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Phonics Phases and Reading Stages - confused

(52 Posts)
EarlyInTheMorning Mon 04-Feb-13 21:14:35

First of all, English is not my mother tongue and I have not been educated in the UK, so if I'm asking a dumb question, please bear with me.
My 5 YO DD is in Y1. She's an excellent reader, currently on Stage 10 (white), no issues reading, comprehension and expression absolutely fantastic.
However, the phonics group she's in is currently covering Phase 3. Isn't this a bit behind. My DD's writing is not very good. Could this be the reason why? Are there any online games we can do together so that I can get an idea of where the problem, if any, may be?

learnandsay Mon 04-Feb-13 21:20:31

I would start by asking the question as you have written it here to the teacher. Depending on what the teacher is looking for phonics could be no help at all with writing/spelling. It depends on what the teacher thinks is missing. And only the teacher herself can tell you that.

Mashabell Tue 05-Feb-13 07:12:44

In English, phonics for reading is different from using it for writing.

For reading, many children need very little phonics. They take only a short while to learn the sounds for consonants, such as b, d, g, and the main sounds for vowels (ca, co, cu, ke, ki, see, out, too), and move on to recognise more and more words by sight, without the need for decoding (as we all can now). In cases of uncertainty (f*oo*t, b*oo*t; sp*ea*k, br*ea*k), they use the other letters in the word, or context, or meaning of the sentence (read last night, read every day) to work out the right sounds.

For writing, all children have to learn to break words down into their sounds and to use the right letters for them. Remembering the right spellings for sounds which have several (late, eight, play, they) is also much trickier than learning to read such words, especially the ones which are completely unpredictable (see, me, tea, ski, key).

Phonics, in the sense of learning the regular sounds for spellings and converting sounds into regular spelling patterns, is of more limited use for learning to write English, because English spelling is very irregular.

Correct spelling depends more on imprinting the right look of words on our brains, which isn't really phonics at all. The passionate advocates of phonics have lately made matters more confusing by insisting that learning to read involves nothing but phonics, and calling all teaching of reading and writing phonics.
Masha Bell

learnandsay Tue 05-Feb-13 07:18:33

For writing, all children have to learn to break words down into their sounds

Isn't that what happens when children write with gobbledegook spelling?

I caim dawn the rode on meye biyk.

There, look. I broke the words down into their sounds.

Tiggles Tue 05-Feb-13 09:01:49

I think you are spot on that it is to help her spelling.
Phase 3 phonics (IIRC) is where they start learning alternative spellings for the same sound. She obviously knows them if she is reading so well, but possibly needs to consolidate them, and remember all the different alternatives so that when she is writing she starts to choose the right one.

Mashabell Tue 05-Feb-13 09:57:43

remember all the different alternatives so that when she is writing she starts to choose the right one.

Remembering all the different ways a sound can be spelt (e.g. for the oo sound - blue, shoe, flew, through, to, you, two, too ) does not help a child to decide which one has to be used in a particular word.
They learn that only by writing those words umpteen times, getting them wrong many times, and having them corrected again and again.

A few children manage it with relative ease. For the majority, it's a never-ending case of tedious memorisation.

learnandsay Tue 05-Feb-13 10:05:39

I think there's probably some tedious memorisation involved. But people aren't always totally unobservant. They can also become familiar with words generally.

EarlyInTheMorning Tue 05-Feb-13 18:34:30

Okay thank you this is helpful. I guess the issue is the discrepancy between her reading and her spelling. I will speak to the teacher about this, I just wanted to be armed with some knowledge, like I know what I'm talking about. Thanks again.

mrz Tue 05-Feb-13 18:50:41

I think you are spot on that it is to help her spelling.
Phase 3 phonics (IIRC) is where they start learning alternative spellings for the same sound.

Phase 5 teaches the alternative spellings for the sounds phase 3 is still the 1st way of writing the 44 sounds and cvc words (doesn't sound like a child reading white book bands)

I think you need to ask the teacher if there are large gaps in your daughters phonics knowledge because phase 3 would suggest there are

EarlyInTheMorning Tue 05-Feb-13 19:01:49

Mrz, thank you for your reply. So when you talk about large gaps, how would these gaps be manifested? My DD's reading barely shows any gaps, she can pretty much read anything, of course she doesn't necessarily understand it. So would these gaps be reflected in her writing? This would make sense, her writing is massively lagging behind her reading.

And what do IIRC and cvc mean?

Feenie Tue 05-Feb-13 19:08:49

If I recall correctly

consonant - vowel - consonant words (e.g. pig, man, etc).

mrz Tue 05-Feb-13 19:21:49

(IIRC) if I recall correctly - quoted from previous poster

cvc - consonant vowel consonant words - dog, cat, mum, sit type words

Phase 3 begins to introduce digraphs ch, sh, th, ai, ee, oa, oi, ar. er etc

If I were her teacher I would start by assessing her phonic knowledge and teach what she needs to know

learnandsay Tue 05-Feb-13 19:59:33

The theory about gaps goes something like this:

Your daughter can read pretty much anything that she has been given so far. But give her a webpage with chemistry jokes on it, like this one

and there should be lots of words on it that she's never seen before and in theory should have no way of working out how to read them or say them. She might be able to read some bits of some words. If she can read everything really well try a medical jokes webpage or a dictionary. And if you can't find any words anywhere that your daughter can't read then she probably doesn't need any more phonics, gaps or no gaps. She can read perfectly well.

mrz Tue 05-Feb-13 20:07:03

Do you ever stop to think before you spout rubbish?

learnandsay Tue 05-Feb-13 20:07:49

Yes, I spout less rubbish than you.

mrz Tue 05-Feb-13 20:12:39

Well your theories certainly aren't based on fact or logic ...

learnandsay Tue 05-Feb-13 20:14:42

And you point is, madam?

redskyatnight Tue 05-Feb-13 20:25:44

My DS got a good way up the reading levels (though not I think as far as white) with very imperfect phonics knowledge. He'd learnt patterns, common words and understood how stories were "meant" to go. So he could read a lot but not using phonics. His spelling and writing lagged a long way behind.

If this is the case for your DD, it's great that your teacher has spotted it - DS managed to fool his teachers for a very long time and I feel like we are now (he's Y4) still backfilling the gaps in his knowledge.

learnandsay Tue 05-Feb-13 20:30:07

If anyone is arguing that phonics helps with spelling then they're plain bonkers.

Shattereddreams Tue 05-Feb-13 20:32:54

This is what I think is also true of my DD in year 1. She can read very well. She has not been taught any alternative sounds so that she can identify them. I don't think she has even expanded on the jolly phonics. So she has learnt no new phonics in an entire year.

Do any teachers think this is a common occurrence for good readers?

mrz Tue 05-Feb-13 20:34:18


mrz Tue 05-Feb-13 20:40:31

EarlyInTheMorning for what it's worth I think it is unlikely that a child reading white level books needs phase 3 but obviously I don't know your child.

simpson Tue 05-Feb-13 20:52:30

What year is phase 5 usually taught in?

The way mrz showed me how to teach DD to spell "would, could, should and because" must have something to it because I only had to tell her once and she got them correct and seems pretty consistent with spelling them now.

mrz Tue 05-Feb-13 20:54:53

Year 1 simpson

EarlyInTheMorning Tue 05-Feb-13 21:28:21

Mrz, I have gone through the document you've linked here, thank you for that. It's useful. There is no doubt in my mind that my DD will be able to read and recognise pretty much all sounds and words mentioned. I don't think she'll be able to write them though. I feel a bit more informed now to be able to have a meaningful discussion with the teacher so thank you everyone.

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