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Teaching tricky words

(32 Posts)
JennyPen Sun 14-Feb-10 09:14:19

DD does pretty well phonically sounding out - at at present is learning sounds like ea, ee, ou etc. So we teach her these things as do the school and then she gets totally stumped with her daft ORT reading book which completely goes against what i've just taught her - "Measurement" which she of course starts off mee - then sure is another tricky part to teach. Another word in the same book - journey, another contradiction to the sound of ou that she's just been taught!

Then up crops Knowconfused

How do you go about teaching these contradictions in the english language??

Poor girl - this teaching reading malarky is very tricky!She should have had a photographic memory!

mrz Tue 16-Feb-10 08:04:16

Can I just ask what you would do with a word that uses an alternative letter pattern that represents more than one sound - for example the ea from the OP.

I went to the shop for a loaf of b r ea d.

the child has only been taught that ea represents the long vowel /ee/ ... so sounds it out breed

I personally would ask does that make sense in this sentence (context) and then talk about how sometimes ea represents /e/ and look at a list of words that follow that rule.

debbiehep Tue 16-Feb-10 11:51:23

mrz - good question and it's very simply answered:

"In that word, those letters are code for the /e/ sound".

Then, the learner can sound out /b/ /r/ /e/ /d/.

Depending upon the age, readiness, stage and set of circumstances, the supporting adult may also want to add (then, or later) that there are other common words spelt with that code such as 'head', 'spread' and 'feather'.

ClenchedBottom Tue 16-Feb-10 12:33:58

OK MaizieD, your response to my post was a perfect example of what I find so frustrating.

Where exactly did I talk about wanting children to guess from context or pictures?

If you read my post you'll find that I am a supporter of phonics!
However, I do not agree that it is wrong for children to use context to inform their wordbuilding. For the reasons that I gave in my previous response.
And I still hold that it is unrealistic to expect young children not to pick up the odd hint from a picture next to the words!!!!!!

So yes, phonics, I agree, should be used, taught properly etc etc - but this insistence on nothing else at all ever is IMO simply not realistic or desirable, even!

mrz Tue 16-Feb-10 13:24:59

debbie I think that is what I was trying to say "and then talk about how sometimes ea represents /e/ and look at a list of words that follow that rule. " but I would also encourage a child to sound out some words to see which fits the context of the sentence it is in Words such as "read" where it may be a long or short vowel sound depending on meaning.
I would never encourage a child to guess at a word purely from context.

I'm not sure I'm explaining myself clearly

maizieD Tue 16-Feb-10 14:02:41


"OK MaizieD, your response to my post was a perfect example of what I find so frustrating."

If it is any consolation to you I am being very firmly told off on another forum for being too dogmatic grin

If children pick up 'the odd hint from the picture next to the words', so be it, but it shouldn't be encouraged. That they should be directed to do so is what I totally disagree with.

I should also make it clear that my original statement about having never using context or pictures to work out a word was made in connection with unknown words. Of course you have to use context to work out which 'bow', 'read', 'lead'etc. is the correct one, but this will be taught as part of a good phonics programme.

Really, the villain of the piece is giving children books to read which are beyond their current level of phonic knowledge angry

debbiehep Tue 16-Feb-10 15:28:22

mrz - you're doing fine - I wasn't been critical.

I was simply offering the quickest route to address those words which include code the learner does not know.

Also (to add), often when children are reading it is not necessarily the best time to launch into full explanations of that bit of code plus all the other example words which could be brought up. That is why I like the notion of 'later, I will teach you more about that...'.

mistlethrush Tue 16-Feb-10 15:40:10

I've got a really interesting book that I'm getting to grips with which helps you help your child to 'decode' more effectively - called Phono graphix... Has anyone used this or come across it? My mother has used it for teaching adults that have come through the school system unable to cope with any more than really basic reading - I'm hoping that it will help my ds understand some of the complexities of the English language more easily, and perhaps find it a bit easier to work out spellings than I do.

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