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Better to send home decodable books eg. Songbird or high frequency word focused ORT books?

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by izipink, Nov 26, 2009.

  1. Hello,
    My teaching partner (Early Years co-ordinator) and I are running a phonics workshop for reception parents, explaining in great detail how we teach their children to blend sounds in words for reading...yet we send home ORT books which contain very few words in which their children will actually be able to use their blending skills. I think it must be very confusing for parents and children!
    We have provided a list of High Frequency Words on the back of their child's homework book, which of course are important, but...wouldn't it better to send home books they can actually read straight away? (Using the sounds we have learnt so far eg. satpinmdgockure) Or are they too boring? However, we also send home the child's choice of library book-picture books-which can develop children's story language/understanding of stories etc. so surely it'd be okay to send home phonics scheme books to supplement this???
    Please share your thoughts, they will be much appreciated. If others agree it will give me the confidence to suggest it's time for a change-all the ORT books are pretty old and losing pages anyway!
    Izipink


     
  2. Hello,
    My teaching partner (Early Years co-ordinator) and I are running a phonics workshop for reception parents, explaining in great detail how we teach their children to blend sounds in words for reading...yet we send home ORT books which contain very few words in which their children will actually be able to use their blending skills. I think it must be very confusing for parents and children!
    We have provided a list of High Frequency Words on the back of their child's homework book, which of course are important, but...wouldn't it better to send home books they can actually read straight away? (Using the sounds we have learnt so far eg. satpinmdgockure) Or are they too boring? However, we also send home the child's choice of library book-picture books-which can develop children's story language/understanding of stories etc. so surely it'd be okay to send home phonics scheme books to supplement this???
    Please share your thoughts, they will be much appreciated. If others agree it will give me the confidence to suggest it's time for a change-all the ORT books are pretty old and losing pages anyway!
    Izipink


     
  3. I think you are absolutely right. Your ORT books do not suit early readers. You have told parents about how children are learning to read by bleinding sounds, so you need to follow through on this. Would recommend Jelly and Bean, Songbirds, moving on to Read Write Inc when enough sounds known. All these gradually build up a bank of high frequency words. A shared story book is what we use too.
     
  4. I agree that the most suitable reading books to be sent home, are books that support your current teaching of phonics. Currently in my F2 class the children are given phonic support books such as 'songbirds' and 'floppy phonics' rather than ORT. The children are gradually given a book when they have mastered blending and segmenting and not before. Eg completed phase 2.I believe this builds their confidence greatly, as they only get a book when they are secure readers. Before the children have mastered phase 2 they do have phonics tasks to do at home such as matching and sound recognition activities to complete at home with parents.
    Please be aware of the read, write inc books tho, as they would only support your readers if you are following the read, write inc program. The books move at a fast pace in ability and and only really start at phase 3 sounds.
     
  5. Leapyearbaby64

    Leapyearbaby64 New commenter

    My school does just the same thing. It was my biggest frustration when I worked in FS and I did get some books to remedy this, but one year's allocation does not make a massive impact on the overall stocks. But now I'm in KS1, when I do guided reading (and I have LA groups) I am seeing much of the same guessing going on as always happened. These books are training children to use picture clues and be "told" new words by adults. They are not supporting the children to use their phonics for reading. My own view is that children should not be given scheme books that have sounds in them that the children do not know. If that means they don't have a home reader, then so be it. It is much better to send home lovely story books that the parents can read with their children.
     
  6. There are a few ways around this if teachers are not in a position to buy cumulative, decodable reading books right now:
    1) First of all, it is very important to feed back any findings that children have to resort to guessing because the books do not match their code knowledge and skills. Tell colleagues and also feed this information back to headteachers - preferably verbally followed up with a simple written report. You are then discharging your duty and letting it be known that your schools' phonics programmes/teaching is not being supported through the schools' reading material - and, in effect, this is not in line with the synthetic phonics teaching principles.
    2) Provide training for staff and parents where possible but also provide written guidance for parents to support them in supporting them hearing children read aloud. Explain the rationale for systematic phonics teaching but also guide people in how to apply incidental phonics teaching (not necessarily when 'sharing' a lovely story book) when asking children to read independently. When the child encounters a word that he or she cannot decode, the adult can provide the code, "In that word, those letters ARE CODE FOR the /___/ sound" - and then the child can blend the word. If this isn't possible or parents don't have the knowledge or confidence, they can tell the child the word rather than tell the child to guess (parents, in my experience, have far less trouble than some teachers at recognising guessing words as simply 'guessing' words rather than 'predicting' the words from various clues!). Provide, perhaps, alphabetic code information for parents to show them how the alphabetic code works in words (see www.phonicsinternational.com - free unit 1 has charts suitable for sending home - or make up your own similar charts to suit your schools' phonics programmes.
    3) Provide ample cumulative, decodable word, sentence and text level material other than reading books for children to get the chance to do plenty of blending as they build up their alphabetic code knowledge - and explain this rationale to parents whilst sending home the usual reading books and/or story books. In other words, you are ensuring the children get plenty of chance to apply their phonics knowledge and skills to other material, so the reading books are not an 'essential' for practisiing the blending - they are the enrichment!
    4) Create one-page 'how to support my child' guidance to stick in home/school reading record books and encourage the school to adopt this practice as 'school practice'. This might encourage other teachers to become more aware of the avoidance of guessing strategies. I'll post a link as a basic outline or suggestion. People might find it useful as it is and they are free to use it, but they can write their own preferred versions.
    5) Consider that even with cumulative, decodable reading books, children are varied in their capabilities and need support according to their own knowledge and skills - so it can still be hard to select books. The above information and training is still pertinent.
     
  7. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    As a parent I'd say yes, yes, yes, send home appropriate decodable readers. And as Msz says, there are some pretty interesting ones now. I do however think that the majority of children are enthused by success and progress, even if the content and storyline isn't that great in the early stages. For example, you might not think that the RWI stories are that thrilling, but if you are child reading their first book without having to have a parent help you with every other word, On the Bus might be a more rewarding experience than you might imagine. They can still experience good stories and rich text by other means.
    Also don't bin all your non-decodable ORT books. My own feeling is that by the time a child has covered stuff in phase 5 letters and sounds through whatever phonic scheme they are on, they can read any old ORT book without resorting to guessing.
    Correct me if I am wrong Msz, but your school gets round to phase 5 with quite a few pupils in Reception doesn't it, so approx ORT stage 5 (when they start to become reasonable stories) onwards might still be of some use to pupils who do love Chiff, Bipper, and Kip.
    Books with pages missing though, oh so irritating. Child battles nearly half-way through the book to find the entire mid-section missing. It's very disappointing at 6pm in the evening when there's nothing else the right level in the house to read and they want to know what it said.
     

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