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How best to help DD learn the keywords sent home by school.

(29 Posts)
Readytomakechanges Mon 06-Feb-17 20:42:38

I've started a thread previously regarding my frustration at DD (5yo, just started reception) being sent home key words with instructions to learn them by sight and then reading books which consist almost exclusively of these words.

At home we used Jelly and Bean books to start, but now Songbirds and have a reading chest subscription.

So far, I've been showing DD how to sound out the keywords and then practice this until the sounding out is seamless. It then seems as though she can read them by sight and can also transfer the sounding out skills to other words with similar spellings. I discourage guessing.

However, as the keywords are beginning to become a little more complicated, I'm feeling a little out of my depth.

The current key word set has thought, through, friend, laugh How do I support DD to learn these without resorting to 'just learn it by sight?'

Thank you.

christinarossetti Mon 06-Feb-17 20:47:48

Has she been taught the necessary phonic sounds eg 'ought', 'ough'? I guess not, if she's being asked to 'learn them by sight'?

I would speak with the teacher and probably head of EYFS. 'Learning by sight' isn't how children are supposed to be taught to read, and it's somewhere between being utterly pointless and being detrimental to the actual process of learning to read through acquiring phonic knowledge.

Readytomakechanges Mon 06-Feb-17 20:53:50

She know 'ou' as in house, but not 'ough'. I've been teaching her the phonics for what they send home so far, but I definately feel out of my depth with the spelling 'ough', with it having so many corresponding phonemes. thought, through, though, dough, rough, cough

Tomorrowillbeachicken Mon 06-Feb-17 21:03:23

Yikes. my DS is fairly good at reading but these would fox him at this point in reception.
Good example for insanity of ough is Loughborough

catchingzzzeds Mon 06-Feb-17 21:12:19

Aren't these words also commonly termed 'tricky words'? As in they HAVE to be learned by sight as you can't sound them out. My reception DS brings home 'word boxes' these are words that can be sounded out/blended and then has 'tricky words' that have to be learned by sight.

Boiled7Up Mon 06-Feb-17 21:16:00

Aren't these words also commonly termed 'tricky words'? As in they HAVE to be learned by sight as you can't sound them out. My reception DS brings home 'word boxes' these are words that can be sounded out/blended and then has 'tricky words' that have to be learned by sight.

If you couldn't sound it out it would be unpronounceable. What you've just described isn't great practice at all.

The words should not be learned by sight. Humans do not have enough memory to do that. The children should learn them instead by looking at the sounds in it- so for 'said', s is making its normal sound, d is making its normal sound, but 'ai' sounds like e.

BearAusten Mon 06-Feb-17 21:18:18

I found this rather useful - Oxford Phonics Spelling Dictionary (Oxford Reading Tree). www.amazon.co.uk/Oxford-Phonics-Spelling-Dictionary-Reading/dp/019273413X?tag=mumsnetforum-21

I was faced with a similar problem, rather than learning them as sight words, I always taught and showed him the relevant phonic sound patterns, along with alternative spellings. Seems to have worked.

Readytomakechanges Mon 06-Feb-17 21:23:36

We have that dictionary bearaustin I will look up each word in that and show DD.

catchingzzzeds Mon 06-Feb-17 21:33:05

Are you a teacher boiled7up? Many of the schools in this area teach tricky words in this way. My year 6 DS certainly had no problems with this method.

picklemepopcorn Mon 06-Feb-17 21:33:55

Are you sure she isn't supposed to learn them by sight?

Write the words on post its and stick 'em round the house.

Play snap with the words- this encourages them to look closely at the word, the differences and similarities.

Time her as she turns the words over and says them. See if she can get more right than yesterday/ go faster than yesterday.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Mon 06-Feb-17 21:39:48

My year 6 DS certainly had no problems with this method.

He was lucky. There are children who will develop a problem because of it.

One day we might get to a point where teachers are trained to teach reading correctly and then do so.

Sounds like you have done well so far OP. With those words, I'd just take it very slowly and maybe just introduce one at a time to avoid overwhelming her.

FlyingGoose Mon 06-Feb-17 21:47:18

My dts are only in reception so this is probably a rubbish idea! With their tricky words I play matching pairs games, using them in sentences whilst emphasising the word and practicing writing them both singularly and in sentences.

mrz Tue 07-Feb-17 05:48:44

*"*^*The current key word set has*^ *thought, through, friend, laugh*^** ^*"* I would bet she hasn't been taught that

<ough> is an alternative spelling for the sound /or/ in thought but the sound /oo/ in through
or that <ie > is an alternative way to spell the sound /e/ in friend
or that <gh> can be the sound /f/ and <au> the sound /a/ or /ar/ depending on your pronunciation of the word laugh.

I wonder if the teacher knows hmm

mrz Tue 07-Feb-17 05:56:13

*but I definately feel out of my depth with the spelling 'ough', with it having so many corresponding phonemes.* *thought, through, though, dough, rough, cough*

The first thing to remember is that although they all contain the letters ough they aren't all the spelling <ough>
Thought - <ough> = /or/
Through -<ough> = /oo/
Though & dough -<ough> = /oe/

But in rough and cough the spellings are
rough <ou> = /u/ and <gh> =/f/ so /r/ /u/ /f/
cough <ou> = /o/ so /k/ /o/ /f/

ThisIsNotARealAvo Tue 07-Feb-17 06:08:26

These are year 1 tricky words which she should learn once she is working in phase 5 of Letters and Sounds. If her school doesn't use letters and sounds it might be different but unless she knows all the reception tricky words from phase 3 and 4 I'm surprise they're sending these home.

Ginmummy1 Tue 07-Feb-17 08:56:34

It seems you have two options:

1) Teach your daughter what mrz has provided, with reference to the phonics spelling dictionary (if you think she will handle this level of detail at this age/experience)

2) Speak to the teacher and EYFS leader as christinarosetti suggests, pointing out that these words are not 'tricky' words but should be taught using phonics - but not yet! Books should be decodable at the level of the phonics teaching.

Option 2 will take some courage!

sirfredfredgeorge Tue 07-Feb-17 09:06:30

Make sure you remember to add hiccough, thorough and slough to the ough mix too.

irvineoneohone Tue 07-Feb-17 12:15:07

sir, I always thought it was hiccup. Just looked up on dictionary and hiccough is the alternative spelling, but same pronunciation.
How do you pronounce it? Is it "p" or "f" in the end? Very confused...

sirfredfredgeorge Tue 07-Feb-17 12:21:01

irvineoneohone it's pronounced likehiccup - hence it being yet another sound that ough represents, as you say it's a more obsolete spelling now.

irvineoneohone Tue 07-Feb-17 12:24:58

English is indeed very DEEP! I've been learning it for so long, but there are still so many things I don't know. (I feel sorry for my ds for having me as a mum!)

Tomorrowillbeachicken Tue 07-Feb-17 12:43:57

F at end here in the sunny West Midlands.

Readytomakechanges Tue 07-Feb-17 13:19:26

Thank you for all the replies.

I think I will be taking the cop out option of following Mrz' advice along with using the phonics dictionary as I doubt that anything that I say will alter the entire way that the school teaches reading.

How would you break down laugh Mrz? Is it <ugh> = /f/

christinarossetti Tue 07-Feb-17 13:31:02

Do try to bring it up at parents' evening, or something. The school won't realise that their homework is stressing families out if no-one tells them.

It's actually really unhelpful to be telling children to 'learn by sight' when there is a perfectly sensible and widely available method ie phonics which enables children to learn to read these types of words in a way that they then transfer the knowledge to decoding other words.

prh47bridge Tue 07-Feb-17 13:37:38

Agree with Christinarossetti. It is unlikely you will change the school's approach on your own. However, if enough parents complain it might persuade the school to sort things out and teach reading properly.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 07-Feb-17 18:06:55

Laugh will depend on you accent.
I would break it down as /l/ /ar/ /f/
l - /l/
au - /ar/. Same spelling as in words like 'aunt'
gh - /f/ - same spelling as the end of words like 'rough' or 'cough'.

In some accents it will be /l/ /a/ /f/ and the 'au' will be a spelling for the sound /a/.

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