Slow to start teaching Phase 3 phonics in Reception?

(12 Posts)
zzzz31 Fri 01-Feb-19 22:53:39

Sorry for long post.

I'm looking for advice particularly from Early Years teachers or other parents who can advise me about the speed of phonics teaching (and offer advice on dealing with my obsessive worry over this!!!! Please be gentle with me ;-) )

DD at large primary (3 class entry); they set for phonics straight after October half term. DD in bottom set. Was not really surprised as she was not writing at all in the summer before starting and took until October to write her name, but I still felt a bit worried for her (she is 5 already btw)

I gave her lots of support at home and she really has come on. Teacher has been so positive about her changed attitude (in an initial meeting in early November, she suggested problem was concentration etc and now that has massively improved apparently).

What I am frustrated about is the fact that they have not introduced any of Phase 3 phonics to this bottom set yet, whereas the top group (30 children) are doing phase 4 (!) and the middle set (another 30 kids) are currently 'revising' all the phase 3 sounds. This is common knowledge as it comes home in the newsletter every fortnight.

Bottom set are still revising phase 2. Today's letter says they will revise b ff f and l and then introduce ch and sh in the next fortnight. My DD in fact knows almost every Phase 3 digraph because I have done them with her at home. I wanted to give her as much support as possible, she was ready for them, and we have had a lot of fun doing Jolly Phonics books and games etc, phoneme frames and so on. I was also frustrated that the school weren't teaching them to her (I know, I know, I might get slated for doing this!!). I also know, however, that at school she is very uncommunicative about what she knows and doesn't work as fast as other children. So she continues along in that group and I'm pretty sure her teacher does not know what she knows.

Do I accept their approach and accept that she won't reach the end of phase 3 until well into or the end of the summer term??? I feel she has been marked down as not able and feel frustrated that she is not covering what 2/3 of the year group of 90 have already done and what she can do at home? I have tried to raise this with the teacher but I wasn't very clear about my concerns. I also don't want to come across as undermining in any way or pushy and also naive - I know my DD doesn't sail through things but she can do more than what is being covered - writing sentences at home with support, for example. She can also write many words that contain digraphs (train, chips, goat, a random few I can think of!).

Am I making a fuss over nothing? Let them teach her at their own pace? Or should I try again to express my worries?

My online research tells me that not to have even started phase 3 by February is not the norm? That many YR teachers have covered all 44 (?) phonemes by Christmas? Am I right about this?

FWIW I am also a teacher, but secondary English, not primary.

Genuinely grateful for insights / advice.

OP’s posts: |
itsboiledeggsagain Fri 01-Feb-19 22:55:38

Why does this matter so much to you? You will need to let the school teach your child

VanessaShanessaJenkins Fri 01-Feb-19 22:59:03

My dd's reception class finished the jolly phonics programme a couple of weeks ago. They have 2 classes and both exposed all children to all of the programme. I do think a large number will need it repeating though as it is far too much for most of them to have properly digested.

zzzz31 Fri 01-Feb-19 23:05:32

Thank you for both your replies. Both helpful. Already I can see you are right, boiledeggs. I think I needed a wake-up call to put my worries in perspective and back off...

OP’s posts: |
Norestformrz Sat 02-Feb-19 05:33:26

I hate those stupid phases. They're an artificial barrier to progress in some schools and sadly some children are unnecessarily stuck on phase two forever. The phases are a feature of Letters and Sounds and we're never intended to be used this way.
There is absolutely no reason why children need to be able to write before beginning phonics instruction or why children should be set before they even begin.
I'd recommend a free online course for parents who want to help their child with reading and writing]

Helix1244 Sat 02-Feb-19 09:48:35

Unfortunately a lot seems to rely on teachers observing stuff before kids can move on. Imo parents should also contribute. As for eg at the start of yr r dd could already read cvc words but that was never noticed by school so she ploughed through all the sounds with the other kids. It wasnt until around May time that her very good reading was noticed.
But i could have told school during the settling in period.
The same with nursery they thought dc2 couldnt count objects which she has been able to do for a year.
I think the eyfs really falls down in this area all the rubbish about not directly asking them to do stuff.

It sounds like your dc may be in the wrong set. And if they have sets at 4/5 they should be very fluid. But i guess the way the school are doing it she can't now move up because she would have missed all that teaching.

Racecardriver Sat 02-Feb-19 10:05:17

Reading abilities before the age of seven don’t have an effect on reading abilities later on in life. Growing up, my friends all learned to read at different ages between 4 and 6. I was one of the last to learn. I ended up being one of the ones with the most intellectual literary tastes by the time we were 15. It doesn’t matter when she learns to read so long as that when she does start reading she is reading the right kind of thing.


Norestformrz Sat 02-Feb-19 12:39:50

*"*^*I think the eyfs really falls down in this area all the rubbish about not directly asking them to do stuff.*^ *"* that's not the EYFS that's down to the school I'm afraid

MustBeDueSomeBetterFeet Sat 02-Feb-19 18:16:33

Just to commiserate with you. At DS's school, they also set after October half term in Reception. He's now in Y1, and frustrating the top set is on Phase 5, middle set is doing Phase 4 and bottom set (which DS is in) is revising Phase 3 STILL. And of course there's no hope of moving up to the middle set given they're weeks ahead in terms of phonemes.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sat 02-Feb-19 19:18:53

I don’t think it’s just the phases, although there are issues with them. It’s schools choosing to set using them.

You could try being clearer about your concerns, but unfortunately it might just be a case of having to teach her yourself. The fact that there’s an entire set in a 3 form entry still revising phase two at this point in the year would be ringing alarm bells anyway. It would suggest there might be an issue with the teaching.

Tomorrowillbeachicken Sat 02-Feb-19 23:04:39

Tbf you could just teach them at home mustbedue. Ds is now in year two but in rec he was ahead in two and on direction of the teacher I ended up teaching my son later phases as he need them as he went up book bands really fast.

Sleephead1 Sun 03-Feb-19 18:47:37

my son is in reception i didn't even know they put then in sets ? They are doing ch , sh words at the moment I'm not sure if that's what just his set is doing or everyone as I had no idea they had sets how do you know ? Anyway I think it is fantastic you are learning with her at home I like to do this with my son aswell but I think for school they are so young and i wouldn't want to put too much pressure on at this stage. If your daughter is happy at school that's the most important thing. Maybe she is shy at showing what she can do at school and will grow in confidence.

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