Synthetic phonics tutoring in Sheffield over the summer (for a small child)(16 Posts)
I don't know if this is the right place to post this--tell me if I should be somewhere else!
I live overseas and am supporting my daughter's English as she goes through the Japanese education system. She is nearly four. This summer, as usual, we will be going back to the UK for our trip as my work flexibility fortunately allows this. She will be four years and four months old by then.
I have taught her sounds and the letters that represent them (using Jolly Phonics and the BBS Fun with Phonics series), and she is ever so good and knows them all; however, my attempts at teaching her to blend have not worked at all! Of course she's very young, so it doesn't matter at all at this stage, but I think by this summer she'll be ready to have a more serious try at blending phonemes together. I do think that a few sessions with an experienced tutor might be just what she needs to get her started, and then we can carry on together after that.
What sort of thing should I be looking for, do you think? A private tutor who comes to the house or a tutoring school? And is it possible to just book a short course, as a temporary visitor? I found a couple of options online but none that specifically said "synthetic phonics." Can anyone suggest any options that I can look into? I would be looking to book perhaps one session a week for six weeks.
Basically, synthetic phonics and a kind, fun approach is what I'm looking for. She is a bright girl with no particular special needs. Her English is fine.
I can't actually help with tutors etc but thought I would add some input. I tried and tried to get DD to blend but a couple of sessions with her pre-school teacher and it just clicked –not helpful, I know!
Her advice when they start reading at preschool is to spell out any CVC words when you are using them in everyday life, as in put your puzzle in it's b-o-x or here's some milk in your c-u-p etc and it should help for them to start hearing the sounds.
She also does some work where they have sheets with three pictures and three letters and have to match the picture with the right first letter. Once they have mastered telling you what letter a word starts with, she does the letter at the end of the word (always three letter words only) and finally the vowel in the middle, which they always seem to find harder.
She finds getting them to hear the different sounds in a word helps them to then blend them together.
Hopefully this might give you some ideas to work with in the meantime.
My DD who is about to turn six is already reading Roald Dahl and Horrid Henry etc and DS 4.2 can read simple sentences and they were both taught this way in the early days.
Do you have an iPad ? If so I would recommend the Sounds~Write app as a great way to develop blending and segmenting skills.
The first units are free but the whole initial programme is £1.99 (from memory)
I was a primary Teaching Assistant, and offer a couple of suggestions below. A 'tutor' takes it to a rather formal level, and at such a young age I wonder if it is better to keep it more 'casual' and within the family:
ONE - 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’.
TWO - When I worked with less able Yr2 children, who were finding learning to read particularly difficult, we often used a SoundWorks kit, which consisted of a set of wooden letter blocks, which the child used to build simple words. The theory was that, for some children, it is easier to SPELL words than READ them, which is a later stage.
It started with three-letter words, with a vowel in the middle - "a" glued onto a board.
The child then looked at the individual letter blocks, and was asked to make the word "c a t". Then he was asked, how do we change "c a t" into "h a t", which letter do we need to change? Then change "hat" into "ham" (with an emphasis on the "mmmm" sound).
Work slowly, and pronounce the sounds accurately and clearly. This approach was used with our Yr2 children who had been unable to make progress with more conventional methods of learning to read. It is rather time-consuming, and ideally needs resources to be made, but it does work very well.
So, if you can find or make suitable letters, and make a card with "a" glued in the middle, your child may enjoy building the words. Use letters that are occurring in words in the books he is bringing home, and then go on to make cards for the other vowels if it seems to work with "a".
she is three years old. I think that she is very young to manage blending. It will come, just like learning to walk and potty training happens when a child is ready.
Are you using pure sounds ie. Say fffffff for f rather than fun? Robot speak can help for example saying touch you ar-m or where is you l-e-g.
Thanks very much for your suggestions, everyone! I will try out some of the suggestions here, and put the tutor thing on hold for the moment. If I'm still trying and failing by the summer, I'll have to see if I can find a tutor to do a few sessions with her--sometimes they learn something better from someone who is not a parent. Thanks again!
That's what I was thinking too, JP, hence the idea of doing a bit of tutoring over the summer. Of course, I can find tutoring here too--but it will be more expensive and we will have to travel further to find it.
I do know that some people might feel that this is a young age to have tutoring, but it is a bit different when you know that they are not going to be getting the phonics at school. I'm quite keen to get her reading sooner rather than later, because I know from friends' experience that if you leave it too late, they get "into" reading Japanese children's books (which are easier to read than English ones), and then it gets harder to get them interested in English reading, because it seems so much more difficult by comparison. It would be nice if she was able to sound out simple CVC words by the end of this year, say.
In the mean time, though, I will definitely try out some of the idea suggested here. We have a few months to go as we are not going to the UK till about July.
I suggest you contact the reading reform bulletin board for advice on finding a tutor. Think of the tutor as phonics training for yourself rather than necessarily paying some one to teach your child to read. Your child is very young and that is probably the reason that blending has not clicked yet.
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By the way--the Sounds~Write app program that you mentioned, Mrz--is it usable on a phone as well? We do not have a tablet but sometimes my husband gives her his phone to keep her occupied on train journeys....
it needs a bigger screen size than most phones offer (not sure if it work on iPhone 6+)
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