1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Helping children who struggle to apply phonic knowledge?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Msz, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. By the way, once again you refer to my 'commitment to the exclusivity of phonics' which is very misleading.
    I am certainly totally committed to teachers being trained well in the knowledge of the alphabetic code and its roles for reading, spelling and involved with handwriting and how best to teach learners of all ages as required.
    I have gone to some lengths, over the years, to describe that phonics IS only one aspect of language and literacy teaching - but, once again, this seems to fall on those deaf ears.
    Having said that, you will not be privy to the comments fed back to me about teachers' surprise at the development of their children's vocabulary and spoken language through the use of their phonics programmes! There is a wealth of language and a wealth of very happy teaching and learning experiences within the phonics teaching.
    Many teachers, internationally - not just in England - are passionate about their phonics teaching. They feel themselves being effective teachers and their pupils can feel themselves learning daily. These deep discussions on the TES forum don't even begin to reflect the positivity and excitement about teaching and learning that the field of phonics - teaching basic skills - evokes.
    The ONLY reason that I choose to enter into these threads now and again is to try and address the doom and gloom of masha about the complex spelling code, the detraction of thumbie when she feels that phonics is getting too much hype - and, usually, I don't even get into conversation with you, Eddie, because you bang on about witches and evil on occasions which, to me, is too much!
  2. This isn't a query about phonics, Debbie, although the poster saw it in those terms. Many teachers do think of all reading and spelling issues in terms of phonics these days. This child seems to be OK at phonics, she just doesn't have an internal picture of 'saw'.
  3. "What can I do to help her"
    The teacher can remind the girl about the spelling of 'saw' when the girl spells it incorrectly.
    The teacher can make sure that she has posters clearly displayed in her classroom with words which commonly are mis-spelt or cause problems. A simple gesture towards the display linked to pointing out the mis-spelt word may be all that is necessary.
    She can use the sentence, 'Let me help you with that word....' so that she is not pointing a finger at the child getting it 'wrong' but that she is going to help the girl get it right when required.
    Simple, sensible, kind, routine practice with ample visual support on the main display wall.
  4. Haha! Have you got 'simple, sensible and kind' written into your phonics manuals now, Debbie? Are those qualities an aspect of phonics, too?Do you think that showing the child the correct spelling of the word is a phonics strategy, never done before in classrooms until phonics became flavour of the month? The strategies you mention are about showing the child the word 'saw' in order that she can spell it correctly - exposure to the correct spelling, and practice of the correct spelling. It ain't phonics. Trying to present it as phonics, to the child and/or the teacher is going to confuse,and it's going to add an unneeded side issue to the main issue of learning words from 'saw' to 'psychoanalytical' by repeated exposure and practice.
  5. Debbie provides lots of free resources on her Phonics International website. Just to give the whole picture she is also involved in two of the schemes which have been approved by the government for match funding, Phonics International and OUP's Floppy's Phonics. She also delivers training. Incidentally the match funding criteria include these statements:"demonstrate how words can be segmented into their constituent phonemes for spelling and that this is the reverse of blending phonemes to read words
    ensure children apply phonic knowledge and skills as their first approach to reading and spelling even if a word is not completely phonically regular"The ignorance shown is deeply worrying.
  6. Well - people are free to make their own minds up about the discussions on such threads as these.
    I'm happy in the knowledge that there are many teachers, and assistants, and parents and teacher-trainers who can see for themselves the advantages of teaching the alphabetic code systematically and explicitly and the skills for reading, spelling - and also the handwriting.
    The official 'core criteria' - part of which is provided above by thumbie - fails to mention handwriting as a third core skill. I recommend its inclusion as part of 'multi-sensory' teaching for phonics for the spelling/writing side of things.
    With the advent of the internet - and with growing testimony to the advantages of good phonics teaching, let's hope that we never again reach a time when phonics is cast out of the classroom and home.
    M-e-rr-y Ch-r-i-st-m-a-s![​IMG]
  7. Oh yes, 'st', in Christmas. Some say /s//t/, some say /s/. Those pesky phonics! [​IMG] Best way is to remember the 'Christ' in 'Christmas', as in all those Christian (/s//t/) faith schools.
  8. LOL!
    Let me help you with the word 'Christmas', thumbie.
    In that word, the 'st' is code for the /s/ sound - as in the word 'castle'.
    It might be helpful to remember the spelling by thinking of the word 'Christ' where you can hear the /t/ sound at the end.
    Why don't we make a quick poster to add to our word display wall - we'll add other words which are spelt with 'st' as code for the /s/ sound:
    Now, let's think what we can do to associate these words together and recall these words for the future....[​IMG]
  9. Not in my life, debs. In my life Christmas has always had a tiny /t/ stuck in the middle there, "On ChrisTmas' night all ChrisTians sing...." [​IMG] And it's been a long life......
  10. LOL!
    Does that open up the 'age' trump card then![​IMG]
    I've been known to call upon that myself much to the horror and disapproval of the younger teachers!
  11. All I meant is that it feels very long when it takes so long to get simple points across.Maybe life's too short to bother, my OH thinks so. [​IMG]
  12. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Do you say Christ - mas or Chris -t-mas thumbie ...( I say the latter) [​IMG]
  13. I couldn't agree more, Eddie! I think I say the latter Msz, if I am understanding your distinction correctly.
  14. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I say
    C r s t m a s
    C r <ie> s t m a s
  15. Yes then.
  16. Nothing replaces or ever could replace phonics teaching in an alphabet based language - absolutely nothing. I am in favour of perceptual learning but not as a replacement for phonics - I am in favour of using it only with children for whom the phonics route has not been productive.. I abhor the philosophy proposed if not by you personally then certainly by your acolytes, that if children are failing to learn by the phonics route, you just keep on with phonics and the children will learn eventually! I regard that as a highly destructive view of the responsibility of a teacher.
    PL is a learning process - not a teaching strategy. It needsno justification - it is how everybody in the universe acquired their first language - it is the basis of the highly successful Rosetta Stone langauage teaching strateggy - it has an excellent research pedigree. One other advantage it has is that children who fail to learn to read by the phonics route ALWAYS learn by the PL route - that claim is based on hundred of reports I have from decades of research.
    You challenge me for saying that you believe in the exclusive use of phonics for the initial teaching of reading. I have read a great many of your posts and never once have I read you advocating any specific alternative route to reading competence. You frequently mention generalities such a 'a language rich environment' but nothing other than those approaches in which you do indeed have a vested interest.
    Consider this report from a Surrey Senco. "We benchmarked the six Y2 non-readers who took part in the project today. They have all made an incredible amount of progress and read benchmarked Level 16 books which are 1a books; they started off being unable to read a benchmarked Level 1 text. I have no doubt that these children will now all become confident readers." How would you advise that teacher? How would you advise the teacher who posted on the Senco forum a couple of hours ago committing her school to the PL approach for the small number of children in all years groups who are failing by the phonics routine alone? Debbie - I really would like you to respond to that teacher because I think your response would be interesting.

  17. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Well a 1a reader at this point in Y2 isn't a non-reader Eddie and if they are using Reading Recovery Level 16 books they aren't teaching phonicsso it isn't a good example to prove your method works where phonics has failed I'm afraid.
  18. Your negative reponse was entirely to be expected - in fact the classification was 'non or near-non readers' for the project and she felt that the desciption applied to the children who took part. I imagine she did not take into account nit-pickers such as you when writing her report.
    In any event, the class teacher who is also the Senco and who deals with the children concerned on a daily basis appears to be in no doubt as to the usefulness of a PL intervention - whatever your very predictable misgivings.
    Perhaps you would care to attack this report form another PL user "At the end of the 2011 and 2012 academic years, I have had the best reading results in my Year 4 ever with over 50% of them achieving Level 4. This year four (out of 30) also achieved LEvel 5 in a Key Stage 2 SATs test. As you can imagine, I am really pleased with the achievements of my 9 year olds (with average expectation being Level 3b at the end of Year 4." Not a single phonics exercise invovled!
    I have many many more similar reports which encourages me with the knowledge that there and many teachers out there with open minds. I also manage a small online register of poor readers using Skype. For the most part, these are children who have been failed by teachers who like you, believe that if a child fails to acquire good literacy skills by the phonic route, you just carry on giving them more phonics. My online pupils like those in schools which use the PL approach have no such misgivings.
    Perhaps if Debbie is reluctant to advise the teacher on the Senco forum who posted under the heading Perceptual Learning a couple of hours ago, you would care to point out to this teacher where she is going wrong. I'm sure she would appreciate your advice. She intends to use PL in every class in her school but only of course with the children who have not become confident readers or writers. I'll keep an eye on the Senco forum for the advice you offer her????

  19. My first point would be to agree with Msz that any school referring to benchmarking is likely to be a Reading Recovery school in which case the children would not have had the phonics and reading teaching that I would advocate. Thus, is it systematic synthetic phonics teaching which has failed some of the Year 2 children - or the Reading Recovery mixed methods approach?
    Secondly, I would never take at face value that any school's 'phonics' teaching had failed any children if I didn't understand exactly what that teaching looked like.
    Even schools 'doing' systematic synthetic phonics teaching may not be doing it nearly as well as what is possible - with all the will in the world.
    So, although I don't need to provide explanations to any teachers interested in your projects, eddie, I think everyone should be very careful of presuming too much when teachers say they have 'done' phonics teaching which 'has failed the children' - including you!

Share This Page