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Bright, articulate 5 year old struggling with phonics...will my tactic help or hinder?

(28 Posts)
NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 18-Mar-13 22:07:01

DD turned 5 last week....she's been struggling to retain the you ask her "Point to the n" and she might say it and she might not.

she's developed more interest in letters and reading lately according to her teacher but the teacher has impressed the need to get her to know all the sounds by Summer,.

She's bright, articulate and her fine motor skills are good so she can actually write quite well.

I have been lazy...I have read to her but not done any "work" with her apart from crafting and reading....partly because I am busy and work...and partly because I found phonics confusing.

Anyway...I began trying to get her to learn a few more letters on sight...and noticed she couldn't retain them for'd show her the letter and then she'd seem to "Get it" but then forget 5 mins later. Some she knows reliably because they are distinctive such as X or Z or i...also the letters in her own name and some other distinctive ones.

However there are some she didn't seem able to retain.

So I changed tactics last week and likened the letters to a t for instance...I said it looked like a tree...with a couple of branches...t for tree. She's retained that just fine ...I made her a V out of Plasticine and said V for van...then "vroomed" it around the table...she retained that and still remembered it at bedtime.

I did the same for n....I said it looked a bit like a sad mouth....and then pulled a sad face and "cried" in a "Nuh, nuh, nuh" way...she remembered that too and still does a week later.

I did others too... Is it bad to do this though? Should I not in case it confuses her? The phonics method of looking at the ants and doing the movement don't help her recognise the letters at all...she knows ALL the if you say a letter then she does the movement and says the sound but she;s not relating it to the actual image of the letter...

ash979 Fri 22-Mar-13 20:09:07 got good games on as has for free, she will need phase two initially for her level now but should be aiming for completing phase four by the end if reception

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 20-Mar-13 12:49:07

Thank you Higgs they've been done and are fine as is her hearing. LearnandSay that was my thought a preschooler DD showed no interest in learning to read...she's always loved books I just read to her....I wasn't going to try to teach a 3 year old her letters unless she was that way inclined.

I also think the teacher is a bit pushy as the school is outstanding and she wants her class to reach their goals I suppose.

She recognises numbers already...I actually think DD is a bit of a minx and sometimes she just doesn't fancy sitting and doing work....she certainly knows more letters than the teacher indicated to me.

She also had 5 weeks off at Chrismas instead of 2 and had a bit of a time settling in after than period...she needed to re-settle iykwim. I think that's set her back a bit.

HiggsBosonAteMyKitten Wed 20-Mar-13 12:13:54

this may not be at all relevant to your DD, but have you considered having her eyesight tested? DS really struggled badly with phonics, until we realised that not only did he have glue ear but was also very long sighted. Once we'd got those sorted out he was fine. Just a thought

learnandsay Wed 20-Mar-13 08:21:41

Did mum use the correct term, (struggling?) She said her child had just turned five and presumably is in Reception. Is it out of the ordinary to have children who didn't already know their letters to be still learning them now? I don't remember exactly when we were shown around Reception classes (which month I mean) but I do remember learning goals for children stuck on the walls and some of them were just like this: recognise letters after 'g', recognise numbers after 5 and so on...

allchildrenreading Tue 19-Mar-13 23:53:29

Understandably you won't want to spend anything now, but if in 3-4 months your daughter is still struggling, have a look at The books are particularly suitable for those c. 20% who struggle. I've a personal interest but did teach struggling readers for years before I came across this reading programme. It's very clever, widely researched and trialled and great fun.

learnandsay Tue 19-Mar-13 20:31:59

You can fix the b and d confusion with your thumbs..

MERLYPUSS Tue 19-Mar-13 20:25:41

DT2 can't get b p or d. I told him peas (p) hang down and beans (b) shoot up. I think the stick of the d was generally recognised to be a dog's wagging tail. Another one was bed for getting the b and d the right way round as it looks like a bed.
I have (undiagnosed) dyslexia. I often remeber things in picture form. I am sure you are doing her no harm in cementing it with pictures.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 19-Mar-13 19:40:30

sorry...she kept turning the d upside down and sayin p for pig!

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 19-Mar-13 19:39:26

thank you so much for all the input it's very useful to hear from experienced teachers and parents. tonight we made dough letters and i made pictures to go alongside certain letters....she put the pic of the hat on the letter h. which looks like the hat i drew....the tricky oned tonight were d and e. she kept turning the letter p upside down and saying p for the end she got it when i put it on the table and painted a ducks head, wing and tail around it....d for duck.

Ferguson Tue 19-Mar-13 18:54:29

Hi - exTA (male) here :

There used to be a kit of cards and letter blocks called "Soundworks", but I tried to look it up and it seems to have ceased.

The theory was that, for some kids, it is easier to SPELL words than READ them, which is a later stage.

It started with three-letter words, with a vowel in the middle - "a" glued onto a board.

The child then looked at the individual letter blocks, and was asked to make the word "c a t". Then ask, how do we change "c a t" into "h a t". which letter do we need to change? Then change "hat" into "ham" (with an emphasis on the "mmmm" sound).

Alongside this, the child also had a large plain-paper work book on which they wrote large letters, starting with "s" and going over it many times, with different coloured felt tip pens, or coloured pencils. This gives the PHYSICAL (kinesthetic) memory of the shape of letter "s" and you say "ssssss" for "snake" (NOT "suh").

The order sounds were learnt in was similar to today's phonics teaching : s m p t (can't remember them all off hand, but you can look that up on-line.)

Letter shapes could also be drawn in sand, clay, made in pastry even, then eaten!

The important thing is that the SHAPE is related to the SOUND (NOT the name of a letter.)

This approach was used with our SEN Yr2 children who had been unable to make progress with more conventional methods. It is rather time-consuming, and ideally needs resources to be made, but it does work very well.

I do not, for one moment, wish to imply your DD might be SEN: she is just young, and hasn't 'cottoned on' yet to what letter shapes and sounds are all about. If you can, sit-in on a phonics lesson at school and see how the teacher does it.

If you need more clarification, send me a PM if you wish.

Good luck!

MimsyBorogroves Tue 19-Mar-13 17:39:00

Sounds like what you're doing is good - it's a bit like some of the Jolly Phonics stuff our DS's school have done.

We enjoyed a computer game called Reading Eggs here. It does cost, but when you go to their website they offer 2 weeks for free, and there are vouchers in loads of places (MSE site for example) that can be stacked to give you a good few months of access.

It worked really well for DS1.

Bakingtins Tue 19-Mar-13 17:32:10

It's not free (£1.99) but if you have an ipad/iphone or similar I think the app Hairy letters might help. It has a little animation for each letter and makes the phonic sound, then you have to 'squash' the Hairy and write the letter, tracing over the shape.
The other site we've been using recently is Teach your Monster to Read which is a free site designed by the Usborne Foundation for letter recognition.
I'd also recommend Alphablocks - they are all available on youtube.

What you are doing sounds fab though - very creative!

learnandsay Tue 19-Mar-13 14:17:10

At this stage I think all you want is for her to remember the letters so anything which helps her to do that is a bonus. The ones I found easy to teach my daughter were L (looks like a leg) K (looks like it's kicking) S looks like a snake and so on. But there are some which I don't think lend themselves to being demonstrated like q.

I drew my daughter illustrations as well.

lljkk Tue 19-Mar-13 14:11:48

What you're doing is how they learn phonics in RWI (established & respected).

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 19-Mar-13 13:16:36

She can also stetch words out...and say Saus-age-es or "Tum-ble" and grasps that concpet well....she's just having a time of it learning that THIS symbol means C or O etc.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 19-Mar-13 13:15:39

The problem with eye spy ManchesterMummy is that she can say C is for clock and B is for ball....but not recognise the letter. She needs to be able to look atg an actual b or j or whatever and know that it is a b or a j.

manchestermummy Tue 19-Mar-13 12:44:46

How about good old Eye Spy? DD1 (5.5 and in Yr R) loves this.

simpson Mon 18-Mar-13 22:55:38

They look good!

When you get ready for the reading books stage you can check out the Oxford owl website which has loads of ebooks which are free to read. I think there are a couple of RWI books on there too.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 18-Mar-13 22:36:13

Thank you simpson...I just found these I wish they did this at Dds school!

I will get these I think...they look like a (proffesional) version of what I've been attempting!

simpson Mon 18-Mar-13 22:34:45

I would have thought they would not mind as long as it helps your DD.

Tbh I would do it anyway even if the teacher did mind as its obviously benefiting her (your DD).

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 18-Mar-13 22:31:17

Nursery I wonder if the teacher would mind if I began using RWI flashcards too?

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 18-Mar-13 22:30:42

I can't afford to subscribe to anything and don't feel that we should pay for more educational stuff! I've just paid for a load of letters for the fridge and a frieze for the wall...I'm a bit sick of it all really.

LisaHennedy Mon 18-Mar-13 22:27:09

I have used jolly Phonics (the wheelchair tennis) and Read Write Inc with my reception class and I have to say I prefer the jolly phonics as you can watch it on you tube too. Subscribe to online game 'busy things' (you get a free trial) they have really funny games with letters and sounds that might give a fresh way of doing it.

TheNurseryCryme Mon 18-Mar-13 22:25:56

Sorry forgot to say, the side with the picture still shows the letter clearly, just turns the letter into a picture.

TheNurseryCryme Mon 18-Mar-13 22:24:02

The read write ink phonics flash cards use pictures one side and the letter only on the other side.
t is for tower
h is a horse
c is a caterpillar and so on.

They have really worked for several children I know and is exactly the technique you are using.

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