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Anyone streaming for phonics?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by dagnabit, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. dagnabit

    dagnabit New commenter

    Hi all.
    We are currently streaming for phonics sessions across the whole school and I don't think it is workable. Wondered how you find it?
    We have 6 teachers or TAs teaching the six phases and at the moment I teach phase 5 and have a large group consisting of maybe 1/4 of my class, few year 2, few year 3 and lots of year 4 and 5. How do you tailor it to suit the fact that each phase is different lengths? My phase should last all year so as people pass up their 'graduates' from phases 1-4 my group just gets bigger, and bigger... i worry that YR chn are being rushed through the first 4 phases and might have gaps, and that if the jrs didn't get phonics when they got taught it in KS1 will they ever get it? Should they be receiving something different? Interested to hear your thoughts.
  2. The phases in Letters and Sounds were never intended to be regarded as differentiation.
    You need to consider the phases as 'stages of learning' rather than as differentiation. That is, first you INTRODUCE THIS then this, then this - and so on.
    So, children need to be exposed to longer words, for example, even when they are only at the level of blending simple three letter, three sound words.
    Also, teachers need lots of structured resources to teach as effectively as possible - and learners need lots of material to rehearse the blending and segmenting and writing.
    Then, even though Letters and Sounds has been introduced by the government, it is still an apologists' programme. It is not enough, for example, to teach 20 minutes per day just in the infants. I recommend around 30 to 40 minutes for four days per week throughout primary. The reading and spelling instruction programme, in effect, moves over into a spelling programme for key stage two.
    I've also addressed classroom management and differentiation by how the learners each use the resources. So, the teacher can provide the SAME resources for whole classes, but each learner will use the material according to their own needs and abilities. Classroom management, therefore, is built into the design of the programme.
    I feel very sorry for schools trying to get their phonics programmes up and running - because I suspect too much material is written by people who are not practising teachers!
  3. We have been streaming across ks1 and ks2 separately. What we've done, is streamed them across letters and sounds and support for spelling. However, they won't 'graduate' from group to group, the teacher will plan for the children they have. So for example, at the moment they are all at the same starting point, but will progress together and therefore I'm teaching phase 4 now but after christmas will more than likely be moving onto phase 5. The children won't move to a different teacher for this.
  4. emilystrange

    emilystrange Star commenter

    Our school is streamed. we move children as and when they are ready.the KS2 children have benefitted enormously from the extra phonics and KS1 have enjoyed them being there.
  5. emilystrange

    emilystrange Star commenter

    i mean it gives them a little bit of a challenge to be as good as the big kids!
  6. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    I think that it's worth discussing as a staff why you have decided that children won't be moved from one group to another. The children in one group will be at a similar stage at the moment, but they won't necessarily progress at the same rate.
    I teach Reception in a 3 form entry school. last year we decided to stream across the year group from January onwards (once all the Jolly Phonics sounds had been taught). Because we are a large year group, we could split the children into 6 groups (led by the 3 teachers and 3 TAs).
    We assessed children in January, again after the Spring half-term holiday, and for a 3rd time after Easter. We found that some children progressed far more quickly than others and we needed to reorganise the groups each half-term.
  7. I think we will be assessing once a term and make the decisions about children moving into new groups. I meant that children won't be changing randomly e.g one teacher deciding 5 children would move out of her class to another without other children moving, to ensure one teacher doesn't end up with
    majority of children.
  8. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    Sorry for the misunderstanding. Deciding as a team how and where to move children makes sense. You may find that the groups start off as a similar size, but that you aren't able to keep them equal without either holding children back or pushing children on too quickly.
    We found that our bottom 2 groups were quite small by the end of the year, so those were led by TAs (who gave daily feedback on the groups' progress to teachers, so that the teachers could help them plan for the groups' daily sessions)
  9. Thanks a lot for the advice. At the moment our bottom group is very large and is split between myself and 3 ta's, then the rest of ks2 are split between 3 teachers. Bottom group is around 50 and the other classes have around 20-30 in each. I'm definitely hoping to thin out the bottom group!
  10. What I don't understand from everyone's descriptions, is how they are addressing teaching Alphabetic Code KNOWLEDGE with all your grouping.
    Regardless of how good children's blending and reading books is concerned, children also need a steady introduction to code knowledge (which is needed for both reading and spelling).
    So, how does constantly changing 'groups' reconcile with the actual Alphabetic Code knowledge (the letter/s-sound correspondences) taught to the children?
    Is this thought through well enough?
    Do streamed, changing groups have an incidental diet of code knowledge? Is there a check list or plan to address this?
  11. About key stage 2 and phonics - I agree totally that phonics for spelling (and phonics for reading as it is still necessary for many children - particularly at advanced code level) needs to continue throughout key stage 2.
    The worry is that the weaker children may continue to receive phonics teaching, but the more able readers don't because they can 'read well'.
    I promote an approach where phonics is taught for reading, spelling and writing - but once chidlren CAN read well, it still continues for spelling and writing (but this inevitably 'includes' the act of reading advanced code as well).
    Sadly, Letters and Sounds is somewhat of an apologist approach for phonics teaching. For a start it advocates only 20 minutes per day for phonics teaching - which is simply not enough to include reading, spelling and writing - and it only addresses infant teaching.
    Is it time that schools thought further about their basic skills literacy teaching and had a seamless approach to teaching reading and spelling and handwriting right throughout primary?
  12. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    I like Debbie's question in an earlier post about how, with all these different phonics groupings across the schoo,l you make sure that all children get exposure to all the necessary code knowledge.
    This strikes a chord absolutely with a school I know. I really don't know how they put the children into the groups but there are children from lots of different year groups in the same phonics groups. Theoretically you could have a child from year 4 in the same group as a year R child.
    In practise I have seen that the children who are struggling with reading higher up the school are still in the "low" phonics groups. The "low" phonics groups are still covering single letter sounds and a few digraphs. At the rate that they progress through the scheme they will not get into a group which covers a - e, u -e, o-e, etc and alternative spellings of the /ay/ /ee/ /igh/ /oa/ /ew/ sounds before they leave primary school. So their phonics code knowledge does not keep up with what they need to know in order to read. So either they never really learn to read or they have to develop other strategies to learn to read. This indirectly renders the phonics groups as fairly useless.
    As well as moving children up groups they move them down groups, so it becomes terribly hard to ensure that any individual child ever covers all the code knowledge.

  13. What I suggest is trying to keep the systematic, introduction of the letter/s-sound correspondences of the alphabetic code steady and the same for the whole class - but, in addition, incidental phonics teaching can take place at any time for individuals, groups and the whole class as needed.
    I call it the 'two-pronged' approach@

    1) The steady introduction of the alphabetic code for everyone
    2) Free introduction of the alphabetic code as and when it is required

    This is readily supported with a large Alphabetic Code Chart on the main display wall for supporting adults and pupils to refer to.
    These can be downloaded for free via the unit 1 webpage at www.phonicsinternational.com .
    And, yes, I do recommend the PI programme for key stage 2 - someone was asking about this earlier.
    But, in any event anyone can use the alphabetic code charts with any synthetic phonics programme and for a spelling reference chart in key stage 2.

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