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how to find a school that does not teach jolly phonics

Discussion in 'Primary' started by sysky, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. I apologise for my poor typing - I have cateracts which cause difficulty is seeing small text - one of the effects of old age i'm afraid. Still - I think the meaning was clear.
  2. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    Hot Reading the way forward?
  3. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    To me, a child who has truly reached level 3 in their reading should no longer be needing synthetic phonics as a tool to learn to read. They can (hopefully) read, just not in the way that is needed to get a level 4 or more.
    If they have got to this level and can't "sound out" a new word (even if that means getting it wrong) then they didn't learn by synthetic phonics, or if they did, they have forgotten it.
    By the time a child is at level 3 it seems a little late to be going over early stages of synthetic phonics. They might benefit to be reminded of bits of it while they are reading so that they can work out new words more easily, and some of the elements of it might be helpful to them when working out spellings. But in reality your read, read, read method is more likely to bring greater rewards.
    The phonics part of Read Write Inc (as opposed to the comprehension and spelling packages) ends when a child can read at a level 2a/3c. To me this feels about right. If they have been taught synthetic phonics the right way round they will have learned the synthetic phonics in order to learn to read in the first place, not a plaster afterwards once they have learned.
    I'm really not sure that it is practical once a child can read to go back to square one with synthetic phonics is it? There is probably some benefit to it, but your approach seems to be working fine.
    Maybe that would make a good scientific experiment - take some level 3 readers who do not know synthetic phonics and teach them synthetic phonics, and take another group of level 3 readers and put them through Eddie's methods. Use the same amount of time for each group per week. See which gets to level 4 first.

  4. I firmly believe that Synthetic Phonics is the most effect initial reading teacher strategy that there is given the perversity of the orthography of the English language. Where I depart from others is that when it fails to deliver literacy to a child, it is not only perverse but actually destructive to persist with that approach. Every child has to learn the grapheme-phoneme correspondences – that is beyond debate. What is debatable, is the method by which with goal is achieved.
    The original poster is right to challenge the use of a strategy which is failing her child and which she probably suspects is damaging the child’s self esteem. I think she would be failing in her maternal duty if she did not do so. I think she deserves support and not ridicule but I'm afraid on this 'professional teachers' site, she is more likely to experience the latter.
  5. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    I agree this could be the case, but we don't really know enough about the OP 's school and the child's progress so far to know if this really is the case. But you also illustrate one of the points why a "scientific" experiment with children's education is unethical as once you start to suspect that the method you are using with one particular group of children is not the best for them, you can't really pursue it as it would feel unethical ......... but in not pursuing it you ruin the experiment as it's hard to prove it wouldn't have succeeded in the longer term.
  6. The stats show that it isn't working in the long term. Once again, in the 2010 KS2 outcomes, approximately one child in five still graduating to secondary school less than functionally literate. Look at all the reports on Synthetic Phonics - while the term 'appears to show' is frequently used, the term 'definitely proves' is never used.
    Lets say that in one large group of widely dispersed schools, virtually every child predicted to achieve L3 English follows the Hot Reading strategy and in fact achieves L4 and in a different group of schools all children that predicted to achieve L3 follow a complete Jolly Phonics course and still only achieve their predicted L3, Do you not think that that would tell us something? There are thousands of schools using Jolly Phonics and the stats show no improvement whatsoever! It is actually destructive to carry on with this charade.
    The schools in which all children predicted to achieve L3 acheived L4 are now Hot Reading enthusiasts right throughtout the school from Year 3 to Year 6. . With these kind of results,can you blame them?

  7. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    I really think that it's in reception and KS1 that a well-delivered synthetic phonics scheme is going to have the greatest effect. So I don't think that looking at the stats KS2, or from level 3 children upwards is going to give you the data that would be needed.
    It should show up in KS1 results - synthetic phonics schools versus non-synthetic phonics schools.
    There are many many schools that have not really adopted SP wholeheartedly, so again I am not sure that KS1 data would give what was needed to prove the point either way. e.g. at my children's school it's mixed methods, and the synthetic phonics is worked through so slowly that the child has to learn to read by other methods too or still be a very poor reader by end KS1, unless a parent gives a big dose of phonics at home .... like I did.
    I would agree with you that something has failed as there are still children entering secondary school with some shockingly low reading ages and it isn't all accounted for by severe SEN. But of these children how will you know how many were put through riorous SP?
    I'm not saying it definitely is the answer, I believe the proof is not there.
    Maybe it would be possible to work with the best Read Write Inc model schools, for example and work something out from their data versus a period of time when they were using a non-SP approach to initial teaching of reading. Jolly Phonics only goes so far anyway doesn't it?
    Lots of schools and teachers say they use a particular scheme but they just pick a few bits they like or can afford and leave it at that.
  8. The reality is the about 1.8% of children in any population have severe learning difficulties and will never be competent readers whatever intervention is used. Even in Finland, the failing statistic reflects this 1.8% In the UK it is consistently about 20% because of our often illogical orthography and still about 20% of children are entering Year 3 who have obviously not mastered the basic grapheme/phoneme correspondences. If even one quater of the schools use JP and it is as effective as is claimed by its enthusiasts, this would not the case and the reality is that more than a quarter of schools use Jolly phonics or similar.
    I tested two groups of predicted L3s who after completing the Hot Reading coutse (which has no phonics content) had indeed mastered all of the grapheme/phoneme correspondences.
    I would still recommend a synthetic phonics approach but I would not persist with it with children who have clearly failed to master the appropriate grapheme/phoneme correspondences.

    I prefer the objective reality every child predicted to achieve L3 English is virtually guaranteed to graduate to secondary school as a functionally literate individual. I find that more satisfying.

  9. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    That is interesting. Did you test their phoneme grapheme correspondences before and after the hot reading to see what had changed? Which phoneme - grapheme correspondences did you mean? And how did you test them? Sorry to ask so many questions but I am very curious.
    I volunteer one to one in a school with children on school action. A while back I was given a year 6 girl who was starting part way through Toe by Toe that week. I haven't been given her again. She seemed to be able to read some much harder stuff further on in the book, both nonsense and real words including all sorts of digraphs and tripgraphs. But when I asked her to look at the beginning of the book and make the sound each letter in the alphabet makes /a/ as in apple, /b/ as in bear etc she couldn't do it. She couldn't stop herself saying the letter name. I didn't have time to see if she could read digraphs / trigraphs on their own. I asked her why she was doing Toe by Toe and she didn't know, and I couldn't find out from the school either.
    The reason I am saying this that although it seemed to me she could read well she couldn't have done all the grapheme - phoneme correspondences when they were not part of words, real or nonsense. However, I didn't think it really mattered without someone having explained to me what the problem was she Toe by Toe was meant to sort out for her. No-one was around to explain to me.
    So I was wondering if you are theorising that all children can work out grapheme - phoneme correspondences purely by reading, and if you have a lot of evidence for that so far.
  10. I use my own personal non-standardised test for mastery of grapheme/phoneme correspondences but I sure there will some professional tests available. Every one who is a competent reader has necessarily mastered the grapheme- phoneme correspondences otherwise they would not be able to read competently. Together with many of my generation, I was never taught the grapheme- phoneme correspondeces but like today's generation, 80% of us became competent readers. Those children who were very poor readers but after a Hot reading course became good readers, read with confidence, with appropriate fluency, correct emphasis and tonal vairiation - and they acquired this mastery in the course of the massive quanitity of successful reading experience which is the core of the Hot Reading strategy.
    n response to the many personal messages - the research project list is full and I am not accepting any more schools as participants. For those qho asked about an explantion of the Hot Reading strategy I offer this explantion:
    When a low IQ person is asked to read a passage aloud, they dive straight in and the result is stumbling, hesitant and without correct tonal variation or emphasis.. When an intelligent person is asked to read a passage aloud, they ALWAYS read it through to themselves first and consequently, their delivery is invariably much better. When a very intelligent person is asked to read a passage aloud, they always read it through twice (at least) and consequently, their delivery is always very impressive, with the right emphasis and tonal variation. Most teachers, when ‘hearing’ children read, employ the strategy favoured by low IQ individuals. The Hot Reading strategy simply mimics the approach favoured by very intelligent people.

  11. "So I was wondering if you are theorising that all children can work out grapheme - phoneme correspondences purely by reading" Thats what they do in Hot Reading.
    Sorry I did not repond to this point which is really at the heart of Hot Reading. I have five children all of whom I taught to read before they started school. I did not use a phonics approach. There are no phonics components in the Hot Reading approach other than of course, the fact ALL reading practices the phoheme-grapheme correspondences and in schools which use this strategy all pupils predicted to achieve L3 in fact achieve L4! . Were you taught grapheme-phoneme correspondences or did you learn them intuitively within the reading experience?

  12. Goodness; a substitute for an IQ test. Just count how many times a person reads a passage to themselves before attempting to read it aloud.
    I can't find myself on the scale, though. I can read completely unseen passages with the right emphasis and tonal variation. Genius or exceptionally low IQ?
    mystery; be careful how you 'read' eddie. He has made a large number of sweeping statements about SP without any evidence to substantiate them.
  13. <font size="3">Wroughton Junior School NR31 8BD
    Predicted Level 2/3= 25%: Level 4 = 50%: Level 5 = 24%
    Results Level 2/3= 0%: Level 4 = 63%: Level 5 = 37% </font><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><font size="3">Only one of two classes in this school was involved in the project. The other class achieved precisely what was predicted for them. That&rsquo;s what I call objective proof.</font> <font face="Times New Roman">Do you think two terms on Synthetic Phonics would have produced these results. The school certainly doesn't!</font>
  14. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    The flaw in that argument is that the children need to be able to read (decode words) in order to access your resource ... it won't help those children who haven't mastered this basic skill.
  15. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    I am a little confused! I would never suggest synthetic phonics as a means to get children from Level 3 to Level 4, even less from Level 4 to Level 5 and can't believe anyone else would!
    Synthetic phonics is for younger children, those on the EYFS and on Levels 1 or 2 of the NC. We teach synthetic phonics so that children can decode words. Without this they won't get past Level 1 anyway. Obviously they then need comprehension skills to go further which I assume is where Eddie's approach comes in.
  16. That's simply not true - the child has to have familiarity with langauge ie with the words only, bearing in mind that 'words' are things you can only hear and not things you can see!.
    Another example that doesnt recognise the limitation you describe is
    <font size="3">St Mary&rsquo;s RC Primary School FY7 6EU
    Predicted Level 2/3 = 48%: Level 4 = 40%: Level 5 = 12%
    Results Level 2/3 = 6% : Level 4 = 52% Level 5 = 42%

    Only children for whom a Level 2 was predicted failed to achieve Level 4. Had they been able to introduce the Hot Reading approach in Year 3 as they are now, there would have been no children predicted to achieve Level 2. I think in 2012 they will have 100% pass rate.</font><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><font size="3">Is there anyone out there (apart from you of course) that actualy believes that two terms on Synthetic phonics would achieve this kind of turn around? I don&rsquo;t think the school believes that.</font> <font face="Times New Roman">Notice that their overall &lsquo;pass rate&rsquo; went from 52% to 94% and this in their first year of using the approach. The acquisition of any skill is a cumulative business &ndash; think what will happen when they&rsquo;ve been using it for a couple of years! It is this kind of early result that convinces me that (virtually) Every Child a Level 5 English at KS2 is an achievable objective! However, as things stand, you &lsquo;naysayers&rsquo; are in the majorty and this aim can certainly never be achieved using sythetic phonics as a remedial strategy. The Hot Reading is about more than just reading skills - it is also about writing, spelling, grammar and listening skills -viz all the literacy skills.</font><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font>
  17. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Eddie are you trying to suggest a child who can not read or write words can achieve those results with your system?
  18. I visit lots of schools in many LEA - I have a thing going on in N.I at the moment of which perhaps more later. I wholly agree about using SP as an initial teaching method but I see it all the time being used as a remedial strategy in Junior schools.
  19. "Eddie are you trying to suggest a child who can not read or write words can achieve those results with your system?"
    I let the results speak for themselves. you have to draw your own conclusions. Although I have Downes children using this approach with significant success there are no magical computer programmes - there are however magical teachers and I've met a good many!, I certainly do not claim any magical properties for the Hot Reading approach. If a child has a significant learning difficulty, I would always advise teachers to follow the advice of their local literacy expert or Ed Psych.Children for whom a Level 3 is predicted mostly do not have a specific learning difficulty - all they really need (and all that Hot Reading gives them) is lots of successful reading pracitice and that always does the trick.Thus far, about half of the children for whom a Level 2 is predicted have been raised to Level 4. I have a head from a Junior school who used the approach experimentally with a child for whom a Level 1 was predicted - the child achieved a Level 4b in reading and a 4 in writing. These are not opinions - they are verifiable facts. you can take from them what you want..
  20. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    The results don't answer the question Eddie because all the children in your sample could read before they began so perhaps you could answer it

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