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do kids vary in the way / style they pick up reading in the early stages?

98 replies

imaginaryfriend · 21/03/2008 22:21

Not a great thread title.

I'm just curious about this. Dd's in Reception, not a child genius by any standards but I'm pleased with how she's getting on with her reading and writing.

So far I've mostly stuck with reading the books she brings home from school but I've had a huge batch of ORT books given to me buy a mum friend whose ds is a year ahead of dd at school. With the 'ordinary' ORT books she can pretty easily read a stage 5 story but with the Songbirds phonics books although there are less words per page she really struggles through a stage 4 book but isn't too bad with a stage 3 book.

Which raises a question about teaching by phonics or sight words ... I think.

Any experts around to enlighten me?

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aintnomountainhighenough · 28/03/2008 17:21

I can see what you are saying mrz however I do feel that if the schools explained how and when they were going to teach phonics and then what supporting materials they were using including when the books start and why parents would be more understanding. What I find difficult is that I can't work out how they are teaching, the books are not phonic based and therefore have lots of different words in which I then have to explain to my DD using my very limited knowledge.

It just feels like the Rose report came out, schools were immediately told they needed to start teaching phonics but no funding or guidance was given.

imaginaryfriend · 28/03/2008 17:30

I'm as baffled as anmhe. And I have frequently wished someone would give me an A4 sheet with an explanation as to their method. Roughly. and so I can support what they're telling dd to do.

Say then, if they've started learning phonics and blending sounds what books should they bring home to read?

And does anybody regulate how the teachers are doing things? i.e. the class next door is receiving very advanced reading books from the off-set regardless of going through the phonics first.

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mrz · 28/03/2008 18:45

You can download a leaflet called "Support for parents" here it gives lots of useful information and ways you can help your child with phonics.

mrz · 28/03/2008 18:58

When my children start in reception they are taught a sound a day and oral blending and segmenting starts once the first 6 sounds have been taught (s, a, t, i, p, n) words like sat, pin, ant, it, tap ... Each new sound is added to a "sound book" for the child to practise at home and sets of words are also sent home. At this stage no "reading" scheme books are sent home only library books to share with an adult. As the children progress they move from words to captions to sentences and eventually "reading" scheme books. Alongside this we introduce "tricky" words such as I, was and said.

Many schools are still using old reading schemes such as ORT and Ginn which are principally "look and say" schemes rather than phonics based schemes which is where conflict arises.

aintnomountainhighenough · 28/03/2008 20:15

Thanks mrz thats very useful.

Reallytired · 28/03/2008 22:37

My son did not get any reading books until he had completed the first term of reception. He started in September and got his first reading book in January. Many of the summer born children got reading books on their first day of school.

We were in a similar situation that a lot of the children in the summer born class got reading books before the children in the winter born class. This really upset the parents of the children in the older class.

However once my son got given books he absolutely shot throught the ORT levels. I think that spending that term consoliating his blending and segmenting made all the difference. He had strageries for coping with words he had never seen before rather than wildly guessing.

It is hard to compare the progress of summer born children and winter born children. The summer born children in year 1 have only had 4 terms of education where as my son has had 5. However many of the summer born children are still languishing on stage 2 ORT in year 1 (with 4 terms of education) where as my son and quite a few of his class mates had got to stage 4 by the end of reception. (3 terms of education)

My son is now on stage 8 ORT which isn't spectular by mumsnet standards, but my son hearing is bad enough to have two hearing aids. It shows that synthetic phonics works for children with a hearing loss provided they have good amplification.

Infact this year the school has adopted synethic phonics in both reception classes and key stage 1. The summer born children are now catching up rapidly.

imaginaryfriend · 28/03/2008 23:09

Thanks mrz. If schools weren't using ORT, which scheme would be more appropriate to go alongside phonics teaching?

Reallytired, that's interesting what you said about the difference between the September intake and the January intake at your school. We've had exactly the same thing. Dd's teacher didn't give them reading books until quite late on whereas the class next door were getting level 2 books almost immediately. However I notice that your school is still giving ORT books out...

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mrz · 28/03/2008 23:25

Rigby Star Phonics are being promoted as 100% compatible with Letters & Sounds I use Collins Big Cat Phonics Oxford Songbirds and Rigby Star with a few Getreadingright books. The Jelly and Bean books also get good reviews

imaginaryfriend · 28/03/2008 23:28

I've never heard of Rigby, I'll look them up.

it's strange but dd can't get to grips with the ORT songbirds. She knows all her phonemes and digraphs and has grasped all the tricky words but she struggles with level 4 songbirds books whereas in the ordinary books she's racing through level 5.

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Reallytired · 28/03/2008 23:31

ORT songbirds are quite hard, I think they are good books. You would be better with something really simple like

critterjitter · 28/03/2008 23:40

From what I've seen from my DD's books, the ORT books are far easier than phonics-based books. She whizzes through the ORT books (and levels) without a care in the world. However, when we use phonics-based books, she slows down and really concentrates.

I'd also say that since I've started using the phonics-based books with her, her reading has come on in leaps and bounds. I'm selling the ORT ones on ebay, as I'm no longer sure that they are a good idea!

imaginaryfriend · 28/03/2008 23:59

which phonics books are you using critter?

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imaginaryfriend · 29/03/2008 00:06

What are the jellyandbean books like inside in terms of pictures? I've just been looking at them and I haven't got a clue what kind of level to order for dd or how many pages tehy contain etc. Same as with the Rigby ones.

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maverick · 29/03/2008 08:10

Everything you ever wanted to know about decodable books


singersgirl · 29/03/2008 10:55

What happens when children learn by whole words/mixed methods is that they can seem more fluent earlier as they recognise words as a whole. On the other hand, if the word is not a 'key word', they just don't recognise it. They are slower with decodable books as they are actually working out each new word. They therefore seem less fluent and more stilted in the early stages.

However, whole word readers often come to a time when they stall as they cannot work out new words - that's when they need to learn phonics rules. 'Good' readers often pick up the rules implicitly or with a few pointers. But it can be surprising what they don't know when they come to a new word.

Nonsense word tests are a good way of working out how well your child can actually read. Of course in practice frequently seen words do become 'sight' words.

wheresthehamster · 29/03/2008 11:04

Our children have to sound out nonsense words as part of the assessments in phonics. 'Glorpid' is the one that sticks in my mind!

imaginaryfriend · 30/03/2008 23:24

So should I take it that my dd is likely getting proper phonic teaching at school and that the reading books are just a throw-back to an older scheme of teaching?

If phonics has always been taught, what's different now?

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mrz · 31/03/2008 18:48

The old literacy strategy advocated that children should be taught a mixture of strategies for reading ~ phonics, picture clues, look and say, (recognising whole word)using the first letter and context to guess what the word might say; the new framework says phonics fast and first.

imaginaryfriend · 31/03/2008 22:58

so mrz do you think that if dd's teacher did 2 months of phonics without giving out reading books, then gave out ORT and other ranges of books, she's generally following the guidelines? Or do all the books have to be from the right scheme?

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mrz · 01/04/2008 19:11

I would use phonics reading books first until the basics are firmly established before using ORT or similar schemes. Schools have spent thousands of pounds buying reading schemes such as ORT and quite likely don't have the money to buy in new schemes to comply with the new framework.

imaginaryfriend · 02/04/2008 00:14

Yes, I would imagine that mrz. Strangely dd reads ORT in guided reading at school but brings home other books which are easier to read in terms of phonics.

Any idea when they should be able to spell using phonetics? Dd told me she was asked by the teacher to spell girl today and she said she spelled it 'gul' which is clearly way off the mark!

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mrz · 02/04/2008 17:56

If the school is following Letters and Sounds
the sounds are taught
s/ a/ t/ p/ i/ n/
m/ d/ g/ o/ c k ck/ e
u/ r/ h/ b/ f, ff / l, ll/ ss

j/ v/ w/ x/ y/ z, zz
qu/ ch/ sh/ th, th/ ng
ai/ / ee/ igh/ oa/ oo, oo
ar/ or/ ur/ ow/ oi/
ear/ air/ ure/ er

which is very similar to the Jolly Phonics and Ruth Miskin teaching order

once all the sounds are taught a child should be able to use the sounds to spell words containing those sounds

a phonically plausible attempt to spell girl at this stage would be gurl

By the end of reception some children will begin to know the alternative ways of representing sounds and this will continue to be taught into Year 1.

imaginaryfriend · 02/04/2008 21:28

That's exactly what they've been taught mrz. So far dd can translate them quite well into what she's reading but not so readily into her spelling. But that'll come I'm sure.

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