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When do children stop needing to sound out words they've seen many times?

(82 Posts)
AcrylicPlexiglass Fri 06-Dec-13 20:08:23

My daughter is in reception and being taught phonics. She seems really good at sounding out and blending simple cvc words but it doesn't seem like she is getting to the stage where many words are entering her long term memory- ie every time she sees a word it's as if she's never seen it before and she has to use her phonic knowledge to work out what it says. She is able to do this successfully but it makes reading a whole sentence, even a short one, kind of laborious! Is this fairly normal or something to worry about?

MillyMollyMama Sat 07-Dec-13 23:33:28

MaizieD. Do you have to be quite so rude! I am sorry to have dared to post on a topic where I am less of an "expert" than others who have posted. Does that mean my views and observations, as a very experienced Mum, are invalid and deserve be described as "utter rubbish"? Is is not possible to say, in a pleasant way, that you disagree with me? I really regret I posted anything here.

mammadiggingdeep Sun 08-Dec-13 03:42:54

From your comment millolly I thought you must have taught dozens of children to read.

Mashabell Sun 08-Dec-13 07:58:56

We had to tell one of my granddaughters that sounding out is just for learning to read, and that reading was just saying the word. At first she was doing both with all words, first sounding it out, then saying the word, and it was driving us mad. She is an excellent reader now.

But she was also the one who next told me,
"U can't sound out all words, grandma. U can't sound out a word like 'was'. U just have to read it!".

The wonder of English spelling.

mrz Sun 08-Dec-13 08:05:56

I hope you explained that you can sound out "was" masha wink what a pity the school hadn't taught her

maizieD Sun 08-Dec-13 09:43:35

From your comment millolly I thought you must have taught dozens of children to read.

I must confess that that assumption had informed my reaction.

I don't know how politely I can put this, MMM, but your views and observations as an experienced mum are not in quite the same league as the conclusions drwn from vast amount of scientific research into reading in the past few decades. Most of which contradicts the commonly held 'beliefs' about the teaching of reading which have been perpetuated by the stranglehold which 'whole word' teaching has had on reading instruction in the English-speaking world during the same period.

My frustration with hearing the same old unevidenced 'truisms' does sometimes become more like anger when I think of many of the wonderful children I have worked with over the years whose reading problems have been needlessly caused, or compounded, by teachers' 'beliefs' in practices which are, quite frankly, wrong.

wonderingagain Sun 08-Dec-13 09:58:25

You need to teach her small groups of letters. Put your thumbs over the other letters, break words up into small groups. She needs to see small groups of letters as an image. This makes it quicker. So, even hard words like 'catching', break down to ca-tch-ing. Then break it into syllables, so catch-ing.

Phonics is like learning long arithmetic, mental maths involves a different learning skill.

mrz Sun 08-Dec-13 10:03:24

NOOOOOOoooooooooo! shock

IThoughtThat Sun 08-Dec-13 10:31:14

All mine did it differently. One seemed to skip sounding out completely while another seemed to be incapable of remembering a word from one moment to the next. One thing that stood out for me was that they all seemed to improve in fits and starts. Mine are now nearly adults and all still love to read so any earlier worrying was pointless.

IThoughtThat Sun 08-Dec-13 10:40:02

Wow, isn't this an emotive subject. shock not sure why people have to be so aggressive

Feenie Sun 08-Dec-13 10:45:16

Because some of the opinions on threads like these are held by real teachers who damage children's reading, and worse - their reading self esteem. It takes a long time to fix the latter. That's what makes people cross.

IThoughtThat Sun 08-Dec-13 12:25:52

This is a thread about reading, there really is no need to be aggressive and unpleasant. It should be in a teachers capability to be polite when they disagree with people. confused. People loose credibly when they get stroppy about things like this.

The other poster was trying to be helpful and didn't deserve the snippy comments.

wonderingagain Sun 08-Dec-13 18:03:00

Sorry I should have said, that's how I taught mine, I am not a teacher. The important thing is to try out whatever works for your child. English has odd spellings and pronunciation, there is a point you get to where phonics doesn't suit. My dds have impeccable spelling as a result of not making assumptions that words that sound the same are spelled the same. Eg they learnt 'ought' as one spelling or phonic, and 'ort' as another, covering the other letters, b or sp or th. Worked for me. We only did this while reading books, real paper ones, never lists of words out of context.

wonderingagain Sun 08-Dec-13 18:05:07

The biggest mistake schools make is thinking their method works for all children.

mrz Sun 08-Dec-13 18:09:59

Eg they learnt 'ought' as one spelling or phonic, and 'ort' in phonics teaching they would learn that the sound /or/can be spelt in a number of ways <or> <ough>

Mashabell Sun 08-Dec-13 19:26:38

Mrz: they would learn that the sound /or/can be spelt in a number of ways <or> <ough>.

But they have to learn word by word which one to use in particular words.

But that's a spelling problem, not a reading one. For reading, other letters in a word and context help with decoding, or accessing, the tricky ones, even ones with really beastly spellings, like 'read, tear' and 'lead'.

Btw, my granddaughter learned to read very fast by accepting early on that words like was cannot be entirely sounded out. Luckily, this is what she was taught at school. I am not saying this is true of all children, but for some too much reliance on sounding out ends up being unhelpful.

And do u really have to be so constantly snippy?

mrz Sun 08-Dec-13 19:35:41

Masha children are taught the alternatives (most common ones first) and are taught that if one doesn't work try the others ... it's much easier than having to learn a million plus words.

I can stop when you stop posting your nonsense.

maizieD Sun 08-Dec-13 22:44:57

I can stop when you stop posting your nonsense.

Oh dear. Naughty step for you, too, mrz wink

wonderingagain Mon 09-Dec-13 00:28:37

I'm with you masha, the very early reading skills need phonetic sounds to learn the alphabet - where we learned the names of the letters, 'em' 'pee'
with phonics you learn the sound. This is a no-brainer to me but was only introducd a few years ago (despite the phonics system being decades old).

Over-reliance on phonics can really bugger up spelling I think unless it is done as part of everyday reading. I believe my dd has excellent spelling because I split the words for her while reading. I think this has also had an impact on her understanding in all areas as she got older and language was more complex.

The chinese learn in this way, words are small images rather than a series of letters. You can say the same of English - the meaning behind the word dictates the spelling, not the other way round.

mrz Mon 09-Dec-13 06:57:21

(despite the phonics system being decades old). you mean centuries old. There wouldn't be written language if someone hadn't linked sounds and symbols.

I believe my dd has excellent spelling because I split the words for her while reading. how do you think phonics teaches spelling? confused

lougle Mon 09-Dec-13 07:46:38

I like Read Write Inc. The teachers at dd2&3s' school gave an excellent demonstration of how the strands of reading, writing and spelling are woven together right from the beginning.

Children are taught how to say a sound, what the sound looks like, and how to form the sound along with a story which reinforces the formation. e.g 'm': "There was a little girl called Maisie, who wanted to climb a mountain. She looked down at her boots, looked up again and climbed over the mountain, but when she got to the other side there was another mountain, so she climbed that one too." This is then contacted to 'Maisie, mountain, mountain.'

They use 'Fred speak'to break down words into sounds (Fred is a frog who can't say words, he can only say sounds) and then when they are writing, children are encouraged to use their "Fred fingers" as they say a word, to identify how many sounds they should be using to write a word.

At DDs' school they set phonics across KS1 and have 30 or so groups of around 6-8 children. Every child's progress is monitored half termly by the phonics lead and the sets are reconfigured. Any lack of progress is investigated and intervention started if necessary.

Most children are off the phonics programme by year 2 and go on to the spelling programme.

wonderingagain Mon 09-Dec-13 10:58:46

mrz can you stop being bossy and picky please, this could be quite an interesting discussion if you could hear people out.

It's great when people question their child's learning and important that it's discussed before it's too late. I wish I had had that opportunity when mine were little.

Thankfully most schools are away from the 'sausage factory' methods of teaching but phonics could be used in this way by a lazy school, it isn't the answer for every child at every stage.

Mashabell Mon 09-Dec-13 19:35:49

U are absolutely right to think that
Over-reliance on phonics can really bugger up spelling.
In the early years children do try to spell phonically (frend, sed, bruther, wos, thaut) and have to be trained to spell 'correctly' instead. It is because 4 words out of 7 contain one or more unpredictable letters that even bright pupils need an average of 10 years to become proficient. Nearly half continue to have difficulties for the rest of their lives.

For the 332 words with two or more spellings (to/too/two, there/their, here/hear...) phonics is nowhere near enough.

English spelling is only partially phonic. That's why phonics alone cannot turn anyone into a proficient reader or speller. In other European languages phonics is far more effective, because the number of words with irregular spellings is much smaller, and no letters or letter strings (graphemes) have more than one pronunciation. Children never have to battle with the likes of 'won, woman, women'. This makes an enormous difference to the ease and speed with which they are able to learn to read.

mrz Mon 09-Dec-13 19:46:35

I disagree wonderingagain everyone needs phonics regardless of stage or age and it is necessary for all but a tiny minority

mrz Mon 09-Dec-13 19:48:22

Masha English spelling is complex but 100% phonetic!

wonderingagain Tue 10-Dec-13 00:46:14

Masha and then when they start writing and their spelling has to be constantly corrected they can lose a lot of confidence.

I remember being very frustrated that there weren't enough childrens books that had simple spellings (apart from the Ladybirds). In some ways thought my eldest ended up learning very complex spellings at a very young age by recognising them through reading. I still explain the origins of words and that helps even now she's doing GCSEs. Eg today 'Austerity' - comes from the word austere, harsh. I don't think they are taught to decode like that at school.

This is where weekly spelling tests are a waste of time as well. When I was at school we would have to write a sentence using that word - that way we spelled in context and understood what we were learning to spell.

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