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Phonics question re trailing 'e's

(35 Posts)
catkind Sat 13-May-17 23:59:12

Hi phonics folks - would really appreciate a couple of pointers.

I usually use sound buttons to help DC learn spellings, where you put a dot/underline each grapheme. I hope that's not a disapproved method - school just say look cover write check which without an intervening "think about the phonics" step I don't find helpful.

But how do I sound button words like believe, come, give where there's a random trailing e but not a usual split digraph sound? Do you teach it as a non-standard split spelling ie_e, o_e, i_e, or as vowel sound ie, o, i and consonant sound ve, me, ve?

mrz Sun 14-May-17 05:36:30

Come three sounds buttons under c o me (o is an alternative spelling for the sound /u/ and me is an alternative spelling for the sound /m/)

GoodyGoodyGumdrops Sun 14-May-17 06:34:56

There are words that you cannot reliably sound out. They are often called Tricky Words and you just have to learn them by rote. 'Come' is one of them.

'Believe' is a little tricky to explain to a young reader. It is a form of split vowel digraph:

ie = short i sound (Most children don't hear it or say that. Instead they give the long eee sound.) The e at the end of the word turns it into eee - think belief/believe, relief/relieve.

Anyway, you're over-thinking it. There is nothing wrong with learning spellings by rote. This is the English language, and, even if you exclude the Tricky Words, there are masses of words that you can read by sounding out but not necessarily spell correctly via phonics.

mrz Sun 14-May-17 07:07:15

"^*There are words that you cannot reliably sound out.*^*"* Sorry but that's nonsense Goody all words can be sounded out or they wouldn't be words.

*"*^*Believe' is a little tricky to explain to a young reader. It is a form of split vowel digraph:*^*"* no it isn't spellings b- e - l- ie -ve representing the sound /b/ /ee/ /l/ /ee/ /v/

*"*^*there are masses of words that you can read by sounding out but not necessarily spell correctly via phonics.*^*"* You can read and spell all words via Phonics after all that's how they were originally created.

SayNoToCarrots Sun 14-May-17 07:37:59

How is it possible to spell out all words using phonics when so many words have only vague connections to their spellings?

mrz Sun 14-May-17 07:40:40

Which words have only a vague connection to their spelling?

catkind Sun 14-May-17 08:28:03

Thanks mrz, that's what I was after.

Goody, those were just examples of the spelling pattern, most of the words are much longer, so memorising whole word spellings would be out of the question. I assume even with short words DC use at least the bits of the phonics they know, I haven't enquired as long as they get them right.

I do say the "ie" in belief shorter than in believe, but they're both within the range of the phoneme we usually describe with "ee", definitely no "i" about it in my accent.

GoodyGoodyGumdrops Sun 14-May-17 09:05:22

live (verb)

irvineoneohone Sun 14-May-17 09:25:53

angry confused hmm shock

mrz Sun 14-May-17 09:35:22

were two sound /w/ /er/ spelt w-ere

there two sound /th/ /air/ spelt ere
of two sound /o/ /v/ spelt f
two two sound /t/ /oo/ spelt tw-o
who two sounds /h/ /oo/ spelt wh-o
does three sounds /d/ /u/ /z/ spelt d-o-es
people four sound /p/ /ee/ /p/ /l/ spelt p-eo-p-le
live (verb) three sounds /l/ /i/ /v/ spelt l-i-ve
give three sounds /g/ /i/ /v/ spelt g-i-ve
gone three sounds /g/ /o/ /n/ spelt g-o-ne
have three sounds /h/ /a/ /v/ spelt h- a- be
one three sounds /wu/ /n/ spelt o-ne
once four sounds /wu/ /n/ /s/ spelt o-n-ce

English is complex because it doesn't have a transparent orthography but all words can be decoded and encoded if you know the code which is why we teach phonics.

mrz Sun 14-May-17 10:46:15

Realised I missed out are

are one sound /ar/ spelt are

cantkeepawayforever Sun 14-May-17 12:01:51

Thanks mrz!

I don't teach an age group where explicit phonics teaching comes up all that often, but I have wondered on occasions whether to explain e.g. come as o_e as an alternative spelling for /u/ or me as an alternative spelling for /m/ Is it always the latter, in all phonics teaching schemes? (I can see how either classification is logically possible, which is why I have wondered about it)

mrz Sun 14-May-17 12:18:52

*"*^*whether to explain e.g. come as o_e as an alternative spelling for /u/*^ *"* o is an an alternative spelling for /u/ (think other, brother, mother, oven, month, colour, son, monkey, shovel etc)

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sun 14-May-17 12:46:38

I've seen it both ways can't

I'd usually go for 'me' as an alternative spelling for /m/ rather than o_e as an alternative spelling for /u/. But I don't see any harm in doing it the other way as long as there is consistency within the scheme of work and they aren't being taught something different by some one else.

Mind you it can lead to interesting discussions.

mrz Sun 14-May-17 13:14:01

It makes sense to me to teach the o spelling for the sound /u/ as it's used in many words

cantkeepawayforever Sun 14-May-17 14:38:07

So rather than have a relatively small family of words where /u/ is represented o_e, but the consonants keep their most common spelling (m, v etc), it is better to have a series of families where the consonant sound is spelt e.g. -me, -ve and keep the larger family of words where /u/ is represented by o?

Is that how it is treated in all commercial / government phonics schemes? I have children in my class who have come from a variety of settings where they did their phonics teaching, so it's not a simple case of following through from what is taught in the same institution in KS1.

mrz Sun 14-May-17 14:49:08

If you teach it as o-e you are creating another alternative spelling for the sound /u/ and treating come and some as unique when they aren't

SayNoToCarrots Sun 14-May-17 15:03:28

Sorry to disappear. Words like

I'm still confused by your explanations of the other words given by goody. It seems like children just have to learn the quirks of each word.

SayNoToCarrots Sun 14-May-17 15:05:21

Oh and also colonel and lieutenant

mrz Sun 14-May-17 15:16:36

pn is a spelling for the sound /n/ and eu is the sound /ue/

c is a spelling for the sound /s/ ei is a spelling for the sound /ee/ and pt is a spelling for the sound /t/

is is an unusual spelling for the sound /ie/

The spelling of Wednesday reflects its origins which is why etymology is part of phonics teaching originally the n would have been pronounced so we've retained the spelling but pronunciation has evolved.

mrz Sun 14-May-17 15:18:09

mrz Sun 14-May-17 15:27:00

A case of retaining English pronunciation while borrowing French and Italian stylised spelling gas

mrz Sun 14-May-17 15:27:18

Spellings no gas

GoodyGoodyGumdrops Sun 14-May-17 19:48:53

There are so many alternative sounds/spellings, that we would be asking children to memorise a ridiculous number of rules and test each and every one of them in order to identify the obscure spelling.

It is not necessary to be able to decode every singe sound. Children learn to use a combination of phonemes, syllables and recognition as their reading progresses.

mrz Sun 14-May-17 20:03:36

Good news is there aren't any rules to memorise and only around 180 ways to spell the sounds in English compared to learning over a million words if we took the alternative method.

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