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Is there a mismatch between my DS's phonics understanding and reading?

(20 Posts)
MrsCakesPremonition Mon 10-Mar-14 16:57:36

my DS is in Y1. He is currently on ORT level 8 and is a confident reader, although not exceptional in anyway. He tends to read things in his head a lot and seems to have really "got" reading over the last term or so.
However he has just been moved in to a phonics class in YR. His teacher while he was in YR never raised any issues with his phonics and his current teacher didn't mention any concerns at last terms parents evening. So it feels like it is a new thing to me.

We have parents evening next week and I want to talk to the teacher about what feels to me to be a disparity. But I'm struggling to frame my questions, I don't want to sound like I think he should be in a different phonics group if that is the level that is most suitable, but equally I would like to understand more about the learning process which is going on.

Is the phonics important for reading, or are there other implications that I'm less aware of - such as spelling/writing?

Any thoughts much appreciated. Thanks.

columngollum Mon 10-Mar-14 17:59:05

There are endless phonics threads on mumsnet, why not google some? If I was in your position I wouldn't frame any questions I'd just go and ask the teacher to explain to me what she was doing and why she was doing it.

SapphireMoon Mon 10-Mar-14 18:09:32

I wonder if it is anything to do with the year 1 phonics rest? Obviously a good reader but maybe finds the nonsense word etc tough in phonics test format? Maybe Reception practising that? Just a thought...

MrsCakesPremonition Mon 10-Mar-14 18:20:03

Hmm, I'd forgotten about the nonsense words. I do suspect he is memorising words, so perhaps he isn't using phonics to build words and then tripping up when he doesn't know the word.

Ferguson Mon 10-Mar-14 18:50:26

Secure phonics knowledge is also useful to help with spelling.

What is his writing like, and encourage that aspect if he is happy to do it. See if he can make up his OWN nonsense words, pretend it is an alien language!

MrsCakesPremonition Mon 10-Mar-14 18:51:45

His writing isn't brilliant TBH. Enthusiastic rather than accurate.

gymboywalton Mon 10-Mar-14 18:52:41

it will be to do with his writing and spelling rather than his reading.

we have so many funny spellings of things that it can all be hard to grasp.

do you know what 'phase' of phonics he is doing with this class?

columngollum Mon 10-Mar-14 18:59:17

What is his spelling actually like?

Loads of children have atrocious spelling in Y1, if my daughter's class is anything to go by, and they're not all doing phonics with Reception. I don't think bad spelling in Y1 is particularly new or shocking.

MrsCakesPremonition Mon 10-Mar-14 19:01:12

He seems to be on phase 4 from what I can tell. Which makes sense in a way.

MrsCakesPremonition Mon 10-Mar-14 19:03:31

His spelling is very hit and miss. When he is engaged and concentrating it is not bad at all, when he is rushing or uninterested it is awful and his handwriting becomes almost illegible.

storynanny Mon 10-Mar-14 19:04:51

Some schools set for phonics across the yr r/yr1 range and he might be in the set taught by a reception teacher, not necessarily meaning it is yr r level if you see what I mean.

MerryMarigold Mon 10-Mar-14 19:05:42

I imagine he has memorised a lot too. My ds1 really struggled with phonics. It put him back a long way in reading, as the scheme they used was very phonic based. Actually his reading and writing/ spelling are not too bad now (Y3), but very much from memory. Personally (and there is endless debate over this), I feel like some kids struggle with phonics. It's still great to teach it, as it has helped ds1 with sounding out new words, and spelling, but the synthetic phonics approach (not learning anything by memory, no visual clues and no progression until you have 'got' that phase of the phonic programme) was just awful for him. You're school sounds good in that it is allowing to progress reading whilst helping him 'get' the phonics as well by repeating.

MerryMarigold Mon 10-Mar-14 19:07:03

I don't think he can be on phase 4. My YR ds is on phase 13 (maybe it is a different scheme, though). Or maybe he is 'revising'.

columngollum Mon 10-Mar-14 19:09:36

When you say it's not bad at all, do you mean that he can write partial sentences or little stories with some correctly spelled words in them? Words/phrases like

Once upon a time, (or) One day there was... (or anything, really?)

Because if he can do that, I wouldn't have thought his spelling was the problem!

gymboywalton Mon 10-Mar-14 19:10:13

it will be a different scheme

if it helps at all i have been teaching phase 5 to a group of year 3 children and we have one child who goes to reception to go over phase 2/3 because he is not secure .

i wouldn't worry about it too much but would maybe ask hi steacher what you can do to support him in securing the phonics he needs?

mrz Mon 10-Mar-14 19:13:36

MM there are only 6 phases.
MrsCakesPremonition phase 4 is meant to be taught in reception but to be honest the phases were never meant to be used for setting children although clearly some schools get hung up on them. Basically in phase 4 children are working with words like stop and sand rather than words like top and sad.

MrsCakesPremonition Mon 10-Mar-14 19:15:41

The school actually has mixed Y1/Y2 classes within which the children are usually split into phonics groups by ability. Some Y2 children are also being taught in the YR group. In the past, YR has always been kept separate in their own unit. Perhaps they are now looking at teaching right across all three year groups. Thanks - I think that is something to ask the teachers.

It may be that DS is overemphasising the YR aspect (going to YR classroom, working with YR children, taught by YR teacher) when from the school's perspective it is just another phonics set like the rest.

Merry thanks for telling me about your DS. I think once I've seen the teacher I might have some homework to do myself to get up to speed on how phonics and memory work for different children.

The school are great with the children, but not always brilliant at explaining stuff to parents. Which is why I want to feel a bit prepared. And this thread has been very useful.

MrsCakesPremonition Mon 10-Mar-14 19:17:26

mrz - that sounds about right. I think he was doing mend today.

MerryMarigold Mon 10-Mar-14 19:20:09

Oh, ok maybe it is set 13. I get lost.

Where do words like pure, board etc come?

mrz Mon 10-Mar-14 19:23:47

They would be phase 5 MM if the school used Letters & sounds (which uses those stupid phases)

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