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How were we taught to read?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Lilybett, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. Synthetic Phonics fundamentalists believe the dogma that there is synthetic phonics - there is only synthetic phonics - there is nothing other than synthetic phonics. There is no room for doubt in their minds. The fact that 20% of children continue to leave school every year illiterate does not faze them - its all the teachers' fault for not teaching synthetic phonics correctly.
    When every previous 'euraka strategy' failed to deliver, it was always the teachers fault - never the strategy
    Good spellers are not good spellers because they have been drilled in all the spelling rules and their myriad 'exceptions.' They are good spellers because they know when a word 'looks right' and that is a naturally learned perceptual skill. You can do all the 'look-cover-say-write' till the cows come home and it will not cure bad spelling. To become good at spelling, you need lots of practice at spelling words correctly - that way, you only know the correct spelling - hence my belief in Perceptual Learnin dictation course - they never fail unless the child is truly dyslexic which of course involves perceptual disorders.
    One of the schools in my 2010/11 pilot poject predicted a 48% pass rate in English at KS 2. Their Y6 children completed a full academic year on Perceptual Learning (15/20 mins daily) and achieved a 92% pass with 45% of those at Level 5! Naturally, they are now committed P.L. users. The Perceptual Level resources had no overt phonics content whatsoever. In a Staffs primary school, 9 children predicted to achieve Level 3 all achieved Level 4 - again - no phonics content. How did they do that? Perceptually! Now they are also PL users as are all six schools in the pilot project.

  2. msworld

    msworld New commenter

    Thanks Eddie, will check it out.
  3. msworld

    msworld New commenter

    The resources look great. I will be working with key stage one after Easter. Are you using something similar with this age?
  4. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Hi Eddie
    I looked on the schoolwork site as well as I'd like some short non-fiction passages for older primary children. Please can you tell me how to speed up the cursor as it moved along very slowly indeed highlighting the text. Also, I wasn't sure how to abandon a text part way through and go back to the seletion menu. I didn't work out how to do that successfully.
    Thanks again.
  5. I am currently running a Pereceptual Learning project in 20 schools using a resource developed specifically for Key Stage 1. The target children are in Year 2 and are categorised by their schools as being non or near-non readers. There are 85 children taking part. This is a relatively short intervention which has only being going for a few weeks and ends at the KS1 test. Most participating schools have already returned their first reactions proformas and all of the children are able to use the approach independently which is thefirst piece of information I had to establish. The strategy requires the children to complete a few minutes work at a computer and then to read their prepared text to a teacher or adult - the children also read the text which they prepared the previous day so that they are not reading from residues in working memory.The aim is to internalise a useful sight vocabulary which acts as a decoding reference eg the child who has internalised the textword 'good' will instantly recognise other similarly constructed textwords. I know from tests that this strategy works.. The strategy for the Y2 children is not identical to that used on the website.
    Ideally the approach should start at the beginning of Year 2 when children who are likely to form the 20% who leave school unable to read and write confidently can be easily identified but this intervention will provide at least an indication as to whether or not the strategy is productive for such children.
    I am often asked if the participating schools should continue to use their phonics programmes and I always encourage them to do so. The aim of Perceptual Learning is that the children should learn all the sound/symbol relationships - I am not proposing to replace synthetic phonics - I am proposing to add to it for the sake of the 20% of children who are not acquiring decoding skills by this route. I do not accept that it is appropriate to sacrifice 20% of the population to illiteracy just to support the dogma of synthetic phonics which is not working for all children. It is working for 80% of children but then so did every other euraka strategy ever introduced into schools including the Ladybird strategy. My focus is solely that all of the population should be able to read and write and not just most of them.
    An iPad version of this approach becomes generally available in May and I might release a PC version for schools in September, depending on the outcomes and any necessary developmental work. I licence my products to pay for my research work which always involves practical usage in large numbers of classrooms. I hope next year to have a local authority wide KS 2 project in place but a final decision on that is yet to be made. The aim of that would be to secure at least a 10% increase in the authorities places on the league table of KS2 results in the first year.
    The resources at the schoolwork site will vanish when the current site licence expires - the research which used those resouces ended some time ago.

  6. You can't speed the cursor - it is set for the specific purpose of securing higher level reading skills.
    " I wasn't sure how to abandon a text part way through "
    The library is not designed for use in that way. A child who needs this strategy has a significant reading deficit and should complete the preparation of an assigned title or chapter which they are to read to an adult at some point. The library does not encourage abandoning passages part way through.
    The Electronic Library has a dedicated aim and when this aim is achieved, the child has both the skills and the desire to use a real library because failure and the fear of making mistakes has been taken out of the equation. The Electronic Library will never replace the real library - it can only ensure that the child acquires the skills and the desire to use a real library and it can only do this if it is used as it was designed to be used. When it is used as an ad hoc resource, you get ad hoc results!

  7. Early to mid 1980s (hit secondary the same time as the full 10 ringbinder national curriculum to date me accurately... makes me sound like a fossil)... I remember lots of flash cards, and a "sound table" where we'd bring in things that started with the sound of the week (requiring some ingenuity when we got to things like X - I know we did at least digraphs because I definitely remember my submissing of a train for the CH table on the grounds it went "choo choo" being vetoed - and I'm still bearing a grudge now!)
    Was supplemented by my mother who'd urge me to break words down and sound them out when I was stuck on one, and the fact she'd be dictating copy down the telephone (she was a journalist) to a copy girl who couldn't spell for toffee so I grew up listening to her have to spell every other word of every story she ever wrote out loud! Oh and Scrabble versus two journalist parents isn't a fair fight when yer seven years old!
    Have to say it was better than the Maths lessons I remember which constituted "you're so bright we don't want to have to differentiate for you - here's the textbook, come to the desk when you've finished a page and I'll mark it" and the subsequent race between the 3-4 bright sparks in the class to see who could get through the entire Ginn scheme first.
    I went to school with friends who'd been taught (I changed primary in the Juniors for various reasons) by ITA... now that will probably make some more shudders.
  8. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    Would it be better for the child to come and ask the teacher how to spell every single word they can't spell? (or just write down any random letter combination as apparently being phonetically plausible doesn't matter. "I don't know how to spell 'because'. I'll just put 'adfklj'." What?!)
    Or perhaps, just not use that words cos they don't know how to spell it? I've got Year 1 children that use words like "beautiful", "disaster", "twinkling", "sparkley". If I made a big deal about spelling these words correctly, they'd just stop using them and use "nice" for everything instead. Will that improve their writing?
    At 5, 6, 7 or even far older, we cannot expect children to know how to spell every word they can say. In order to make their composition as good as possible, it's important that they "have a go" at spelling unfamiliar words, using, yes, phonetically plausible letter combinations. I'd far rather see "My cat has got darc blac fer and twinclee grean iys. Shee lics to eet fish bkos it iz her faivrut." than "My cat is black. She eats fish." (for example).
  9. msworld

    msworld New commenter

    Yes, I agree. Better to try to spell an interesting word than not use it at all. My year 4s would put a wiggly line underneath words to show me they were unsure of the spelling. This worked well for lots of them.
  10. Just want to say well done Lilybett for pointing out that the king is in the all together. Probably not **** but certainly the speed at which is introduced to reception children is nonsense.
  11. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Can't you keep up SOAPy?
  12. blundellgirl43

    blundellgirl43 New commenter

    Igrew up in the 60's and can't remember being 'taught' to read, although I do remember standing at the teachers desk (on my own) and being told the word 'Peter' from the Ladybird scheme and remembering how to say it next time.
    I cannot remember the whole class being taught how to decode words, although I do remember my brother being taught a new scheme that had ae written together as a sound (phoneme we would call it today). It was an imperfect system in some ways as children were not helped to read, however it did require more parental involvement, it seems to me that some parents require ALL reading to be done in school.
    I have no problem with phonics being taught to help children decode but as a KS2 teacher I think it should be taught together with spelling and understanding of the word. For example you wouldn't say the word dog to a baby without showing them a dog, it would have no meaning.
  13. No-one can seriously challenge the use of phonics in the intitial teaching of reading - English orthography is phonetic, that is indisputable. What they should challenge is its dominance and exclusivity. The use of phonics has acheived almost religious significance and its zealots are blind to the fact that in spite of its near universal adoption, some 20% of children still fail to learn to read and write confidently before they leave school. Mona McNee was completely correct in her assertion that C - A - T = cat but that is only part of the story because E - N - O - U - G - H does not equal 'eenuff''
    Someone taking their Masters degree sought my opinion on Perceptual Learning for their thesis and I advised them that if they want to pass their higher degree course, they must conclude that there is phonics - there is only phonics - there never was and never will be, anything other than phonics. Any children who are failing to 'catch on' with phonics need more phonics - more repitition. Any other conclusion will not be accepted.
    As yet we do not know how to deliver basic literacy to all children therefore teachers should feel free to experiment because if the teachers who face half a million new children every year can't come up with an answer, no-one can.
    If someone comes up with a new and quite silly strategy tomorrow they can be quite certain that like all previous failed strategies, about 80% of children will still succeed by it no matter how silly it is.

  14. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    well it doesn't equal cat that's for sure ... e-n -ou- (represents the u sound in lots of words trouble, double enough, rough, etc ) gh (represents ff at the end of many words -tough, laugh etc) most 5-6 year olds would be able to tell you that Eddie if they have been taught phonics and not just had a few letters waved at them.
  15. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    bad advice Eddie universities don't teach phonics either
  16. The interesting thing about vocabulary development in young children is that they acquire thousands of words, with their meanings, without any instruction whatsoever. It would be impossible to teach words and their meanings at the same rate that infants acquire them.
    This is from Wikipedia (which I don't always trust[​IMG] ) and the figures given are attributed to Sebastian Wren.
    This is not to say that child's vocabulary grows without any 'external'
    input. Its size is affected by the vocabulary it hears spoken around it (which
    is a bit of a 'doh' for teachers who have to work with virtually
    'languageless' children in nursery & YR, but research paper here: http://www.psych.umass.edu/uploads/people/79/Huttenlocher_et_al_1991.pdf ) Also interesting is research which suggests that children may not acquire vocabulary from 'passive' experiences such as TV programmes and CDs. http://evidencebasedmommy.blogspot.com/2011/09/could-***-box-make-your-baby-smarter.html
  17. I wish TES would get their website sorted to work properly. I edited my previous post and TES ate it when I tried to preview it; then said that this forum didn't exist![​IMG]

    Anyway, try again.
    The TES naughty word filter asterisked out part of the link to the blog which I posted. The word was i d i ot (no gaps, of course) If you want to follow the link you'll have to reinsert the offensive word.
  18. bad advice Eddie universities don't teach phonics either

    I would not profess to know what universities teach I do know tha the person who contacted me claims that she had been offered nothing but phonics in her university Masters course. Making up 'facts' as you go along to support your beliefs is not uncommon among 'phonics' zealots and perhaps goes a long way to explain why 100,000 children leave school every year unable to read or write
  19. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Don't underestimate yourself Eddie you seem to be the master when it comes to that particular skill.
    If your student has been offered nothing but phonics she has a huge advantage over those studying to be teachers who get a few hours of phonics instruction before being asked to teach it ...if they are lucky.
  20. The interesting thing about vocabulary development in young children is that they acquire thousands of words, with their meanings, without any instruction whatsoever.
    This is because the perceptual skills develop at their fastest rate in the first six year of life. The vocabulary which develops in the 'secondhand way' from TV etc boosts receptive but not expressive vocabulary - expressive vocabulary is only enhanced in an environment in which children are encouraged to talk freely!


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