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Question about Phonics

(70 Posts)
Hobsandpeanuts Fri 16-Jan-15 17:09:04


Couldn't find a Phonics forum on the board, so I apologise if this is in the wrong place.

I have a question about letter names and Phonics. I am currently teaching my DS the letters. He knows the ABC song in part and recognises some of the letters. For example when he sees a 'S' he calls it by it's proper letter name.

So when you are trying to teach your children the letters do you say 'This is S and it makes a sss sound?'

Or do you point to the letter 'S' and just say 'This is ssss'.

Not sure I've explained that clearly enough?

NancyJones Fri 16-Jan-15 17:13:24

Do you mean you are teaching him it's letter name ie 'es' rather than sss?
If so then you need to abandon all letter names and concentrate in letter sounds. Letter names are arbitrary and have no basis in phonics. On fact, they will hinder a child's progress.

KittyandTeal Fri 16-Jan-15 17:13:25

We usually teach them in conjunction but with the sound being the main point.

As in that's a 'ssss' and it's name is 'es'

TeenAndTween Fri 16-Jan-15 17:14:27

All the experts will be along soon. Listen to Mrz and ignore Masha.

Don't teach letter names.

Just use the sounds. So sssss or mmmmm (not muh).

Some children can cope with name and sound. But many others get confused. You don't know which your child will be, so play safe.

If teaching/showing any writing, use lower case. Make sure the letter is being formed correctly. It is harder for teachers to 'undo' bad practice than teach correct first time.

ps More important than any of the above for school readiness
- dressing and undressing
- going to toilet
- try to do things for self
- asking adult for help when needed
- opening own lunchbox
- enjoyment of being read to and of books in general

NancyJones Fri 16-Jan-15 17:15:43

That's interesting Kittyandteal. I haven't taught reception for many years but was always advised to introduce letter names later.

Hobsandpeanuts Fri 16-Jan-15 17:24:06

I've been teaching him the letter sounds, however he's been picking up letter names from toys and videos.

I began second guessing myself and thinking maybe I needed to teach him letter names too.

Thanks for the advice everyone, will stick to letter sounds from now on.

Panzee Fri 16-Jan-15 17:32:25

I am a teacher. My son learnt letter names from Countdown. grin before I had a chance to do the sounds with him. I found a video on YouTube called The Phonics Song so he knew the sound too. He seems to be ok with the idea of the name and the sound being different, I explained it like a cow being called a cow but saying moo. I didn't intend to do it like this but he beat me to it!

mrz Fri 16-Jan-15 17:50:03

Knowing the letter names isn't particularly useful for reading or spelling (it's simply convention that we use letter names when telling someone how to spell a word)

lolalotta Fri 16-Jan-15 18:14:47

Agree with Mrz, but my daughter in reception has been taught letter sounds in conjunction with their names...

BertieBotts Fri 16-Jan-15 18:24:05

If he knows the sounds I don't think it can harm to teach the names as well. It's certainly less confusing when they start asking you spellings, because some phonic groups have the same sound like /ai/ in rain and and /ay/ in day.

I don't know if that's official but it helped DS.

BertieBotts Fri 16-Jan-15 18:28:36

And this year he'll start school in Germany so he'll get "confused" all over again when he has to learn the alphabet names in German... I'm sure he'll get the hang of it. I think if your DS picked up the sounds quickly then it won't harm him to learn extra things as long as he knows what they are. It's more of a problem with children who find letters/reading harder as they've got more information fighting for space.

My general rule of thumb is that if they're showing an interest in something it's more harmful to shut that down than to let them explore it, especially if they've already learned the building blocks of the things they need to know.

mrz Fri 16-Jan-15 18:29:17

It can be a problem for some children because ar ay ie en doesn't give any clues to the actual word where /r/ /ay/ /n/ is clear especially if used alongside a phoneme chart

BertieBotts Fri 16-Jan-15 18:36:41

Oh yes, I totally get that part. But if you don't have a chart handy it helps to be able to say "Think about the sounds - rrrr, ay, nnnn" and then DS will ask "Which ay?" and it's helpful to be able to say "ay iy"

I agree it can interfere especially if it's the first way they've been taught but if you're keeping the letter sounds as the main thing and they're interested/curious then I don't think it's a problem in general. Obviously different children have different challenges - maybe I'm wrong but I would assume that a child who finds literacy difficult is less likely to show that much of an interest to be asking those kinds of questions. Although having said that that's quite a big assumption... hmm...

BMO Fri 16-Jan-15 18:41:16

It's probably easier to learn the letter sounds first and names later but I wouldn't worry is he learns them together.

As Bertie says once they start learning sounds represented by 2/3 letters it can be easier if they know the names of the letters.

Ferguson Fri 16-Jan-15 18:42:09

I don't think you said how old?

In addition to the other good advice you have had, if you want to get a bit more involved in Phonics:

An inexpensive and easy to use book, that can encourage children with reading, spelling and writing, and really help them to understand Phonics, is reviewed in the MN Book Reviews section. Just search ‘Phonics’.

maizieD Fri 16-Jan-15 19:55:36

t helps to be able to say "Think about the sounds - rrrr, ay, nnnn" and then DS will ask "Which ay?" and it's helpful to be able to say "ay iy"

But you could also give the letters 'a' & 'y' their 'sounds' rather than their names when you're spelling out a digraph.

mrz Fri 16-Jan-15 20:03:59

I would normally say "it's the same /ay/ as in (a word they know) or simply show them either using a phoneme chart or writing it down on a scrap of paper.

BertieBotts Fri 16-Jan-15 22:00:34

OK, fair enough smile this way works for me and DS.

Micksy Sat 17-Jan-15 18:08:59

Hope you don't mind the mini hijack on a very similar topic. My youngest has been around while her sister has been learning to read. As a result, she now calls M Maisie mountain mountain, N Noddy and his net, etc. She knows all her letters but only as RWI pictures.
Do you think this will cause any issues (her preschool does Jolly Phonics, which might be confusing for everyone) and if so, any tips on how to move from that to the pure letter sounds?

marshmallowpies Sat 17-Jan-15 18:13:38

We are starting to use phonics at home but it's hard to avoid the letter names when we hear the 'ABCD' song in so many places! One playgroup we go to where they sing the ABCD song my DD (2.5) even calls 'the ABCD playgroup'!

But if there is a phonics song we could use to teach the alphabet instead perhaps I could try it out. We've been given a cd along with some phonics books from MIL so guess we have to give it a go some time.

mrz Sat 17-Jan-15 18:15:34

It can cause problems. I've not had problems with the RWI characters (so far) but I've inherited non readers from schools using letterland who "read" by saying the character names and naturally can't decode the word.

mrz Sat 17-Jan-15 18:17:07

Hearing the ABC song or even singing along isn't a problem unless the child is taught to match the name to the letter symbol

Panzee Sat 17-Jan-15 20:45:54

As I said above, my son inadvertently learned the letter names, so I used this song to try to make sure he understood the basic sounds too. I didn't post the link upthread, so it's here:

mrz Sun 18-Jan-15 08:57:45

Can I ask why you want to teach the alphabet MM?

marshmallowpies Sun 18-Jan-15 09:20:29

Sorry, is that directed at me? DD was given lots of phonics books at Christmas by MIL and MIL has already asked if we've started using them, so it's not so much 'wanting' to teach it, just aware that she is already being exposed to the songs and the letters in lots of places and want to avoid confusion. Should I not be doing this with a 2.5 yr old??

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