oct-12 23:02:52

Do they not have different groups teaching phonics??

There are 4 phonics groups in DD's class (80 kids). But DD's group only has 2 kids in the rest are split over the other 3 groups.....

Tbh I don't know how many sounds there are either but I do remember DD's teacher saying that she knew all the 40 something sounds at the beginning of reception, so you are not the only one!!!

dixiechick1975 Wed 17-Oct-12 23:06:07

I know at DD's school they split into groups for phonics in R and yr 1. 2 children from Yr R used to join one of the yr 1 groups.

numbum Wed 17-Oct-12 23:14:16

Have said this numerous times our school they have carpet time discussing how to sound out and form a letter and then they're put into ability groups to do activities with that. One group would be reiterating the letter sound, another group would be learning to write the letter, another group would be writing words with the letter in and then the 'top' group would be writing a sentence with lots of words with the letter in. Reading and writing are NOT the same thing. Your DD will not be suffering from doing phonics

LapinDeBois Wed 17-Oct-12 23:29:37

OP I am in exactly the same position as you (DS is a free reader, but still doing basic phonics in reception ATM). For now, I'm quite happy; he's not socially confident, and school is a new and daunting place, so I'm perfectly happy with him doing work that he finds totally easy, because he enjoys doing it, and it means he has one less challenge to deal with. However, the reason I'm laid back is that I'm very confident in the school and the teacher. I know that she's been assessing DS thoroughly, and when we had his home visit, it was very clear that she 'got' him completely. In the medium to longer term, I would want to see some clearly differentiated teaching; I would expect that she will discuss this with us at parents evening in a couple of weeks. (I think I remember her saying that she would give thought to how to 'deal' with DS once they start taking book bags home.)

Also, don't worry about comments (here or elsewhere) that you're pushy. Of course it's not pushy to want your child to learn at his or her own level and make progress, rather than just treading water while everyone else catches up. You sound lovely smile.

As to your next step, I would say it depends on how you feel about the school as a whole. The fact that the teacher sounded annoyed that your child could read (using the word 'hothousing' would really wind me up) is a little worrying, but you might not have got a rounded impression. Do you know parents with bright kids further up the school? Could you talk to them about how well the school 'does' differential learning?

LapinDeBois Wed 17-Oct-12 23:32:55

Oh, and there won't necessarily be others in the same situation. DS is in a small village school (15 kids in reception) in a v affluent area, and I'm fairly certain he's the only one who can do more than read/write his name.

Inneedofbrandy Wed 17-Oct-12 23:35:23

She will get tested in YR1 on phonics including made up words, my dd is in Y2 and they still do phonics. It's more then just those 40 sounds.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 17-Oct-12 23:41:11

Is there any streaming at all yet for the teaching of phonics? They may be waiting till half term to get a feel for the aptitude of those who haven't done any phonics yet to pick it up quickly or not so quickly.

In DS's school there are as many phonics groups as there are classes because one EYFS teacher takes each group, the TAs don't lead these groups. So 5-6 groups wouldn't be possible in that set up.

AChickenCalledKorma Thu 18-Oct-12 07:40:48

How much time is she actually spending on the sounds? Because I remember feeling similar when DD1 was in Reception (notwithstanding my post above). But actually, the phonics practice only lasted about 10 minutes and they were doing loads of other stuff. And she quite enjoyed waggling her arm around and going sss.

As she's gone higher up the school, and I've seen how they build up on the foundation that is laid in Reception, I've come to agree that it is really, really important that the phonics knowledge is sound. As long as they are differentating for the able readers in other ways, just live with it.

Perhaps the more relevant question is "what other opportunities are they giving my daughter to continue developing her reading skills?"

WofflingOn Thu 18-Oct-12 07:45:56

The children in my Y6 class that are poor spellers are those that have not embedded knowledge of digraph blends and alternative phoneme spellings for homophones.
They are also less able to cope with challenging words in unfamiliar texts as they cannot segment and then blend effectively.
Which they should have covered thoroughly in Reception and Y1.
OP, is your child bothered at all, or is it just you wanting accelerated learning for your DD?

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