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Help with very poor blender but has some sight vocab.

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Dalian Daisy, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. Hi everyone, you might remember that I posted a while ago about what to say when a parent says their child learns by sight & not phonics. Well, that turned into a v long & interesting debate but I need more help.
    The child in question is quite unusual & has quite severe SEN with global delay and difficulties in speech & langauge terms & is in Y2 but is working below Level 1 & at P levels for speaking & listening. He could be in a special school & has full time statemented support. He loves books & knows the single letter sounds & a limited number of digraphs at phase 3 but cannot blend together. He can with a lot of work say each letter sound but can't run them together, however if an adult runs them togther he can say the word. On the flip side of this he can read quite a few words by sight e.g. children, called, the etc. He guesses a lot!
    His parent thinks he works by sight & struggles to sound out so can be quite anti phonic books. She is going to try some 'songbirds' books again as homereaders. She asked me does a sight reader eventually learn to blend as you can't read everything by sight, well I didn't really have an answer for that! Can anyone help with this q and also with where to take this very special needs child? Should I carry on with encouraging sounding out for for this child or do we try to extend his sight vocab as he is very visual or a bit of both? I had thought of looking at the most common words coming up in his reading books & pre teaching them by sounding out & practising a lot.
    I know questions like this really do spark off a lot of debate but I would really appreciate the help & before I fire everyone off with the sight v phonics debate plse know that we do a phonics first approach- letters & sound every day & big emphasis on sounding out & decoding tricky bits but what do I do with this child- will he ever blend & sound out well...?
    Thanks everyone[​IMG]

     
  2. Hi everyone, you might remember that I posted a while ago about what to say when a parent says their child learns by sight & not phonics. Well, that turned into a v long & interesting debate but I need more help.
    The child in question is quite unusual & has quite severe SEN with global delay and difficulties in speech & langauge terms & is in Y2 but is working below Level 1 & at P levels for speaking & listening. He could be in a special school & has full time statemented support. He loves books & knows the single letter sounds & a limited number of digraphs at phase 3 but cannot blend together. He can with a lot of work say each letter sound but can't run them together, however if an adult runs them togther he can say the word. On the flip side of this he can read quite a few words by sight e.g. children, called, the etc. He guesses a lot!
    His parent thinks he works by sight & struggles to sound out so can be quite anti phonic books. She is going to try some 'songbirds' books again as homereaders. She asked me does a sight reader eventually learn to blend as you can't read everything by sight, well I didn't really have an answer for that! Can anyone help with this q and also with where to take this very special needs child? Should I carry on with encouraging sounding out for for this child or do we try to extend his sight vocab as he is very visual or a bit of both? I had thought of looking at the most common words coming up in his reading books & pre teaching them by sounding out & practising a lot.
    I know questions like this really do spark off a lot of debate but I would really appreciate the help & before I fire everyone off with the sight v phonics debate plse know that we do a phonics first approach- letters & sound every day & big emphasis on sounding out & decoding tricky bits but what do I do with this child- will he ever blend & sound out well...?
    Thanks everyone[​IMG]

     
  3. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    If he knows all the single letter sounds he knows quite a bit to get reading. He might prefer to learn the digraphs etc in the context of words and books than just another sterile memory test - after all seeing /igh/ on its own doesn't trigger much does it really, but when it's in "night" he might be able to see it ......... if you see what I mean.
    I'm not special needs, and I learned to read without phonics and all this robotic sounding out and blending I am sure .......it wasn't a problem ...... you can crack the code in other ways and still be a great reader. And I can sound out for my kids and adapt to anything ........ but I still dislike seeing for example an "ow" sound and wondering which it should be. I kind of always knew that it was the word that determined which pronunciation alternative it should be, so sounds on their own still look a little alien to me.
    How many words does he know by sight, and how did he learn them?
    Can he read words like sat, cat, bat etc (forget whether it is by sound and blending or by sight, just can he read them)?
    Can he spell them with magnetic letters (without giving him too wide a choice of letters) if you say make me the word cat with these letters and give him maybe 7 letters of including c a and t?
    If you give him a picture of a cat and a set of magnetic letters what would he do?
    Parent might be anti decodable texts, and feel that he is learning better by sight , but he may still benefit from decodable books even if he never sounds them out and blends them in the way you are expecting.
    You say he loves books - what sort of books, and in what way does he love them? Hearing others read them to him? Trying to read himself? What exactly?
    Have you tried the Jolly Songs and CD that go with it with the digraphs in that ........ he could practice the songs at home with parents - they do sound willing and intelligent, and quite often parents do instinctively know which methods work and don't work with their children, and it might be worth going with their instincts to get some progress.
    Is there a website he might find fun? e.g. starfall?
     
  4. I did that a lot when I used to support slow readers and it worked a treat. Working on the words and then being able to read the book easily was a huge ego boost each time.
    I also found that they like learning to read patterns like
    end, send, bend, lend...make, bake, take, lake... out, shout, pout, spout, sprout
    The Learning to Read page on my website www.EnglishSpellingProblems.co.uk has lots of decodable words. They are in alphabetical order, but u could copy and paste them and group them any way u like.
    I used to have those lists with me, and some children used to ask if we could work with them.

     
  5. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    In answer to the mother's question - does a sight reader eventually sound things out because you can't read everything by sight?
    I have my own guesswork answer - not an expert, and I'm sure that even eminent psychologists with great knowledge of brain function would disagree on quite what was going on inside people's head during the reading process.
    I would say that this is a hypothetical problem - so long as he learns to read and ultimately to read relatively widely, it doesn't matter. In the same way that a so called "sight reader" cannot read every new word put in front of them first time, neither can the one who sounds out and blends every time or says c-a-t and then has to put it together. That's no way to read long term. It's slow, and will lead to mispronunciations as unless you know the word already you don't know which of the alternative pronuncations to use.
    Ultimately for the sounder-blender loads of words become "sight words" and only the new and quite different words that they come across as they develop fluency have to be "sounded out". But the "sight reader" might by this stage quite easily be able to see that reaching looks like teaching with an r at the beginning instead ......... in fact the so-called sight reader might be quicker at spotting this than the slavish sounder outer blender.
    So I would just get on with whatever works with this child at this point in time, chuck in some other bits when they seem helpful, and see what you end up with.
    Capitalise on whatever this love of books is that you describe. If the whole learning process becomes too drawn out he will become disillusioned, and it does sound as though you have a parent who will put in considerable time at home if you take on board her views (even if they are not quite right). At the end of the day, the more he reads the better, and if she's literate and spends a lot of time with him on it, he will learn. So give her the materials - it's expensive buying easy readers. He probably needs loads at a very easy level to get going.
    There's an American book I've got - it's got 100s of different games and activities in for helping children to learn about 100 sight words (similar list to the phase 1 to 5 high frequency words). This might really help him along too and Mum might be happy to spend the time on the activities. Would you like me to dig out the title? It's not expensive ........ are you allowed to suggest things they might like to buy for themselves or is that not appropriate?
     

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