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Any tips for making Phonics less boring?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Lilybett, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. I have to do a Phonics intervention group for a mix of Y3 and 4 chn for 15mins every day. The Lit co-ord is really lovely and has given us her login to phonicsplay.co.uk so we can use their planning and games but pffft it's dull! Today one of the kids was having a grump and kept saying how boring it was heh. I wasn't very professional and retorted,'it's not exactly my hobby either, but this will help you in Literacy' [​IMG]
    I think part of the problem is embarrassment on the parts of these Y4 lads, having to come down to a Y3 classroom and do Phonics - 'baby work'. I also totally recognise that I'm inexperienced and unsure, which means I play it safe a lot and don't have many exciting ideas. I've been looking online for inspiration but a lot of it is so 'babyish' these boys would just refuse to do it. I do use house points, stickers, notes to class teachers and praise lavishly to encourage good participation, of course. Any ideas for making it less rubbish for them would be really gratefully received. Thank you
  2. I would start by finding out what literacy problems these children have.
    How well can they read? What is their spelling like?
    I very much doubt that they all have the same gaps in their knowledge of phonics, if they have them at all.
    Their biggest writing difficulties are probably the spelling quirks in tricky words
    summarised at
    http://englishspellingproblems.blogspot.com/2009/12/rules-and-exceptions-of-english.html<font size="3"> Perhaps they are bored because people have gone over the basic stuff with them ad infinitum, while they need help with the harder, irregular words?
  3. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    What phase are you doing with them? There are loads of good practical games that mine love. Things like packing suitcases (we go a trip at least once a week!), crossing rivers, treasure and trash, etc.

    For trash and treasure you could get them to make a game with a context that suits them...
  4. They did a phonics test on every child and then weeded out the low-scorers to do these groups. So I do Phase 3 (group 2 of 3) and the Lit co-ord's instructions were just to work through the planning as it's set out on phonicsplay. I'm so grateful to have that planning or I'd be lost but it's soooo booorriinnggg! :D
    Minnie, do please tell! x
  5. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    How on earth do children get to that age and still be at phase 3??? How??? What the hell happened in the second half of reception and year 1 that meant this wasn't picked up and sorted out before now? (Just a soap box rant...ignore me)


    Just the title 'poop deck pirates' will have them giggling!


    Some possibly better plans, with ideas for activities.

    You'll need to pay for this and I don't know how much the boys will like it, but my class find these songs very funny. You could do the phase 4 ones just as practise with blending and segmenting while you recap the phase 3 GPCs with flashcards.

  6. I know. The infant school they come up from is 'outstanding' but clearly something is going very wrong. And out of 72 Y3 children, only about 6 (seriously) didn't need to be dropped down a sublevel (or 2) in Maths and Writing when we did the levelling in November. Their July levels were absolutely shockingly inflated and FOR WHAT?! Thought I'd join you on that soap box. ;)
    I'm going to check out your links now. THANK YOU x
  7. When I have been in school they tend to rely more on practical games rather than ones you put on the IWB etc. What about a timebomb game? That might be something that would appeal to boys. Or having a game where words are all around the classroom/whatever space you're in so that there is a more practical element. Have used the crossing the river game too and that's a lovely one :)
  8. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    How many children are in your group?
  9. These sound lovely - please tell me what you mean!!!? Timebomb and crossing river game..? Thank you.
    We don't have the whole room cos obviously I've got the 20 or so members of my class who aren't in a Phonics group. But I don't make them work silently or anything, so we can play around them!
  10. There are about 12 kiddies in the group :)
  11. I find these two are games that you can generally adapt to whichever phase as long as you change words appropriately. If I remember rightly, crossing the river is when you have 3 types of sounds. For example if children have been looking at 'ear' and 'air', you would include words containing these sounds in addition to words that contain neither. Children then have to rearrange themselves to be both sides of a river, and the ones that are neither end up as crocodiles. So for example you would give children words with ear, air, or neither. They then read their words and you tell them which sound for which side.

    Time bomb is when you sit them in a circle and have some kind of timer (the year 1's I worked with seemed to enjoy a tomato one). Give children a variety of words, go around in the circle and see how many they can read before the bomb goes off :)
  12. I work on phonics intervention with Y5s.. (had a poor start in chaotic KS1 class before advent of phonics in school)
    They responded better with short one to one or two to one sessions. Any more kids then they messed about to save face. Any more time then they got bored. They have made great progress in 2 terms.
    My breakthrough came after I did an assessment one to one after a half term. I talked to them seriously about why they needed phonics, and about if they were worried by not being able to read very well. They all were. I got them see how many of the 100 high frequency words they could read - and they were quite impressed by their improvement. They could see that the sessions were really important for them, and that I was on their side.
    So I usually do a max of 15 mins for each pair/one... and try to make it really snappy. It works far better than an hour with all of them.
    Good luck

  13. msworld

    msworld New commenter

    I've used these phonic activities with year three and they found them quite fun:

  14. Nobody seems to have mentioned reading books[​IMG] That is, after all the purpose of learning phonics, isn't it? Reading text?
    Some good decodable books might be useful. Then they will see the purpose behind all the phonics work.
  15. gcf


    This is so true. There are a number of good decodable series - and as soon as their phonics basic skills are secure they should go on to more sustained reading. Otherwise they will never catch up.
  16. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    We often read the e-books from www.oxfordowl.co.uk in phonics lessons, particularly when revising the phonemes which are the focus of each book.

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