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sounding out words

(9 Posts)
Lindy2 Thu 20-Nov-14 21:36:10

DD age 6 and in YR2 had her reading level assessed at school today but didn't go up a level. The TA has p ut a note on her reading record to say she is not quite ready as she is still sounding out most of the words.
She finds reading tricky and has made slow but steady progress although I know she is behind where she ideally should be. She does sound out quite a lot of words which does slow down the flow of a story a bit (if that is even possible with a Biff and Chip storyline!) but she mostly gets the words right and understand what she has read.
She reads at home every night. Tonight she actually had a Biff and Chip book of the level she isn't ready for yet but read it easily. She just needed a bit of help with ’laugh’ and ’ice’. She got those right on a second go. She sounded out about 1/3 of the words and sight read the rest. She then went on to read a much longer and more challenging book of our own.
I'm confused about the sounding out though. I thought that was the point of phonics. I've actually always encouraged her and sound out to work out the word and so I can hear if she is getting it right. Should she not be doing that now? If she can't sound out I think she will do more guessing. She is a bit prone to trying to guess from the first couple of letters which is again why I have encouraged her to sound out properly.
It is parents’ evening soon so I will talk to her teacher then but was just interested in other people’s thoughts.

maizieD Thu 20-Nov-14 22:09:08

Of course it is fine for her to be sounding out words for just as long as she needs to. There is nothing particularly virtuous about not sounding out; it just means that the words have gone into long term memory a bit faster. If your dd needs longer then she needs it and hurrying her into 'other strategies' or insistence on not sounding out will probably upset her. You are absolutely right not to let her guess words.

If you do think that she is just sounding out words from habit rather than necessity you could suggest that she tries to sound out in her head, or by whispering, before saying the whole word, but this is for you to judge.

As long as she understands what she is reading she will be fine and will eventually become more fluent. From the sound of it she is not getting decodable books, which will not help if her phonic knowledge is not quite secure yet.

I'm curious as to who did this 'assessment'. Was it the teacher or the TA?

Ferguson2 Thu 20-Nov-14 22:39:09

I was primary TA / helper for over twenty years. During that time, methods of teaching reading changed, with today's method of Phonics proving more reliable than the older 'look and say' method. Phonics helps children UNDERSTAND how sounds build into words, which in turn helps with spelling.

As maizieD suggested, words like 'laugh' probably wouldn't be in a 'decodable' book, but many schools still use the thirty year old 'Biff & Chip' books. The latest generation of books have been improved, and ARE decodable.

The important thing is that she continues to enjoy reading, and is not worried by strategies and methods. A few children do continue 'sounding' for longer than they need to, either because they have got so used to doing it, and feel 'safe', or they just think it is 'expected' of them. Maybe gently 'wean' her off it gradually.

You and she might find this book clarifies things for you:

An inexpensive and easy to use book, that can encourage children with reading, spelling and writing is mentioned in the MN Book Reviews section. In “Children’s educational books and courses”, the Oxford Phonics Spelling Dictionary presents words by their initial SOUND, unlike a ‘normal’ dictionary, which is always in alphabetical order. Thus, in the ‘S’ section are words like ‘cinema’ and ‘cycle’, which have a ‘S’ sound, even though they are spelt with ‘C’.

The Dictionary is colourful and amusingly illustrated, and can be used by children on their own, or with adult support, from Reception age right up to the start of secondary school.

The review has a link to view sample pages, and purchase if you so wish.

mrz Fri 21-Nov-14 06:59:00

Does the school use PM Benchmarking to assess when a child moves up by any chance?

Lindy2 Fri 21-Nov-14 09:36:58

It was a TA who did the assessment. I'm not sure about how they assess/benchmarking. I think I will have a chat about it with her teacher at parents evening.
The school so have some lovely new phonics book (supersonic phonics I think ) but there is quite a number of the 30 year old Biff and Chip types too. The children choose their own.
DD loves reading now. She was extremely averse in reception but mellowed in year 1 and now is really enthusiastic. We have some catching up to do but it is her enjoyment of reading I want to keep going so I'm trying not to be too fussed about reading levels and whether she sounds out or not.
Thank you all for your comments.

Papermover Fri 21-Nov-14 18:56:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mrz Fri 21-Nov-14 19:04:09

PM Benchmarking is linked to Reading Recovery so the assessment doesn't relate to current phonics methods

catkind Fri 21-Nov-14 21:11:15

There was a point where DS went overnight from sounding out most of the words in a book aloud to only sounding out 2-3 words in a book. I don't know if it was learning to sound out faster in his head or for some reason he suddenly started remembering whole words.

His teacher noticed too and that was when he was put up from level 2 to level 3. He could have decoded level 3 books before that but I guess they wanted him to be able to concentrate on the story rather than the decoding.

Papermover Fri 21-Nov-14 21:38:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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