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Is it better to teach children to spell using letter names or sounds?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Lottie24, Jul 13, 2011.

  1. What do you do and what is your opinion? Is there any evidence that one is more successful than the other? We currently use letter sounds but are moving to names in September as it was felt bye some a pointless task using letter names for words that are not phonologically accurate.
  2. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    Please tell me you are joking!
  3. Umm... why?

  4. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    Given there are only ( if I remember correctly) three words that are not phonetic, I struggle to see how you can spell without using the sounds that letters make. How can you sound out using letter names?
    Forgive me if I'm being dense and completely mising the point of your post, I just don't get it!
  5. Three words that are not phonetic?!! Really?!!! I am talking about when you segment a word, for example about, you get a b OU t <-- how do you spell ou? So they end up saying a b o u t about but when you blend those letters if you don't know o and u make ou you wouldn't get about. Likewise with spelling. Maybe I didn't explain properly. You use letter sounds to teach spelling then? I am talking about weekly spelling using the look, say, cover, write, check approach.
  6. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    ou is one of the ways you write the /ow/ sound, so if I was spelling out about I would say a-b-ou-t. I fthe child was unsure how to write the /ou/ sound I would say 'o' and 'u'( short vowel sounds) not oa and "yew" ( long vowel sounds ( it's hard to write sounds but if I said the letter name O to my children they would write oa as that is how you write the O sound!)
  7. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    We don't use look say cover as we don't teach whole word spellings, we teach phonetics.
  8. I'm not sure what year group you teach but the children should have been (or should be) taught that the "ow" sound can be spelt OU in many words such as; abOUt, sOUnd, fOUnd, sprOUt etc. It is one of the graphemes taught in phase 5 (I think) of Letters and Sounds. I would use letter sounds to teach the spelling explaining that the ow sound in this word is a digraph (made up of two letters). At my school we don't do a weekly spelling test - we teach spelling through our phonics teaching and then follow the Support for Spelling document.
  9. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    I meant phonics, not phonetics ( didn't get to the edit button in time[​IMG])
  10. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    WOW! Stunning question!

    If you only teach the 26 letter sounds then probably teaching letter names makes no difference. But once you teach the blends then sounds really take off and make a massive difference.

    Are you seriously suggesting that you propose to teach children that 'Tee aitch aye tee' spells that, rather than 'th a t' using sounds?

    How will children work out words they do not know, but want to use if they do not know their sounds, including digraphs, trigraphs, tetragraphs and the like?
  11. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    When segmenting I would say /a/ /b/ /ou/ /t/ - never ay be oa ue tee
    When telling someone how to spell a word I would say /a/ /b/ "o" "u" /t/ (letters names for the diagraph because I don't want children saying /o/ /u/ rather than /ou/ when using diagraphs but only once children are secure in their phoneme recognition)
    I don't use this approach

  12. Wow... you're really friendly here huh!!!! Thank you for the advice Msz... I personally agree with you and it was, by no means, my suggestion. It is something the head has decided and I was looking for evidence to back up my gut feeling that it was not the best decision.
    As for the rest of you, how do you spell condescending? Guess I'll look it up somewhere friendlier. I believe in the old saying, if you have nothing to say, say nothing at all. I'm not a very confident person which is why I hardly every post on here, wish I'd never posted tonight either.
  13. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I've just looked back and my post and you are right it does sound a bit horrible and condescending. I'm sorry, I didn't mean it that way. And I actually looked back so I could stroppily say to you that my post definitely wasn't! Sorry.

    I do honestly think that teaching just the 26 letter sounds will be of little more use than teaching the 26 letter names. It is when you being to teach the blended sounds that phonics really makes a difference.

    And look, cover, write, check is a rubbish way to teach spelling, but in some schools you might just have to do as you are told. You could send it home, parents like it, and then teach better ways in school.
    Ahhh now had you said this I might have answered differently. You original post did sort of suggest you were genuinely asking as you didn't have any idea.
  14. Lottie24 , I think you asked a very fair question. I worked in a school where the children in KS2 when asked how a word was spelt would be given the information by telling them the spellings by using the letter names. However, this was when appropriate to simply 'tell' a child a spelling, but mainly chn were encouraged to spell the word using their phonics knowledge.
    Hope this is what you were meaning!
    Please don't be deterred from posting again. [​IMG]
  15. Minnieminx - thank you. We do have to do LSCWCh unfortunately, I do link it to our current phonics in school though where possible. Sorry I didn't make my opinion clear in my opening post but I wanted genuine opinions without trying to sway with mine. Thank you for your reply, I have noted your points for my meeting with the head!
    Thank you Kettlebabes, this is also helpful information. We are just an infant school which is why the head has decided to use letter names. She thinks this will bring us in line with the juniors, I think they probably work like you though and ask chn to use phonics where possible.
    We shall see!
  16. It sounds to me like your HT is just a little bonkers. I think that there are some good arguments posted here that you may be able to use as a discussion point with your HT but perhaps could have been written a little more sensitively? Do you think your HT will take arguments on board or will they just plough ahead regardless?
  17. I quite agree! Well I have done a lot of research this evening and have various points for her to address tomorrow. She is new... she wants to change the world when it doesn't all need changing... she appears to be making a point. I don't want to appear negative as I know she will react with a 'it's happening, live with it'. I think i will just approach it very carefully pointing out everything I have found out this evening. Thank you.
  18. Sorry, I didn't mean to sound condescending... just wanted to illustrate how the word about could be spelt phonetically. Replying at the same time as watching telly probably doesn't make for a sensitive response but it was meant to be helpful - honest!
  19. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    and I add my apologies too! It is just such a wrong way to do things I was rather thrown that anyone would even suggest it! Perhaps you could just tell your head that s/he is a complete ***[​IMG]
  20. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    It was only t w o n k!

    Perhaps I should have spelt it out phonetically!

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