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How to start teaching a child to read with phonics?

(171 Posts)
Zimbah Mon 12-Nov-12 22:40:22

This is probably a really stupid question... I've read hundreds of threads on this forum about phonics and have got myself in a tangle about how to actually go about teaching DD to read. She's 4, knows the letter sounds for the alphabet, and has started being able to separate out sounds within words although this is still a bit ropey. What do I do now - I'm paranoid about getting it wrong and making things harder, I initially started by teaching the old "Letterland" style sounds e.g. Muh for M, and now despite months of me only saying MMM she sometimes still says Muh. Can I just jump in with some reading scheme books? I know there are 44 sounds, but presumably I need some actual books to teach them within a word context, once she's learnt more basic ones?

And yes I realise I can do what I like as I'm her mum but I would prefer to follow a synthetic phonics way of teaching if possible, as that's what she'll do at school next year, so I'd rather that was her starting point.

mrz Tue 13-Nov-12 19:25:56

coldcupoftea can I ask if you have received any phonics training or is the Phonics Play site it?

coldcupoftea Tue 13-Nov-12 19:37:36

Mrz, yes of course! It is just a helpful resource, which I thought might give the OP a good insight into the phonics phases.

mrz Tue 13-Nov-12 19:39:32

I was just interested as I'm finding many schools haven't had any real training (sometimes in school training from literacy coordinator or LEA advisor if they are lucky)

DilysPrice Tue 13-Nov-12 19:44:53

I read the Ladybirds phonics books with my DCs - they're not fully decodable, but they introduce the various phonemes in a structured way, and they were fun to read..

I picked out decodable words from the books I was reading to the DCs anyway - the little bits of text in speech bubbles, or the onomatopoeic sound effects on the pictures, and asked them to sound them out for me. We literally did about 30 seconds a day as part of our bedtime reading.

DilysPrice Tue 13-Nov-12 19:47:08

And I played "What's in the box?"
Shoebox containing small toy/picture/household object with CVC name, word on the front on a Post It note. No clues, no pictures, instant gratification when you get it right.

coldcupoftea Tue 13-Nov-12 19:47:20

Yes, we were lucky, we have had two full days with a literacy advisor from the LEA this term, who also left us stacks of resources.

mrz Tue 13-Nov-12 19:50:10

ah! right

midseasonsale Tue 13-Nov-12 19:50:41

I wouldn't bother myself but if you are keen, to start you only need to write out some CVC words to begin with - sit, sat, tin, etc .. and get her to blend the sounds. At school they tend to start doing this as soon as they have 4 or 5 letter sounds under their hat.

midseasonsale Tue 13-Nov-12 19:52:30

don't push it if she isn't ready or interested though.

learnandsay Tue 13-Nov-12 20:26:19

I think I wouldn't bother is an unfortunate phrase, (putting words in your mouth, I'm guessing you mean something more noble like, perhaps it would be wiser to leave it to the professionals?) In my own view of course a parent should always be bothered by her child and teach her everything she feels able to. In the old days people used to write cat, dog, man on the fridge with fridge magnets. You can still do that. But if you buy a marker pen you can get a lot more words made because you need an awful lot of very similar fridge magnets to make sentences. I know. I bought them.

mrz Tue 13-Nov-12 20:51:37

"In the old days ..." I must be really old when I was a child the fridge door was French polished hmm so even if we'd had magnetic letters they wouldn't have stuck.grin

mrz Tue 13-Nov-12 20:56:21

I learnt to read with 1910 edition of Arthur Mee's Children's Encyclopeadia (8 volumes)

learnandsay Tue 13-Nov-12 21:00:12

Right, mrz, but not in 1910! obviously. You know, you always sound pretty sprightly to me. (I shouldn't have posted this because I'm the one who's always against personal comments and that applies to nice ones too.) I hope I'm not a hypocrite. (Wonders how she's going to get her four year old to read that one. hmmm,)

BooksandaCuppa Tue 13-Nov-12 21:03:29

Something similar, here, mrz. And my Nan's six volume set of the wives of Henry VIII. I must have been a particularly bloodthirsty four year old...

mrz Tue 13-Nov-12 21:05:54

No not in 1910 they were in my grandmother's library and the only books suitable for a child although I moved onto Nicholas Monsarrat when I was 6 or 7.

learnandsay Tue 13-Nov-12 21:07:55

cuppa, can you remember who published those six volumes? I can't help thinking that you girls are taking the wee wee. I can't imagine a four year old reading all that stuff. My mum used to say that she read Chekhov at five. I never believed her. But she used to love saying odd things for effect.

mrz Tue 13-Nov-12 21:18:17

Sorry learnandsay I'm being deadly serious. Before I started school I loved curling up with Grey's Elegy and How Horatio Held the Bridge (from said books)

learnandsay Tue 13-Nov-12 21:23:30


CheerfulYank Tue 13-Nov-12 21:25:43

Marking my place to read later smile

maizieD Tue 13-Nov-12 21:27:23

I was just interested as I'm finding many schools haven't had any real training (sometimes in school training from literacy coordinator or LEA advisor if they are lucky)

Or unlucky, in the case of the 'training' our LA gives sad

maizieD Tue 13-Nov-12 21:32:17

I can't help thinking that you girls are taking the wee wee. I can't imagine a four year old reading all that stuff.

Don't worry, learnandsay. Although I am now clearly a genius, I didn't learn to read until I went to school, age 5, and progressed through pretty 'normal' reading material (i.e children's books) until I was abut 10 grin

I realise though, that this is a pretty poor show for mumsnetter sad

learnandsay Tue 13-Nov-12 21:40:57

I bought the Oxford children's histories to read to my daughter and was cheerfully explaining how the Romans invaded, when she said "mummy, why is there so much blood in this story?" The books have been in the cellar ever since.

mrz Tue 13-Nov-12 21:45:20

Perhaps we were less squeamish as children. I certainly was quite familiar with slaughtering livestock and by age three I was quite handy at castrating lambs

learnandsay Tue 13-Nov-12 21:56:22

Well indeed, maybe. I guess that's the good thing about Usborne, they can explain history without everybody's insides needing to be displayed in each illustration!

mrz Tue 13-Nov-12 21:56:23

maizieD after chatting to teachers around the country I think the training most LEA advisers give is pretty dire ... many are providing training based on having read Letters & Sounds hmm

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