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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?

Feenie Thu 19-Sep-13 20:25:52

Keep reading, frazzled, and you'll come to the bit where they explain that tricky words are to be taught as decodable - just with a tricky 'bit'.

The trickiness in 'so' is obviously not very tricky at all - just a correspondence they may not have been taught yet.

mrz Thu 19-Sep-13 20:27:45

oh dear simpson sad

frazzled also from Letters & Sounds phase 2 (reception)

1. Explain that there are some words that have one, or sometimes two, tricky
2. Read the caption, pointing to each word, then point to the word to be learned and read it again.
3. Write the word on the whiteboard.
4. Sound-talk the word and repeat putting sound lines and buttons (as illustrated above) under each phoneme and blending them to read the word.
5. Discuss the tricky bit of the word where the letters do not correspond to the sounds the children know (e.g. in go, the last letter does not represent the same sound as the children know in dog).

IAmNotLouise Thu 19-Sep-13 20:27:50

I know what you mean, frazzled. It's definitely not /oa/. I think it's an accent thing. I have friends that do pronounce it as an /oa/. But I just sound weird when I say it.

I think PI uses /oa/ for the sound 'o' represents in 'cold' and to me it doesn't.

mamaduckbone Thu 19-Sep-13 20:32:14

The fact is that it can't be sounded out with the phonics that your daughter has been taught so far, yet it is a word that will appear in her reading books and therefore needs to be recognised.

5 year olds on the whole are not ready for exceptions to the rules, and she may not even have been taught ow, oa, o-e yet, let alone that sometimes an o can make a long sound all on it's own. That's why words that don't follow the usual conventions are taught as tricky words.

A large group of adults are having a lengthy debate about this - all the teacher is doing is trying to keep it simple! smile

mrz Thu 19-Sep-13 20:32:59

How would you pronounce old

ClayDavis Thu 19-Sep-13 20:34:45

mamaduckbone, most 5 year olds manage it with no problem at all. Its the recommended way of teaching it in all phonics programs and the way the government recommends teaching it.

mrz Thu 19-Sep-13 20:38:59

mamaduckbone all the teacher is doing is demonstrating she hasn't a clue about the English orthographical system and doesn't know what on earth she is doing.

There seem to be quite a few posters who don't understand that tricky isn't a synonym for sight

teacherwith2kids Thu 19-Sep-13 20:39:04

"That's why words that don't follow the usual conventions are taught as tricky words. "

No, words that the child needs to know but contain an as-yet-untaught correspondance (a relatively short period if phonics teaching is properly rapid) are taught as HAVING A TRICKY BIT.

A couple of weeks later, once the new sound is known, then that 'bit' is no longer tricky and the word can be read using the new phonics knowledge about e.g.the sound 'oa'.

If phonics teaching is properly brisk and doesn't get ridiculously hung up on 'phases', then 'tricky bits' become fleeting things in the main (I would say that the 'oo' in 'two' and the 'w' in 'one' remain quite tricky, and I still have to think carefully about yacht, but there are really quite few others)

teacherwith2kids Thu 19-Sep-13 20:42:16

Most well-taught 5 year olds in current Reception and Y1 classes are entirely happy to discuss graphemes and phonemes, digraphs and trigraphs, alternative spellings etc etc. They LOVE rules and exceptions and new rules, it's SO much clearer to them than 'no, you just have to learn the list of words, which have been matched to pictures for you to guess their meanings'.....

ClayDavis Thu 19-Sep-13 20:42:27

Sorry, I've name changed back in the middle of the thread. It's not an intentional sockpuppet.

The same way I'd pronounce cold, gold or shoulder, *mrz. grin Stupidly, I can't think of any way of representing it in writing that can't also be pronounced as /oa/ in another accent. 'oh' is about as close as I can get. It's not the same sound that is in goat, show, toe, bone etc.

mrz Thu 19-Sep-13 20:45:27

I would pronounce "oh" in the same ways as I would pronounce /oa/ confused

mrz Thu 19-Sep-13 20:46:06

Growlithe Thu 19-Sep-13 20:46:10

But for all this talk, it is now just over two weeks into the school term (a couple of weeks longer in Scotland). Now I don't know about your children, but I wouldn't have expected mine to be discussing all the sounds you can get out of an 'o' just now.

DD started with a small group of sounds (you teachers may know them because I think it was a common way of starting and I've just got them from an Ipad app I got at the time in the hope of helping her: s,a,t,p,i,n,m,d). She wouldn't have even come across an 'o' this early in phonics.

ClayDavis Thu 19-Sep-13 20:48:20

I assumed you might, mrz. That's why I was having problems finding a way of writing it down.

teacherwith2kids Thu 19-Sep-13 20:51:04

I think the point is that either:
- The class teacher is using texts ahead of / divorced from the children's phonic knowledge and so is having to use the infamous 'mixed methods' for the children to decode them OR
- The OP's child is being given separate phonic teaching appropriate to her ability (as the OP says that she is close to reading already, and it may be that she knows the first phonic sounds well as the OP sounds like she knows her stuff) and so the teacher has moved on to more advanced work with her ... and is doing it incorrectly.

Growlithe Thu 19-Sep-13 20:57:14

teacher isn't your first point a really common thing as schools have whole stocks of books from old schemes which they are almost forced to use now?

Iwaswatchingthat Thu 19-Sep-13 21:00:27

Phonetically 'o' sounds like 'o'. It's name is 'oa', but not its sound.

The phrase used by most schools to describe words which cannot be built phonetically is 'tricky words'.

OP - the teacher is correct.

Iwaswatchingthat Thu 19-Sep-13 21:03:31

he, me, be she cannot be sounded out phonetically either.

h - e are the sounds in he, the sounds these graphemes make are not h ee

mrz Thu 19-Sep-13 21:04:37

Incorrect twaswatchingthat the spelling <o> can be /o/ as in pot or /oa/ as in post

So has two sounds /s/ /oa/ and is perfectly phonetic

Growlithe Thu 19-Sep-13 21:05:54

But is this beyond YR week 3?

mrz Thu 19-Sep-13 21:06:20

are you a teacher twaswatchingthat?

the letter <e> can spell /e/ in bed and /ee/ in be

mrz Thu 19-Sep-13 21:07:00

No it isn't

Iwaswatchingthat Thu 19-Sep-13 21:09:21

Yes, alternate sounds covered in phase 5, but at the age of the OP's daughter - the words are 'tricky' in that it is much too soon and far too confusing to introduce alternate sounds. You could literally go on forever with alternate sounds.

Phonetically so would be spelt soa and post poast.

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 19-Sep-13 21:11:17

It can be sounded out, but it's part of a common group of words which children will likely come across before they have learnt how to decode the sounds in it. Like "the" for example. Extremely common word, very difficult sounds! You have th which is a complicated one (two letters, can be th as in these or th as in thin, many 4/5 year olds still unable to pronounce either) and then the "e" is a schwa which is difficult for an adult to get their head around!

Because there are a number of short common words which are tricky these will be taught by sight but the vast vast majority of words would be taught by phonics.

mrz Thu 19-Sep-13 21:12:06

Have you read Letters & Sounds and how to teach "tricky words" in phase 2?

Phonetically it is spelt so

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