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Synthetic Phonics Guided Reading Help

(22 Posts)
MisterPC Tue 06-Nov-12 16:55:52

Hi,

I've just started getting a lot more involved in my children's reading and was hoping someone can help with a few questions I have. Although our school do Jolly Phonics and mainly decodable books for the early levels (Floppy's Phonics and Songbirds), they are mainly a classic ORT school and I got the impression at parent's evening that they weren't fully behind synthetic phonics. They told me not to worry about some books not being decodable and to 

1) When showing them a grapheme for sounding out a word they are struggling on should I use the letter names rather than sounds? It seems a bit strange for igh to go i-guh-huh and then to say that /ie/. If so, should I do this right from pink band?

2) Unfortunately we have quite a strong accent that confuses my children when the word sounded out is slightly different in our accent. Any tips for handling this? In particular how do you deal with the schwa sound (which is something I'd never heard of before I started researching this! I'd just assumed it was our accent making words like 'about' sound funny)?

3) Should I read the book to my children before they read it to me or should they attempt it first? Should I read it after they have read it? Our DS1 is lime band at Y4 but reads with no expression at all and I'm hoping to avoid this problem for the next 3.

4) How many times should I read the same book with them? Is once enough if they read it 95% and comprehend the text fully or does some repetition help.

Thanks for any advice.

Paul

learnandsay Tue 06-Nov-12 17:31:17

i-guh-huh are the letter sounds surely? The names are eye-gee-aitch

i-guh-huh followed by the sound eye is what I do. My daughter has no problems with it. She knows igh sound like eye and is contained in the words high, light, right, sight and so on.

Is your accent different from the local one used where you now live?

mrz Tue 06-Nov-12 17:43:29

1) When showing them a grapheme for sounding out a word they are struggling on should I use the letter names rather than sounds? It seems a bit strange for igh to go i-guh-huh and then to say that /ie/. If so, should I do this right from pink band?

no you should show them the <igh> and explain that this is a way to write the sound "ie"

2) Unfortunately we have quite a strong accent that confuses my children when the word sounded out is slightly different in our accent. Any tips for handling this? In particular how do you deal with the schwa sound (which is something I'd never heard of before I started researching this! I'd just assumed it was our accent making words like 'about' sound funny)?

It's important when you read to "normalise" the words ... say them how you would normally. When you say the word look at the written form and it will help you to see how the sounds in your accent are represented in writing.

3) Should I read the book to my children before they read it to me or should they attempt it first? Should I read it after they have read it? Our DS1 is lime band at Y4 but reads with no expression at all and I'm hoping to avoid this problem for the next 3.

I wouldn't read the reading scheme book to your child. If expression is a problem repeat the section in an appropriate tone and ask if they can see the difference. Or when you are reading aloud say it in a boring way, then in an exciting way, then in a sad way, frightened way .... ask them which fits the words.

4) How many times should I read the same book with them? Is once enough if they read it 95% and comprehend the text fully or does some repetition help.

I would say if a child is reading accurately with understanding there is little to be gained from repeated reading.

mrz Tue 06-Nov-12 17:46:37

please don't say " i-guh-huh" then " ie" it is important that you make it clear that the sound "ie" is represented by the three letters <igh> and that they aren't separate sounds.

learnandsay Tue 06-Nov-12 17:48:05

mrz, what happens when school and the parent form the sounds differently (because of accent)? What is the child supposed to learn?

mrz Tue 06-Nov-12 18:17:11

It's difficult in a class where there are a number of accents but normally the teacher should say the sounds in the dominant accent. I teach in the NE and the letter <a> represents the sound "a" so my pupils say "g-r-a-s" if we were in another region the letter <a> could represent the sound "ar" (ah) and children would say "g-r-ar-s" ...

MisterPC Tue 06-Nov-12 18:31:04

"please don't say " i-guh-huh" then " ie" it is important that you make it clear that the sound "ie" is represented by the three letters <igh> and that they aren't separate sounds."

I do make the sound /ie/ when I'm reading to them it is just when explaining what grapheme makes that sound.

For instance, DS1 Y1 had the word "frightened" today which I asked him to send out (Classic ORT Stage 4). He started (not completely accurate as I'm not sure how to transcribe exactly what he said but hopefully you'll get the gist) "fuh-ur-eye-guh-tuh- then said 'fed up', which I think is the problem with the current scheme he's on where they encourage them to guess if they fail to sound out a word. He does know the grapheme igh for /ie/ as he can read knight, night, right, etc, which he learnt from the Songbirds Stage 4 book The Wrong Kind of Knight.

I said no that word is 'fuh-ur-/ie/-t...' to which he then completed the word correctly on his own. I then tried to clarify that the grapheme igh makes the sound /ie/. I pointed to igh and said the "eye-gee-and-haitch" letters here combine to make the /ie/ sound as in knight, night, and right. Is this not the right way to do it?

mrz Tue 06-Nov-12 18:41:54

the sounds in frightened are "f" "r" "ie" "t" "e" "n" "d"

they are written
<f> <r> <igh> <t> <e> <n> <ed>
In Y1 your son should be learning the different ways to spell sounds

<ie> as in pie <igh> high <i-e> time <i> kind <y> my

All you need to do is point to the letters <igh> and say this is how we spell the "ie" sound in this word.

MisterPC Tue 06-Nov-12 18:43:38

"Is your accent different from the local one used where you now live?"

No, unfortunately we live just outside of Wolverhampton where I'm not even sure when we pronounce things correctly (in particular the schwa sound in words like better, about and pizza which I've only just found out we do pronounce correctly uh-buh-ow-tuh not ah-buh-ow-tuh)! Do you just ignore it if a child pronounces it as the /a/ sound rather than the /schwa/ sound?

maizieD Tue 06-Nov-12 18:55:26

I'd be slightly worried about the sounding out the letters individually. It seems that he has not learned/been adequately taught that a group of letters can represent one sound and that is what he should say when he sees them.

You say that he could read the words knight, night and right but I wonder if he has really just learned these as 'wholes' without being actually aware of what sounds the letters represent (and which letters represent which sounds)? I frequently find that children can read a sequence of familiar words e.g they can read ice, nice rice but then are completely baffled by 'spice'! This suggests to me that they haven't clearly understood/learned what the letters in the familiar words represent and so are unable to generalise their knowledge to an unfamiliar word.

Do you know if your DS's school teaches reading using the same strategies as those suggested to you for supporting his reading?

MisterPC Tue 06-Nov-12 18:58:13

"<ie> as in pie <igh> high <i-e> time <i> kind <y> my

All you need to do is point to the letters <igh> and say this is how we spell the "ie" sound in this word."

Yes, he understands this and knows that the sound can be written in each of these ways.

I will say "these letters make the sound..." and "this letter makes the sound..." then rather than say the letter names as I am currently doing if this is better although I thought that might be confusing in some cases, especially with the split digraphs.

mrz Tue 06-Nov-12 19:05:00

I wouldn't use letter names until a child is secure with sounds, they aren't really useful for writing and spelling

MisterPC Tue 06-Nov-12 19:11:00

I'd be slightly worried about the sounding out the letters individually. It seems that he has not learned/been adequately taught that a group of letters can represent one sound and that is what he should say when he sees them.

No, he definitely understands this but I guess this grapheme is just one of the most recent he has learnt and he didn't recognise it this scenario because of the complexity of the word (I'm not sure if this is because it was a classic ORT Sparrows book rather than one of the decodable blue band books where he first saw this grapheme). I do think it is quite a tricky word at blue band level as even I have to think of the sounds it makes (I think even mrz has added an extra "e" sound that I don't think is there!). He can sound out right, fight, knight, etc. and not just read them as whole words.

Do you know if your DS's school teaches reading using the same strategies as those suggested to you for supporting his reading?

The school use Jolly Phonics, Floppy's Phonics and Songbirds for the early reading stages, but unfortunately a large portion of their later books are all the classic ORT Biff and Chip stories.

mrz Tue 06-Nov-12 19:15:44

I assume you say f-r-ie-t-n-d not f-r-ie-t-e-n-d ?

MisterPC Tue 06-Nov-12 19:26:22

I assume you say f-r-ie-t-n-d not f-r-ie-t-e-n-d ?

Ah, yes. I hadn't considered accents smile

Although I guess there could be a very short schwa sound between the -t-n- due to my accent but I can't tell if that is just the -t-n- blending together! I can be very confusing sometimes smile

Do you get silent e in phonics or is it than the <en> grapheme makes the "n" sound?

MisterPC Tue 06-Nov-12 19:26:59

Sorry, meant to say "It can be very confusing sometimes".

maizieD Tue 06-Nov-12 20:03:05

The school use Jolly Phonics, Floppy's Phonics and Songbirds for the early reading stages, but unfortunately a large portion of their later books are all the classic ORT Biff and Chip stories.

There's nothing particularly 'wrong' with using ORT books once children have had a good grounding in phonics and have secure knowledge and skills. After all, the objective of phonics teaching is to ultimately make all words accessible when reading so that children can read anything put in front of them. It is when the ORT books which were specifically written to accompany 'look & say' instruction (and so are not at all 'decodable' in the early stages), are used in the early stages when children don't have the requisite phonic knowledge to be able to work out what the words 'say', that problems arise.

As to their literary merit..that's a completely different mattergrin

MisterPC Tue 06-Nov-12 21:27:10

What book band level would you say a child has seen the majority of phoneme/grapheme combinations (with the exception of strange ones like say women)? I've noticed that the decodable books schemes only seem to go up to orange band, so I guess after that level all books are decodable because they now have sufficient skills?

mrz Tue 06-Nov-12 21:34:11

Most of the phonics reading schemes from major publishers go to orange. A few schemes don't use the book banding system and are ordered in level of difficulty based on phoneme knowledge.

Tgger Wed 07-Nov-12 20:43:15

Yes, you have to "jump ship" at some point in regard to reading "normal" books rather than "decodables", but the books are carefully banded so there are not too many difficult irregular things to deal with all at once.

If you need more material to practice decoding the ORT booklets that you can buy on Amazon for quite cheap can be useful www.amazon.co.uk/Read-Write-Inc-Phonics-Storybooks/dp/0198462573/ref=sr_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1352320677&sr=1-12.

They are not great literature but they do the job and are very explicit to the parent in the teaching of the sound etc- all explained at the front of the book.

For DS I bought sets 3, 4 and 5. By set 5 the job was essentially done, in fact we didn't do set 5 as they were a bit dull and wordy for him at that point and he moved over to ORT Stage 5. He then could zoom up the ORT stages as his decoding was basically very solid. There are many ways to skin a cat but this worked for us.

Tgger Wed 07-Nov-12 20:44:43

That should be RWI booklets not ORT!

Tgger Wed 07-Nov-12 20:51:29

Oh yes, meant to add that of course "frightened" is hard when you are still learning to read. What I would do for a word like that at that stage would be put my hand over "ened" and get child to read/sound out "fright" which is a lot easier. If they got that then I would get them to have a go at the next bit, but I wouldn't spend long with that, I would tell them, or - much better...! I would do "fright", then "ten", then "ed", much easier smile. Put it all together and you have "frightened".

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