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Getting children to recognise split digraph when reading

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by modgepodge, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. modgepodge

    modgepodge Occasional commenter

    I teach Year 1 and the majority of children are covering stage 5 phonics, and were taught split digraphs in the Autumn term. They all understand this concept and in a phonics lesson would be able to decode the words correctly. However, when reading a book, often they will sound out each letter, e.g. "c-a-m-e - cam-eh". If I then say, "that's a split digraph, what sound does the /a/ make?" they can then do it. However, for most of them the first thing they do is just sound out each individual letter, and say "e" at the end with a confused look on their face. I guess what I want them to do is look at the whole word and recognise before they start sounding out that there's an e at the end so it's probably a split digraph. How can I encourage this? Am about to do a revision week on split digraphs, but I suspect that as I will tell them it's a lesson on split digraphs they'll all do it perfectly but not necessarily take it in to their reading (or writing, but that's a whole other story!)
    Any suggestions??
     
  2. Hi,
    Mine do exaclty the same - they all are able to use the split diagraph properly during phonics but when reading they just forget.
    I think its because they are focusing on the story and what is happing. I just point to the word again with a knowing look and they get it the second time.
    I think it'll come with practice!
     
  3. Maybe play a game where they pick out words with split digraphs from other words of similar length without, then read the words they have found. I would concentrate on words that they are likely to come across and words that are in their vocabulary. You could do it against a timer and make it into a quiz. Then get children to think up their own lists and play with each other.
     
  4. In Letters and Sounds there's a game called 'Countdown' which is basically what thumbie is describing.
    I would also begin a reading session with 'Don't forget to look out for split digraphs as you're reading today.'
    And I think as someone else said, they'll get there with practice.
     
  5. Two suggestions for now:
    Tell the children not to sound out the end letter 'e' on words.
    There are very few words where this letter is sounded (e.g. cafe, acne).
    Part of the beauty of teaching graphemes via Flashcards and Grapheme Tiles is that children are learning to recognise the letter groups.
    Before the children start sounding out, actually encourage them to scan through the word from left to right to see if they recognise any letter groups - then go back to the left of the word and start to sound out.
    Equally, talk about scanning the word to see if they recognise the patterns a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, u-e.
    Appreciate, however, that this can only 'alert' the reader that the requisite sounds might be /ai/, /ee/, /igh/, /oa/, /yoo/ or long /oo/.
    Readers need to be both fearless and flexible in their word attack - but I suspect that we have not made it obvious enough that part of the sounding out and blending process ALSO includes the 'scanning' process to 'note' any letter grouping and patterns.
     
  6. There's a thought - how often are teachers providing paper-based activities where children scan through sentences or texts to do 'grapheme searches'?
    If your phonics provision does not include sentence or text level work as a paper-based activity to apply phonics knowledge and skills, then the children might not be having sufficient practice at decoding.
    Reading books alone is not so efficient as activities where children focus on plain text without picture cues and obvious story-lines.
     

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