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Couple of basic phonics questions: c/k and soft c

(27 Posts)
VinegarDrinker Wed 17-Apr-13 15:08:42

Disclaimer: I am in no way a pushy parent, but appear to have a toddler who is numbers/letters obsessed and demands to know eg what things say constantly.

So we have ended up with him knowing the phonic alphabet (recognises and can use them eg when asked what any word starts with) and a few other basics eg sh, ch.

But how do you explain k and c? We say "cuh" for both but that must be confusing? We haven't got a clue about any of the phonic "schemes" and not hugely keen to tbh.

Also how do you explain why c is sometimes s? Eg central, cement mixer to give 2 examples he has asked about today. Atthe moment I just say "yes it starts with a C but it sounds like a S, it's a bit funny" .... Which even I can see is pretty useless!

Any simple suggestions to answer his questions? I am really not keen to go down the flashcards/workbooks/learning schemes route...

learnandsay Wed 17-Apr-13 16:16:51

Off the top of my head I can't think of many words ending in the K sound which aren't ck words, duck, truck, luck, buck, except magic and tragic.

The soft c is easier it's invariably followed by i or y or e
(soft g is similar but has lots of exceptions.)

ClayDavis Wed 17-Apr-13 16:25:30

I can tell you how I would deal with it in Reception, not sure how much would be suitable for toddlers though.

With c/k/ I usually explain that we are going to learn a different way of spelling the /k/ sound. This is usually the beginning of their understanding that the same sound can be written in different ways. If he hasn't questioned it yet, he might well have internalised that knowledge without needing to ask it.

The letter 'c' usually makes the sound 's' when it is followed by the letters e, i or y. At this age I might be tempted just to explain that sometimes that letter makes the sound 's'.

learnandsay Wed 17-Apr-13 16:38:39

Interesting possibility: words ending in K sound from Scandinavian, Old French or Anglo Saxon have been spelled ck, (or k - break, beak, book) and words deriving from Greek end in c?...

VinegarDrinker Wed 17-Apr-13 17:04:22

Thanks both. learnandsay it isn't so much endings as beginnings, eg Katie, kite etc. He hasn't questioned it, he just says "cuh" for both. When I was young it was Letterland and kicking k vs curly c but I am sure that's well out of date!

Re c I think you are right Clay that "sometimes c makes a s sound" is probably all he needs to know now!

Don't get me wrong, I'm pleased he is interested in words and sounds but thought I had a couple of years before all this!

VinegarDrinker Wed 17-Apr-13 17:06:12

Oh, also are there any other sounds it's useful to know - I'm guessing maybe oo /ee ? So far he is just focussed on what things start with, but just beginning to understand sounding out/blending whole words.

simpson Wed 17-Apr-13 18:11:10

Some kids learn "kicking k" and "curly c" in RWI in reception.

Certainly the class I help in knows them that way.

simpson Wed 17-Apr-13 18:12:25

The first double letter sounds (don't know correct term!!) DD learnt was ch, th and sh.

VinegarDrinker Wed 17-Apr-13 18:23:15

Oh yes, of course, th!

VinegarDrinker Wed 17-Apr-13 18:26:14

Thanks btw (sorry, lost my manners!)

sleeplessinderbyshire Wed 17-Apr-13 19:38:11

My DD1 is 3.5 and obsessed with letters, she comes home from nursery talking about "curly c" and "kicking k" so I think that is taught these days. I'm a bit lost with it all as my mum taught me a mix of sounding out and look and say and could read before I went to school so never learned letter sounds/phonics

VinegarDrinker Wed 17-Apr-13 20:19:08

That's interesting re curly/kicking c still being around! Tbh I'm not sure it would be that useful to him as he seems fine with the idea, but will keep it in mind. I learnt to read prior to school too, but still remember Letterland songs from infant school!

HumphreyCobbler Wed 17-Apr-13 20:23:00

I would try not to add an uh sound on to the end of sounds - just make the pure sound as much as possible.

VinegarDrinker Wed 17-Apr-13 20:27:11

Yes, I've seen that on here, good tip, thanks. C is not too hard, but I have to fight my instincts with M, F, D etc!

HumphreyCobbler Wed 17-Apr-13 20:28:23

I always find b the hardest!

freetrait Wed 17-Apr-13 20:56:50

I can understand your reluctance to join the phonic scheme brigade. HOWEVER- it is actually brilliant in helping to break down the sounds and provide the explanation you require. Actually your explanation is spot on, I would just change it to " c can sound s sometimes, rather than sounds like s" but that's a bit pedantic grin.

Young kids actually accept these things very easily "it's a bit funny" is just what I say... to my 4 year old. Welcome to the joy/ambiguity of spelling/sounds in the english language. Today I was helping said 4 year old write "Mummy". I've taught her that you can use "y" to make the "ee" sound. But sometimes you use "ee". So we did some words with y, then we did some with ee, and then she suggested cup of "tea", so we get on to, oh yes, you can make "ee" sound with "ea" too..... at which point we stopped as she is only just 4 and that was quite enough!

It's tricky... I only learnt the phonics stuff with DS who did it at school in YR. DD is two years behind so has the benefit of me being on the same page from the start and she takes to it really easily.

Yes, it tends to go all the single letters then ee, ch, th, sh, and oo (poo on the loo)...although of course oo you've got look and book and cook too grin.

VinegarDrinker Wed 17-Apr-13 21:08:52

Thanks for your post free - I don't have an issue with phonics as a concept, in fact it seems a darn sight more sensible than any "scheme" used when I was at primary. Just not desperately keen to 'sign up' to one particular scheme especially as he is a LONG way off school.

He's only 2y2m ... (deliberately didn't mention it earlier for fear of flaming! We do spend plenty of time making mud pies and fingerpainting etc too...)

HumphreyCobbler Wed 17-Apr-13 21:11:55

he sounds like a clever little bean, that is really young!

freetrait Wed 17-Apr-13 21:13:21

Ah yes, I understand that. And actually as I was writing my post I had it in mind that you were talking about a 2 year old and thought to myself "well, actually none of that is necessary at all with a 2 year old!" I think if you just go with the child and share you can't really go wrong. Enjoy!

freetrait Wed 17-Apr-13 21:17:14

By the way my eldest was similarly precocious at that age. He only learnt to read properly at 5 as we didn't push, but now at 6 can read anything and everything (and does...). When he was 3/4 I didn't have the sounds/phonics knowledge that I have now though, so am very happy to to use this with DD now. Hope that makes sense!

simpson Wed 17-Apr-13 21:41:51

He is doing really well for 2. DD is now 5 (in reception) and is reading chapter books (to herself or me ie Roald Dahl, basic Michael Morpurgo etc) and she taught herself to read at 3 (I was such a bad mother I didn't realise for a while) so she could read (at a basic level) before she started nursery and has made amazing progress.

But she is not so taken with numeracy though.

I would get some letter fridge magnets (my DD loved them).

VinegarDrinker Wed 17-Apr-13 21:55:03

Thanks. Yes we have fridge magnets - from before he was born! He does enjoy them but mostly seems to like talking about letters in "real life" eg what all his friends' names start with, what each bus stop says, signs on shops etc.

He loves numbers too, that preceded the letters. (Before that was colours then shapes).

He's just like a little sponge atm, the ch and sh sounds he asked me once and then internalised it as fact immediately. I am sure his ability to learn new stuff will plateau soon enough, I hope so anyway it he'll overtake both DH & I before school! Well aware it isn't predictive of anything long term though smile

stealthsquiggle Wed 17-Apr-13 22:00:42

My 6yo DD knows them as kicking cuh and curly cuh. I am sure she would explain all the rules to me in great detail given half a chance, but she is asleep. She likes rules. Strange child.

simpson Wed 17-Apr-13 22:02:02

You should get him watching alphablocks on cbeebies, he will love it smile

noramum Wed 17-Apr-13 22:06:12

I second Alphablocks.

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