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Reading books and phonics

(88 Posts)
slev Fri 02-May-14 19:10:58

Looking for some help please!

DS has just started bringing books home for reading practice (he's in Kindergarten so only just learning to blend letters). Yesterday's was all consonant-vowel-consonant words, very regular and easy to help him sound them out. But today's has jumped to include words like "sandwiches", "cakes" and "basket" (we're in the south so to me that's phonetically irregular as we'd have a long a!).

So he obviously can't read it on his own, but I have no idea how to help him with our without undoing whatever he may have learnt at school. Will speak to his teacher on Tuesday, but any tips on the meantime? Do I get him to guess the words based on recognising the first letter and the pictures? Or do I just teach him the word and ignore the phonics but accept he's unlikely to remember any of it tomorrow if he sees the word out of context?

Can't help feeling we need a lesson for the parents first - and this is Kindergarten, it's only going to get worse!

MrsCakesPremonition Fri 02-May-14 19:16:27

Are you sure he is supposed to be reading it all on his own, or have they just sent the book home for you to share?

Tambajam Fri 02-May-14 19:20:08

Encourage him to use some non-phonic skills to work out the word e.g. Look at the picture, guess what it might be based on the context.
Look at the first letter.

Then if he can't guess, just tell him the word and keep going. Let me decode the CVC words like yesterday and just help out with these ones.

It's about enjoyment and confidence.

He might remember these new words as sight vocabulary but if he doesn't, that's not a disaster.

mrz Fri 02-May-14 19:27:43

Tell him the words he can't possibly read at this point - whatever you do don't encourage him to guess or use pictures.

words like sand wich es - you could try breaking it up into syllables for him and get him to blend the syllables or if he could blend sand - wich - es himself let him build it syllable by syllable himself.

but please avoid pictures or guessing strategies

Feenie Fri 02-May-14 19:32:24

Please don't use Tambajam's suggestions of teaching him how to guess.

I'd clarify with the teacher whether it's a book she expects him to share or read himself.

What these schools are going to do with the new curriculum, I have no idea - from September, children must read decodable reading books closely matched to their phonics knowledge.

Tambajam Fri 02-May-14 19:39:07

'Guessing' is a reading skill! Using picture cues and context is a perfectly valid part of your reading tools at this age.
<Primary school teacher/ Deputy Head background here>

Feenie Fri 02-May-14 19:42:50


Guessing is a guessing skill.

That's it.

It has no place in reading, and is nothing to do with actually teaching children to read instead.

Feenie Fri 02-May-14 19:43:55

I'm guessing and hoping you're not teaching atm.

Tambajam Fri 02-May-14 19:49:08

I'm a teacher who believes children learn to read using a variety of methods. The most effective may be synthetic phonics/ phonics but other methods can compliment that strategy.
You don't see context cues as ever having a place?

mrz Fri 02-May-14 19:50:31

guessing isn't a reading skill it's a gambling skill and I prefer not to gamble with a child's future

Tambajam Fri 02-May-14 19:51:59

So we should be covering up all the pictures these days?

Ferguson Fri 02-May-14 19:54:25

Like I always say: some schools are better than others, and some TEACHERS are better than others!

Query it with the teacher, so you know what she expects of you, and of your child.

Meanwhile, maybe talk about long words and short words, and possibly find little words WITHIN longer ones. [Unless mrz & Feenie aren't too keen on that idea?]

Feenie Fri 02-May-14 19:55:48

20% of children fail to learn to read using the discredited (see the Rose report) searchlights/mixed methods you describe - my decision being one of them. It took me 4 months to teach him to read using phonics.

It took much longer to pick his self-esteem off the floor.

Why do that to one in five children - with no way of knowing in advance which children will be damaged as part of that 20%?

No, context clues have no place at all in early reading - thankfully, the new curriculum requires that no guessing at all is used, and they're not needed at all to read decodable reading books anyway.

Feenie Fri 02-May-14 19:56:46

My ds -not decision. Bloody autocorrect.

Feenie Fri 02-May-14 19:57:49

Why would you cover up the pictures?

Why would anyone suggest that? confused

Feenie Fri 02-May-14 20:00:14

You teach children that pictures help you enjoy reading the story.

You don't teach them that pictures help you guess what a word may or may not say.

Covering pictures, fgs how silly.

MumTryingHerBest Fri 02-May-14 20:00:33

Genuine question, are there Kindergartens in the UK?

mrz Fri 02-May-14 20:07:40

No we shouldn't be coving the pictures but we shouldn't be teaching children that is how we read words.

As I said Ferguson break long words into syllables or simply tell him the words

MrsCocoa Fri 02-May-14 20:23:29

Isn't meaning derived from context?

And isn't reading about linking symbols, sounds and meaning?

mrz Fri 02-May-14 20:31:28

yes we would teach a child to use context to aid understanding

storynanny2 Fri 02-May-14 20:35:25

Siev, I have sent you a message.

nonicknameseemsavailable Fri 02-May-14 21:03:01

mumtryingherbest - yes there are kindergartens in the UK. when I was at school it was what our school called reception, our DCs preschool called it kindergarten (it was attached to a private school though so perhaps that is why?) I have come across others but it definitely isn't as common.

MumTryingHerBest Fri 02-May-14 21:08:54

nonicknameseemsavailable thanks :-)

slev Fri 02-May-14 22:21:52

Thanks for the replies and the message storynanny. And yes, this is Kindergarten in a private school, so pre-school by any other name - he starts Reception in the same school next year.

Will try the breaking it up into small pieces tip and see how we do - that was my gut feel too but he was determined to use the pictures and the book was almost set up for that (e.g. a picture of drinks with "the drinks" underneath - which he immediately read as "the juice" because it was orange - hence my confusion about the bet way to do it!). It's definitely for him to read - only 2 or 3 words per page and not enough plot to be of any interest, even to a 4 year-old grin

But good to see opinion is divided so there's no right or wrong - think our best bet may be to do some different reading practice this weekend and pick this one up with the teacher on Tuesday.

lunar1 Fri 02-May-14 22:27:38

I was one of the children that the guessing method failed for. I could read some words that I knew, that my mum ingrained via death by flash card. I think I was around 8-9 before a supply teacher realised I couldn't really read. It took me years and lots of tears to catch up.

I have helped ds1 to learn to read with phonics, it's incredible, he can pretty much figure out everything.

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