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Need some help with CLL reference points.

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by geniegirl, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. Hi, I was new to Reception this year and am after some help in relation to some CLL scale points.
    CLL W - 'Holds a pencil effectively to form recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed'
    At the minute phonics and a teacher directed literacy activity (sometimes including writing, sometimes not) is all the Literacy we do. I find it hard to teach letter formation within phonics (I do try to fit this in though, whereas I know the other Reception teachers do not), so how can my children achieve this? How does everyone else manage to do this? Do you specifically teach letter formation?
    And...
    CLL LSL - Links sounds to letters, naming and sounding letters of the alphabet.
    We have our phonics split into 5 groups ( we are a big Foundation stage unit) and follow Letters and Sounds. The children that are onto phase 3 will be learning the names of the alphabet and so hopefully will be able to achieve this point by the end of the year. However there will be at least 1 group who won't be taught the names by the end of the year, and therefore (unless parents help) won't be able to achieve this, which I don't think is fair. How does everyone else do this?
    Sorry for all questions! Hope you can help/advise!
     
  2. Hi, I was new to Reception this year and am after some help in relation to some CLL scale points.
    CLL W - 'Holds a pencil effectively to form recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed'
    At the minute phonics and a teacher directed literacy activity (sometimes including writing, sometimes not) is all the Literacy we do. I find it hard to teach letter formation within phonics (I do try to fit this in though, whereas I know the other Reception teachers do not), so how can my children achieve this? How does everyone else manage to do this? Do you specifically teach letter formation?
    And...
    CLL LSL - Links sounds to letters, naming and sounding letters of the alphabet.
    We have our phonics split into 5 groups ( we are a big Foundation stage unit) and follow Letters and Sounds. The children that are onto phase 3 will be learning the names of the alphabet and so hopefully will be able to achieve this point by the end of the year. However there will be at least 1 group who won't be taught the names by the end of the year, and therefore (unless parents help) won't be able to achieve this, which I don't think is fair. How does everyone else do this?
    Sorry for all questions! Hope you can help/advise!
     
  3. halftermheaven

    halftermheaven New commenter

    Hi, if you don't teach the letter names to your bottom group, cause they are concentrating on the sounds then they won't achieve that scale point. I teach letter names to all other groups though which they don't find too hard.




    Also the handwriting one, I don't know many reception teachers who DON'T teach handwriting so I don't know which LEA you got this from?? I think maybe you should be spending more time doing this especially letters in their name! The middles and tops and maybe some low ability ( as with the above scale point too) should be at least given a proper opportunity to show they can do this - so you need to teach them.
     
  4. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Senior commenter

    When children have learnt all the letter sound correspondences - which many do - they often know the letter names too. I used to teach the name and sound just at first - This is called C but the sound is /c/ as the first teaching - some retained this, some did not. But the children who get this and the sounds with first teaching often know the letter names too. How you gather this information for end of year EYEFSP is the issue?
    I used to ask them using the old ORT apple tree picture with all the letters on. Do you know the name of this, and this.....most children knew the letter names when they realised what was required. You need chidlren to have more than half ie 14 to get the scale point. Only at the end of year we did this, and the children enjoyed it! If you link it to any alphabet song it makes it even easier. I am not sure if that is what the people who wrote the EYEFSP wanted - there was research about children who could name and sound letters being better achievers up school, so that is why it is in the assessment. Using tricks to get the information and to clue children up might fog the information.
    handwriting again is more than half. But this is best gleaned from watching children writing.
    Use of small whiteboards and marker pens during carpet sessions is useful too.
    But I feel that such specific scale points are hard to gather in our observation play based regimes, really hard to get that information without direct adult led teaching followed by much observation and note making.
    I do sometimes think we put too much pressure on children in reception to do all these things all at once. Some of the chidlren might not yet be four years old. Hmmmm.
     
  5. Thank you for your responses!
    If you have read any of my previous threads from the beginning of the school year, you will remember that our FS unit is run *slightly* differently to my views - i.e lots of free play, a 20 minute phonic session 3 times a week, a 10 minute maths session twice a week and the odd adult directed activity which we have to do with 90 children + - and therefore little time to spend with each child. So...currently, we don't teach handwriting, but it is something I am very keen to introduce, especially having come from year 1 and realising how much help they need with this!

    Thank you to both of you!
     
  6. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Senior commenter

    When you do your phonic activities in group time could you warm up with some air writing. This goes down well because you can write the letters in any colour you want....... also could you have a focus activity that includes some aspects of handwriting like making cars drive in the sand to form Ssss or such like? Do lots and lots of circles both clockwise and anti clockwise with water and brushes outside.
    If you can get them to internalize that a c starts at the top and that all the letters start at the top... then you are half way there. The hardest letters start like a c and then differ eg c a g d - as long as they know this and straight line down mantra but hey you know this, you taught year one!
     
  7. We teach handwriting as one of our phonics sessions. Whiteboard work at the start of the session. Then the children who are in the top phonics groups (usually the ones with the better pencil control) have a go at writing them in books. The children with not so good pencil control, paint the letters, write them in sand etc.
    We feel we really need to teach it so that children are not bogged down with the mechanics of how to write the letters, they can really concentrate on what sounds they are hearing when they are writing. I think it is really important for children to know there is a proper way to write the letters and to get them into good habits.
     
  8. The hardest thing I find is getting them to know that a and A make the same sound and have the same name. A lot of them tend to associate the name with the capital letter.
     
  9. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Sometimes it's because they have been taught that [​IMG]
     
  10. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Senior commenter

    On the other hand. Children who know the letter names - often taught by parents, seem to be able to aquire the sounds quickly and easily. I guess because they already have somewhere to hang it on.
     
  11. I think a number of children are taught the alphabet in such a way that they think of capital letters as their names and the lower case letters as their sounds.
    That is one reason why I have been thinking that it could be a very good idea to use Phase One as a good opportunity to link sounds and alphabet letters- both upper and lower case letters as code for the same sounds.
    So, have an alphabet poster, learn the names through singing an alphabet song or chanting - and also use the letters as a simple alphabetic code to say the sounds that the letters are code for in the first instance. That is letters A and a as code for /a/ as in apple - not /ai/ as in table or /ar/ as in father - that can come later.
    I think it's a bit silly to have a guide of knows 14 letter names or sounds or whatever to gain some point or other.
    Re the handwriting - I think that writing letter shapes should be part and parcel of the phonics teaching - say the sound of the grapheme whilst writing the grapheme (letter or letter group).

    I don't agree with joined writing in Reception and think that the children should be taught print at first.
    Also 'comfortable' pencil grip is far too free and easy - try 'tripod' hold instead.
    When watching any phonics teaching on youtube, it's invariably with mini whiteboards usually with children scrunched on the floor. Where is the common sense? What happened to fit for purpose writing with pencils sitting with good posture at tables the right size?

     
  12. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    And where is the record of progress?
    Children love to see the improement in their handwriting over the course of an exercise book. It saddens me that even Yr 1 children demand rubbers to erase 'mistakes' which are actually a step in their progress.
    How ridiculous that we send TAs to the copier to photocopy correctly formed letters on a whiteboard for the sake of 'evidence' when this can be gained so much more easily and satisfyingly with a pencil and paper in a handwriting book that becomes a source of pride for a child!
     
  13. I totally agree.
    It's not that teachers aren't witnessing 'success' with the use of whiteboards and other practice which seems to have become 'the' early years phonics practice - but there's a lot of phonics practice which really is not that fit for purpose when you think about it.
    I have issues with lots of things to do with phonics teaching - such as 'robot arms', teachers who write in the air for themselves but this gives children the direction 'backwards', writing on mini whiteboards, coloured magnetic letters, likelihood of teachers not making it clear that upper case letters are the same code as their lower case equivalents, lack of clarity of appropriate routines for blending and appropriate routines for segmenting (for example, the teacher does a blending routine whilst writing the actual word), the teacher inadvertently mixes the modelling of blending, segmenting and handwriting.
    Manipulation of letters and sounds in words - this is far removed from what we actually do when we read (see a whole printed word and scan from left to right to recognise the graphemes, utter sounds for recognised graphemes from left to right and then attempt to 'discern' the target word - some teachers tell children the word first, then sound out it out and end up with the same word that the children know already.
    In other words, I still see a lot of confusion between the sub-skills and skills for reading, spelling and writing.
    Teaching children in Reception to write with leaders and joins before they have been properly taught how to print - in fact, when do they get taught how to 'print'?
    Schools doing ten minutes letters and sounds practice but sending home repetitive and predictable text reading books which are hard for the children to apply their code knowledge and blend.
    Teachers not fully understanding the bits and bobs of the alphabetic code itself - such as that although there are around 44 'sounds', you have to teach sounds which are beyond just phonemes like /ks/ and /gz/ for the letter 'x' and /yoo/ for the letter ue and other graphemes. In other words, there are around 50 units of sound in practical terms to teach (/kw/ for qu, then later 'qu' is code for /k/ as in 'quiche').
    Teaching the letter 'x' for blending is very easy, but teaching the sound /ks/ for spelling is more tricky because it could be 'cks', 'ks', 'cs' or 'kes' as in ducks, looks, picnics, bikes.
    This means a bit of teaching singular and plural and verb endings.
    Then, whole school continuity - accounting for both continuity and good coverage of the alphabetic code for both reading and spelling.
    Although the teaching principles for synthetic phonics are not that hard, there is a lot of detail that, ideally, teachers should know and they should be trained in these things or provided with this information fully. We're certainly not quite there yet.

     
  14. Guys, thank you so much for all your help and advice.
    Debbie - your last post has really made me think and reflect on my phonics teaching. Most sessions the children are sat with whiteboards on their laps - which, like you suggest, must be very uncomfortable and not natural. We shall try table work next week!
    Unfortunately it is our policy that the children won't write in books until Y1, which I think is a real shame - when I taught in Y1 they absolutly loved the handwriting books and loved looking back to their improvements - something that is hard to show them when just using whiteboards.
    I have never used robot arms before, but was told I must now that we teach in Reception. Could you explain your view on them for me?
    I hope that I don't tell them the word before blending it to show modelling, but I will double check next time I teach!!
    We don't have any decodable reading books for the children to practise their phonic skills. Only 'normal' reading books which you would expect parents to read at bed time/i read at the end of the day. However, with that disadvantage aside, I do think it is good for them to see 'real' books that aren't as predictable, and we try and make up 'spot the word' games - although I feel that my LA and middles would benefit from easy, decodable books to get their confidence up.
     
  15. Thank you Leapyearbaby and debbie - great advice.
    I look forward to getting some paper out, shutting my door, and letting my phonics group have a go at some writing on paper - something I am sure they will love too!
    Luckily, robot arms is not something I am fond of either and instead I shall count the sounds using fingers like you suggested.
    Having discussions like this, where I am not judged or made to feel incompetent, but helped to improve and reflect is what I love about the EY forum! Thank you!
     
  16. Any comments I make are always intended to be helpful and not critical.
    I think we are still in relatively early days regarding best phonics practice.
    Lots of teachers are automatically following what they have seen on video clips and the methods of existing phonics programmes - but we must, in my view, continue to hone our practices and increase our personal knowledge of the alphabetic code and how best to teach it well.
    I am in an uncomfortable position because I find myself out on a limb sometimes whereby I disagree even with my SP proponent colleagues.
    For example, I am really not in favour of teaching with non-words. I think this is unnecessary. There are plenty of obscure words for young beginners and for children with English as an additional language without resorting to non-words.
    There is research which shows the danger of even competent adult spellers seeing mis-spellings or illegal spellings.
    I would imagine that many teachers, if not most, don't even think through the dangers of illegal spellings.
    That is - spellings which we would never normarily see such as 'paynt' or 'cloack'.
    It is really hard to teach spelling to youngsters - and this is not helped by work which includes illegal spellings or mis-spellings.

    I do not even see this in conversations between professionals - and is anyone trained, or trained well, to teach spelling?
     
  17. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Senior commenter

    I think we actually look to see if we can find those plausible spellings don't we. They are evidence of the scale point ! If you cannot see them you might be guilty of directed teaching!
    And as for pencil grip? What is the state of the game on teaching that I wonder?
     
  18. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Senior commenter

    and
    the most unhelpful adults are those who point with a pen or pencil at the start of each word - this is very pressureful for children when learning to apply phonic decoding skills, and if the child cannot see the start of each word then that is another problem that will go undetected.
    and
    we are not encouraged to accept taught phrases as evidence of scale points eg "I like to x y z" is not accepted as evidence of being able to write ...... you know the kind of thing we frame early writing with....
     
  19. Perish the thought!

    Our EY team refuse to correct poor pencil grip / incorrect letter formation as they also don't agree that children of this age should be taught. Of course this all makes the job in Y1 10 times more difficult as bad habits have become embedded.
     
  20. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    What?
     

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