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How were children taught to read before everyone started going on about phonics?

45 replies

puffling · 02/02/2008 23:11

I learnt to read at some point, but don't remember being taught at all. Was there a preferred method in the 70's? If so, what was it?

OP posts:
RosaLuxOnTheBrightSideOfLife · 03/02/2008 16:16

DD3 insisted on reading the Peter and Jane books although I was trying to teach her synthetic phonics - she absolutely loved them. Bizarre child.

Hulababy · 03/02/2008 18:38

Yes there are Ladybird books and still very much available. There is a slightly more modern version too now with Tom and Kate.

hunkermunker · 03/02/2008 18:40

I wasn't taught.

I think I learnt by osmosis.

I could do it well before I went to school.

Elphaba · 03/02/2008 18:45

Er, by phonics I think. It's just been recently 'repackaged'

Elphaba · 03/02/2008 18:46

My books at school were Dick and Dora! ROFL!

Feenie · 03/02/2008 19:11

I am a Literacy Co-ordinator, Maverick, so am aware of the distinction, thank you! In my experience, many teachers have always taught synthetic phonics - I have for 15 years and older teachers I work with never gave up on this method.

Fossil · 03/02/2008 19:35

I did i.t.a (initial teaching alphabet). I'm not a big fan of fonics (as we would probably have spelled it) - it doesn't work for words like 'garage' for instance. And, while I'm on a roll, if your surname starts with the letters 'Th', that's pronounced 'T', OK???

dippydeedoo · 03/02/2008 19:38

i think ch and sh were taught by using a train? choo choo and sh fingers on lips so the teacher kinda prompted you? i was in school in the late 70s and was taught to read I.T.A

sherby · 03/02/2008 19:39

My mum taught me.

She would read one line then I would read it. I do remember being able to read when I went to school and I was a late summer born so started a week or so after my 4th birthday.

I have started to do the same thing with DD and she really enjoys it, but the preschool teacher nearly had a fit when she did it at preschool, apparently she will need to be completely re-taught

MadamePlatypus · 03/02/2008 19:46

Peter and Jane are on sale in Borders - DS found them and wanted me to read them to him. At school I remember a mixture of look and say with flash cards and phonics like c-a-t.

I think the difference is that we moved onto whole words more quickly whereas now there is more emphaisis on learning the different sounds and letters first and working up to whole words.

gingemum · 03/02/2008 19:54

IMO the BIG diff nowadays is that parents don't have any time to spare to read with their kids.

In 60's/70's we all used phonics as is the current fashion, but the parental time helped give us a genuine interest in books rather than the purely technical approach now.

Have a look at love2read - good thing for parents with little time

Hulababy · 03/02/2008 20:18

One of the problems I can see with phonics alone is that it doesn't take into account the effect regional accents have on pronunciation - as many MN threads has shown before quite clearly.

And one way doesn't always work for all children, as all children are different and learn in different ways. It is just important that whoever is teaching the child recognises this and tries other techniques along side phonics if a child isn't responding to phonics alone.

Heated · 03/02/2008 20:22

Hulababy, this is sort of what the headteacher of the primary said, but I am a bit wary as isn't there the danger of getting a mish-mash of approaches and a confused child?

Hulababy · 03/02/2008 20:25

Well DD's school does a mix and all the girls there seem fine with it. But I guess it does depend on the child. DD has certainly coped okay though - she now knows all her phonic sounds/blends and also is very good at sight reading (although the latter is not as recoemmended obviously - but tell a word once and she will remember it).

evenhope · 03/02/2008 20:28

I was taught with phonics- and Peter and Jane- in the 60s. My older 2 children were taught by Look and Say whole word recognition (based on recognising whole words, on the grounds that American preschoolers recognised the signs for MacDonalds ). I thought it was crap at the time, and by the time my 3rd one started school they'd given it up as a bad job.

Christywhisty · 03/02/2008 21:34

My DH was taught using Look and Say and the consequence was he didn't learn to read until he was 10, when he went to remedial classes using phonics. He probably is dyslexic and this is the worse method that they could have used on him.
His teachers said he will get it eventually and then finally admitted it didn't work , but said they weren't allowed to use other methods.

There were a lot of children in remedial class at my secondary school because they were taught ITA. They were bright kids who eventually ended up in top set, but had to be retaught to write first.
I have no idea what method I used.I don't remember learning to read.

motherinferior · 03/02/2008 21:37

Gingemum, plenty of parents have never read with their children. Vast numbers of people in the UK aren't particularly interested in reading.

Millarkie · 03/02/2008 21:38

I learnt using phonics and flash cards for the non-phonetic words.

Heated · 03/02/2008 21:43

Have taught bright children with spelling difficulties at secondary who only knew the look-and-say method, phonics unknown to them .

Sixer · 03/02/2008 22:04

ok so now it's coming back thanks DDDoo, choo choo and fingers on lips are ringing bells. Although really it's no different to now, with FFFFFF, hands squahing together, shhhh, finger on lips etc.

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