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Letters and Sounds, Phase 4 - adjacent consonants

Discussion in 'Primary' started by pugsi, Mar 3, 2008.

  1. Does anyone know exactly what they are referring to when the say to teach words with adjacent consonants. It's probably something really simple but I'm confused.

  2. Does anyone know exactly what they are referring to when the say to teach words with adjacent consonants. It's probably something really simple but I'm confused.

  3. billyelliot

    billyelliot New commenter

    Hahaha. Glad I'm not the only one! I immediately (and stupidly) went off thinking it meant alphabetically adjacent letters (muppet!) It means sl bl pl sk etc Nothing very exciting at all. What us old folk would call consonant blends.
  4. In linguistics a consonant cluster or consonant blend is a group of consonants which have no intervening vowel eg /spl/ and /ts/.
    Adjacent consonant is a more general term ,often referring to consonants that are adjacent (next to in writing) to other consonants. As with consonant clusters, adjacent consonants are typically blended to form phonetic consonant combinations. However, an adjacent consonant can also refer to any consonant that is next to a given letter, such as a vowel.
    As a teacher and a Speech and Language Therapist I favour the term ' consonant blend' for sp, sl br etc as, personally, I think it describes a little more accurately what we are doing orally in continuous speech. I also think as a descriptor it makes more sense to little children too. However, I am no longer allowed to call it this because....well 'Letters and Sounds' must be right... mustn't it?! ............
  5. They mean two consonants together, such as ST. There should be no need to teach this separately if you teach blending left to right all through the word from day one. E.g. if you have taught the Phase 2 letter(s)-sounds correspondences and the core skill of blending then why should the word SPIT be any more difficult to decode than the word SIT?
  6. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    That's how I've always thought about it. Is there any reason why some people teach the consonant blends as though they are something special that need learning separately?
    Does phase 4 require this?
    In practice do children who have been taught the single letter phonemes struggle to blend CCVC and CVCC words but find CVC words easier?
  7. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    The trouble with Letters and Sounds is that teachers seem to think (or have been told) that they have to follow it slavishly. The phases overcomplicate things unnecessarily.
    I teach in Reception using synthetic phonics, cherry pick a few activities from Letters and Sounds, but don't use it as a scheme of work. We use Jolly Phonics so teach letters in the JP order.
    Every day, we make words using large magnetic letters on the whiteboard. As soon as we've finished the first set of letters (s,a,t,p,i,n) it is possible to make words with adjacent consonants (eg spin, spit). I mostly make cvc words as most children are still struggling to blend (it is very early days), but also throw in a couple of words with 4 or 5 phonemes.
    It's a nonsense to wait until you've taught all the correspondances before you teach adjacent consonants - which is what Letters and Sounds seems to suggest.
  8. I teach Phase 4 alongside Phase 5 by making sure I include consonant blend words that involve my taught long vowel phoneme.
    If I were doing 'igh', i'd use "bright", "flight" etc.
    Bizarrely it is something a lot of children struggle with - they tend to hear the dominant sound and it is often a 'r' that comes with the first consonant and is a quiter sound, so it is worth making it as obvious as possible in your teaching.
  9. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    I hadn't realised until I read about different methods of learning to read on dyslexics.org.uk that there are aspects of Letters and Sounds that are not synthetic phonics in its purest form e.g. phase 1, and this business of blends.
    It's curious because I tried to teach my second child as much phonics at home as I could before she started reception and I skipped phase 1 and the blends notion because I couldn't really see the point. We probably did a little bit of games in the car just talking like chopping cat up into /c/ /a/ /t/ but the game gets dull after a few turns and as she could do that anyway I didn't see the point in pursuing it. According to dyslexics.org.uk a very high proportion of children can do that kind of thing at age 3, and blend sounds back into words e.g. you say /c/ /a/ /t/ then you ask the child to say it fast and they put it back together as a word.
    I just cut to the GPCs at home as fast as possible and it wasn't a problem so it was interesting to read on that website that probably a very high proprtion can do that at 3 or so. Where is the evidence that this is bad for a child as some people seem to think?
    I did all this early because my school doesn't really do synthetic phonics seriously so the children learn to read by mixed methods, in reality probably more by the whole word method, and then they learn the phonics (certainly the more complex code) as an add on later on once they are already reading quite well.
    Whole thing is fascinating.

  10. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I taught phase 4 alongside phase 2 and 3 in reception ... you can blend nest in week 2 and stop and hand in week 3 ... taught early children don't find it any more difficult to read c-a- r- d than to read c-a-t.
  11. I wouldn't disagree with that for most children, but many children do find it much harder to segment ccvc or cvcc words than cvc - it is very common for children to write 'wet' for 'went' or 'jup' for 'jump' even when they can read them. But I agree that many children have already 'got' phase 4 by the end of phase 3 (and many children seem to find the trigraphs igh, ear, air much harder than digraphs - I think partly because they aren't as common in text).
    Also, children with weaker language skills and/or weaker working memories, do find it harder to put together more than just three sounds. (I've worked with several children recently who really struggled to blend even two sounds - they are the exceptions, but it does show that, even if most children find it easy, some children do need more explicit teaching.)


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