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Everyone seems to be an expert on phonics nowadays Debbie-I blame you.

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by Msz, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I never bought into it but some still follow the literacy hour if TES posts (only last week) are to be believed
  2. Hi BrainJim - what started you off on this lament?
    Is the 'ure' grapheme the final straw for you?
    My position is that I don't advocate a particular starting age. I say, for example, that Reception teachers can play around with introducing phonics - and also make a 'best fit' start with the whole class - appreciating that children need lesser or greater time to 'assimilate' what the phonics is all about.
    I also attempt to demonstrate to teachers that they can go at a slower pace than they think and still introduce phonics steadily and comprehensively.
    For example, originally we all set off promoting the five or six letter/s-sound correspondences per week because Jolly Phonics did this very successfully in the first term.
    I now advocate that teachers can go as slowly as two correspondences per week. I've recognised that we're in danger of creating an immediate slower-to-learn special needs group if we set off too fast.
    I also recognise that some teachers aren't giving a lot of children a proper 'learning opportunity. Thus, they do their teacher-led introduction, allow a bit of phonics play - and then expect the children all to have learned so they move straight on to introducing another correspondence.
    I suggest that teachers have a very distinct 'teacher-led' session and a very distinct 'pupil practice' session to enable 'learning' of the alphabetic code and the core skills.
    I also say that as long as schools do have a very systematic, rigorous synthetic phonics programme, then Reception teachers can make choices of when this starts and play around with phonics until that starting point.
    Then, however, teachers need to focus on core paper and pencil activities and not try to dress phonics teaching up in a wide variety of 'fun games and activities' which end up not being so effective for the weakest learners.
    I also think some people have lost sight that children can achieve an intrinsic delight from their own ability to read, spell and write - and they themselves don't need phonics dressed up with all manner of activities.
    Personally, I think it is amazing and wonderful if everyone is an expert, or becoming an expert, on phonics teaching. What a difference from times of old when phonics just about disappeared from the profession apart from some teachers doing it behind closed doors.
  3. My children love phonics. We only do 20 minutes per day and they ask for more! All but 1 out of 30 are reading (at different levels to be fair but there again there is almost 12 months difference between them) and LOVE doing it. They want to read as much as possible and ask every day. I realise that the first few months are laboured but as long as we ensure that they enjoy a range of stories and books every day, they know WHY they are learning the sounds and very quickly put meaning to their words. I do not understand why some people think phonics are the only 'reading' reception children do, that is ridiculous. It is only alongside a love of stories, high quality speaking and listening games, role play etc that phonics come into their own. On their own they are worth nothing but when put with a real enjoyment of stories, rhymes and finding out facts they open up a whole new world to children.
  4. It was 'ure' that pushed me over the edge. A head asked me why I hadn't done 'ure' that was on the planning. I asked her to give me some examples that I could have used with the children. Pure and sure where her possible examples. I could have cried.
    Debbie if you think because people are doing phonics they are becoming experts I suggest you become a passenger on my aeroplane as I learn to fly it. I'm sure I'll master the skill one day.
  5. Anyone who has been on this forum over the years will know that Debbie is one of the most supportive, enthusiastic and generous people you could hope to find. I think you should apologise. What she does is always about helping us to support our children. The phonic approach to teaching the mechanics of reading is in my opinion the most effective and it is up to teachers to introduce it at a sensible pace for their children.
  6. How do they open up a whole new world to children? Was this new world not available before we taught phonics by the prescribed method? How would we teach reading without teaching phonics? You write as if it is something new.For children, the new world they arrive at is the world of books, and therefore it is not phonics which opens this world up, it is reading as a whole, as it has always been. Phonics does not 'come into its own' because, as you say, on it's own it is nothing (well, I would not say nothing, I would simply say 'not enough').
  7. What I meant was that the ability to read opens up a whole new world for children not just teaching phonics. Obviously there are other methods and we could debate all night about the searchlights v simple view. However over the last 4 years I have seen more and more success with reading and fewer children requiring intervention further up the school than in the years prior to phonics. There will always be some children who learn to read without phonics, there will always be some children who struggle with phonics but overall, I have found it more successful than any other strategy.
  8. When were the years prior to phonics?
  9. Ah well, the thing is, you can make a good stab at decoding a foreign language using SP, but you certainly can't read it using SP. Besides, the 'code' for English is complex, so readers are not guaranteed accuracy by using SP alone. They have to guess between alternative possibilities. A process which slows down the fluency of reading in a way which self-correcting from use of context does not. And, of course, the children we are talking about are learners, and they have teachers and adults supporting them. So reading texts which are beyond their decoding skills is possible because of the support of others who can explain and elucidate the reading process and, in fact, teach the unknown words.

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