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"So" is a sight word and can't be sounded out...

(313 Posts)
Stampstamp Thu 19-Sep-13 13:11:46

Said the reception class teacher today. Aaargh! Thank heavens DD can already mostly read (she's nearly 5). Why do some teachers and schools have such a limited understanding of phonics, it seems so fundamental to me?

mrz Thu 19-Sep-13 18:05:30

As HumphreyCobbler explains so well red words in RWI aren't sight words

Stampstamp Thu 19-Sep-13 18:45:07

I don't think children need to be taught that any words can't be sounded out. The teacher didn't seem to understand phonics, that's what worried me. It's one thing telling a child that for now, "o" sounds /o/ as in dog, but in some words like "so" it makes an oh sound. What's wrong with saying that? Rather than telling them it can't be sounded out, which isn't the case. I haven't really looked at RWI as I taught DD reading at home and based it on Debbie Hepplethwaite (I think, does that name sound right?) but I'm sure we'll get some reading books home eventually which might explain things.

frazzled1772 Thu 19-Sep-13 18:54:58


mrz Thu 19-Sep-13 19:05:00

How would you pronounce soul and mould and boulder and shoulder and ?

frazzled1772 Thu 19-Sep-13 19:09:15

not the same as oa/ow/oe/o~e more like sholder, molder, bolder, if you see what I mean?

Feenie Thu 19-Sep-13 19:11:05


Growlithe Thu 19-Sep-13 19:11:21

We get threads like this every year. With all due respect, isn't it just that there is more than one way to skin a cat?

mrz Thu 19-Sep-13 19:13:27

so you say sol? (as in costa del?)

frazzled1772 Thu 19-Sep-13 19:16:30


mrz Thu 19-Sep-13 19:17:12

but we aren't skinning cats Growlithe we are trying to ensure every child learns to read and spell.

frazzled1772 Thu 19-Sep-13 19:17:37

well not quite the same

mrz Thu 19-Sep-13 19:18:22

frazzled1772 Thu 19-Sep-13 19:18:23

maybe more like shullder?

mrz Thu 19-Sep-13 19:19:15

shull to rhyme with skull?

eddiemairswife Thu 19-Sep-13 19:24:29

looking at some of the correspondence about reading I wonder how I managed to learn. Started school at 5yrs 3months, couldn't read but knew my ABC and could recognise capital letters only. We didn't do phonics then, but learnt C_A_T spells cat, D_O_G spells dog etc.; we also had flash cards. After 2 terms I was reading well enough to read parts of the newspaper (Daily Mirror). We didn't bring reading books home from school. My children were taught using Look and Say, and also did not bring books home from school. It seems to me that whatever is in fashion at the time works. I do get concerned that very little children are being taught to read too soon, and that so many parents feel worried that 'my 5 year old can't read'.

frazzled1772 Thu 19-Sep-13 19:26:40

well as it sounds on the link you gave but that is not a long o sound.

Growlithe Thu 19-Sep-13 19:28:02

But isn't there a number of ways to do that mrz. The OP is having success with her method, but my DD's school (shes just gone into Y1) uses RWI and I am happy with her progress too.

Guess the only sticking point is getting them through the Y1 phonics check, although I'm not convinced on the value of that for the child.

But what do I know, I am a parent who is leaving it to the school. Not because I am thick, just because I am not a qualified teacher and I don't want to confuse DD with a different approach at such an early stage, so would rather support her teacher in the school's chosen method.

Feenie Thu 19-Sep-13 19:36:34

They're the same methods - different schemes is all.

teacherwith2kids Thu 19-Sep-13 19:42:20

eddiemair- of course, you learned to read, and so did I.

However, a significant percentage of children didn't learn to read when using look and say methods - and that percentage is reduced using properly-taught phonics (sadly, some teachers as well as many parents imagine that phonics is a strict 1 to 1 correspondance of sound and symbol and that any deviation from that is 'tricky' or 'can't be taught using phonics' or even 'shows that English isn't phonic so we have to teach all the rest by look and say').

The move to phonics isn't really for you and I - we would have learned to read by whatever method. It is for the children who DIDN'T learn to read that way and thus need a BETTER method.

mrz Thu 19-Sep-13 19:47:40

Yes it is the sound /oa/ frazzled (check the phonemic spelling and compare to the chart -

mrz Thu 19-Sep-13 19:50:25

The phonics screening check is very useful to me as a teacher and it has certainly identified the so called good readers in some schools who don't have an effective strategy for tackling unfamiliar words.

eddiemairswife Thu 19-Sep-13 19:53:12

Point taken teacherwith2kids. I only taught Y5/6 and came across only 2 children who couldn't read.

frazzled1772 Thu 19-Sep-13 20:18:27

Mrz: govt link to phonics teaching p 136 - shoulder under common alternative pronunciations (not oa)

Also they do show sound buttons for "so" (as you describe), however it is as a tricky word but the expectation is that because they learn short vowel sounds first that it is not decode - able at this stage - but it is high high frequency word so useful to learn.

Not "rubbish" thank you very much.

simpson Thu 19-Sep-13 20:23:01

DD is in yr1 and told me the other day she is learning a song about 2 vowels walking hand in hand....

Not for the magic e (which I know is outdated) but for sounds like OA as in boat, coat etc.

mrz Thu 19-Sep-13 20:23:30

You seem to be reading the Letters & Sounds document incorrectly frazzled

the page you mention is demonstrating that the spelling <ou> can represent the sound /ow/ in out and /oa/ in shoulder and /oo/ in you and /u/ in could (alternative pronunciations of a single spelling)

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