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OFSTED Children reading

Discussion in 'Primary' started by greenpaddy, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. I think it's the unknown words we are talking about.
  2. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    are you guessing?
  3. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    On the laziness theme, it's an interesting question 'Thumbie, I don't really know whether it's the choice of the child to be lazy, or a taught strategy. Certainly I have seen some children being taught to guess at the same school but I don't know whether the specific children I am thinking of have been taught to guess. That is a fair question.
    I do know however that when children are reading out loud and they come across a word they can't read / or can't be bothered to read, it depends who is hearing them whether they are just told the word are given some other clues. My own children say they are told the word ...... well I guess (I'm guessing a lot here) that's better from my point of view than guessing, but I would rather they were encouraged to work it out in some way for themselves unless it is a word that is truly impossible for them at that point in time.
  4. As teachers, we have to see the difference between children being able to get through a book (after book after book) - which is probably how many of the teaching profession actually learned to read- deducing the alphabetic code for themselves not even realising they were doing so - and teaching children to be able to decode any word for the long term.
    So many infant reading books are designed for the pictures and story lines to be predictable to support the idea of multi-cueing strategies.
    But at least a proportion of children were then let down by this approach as pictures disappeared, and text becomes increasingly beyond their oral vocabularies.
    So many new words are introduced through literature rather than through normal speaking opportunities. Ironically, it is the meaning of these many new words which is deduced through an overall understanding of the context.
    Children who are particularly articulate are often able to read with greater fluency - but they are just as likely to make silly mistakes but still gain the gist of the text because of their level of oral comprehension.
    I have seen many children with this kind of profile who is 'lazy' at applying phonics knowledge and blending because they often get by through their level of articulation. They would rather take an educated guess because they can maintain their reading 'flow' than stop to read through the word to gain an accurate reading of the word.
    The thing is, our professional training should have ensured that, as teachers, we now understand that accuracy is important, that phonics knowledge and skills are important for long-term reading and spelling - and that multi-cueing is a misguided approach where it concerns reading the words on the page.
    Unfortunatetly, we don't have the level of professional development required for all teachers and student-teachers to be fully aware of the wealth of research on reading and they do not necessarily have enough experience of the effectiveness of really systematic phonics teaching.
    Whilesoever teachers are entrenched in their personal views, they will probably never actually try out what is being recommended by the government - and so it is an impossible scenario.
    Fortunately, there are an increasing number of teachers who have now tried systematic phonics teaching and they describe the differences they have found in outcomes for their pupils compared to the multi-cueing guessing strategies.
    Synthetic phonics teaching is not rocket science but it does benefit from the understanding that we have a complex alphabetic code that necessitates flexibility on the part of the teacher and the learner.
    I think the exciting part is that we are on a continuum and we are seeing just how well we can teach, and children can learn (for reading, and, I hope, spelling), as we build on our practice and good programmes.
  5. To add just a personal reflection here. Not being experienced enough in the intricacies of reading failure, and in any case making an observation which is swimming against the tide, (at least in our country at this time), I doubt if I can draw any conclusions but perhaps others can do so for me.
    Here is my observation. My daughter who is six years and one month, the youngest in her age group, began 'formal' reading instruction, last september via 'jolly phonics' - (all the class are on workbook level 7) and the oxford reading tree.
    Sitting and listening to her read (endlessly!) "me and marta we are the best two readers in the class; we are on level 5". Leaving aside the correct use of pronouns ! She uses many strategies when she is reading- she phonically decodes some words, she reads others straight off seeming without a second thought, others she reads erroneously, then gets to the end of the sentence and doubles back to correct herself -re-reading the whole thing. Then again at other times she looks at the picture to see what context of the words will be.
    She found the first few stages of ORT interesting and she filled in much contextual detail of the story from previous stories in the same series. I confess also to having been amused by the witty drawings in ORT and the references to daily English life (well at least of my generation- houses, gardens, neigbours, dogs, mud, football, parties, shooping, friends etc).
    However, having said that I am not sure, but listening to her read yesterday I got a feeling....
    I don't know if she was bored or what but she wanted to get to the end of the story and for me to sign her record, even though she hadn't finshed it. It's as if she now sees this as a hill to which you never reach the top- does anyone else have this experience? How many levels are there?
    Here is my reflection: okay, she is a girl, only child, teacher parent, talked with, sang with, read with, rhymed and reasoned with, in other words the typical advantages conferred on children of by way of gender and family backgound. I am taking therefore her reading to be pretty much normal development - or perhaps slightly ahead as there are only "me and marta" on "level 5".
    My reflection is - how much of this relates to her having begun reading later? And to previously having generalised, undifferentiated, language teaching both in her nursery class and at home until her sixth year. I just wonder if by pressing for differentiated group phonic teaching for children as young as four is it possible that we may be in danger of entrenching self-fulfilling limitations? Do we limit the opportunity to grasp the whole of the reading process - by contextually meaningful, continuous, personal exposure and if so do we create more difficulties in the long run?
    Continuing this reflection, isn't part of the 'process' to initially try the first letter, and after a meaning-fault to return and check again. Then employ another strategy in the process.I may have got you guys on here wrong but are some of you saying that this is not a useful early learning strategy? Going back to my daughter she reads signs, packets, labels etc.. she is continually checking meaning against her knowledge of letters. She will only sound out a word completely when it doesn't make sense. Are we in danger of wanting the kids to use phonics too early to get the right answer rather than support what seem to be common learning strategies by children?
    I am almost tempted to extend this reflection to the philosophical. If she is beginning to rush to read now just to get through the levels of texts, is this devaluing 'reading' in the longer term for the shorter term gain of progressing through levels. As her mum I have always said that if reading adds nothing of value to her life then why is she going to do it? The sooner they learn that learning is about things others tell you is there a danger of introducing cynicsm into her learning quite young?
    Is this possibly a dangerous and more extensive trait accounting for the low achievment in English children which is continually being used to lambast us out of our 'satisfactory' lethargy so that we can all become super-duper-level-seven-past-the-threshold-off-up-and-away-beam-me-up-scottie-all-is-forgiven-teachers-on-another-planet-called-heaven?
    There is another thread on here by Msz about the OECD findings regarding setting by ability which springs to my mind now. It may not be completely related but I think the link is the separation of children into groups by their ability to give a certain desired outcome to a certain agreed stimulus. - eg reading a word - at four years of age. If in the general learning atmpsphere of the class we were able to spend more time on the slow build up, of the sharing of children's knowledge and their demonstration of what they can do - as SIGNPOSTS for other children, would we get worse results?
    All I am saying is maybe they plump for the first letter strategy because at times maybe it seems the best thing they can do to get the quickest meaning out of (and release from) a moment/activity that someone esle is imposing upon them?
    I don't know. Some of you guys work with much more entrenched reading failure than I have, and my own experience both as teacher and mum lead me to more questions than answers. Thanks to everyone for the stimulating exchanges and if anyone cares to make a comment to either my observation or reflections I will be very glad.

  6. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    If she was presented with ORT in reception she would have to guess or be told words as they aren't fully decodable for children who are just learning to read (and i dislike those JP workbooks too).

  7. Thanks for the reply Msz. What are you saying there? I am not quite clear. Given that she started later,- and she seems both within that scheme of things and my own observations of her reading everything and anything of other books and printed matter to be progressing- starting earlier but not on JP would have helped her be somewhere she isn't now? Or if have I missed your point forgive me.
  8. BINGGGG - that's the sound of a penny dropping - of course what you are saying to me inversely is that is why there are only "me and marta" at this level- the rest are not getting through the books because the other factors -gender and background-are not enough to compensate for the fact that the first seven stages of JP are not congruent with speeding through the ORT ... there's a mis-match between the phonics teaching and the general measure of acheivement being used in this class which is progress through ORT. Am I right? Does that penny resound like a penny to you?
  9. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    She is presumably being taught to read using Jolly Phonics but the school is a using whole word/look and say reading scheme which introduces words like aeroplane before the child has been introduced to the sound /letters correspondence needed to read aeroplane so the child either has to guess using pictures or be told what that word beginning with a says.
    Of course a few children will succeed no matter how they are taught and no matter what resources they are presented with but for others ....
  10. gotcha ..... but how important is that? Does it matter if the overall trend is upwards? maybe the question though is ..... Is it? Is it for the others - the non-level fives... Does it matter for my daugter in ways that will yet be revealed?
    I don't know about Debbie's post. There's a yes and a no.... yes it sounds good and then there seems a caveat- but yes so many of us got to read wthout having such detailed phonics instruction. COuld it, just could it be because we are now placing an ever greater reading demand on children to access an ever more loaded currcilum.
    Did we have more time when we were younger? My mum was a talker, I'll give her that, a talker but not a teacher, and she had four young children and the whole house to keep, (my dad worked all the hours he could to feed the four.) Yet we all went to the same school and we all learned to read to a high enough level to get to university. Was it a super duper school? Did it employ all the stuff with which OFSTED now lines its gilded hoops through which we must jump? I don't know. I can't remember. But I doubt it. What is the elusive secret of success? what is its measure? When does itreach a final point at which we can say 'Yep I am this reading tall... or this phonics heavy... ) or ...well you get the idea...
  11. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    My son was a prolific reader long before nursery and with no formal instruction of any kind (but he wasn't writing in Y5) however most children won't learn to read without being taught and for most children phonics will provide the tools for reading and writing so why leave it to chance that your child will be one of the fortunate children who will read regardless.
  12. I haven't read the whole thread, but I have experienced ofsted. They asked for the two lowest readers to read their books and they also checked their reading records and additional resources sent home. As it was near the end it would have been rather obvious had they not been the lowest. The focus was on the support they had and that they were using phonics as a method, rather than their attainment.
  13. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Yohana, I'm puzzled. You say you don't have any experience of reading failure, so have all the schools you have taught at produced 100% of the children being competent at KS2? If so, what was their trick?
    I don't know the answer to your questions about your own daughter. You have clearly brought her up with a love of stories, and to want to read, a rich literacy background etc etc. I think that the process of learning to read does include a bit of a slog at times for children, particularly if they want to be able to read better material than they can read for themselves. After all, your daughter must have understood from an early age much more sophisticated stories than she can currently read for herself, and I'm not so sure how satisfying the guessing and going backwards and forwards with the text that you are describing is. She is having to make use of her intelligence and understanding to work out by context some of the words she is reading, rather than by using her newly found decoding skills that she has hopefully learned through the school Jolly Phonics programme.
    Also I think some children enjoy reading once they can read well, others also enjoy the learning to read process. Certainly if it involves success and competence more will enjoy it. Maybe although your daughter is one of the best in the class (but it's not a high level for a year 1 child) and experiencing feelings of competence that way, maybe she knows what reading is really like and that she hasn't got there yet so she doesn't feel that competent deep down. Who knows.
    All I know is that with my own children I did not like the mixed methods approach that my first daughter went through; it was a painful way to learn to read for her. It might work in a very enjoyable fashion for some but it did not for her. This was why with child 2 I took a different approach and worked on the phonics at home in a logical fashion from an early stage. It did not take long. The result - a relatively early reader, and a child who loves reading to herself, lots and lots voluntarily, every day. Not yet 6, but reading chapter books out loud to me, and slightly simpler stuff to herself.
    Only a sample of two children so no proof of anything I know, but it was good enough for me.
    I think that you obviously provide the rich background which will be essential to producing an avid reader in the long-term, but I wonder if dare say that you might as a teacher be able to improve her decoding skills faster than school can and help her make a very satisfying leap forward on to better material than the ORT stuff that is currently palling with her.

  14. thanks mystery...
    i don't have the experience as I work with younger children...
    my daughter can and does read chapter books / story books, the strategies I describe semm quite normal for me .. she knows what reading is... my question however alwyas goes back to the interaction, at what point does a child find a story read to themselves satisfying when they are still at the stage where language, intonation, meaning and companionship that reading with a pernt provides >

  15. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    I hope I didn't say the wrong thing. If she is getting bored by the stage 5 ort stuff coming home from school, why bother with it?
    I think children vary enormously in when they wish to read on their own. Certainly my older child would have felt that it was a poor substitute to reading to me, and never did, although she was perfectly capable of doing so. That situation only changed when I had also to listen to number 2 read. So I'd listen to number 1 read, and then sometimes she just wanted to carry on with the book while I listened to number 2. But you can't force it. I remember people on here telling me that their own children, now avid teenage readers, did not read to themselves until 10 or 11.
    The only problem with this is that if you are busy you start to feel that your child's "reading life" so depends on the time that you as a parent can put into it that it gets worrying. If you can somehow encourage your child to read to you while you are getting on with other things it's not so bad, but DD1 has always wanted to sit right up next to me while reading so that again would be viewed as a poor substitute by her.
    I do think though they have to be at a point where they can read a book that they will find riveting, unaided, at a good speed, and with barely any errors at all, before the desire to read to oneself by oneself really kicks in. Some children do find simple books riveting enough to start the independent reading quite early on in the learn to read process, but others don't in my limited experience.
  16. I suggest that there are very large numbers of children, and young people, who 'skip' or 'blurgh' a worryingly high percentage of words as the books they read becomes increasingly challenging.
    Those pupils who are more articulate may even guess and skip words - but are more likely to skip less because they can guess more - but not as the vocabulary in the literature becomes ever more sophisticated.
    When I read silently to myself, I would tend to 'skip' a very rare and challenging word (perhaps a strangely spelt name or technical word or Latin plant name) and it makes little difference to my understanding of the text or satisfaction with reading the story.
    But I am already a generally proficient reader. The point is, also, that I could attempt to decode the word with phonics application if I chose to.
    Now, what is the picture for our pupils? How many of them skip a worrying amount of words when they read? They can still appear to get the gist of the text.
    Also, we tend to applaud and encourage the independent reading stage - and encourage children to read their own material, failing to find the time to hear them read aloud - or feeling this is no longer necessary when they reach an apparent reading level.
    Younger children who are getting by on a 'range of reading strategies' which rely on many cues and which rely on their own oral vocabularies may hit a ceiling in one or two or three - or maybe more - years - and no-one may ever realise.
    I suggest that ALL our pupils need to be taught the alphabetic code well and default to decoding unknown words through a phonics route - and they need to be made aware of the default of skipping words and how this can skew the meaning of the text.
    They also need to be encouraged to find out the meaning of new words. These can often be deduced to an extent - but they need to be curious and not satisfied simply to get through the text.
  17. Surely 'blurghing' is part of the learning process in reading, in the same way as having a phonics 'stab' at a word might be. For the reader the answer to failing to find meaning is to look back and self-correct, and phonics may very well be employed more rigorously when a person realises that their stab at a word does not elicit sense. But, in order to do that children have to be looking for meaning, not simply decoding words, and not perceiving the job of reading to be to decode words. If children are sticking with their wrong try what is to blame? I would suggest that regarding reading as a task which is defined by 'getting through' a text is more to blame than anything about deducing from meaning or from phonic structure. And this is a function of hierarchical reading schemes, where achievement is measured by getting through levels. It is symptomatic of a lack of the purposeful reading which results from exposure to quality texts and from needing to read to find things out. It really has nothing to do with using a variety of strategies. In order to read accurately children need to want to be accurate, and they will only want to be accurate if they have a firm purpose for getting at the exact meaning. Unfortunately, confining their reading strategies to the use of SP concentrates children's minds on the word level of what they are reading, and encourages them to think of the task as a decoding task rather than a search for meaning. Of course they have to use phonics. There is nothing new about using phonics to read, it is necessary (in the philosophical sense) and therefore unavoidable. But it is not the whole story, and it is not sufficient.

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