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Phonics versus Biff, Chip and Kipper

(406 Posts)
Lukethe3 Thu 31-Jan-13 14:09:57

I find it slightly irritating that at DS school he is taught phonics but then sent home to read the old ORT stuff which has tricky words at even the easiest level. Is this purely because the school has no money to buy new books or is there actually an advantage to be taught like this?
I have bought some Songbirds books for DS and these seem to make far more sense to me as they include the sounds that DS is learning.

yellowsubmarine53 Fri 01-Feb-13 14:21:03

Children are surrounded by text in the shape of road signs, labels, leaflets, notices, letters as well as books and magazines, and they'll gradually learn to read more and more of the words, phrases and sentences.

That's reading, not reciting text that's been memorised.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 14:22:49

Who said anything about reciting?

yellowsubmarine53 Fri 01-Feb-13 14:25:15

Just noticed the OP grin.

My dd started off with some ORT books in reception which she found incredibly frustrating. She got some Songbird phonics ones and I got more of these and other 100% decodable ones from the library ('Traditional Tales' ones were good) until she was confidently reading.

I agree that it's irritating and unhelpful for lots of children.

I don't think there's any advantage in children being given books that they can't read independently, nor do I think it's a particular strategy. More like the school isn't following best practice in teaching children to read.

simpson Fri 01-Feb-13 14:37:19

If my child was on yellow level and could read at a higher level then I would be pushing the school to provide harder books (as well as providing them at home).

How are they (the teacher) supposed to assess the reading at the correct level if they are not on it??

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 14:39:35

I'd imagine that if a child receives a book that she can't read then she can learn to read it. The disadvantage with phonics is that ideally a person is supposed to be knowledgeable about phonics in order to teach a child to read using phonics. So it puts some parents off teaching their children which I think is a terribly bad thing. Children don't need to read all books independently. In fact if they only read books they can read independently I'm sure they learn at a slower rate if they're not taught lots of phonics quickly. And if they only read books that they have to struggle with I'm sure they'll learn to hate reading. I'm sure it's a balance and some of the balance will involve reading books which are at least slightly challenging. If they're not challenged at all they won't progress. I think our school teaches phonics slowly. I think the teacher said something about the children learning more vowel digraphs in Y1. If they're still doing basic techniques in year one then the teacher wouldn't be expecting them to be reading non decodable books by then. I'm pretty sure they haven't covered any digraphs at all yet.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 14:42:06

I'd rather just have the non decodable books and have done with it, simpson. If they put her back on decodable books at this level or a level similar to it then I'll get them to change the strategy. But so long as they continue to find me the books I'm getting then I'm happy.

simpson Fri 01-Feb-13 15:44:24

If a child receives a book that she can't read, then I would say it was too hard for that child.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 16:00:35

I don't know what's going on with schools teaching phonics and sending home look and say books. But I'm guessing the teachers have some expectation that the children can read them, surely. I mean if they didn't it would be a bit like teaching them English and then sending home books in Chinese.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 16:04:25

Wouldn't it be even more silly than that because the teachers actually read the books with the children. So it would be more like teaching them to read English and then sitting beside them staring at a Chinese book and wondering why they can't read it. What do such teachers write in the reading diary? Another book your child couldn't make head nor tail of.

Lukethe3 Fri 01-Feb-13 16:11:42

yellow OP here, thanks for answering my question grin The thread seems to have taken a different direction! All interesting though. I just love helping DS learn to read. It's teaching me something I've never had- patience.

Annanon Fri 01-Feb-13 16:12:44

For me, it feels like teaching them English, then sending home English books with a few random Chinese words to memorise as sight words.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 16:14:31

So, OP, what is it like to get a look and say book if your son doesn't have enough phonics knowledge to read it? Do you both manage in the end?

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 16:37:48

It's possible that there were no sight words in them. there aren't any sight words in any books just words!

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 16:39:47

Why would you say a thing like that after explaining that you'd teach one and who as sight words?

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 16:50:32

Because the whole concept that a book contains decodable or sight words is totally unnatural ...books contain words.

What I actually said learnandsay was

maverick I would argue that here and of don't need to be memorised

(one, two, who and eye would be my list)

mrz Thu 24-Jan-13 18:03:28


(I teach them as decodable)

as it is I did teach who as decodable (but tricky) last week so perhaps I need to reconsider my list

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 16:52:37

OK, you cut the words one, two, who and eye out of all your books then. And then your books won't contain any sight words.

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 17:11:24

As I just said I taught who as decodable last week (we were looking at words containing alternative spellings for "oo" and who was suggested) so I need to revise my list and two come under early maths teaching and have probably been learnt before the child encounters them in a reading book so I need to think about eye as it isn't a word that crops up much in early books.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 17:19:43

OK, you can leave the word who in and just cut the others out then.

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 17:43:51

Leave them in I don't teach them as sight words learnandsay

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 17:47:19

Just because a child may have seen the words one and two in nursery it doesn't mean she knows how to read it. The child has doubtless seen first aid kit and emergency exit too but won't be able to read those either.

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 17:51:00

I'm not sure why you think I'm suggesting that would be the situation learnandsay

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 17:52:39

probably been learnt before the child encounters them in a reading book

Are you saying that children who don't know how to read can probably read the words one and two?

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 18:02:29

No learnandsay I am saying they will probably know the words one and two before they encounter them in a reading book

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 18:04:37

What does "know" mean? Does it mean be able to read the words one and two?

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 18:08:42

Yes learnandsay it means they can look at the words and know what they are.

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