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Synthetic phonics teaching for dyslexia, what is it?

(6 Posts)
Tribblewithoutacause Sun 31-Jan-16 17:05:05


I've just seen this on another thread. We're in the process of getting my son assessed for this and a few other issues. I want to find ways to support his learning at home, especially with his phonics and reading.

What is synthetic phonics? Is it useful for those with dyslexia?

Thank you.

mrz Sun 31-Jan-16 19:02:21

maizieD Sun 31-Jan-16 19:18:53

Spoken words made up of a sequence of sounds which are combined to produce the word. The sounds are called phonemes; a phoneme is the smallest identifiable sound in a word.

Witten words were developed by assigning a symbol to each phoneme and writing the appropriate symbols in the same order in which the sounds they represent occur in the word.

Synthesis means combining different elements to create a 'whole'.

There are about 44 phonemes in spoken English words (depending on accent). Each phoneme is represented by a letter or group of letters.

Synthetic phonics teaches children to identify the phonemes of the language and how they are represented by letters. They use this knowledge to identify the 'sounds' in a written word and blend, or 'synthesise', them to identify the word.

The representation of phonemes by letters is known as the 'alphabetic code'. The English alphabetic code is complex because discrete phonemes can be represented more than one way and some letters or letter groups can represent more than one phoneme.

Given this complication children need to be taught systematically and explicitly the full 'alphabetic code' in order to be able to read written language and to spell it. Theories of reading instruction which ignore this imperative have been very popular for many decades. A number of children who have been taught a small amount of phonics along with the 'other strategies' which these theories favour are able to intuit the alphabetic code for themselves. A very significant number of children aren't able to do so. These are the children who tend to be called 'dyslexic'. It has been known since the early 20th century that 'dyslexics' learn to read best when explicitly taught letter/sound correspondences and how to use that knowledge for reading and spelling. (look up Dr Samuel Orton)

Oddly enough I had just read this blog before I saw your post. You might find it informative.

getoffthattabletnow Mon 01-Feb-16 09:35:57

Sorry to sideline the purpose of this thread.Can I just say that blog is deeply repellent.Dyslexia is Not just a problem with reading.I speak from the point of view as a parent of a Dyslexic boy who has never has issues reading.He does however have major issues in working memory,spelling,writing coherent sentences etc.Dyslexia is not the fault of the parent or schools.I really thought the days where Dyslexia was blamed on the parents have gone.

Tribblewithoutacause Mon 01-Feb-16 10:02:35

Getoff I agree actually, dyslexia isn't the fault of anyone. It's just there. I actually have dyslexia myself, I devour novels and fiction. I'm also fairly intelligent, but try and get me to read out loud or give me more than two things to do and I struggle.

lostInTheWash Mon 01-Feb-16 11:18:56

Yes it's useful for those with dyslexia. apple and pears for spelling and dancing bears for reading.

Dancing bears is 10 minutes a day - flash cards and then words to practise on. I am dyslexic and wasn't taught phonics but found it very straight forward to use.

DS really struggled did one of the very basic books with him- couldn't always hear the sounds in words - the tip in the book was to shout and that helped him you wouldn't know he'd had problems. Eldest was harder to help - better memory to remember words and hide problems and more mixed teaching - plus we'd done a lot of phonics with her already with jolly phonics so she was older but did go through AB fast track with her then book C and have seen improvements. another good program.

I and my DC do have more problems than just reading but it's likely I'd have had more time to work on other areas and develop coping strategies for me and my DC if we'd been taught phonics so had less reading problems to get past first.

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