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Discussion in 'Early Years' started by Zebrahead, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. Actually, the bit I quoted is preceded by this:

    "Having considered a wide range of evidence, the review has concluded that the case for systematic phonic work is overwhelming and much strengthened by a synthetic approach, the key features of which are to teach beginner readers: "

    So I think we can be completely confident that the key features written after the colon are the features of systematic synthetic phonics.
  2. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    No but we can be completely confident that they are the key features of synthetic phonics ... (which doesn't exclude other features you keep insisting aren't phonics)
  3. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    and 69 matches to phonics (and I make only 9 references to synthetic in the actual text )
  4. I was wondering when the word 'key' as in 'key features' became a synonym for 'only'.
  5. Let's look at some definitions of Phonics:




    A method of teaching people to read by correlating sounds with letters or groups of letters in an alphabetic writing system.

    Free online Dictionary:

    phon·ics (fnks)

    n. (used with a sing. verb)

    1. A method of teaching elementary reading and spelling based on the phonetic interpretation of ordinary spelling.

    2. Phonetics.

    Mirriam Webster

    Definition of PHONICS


    : the science of sound : acoustics


    : a method of teaching beginners to read and pronounce words by learning the phonetic value of letters, letter groups, and especially syllables

    Those are just the first 3 definitions in a Google search which I was able to copy. All to do with sound. No mention that this method teaches children to check their sounding out against context, let alone use context to support the sounding out.

    I had a look at my home dictionary (Penguin). It's pretty old.


    A method of teaching reading and pronunciation through the phonetic value of letters, syllables etc.

    Now, what about Synthetic Phonics:


    Synthetic phonics, also known as inductive phonics,[1] is a method of teaching reading which first teaches the letter sounds and then builds up to blending these sounds together to achieve full pronunciation of whole words.

    All the others on the search page simply reiterate the RRF definition, which is also all about sounds and not about concepts, vocabulary, ideas, understanding .... Or anything else linked with using context.

    Are nonwords 'understandable'? Are they linked to concepts? Is context used to decode real words if presented in isolation?

    If we are supposed to believe that you are right, and all these sources are wrong, why are you not up in arms about the phonics check, Msz. It only tests segmenting and blending and yet they call it a phonics check? Goodness, they are not checking that children can use context, how remiss, everyone is being misled!
  6. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Well in order to blend and segment children also need to have been taught those other key features thumbie in case you hadn't realised and the authors of the test very cleverly pointed out that they wouldn't use homographs ... (so there is only one pronunciation for the real words - making context redundant for the purpose of the check ) [​IMG]
  7. What other key features?
  8. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Have you examples where a child pronounced a real word plausibly and didn't get a mark thumbie ... if a word isn't in a child's vocabulary context isn't going to help them pronounce it correctly.

    The phonics screening check does what it says on the label ...
  9. I think you need to go for a long lie down, thumbie.
  10. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    A pretty important one if you want to read and spell

    "grapheme/phoneme (letter/sound) correspondences (the alphabetic principle) in a clearly defined, incremental sequence"
  11. Oh that. Yes, goes without saying. I thought you were saying something else was key there, for a minute.
  12. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Yes that ...
  13. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    out of interest have you administered the check thumbie
  14. I think I've Got It, Msz.

    thumbie thinks that 'phonics' should teach *only* letter/sound correspondences, decoding and blending, because that is all that is mentioned in the 'principles,.Therefore it is defective, in her view, because the definition makes no mention of ' concepts, vocabulary, ideas, understanding'. Of course, teachers are so stupid that they wouldn't include these in their teaching unless they are explicitly instructed to do so. Which worries her greatly.

    Perhaps she really agrees that guessing words from pictures, context and initial letters is ineffective and we have been misjudging her all along...
  15. In the example materials last year a child who pronounced 'blow' to rhyme with 'cow' was not given the mark (or a similar mistake, I haven't got the energy to check). This is the paradox. Perhaps 'blow' was a new word for the child (ie a nonword for her). She obediently decoded it, basically in the same way as the nonwords in the check, and yet this one was wrong. Had it been 'clow' she would have been allowed to pronounce it rhyming with 'low' or 'cow'. So there is something unstable and self-contradictory about the check.

    Have they got rid of this glitch? I haven't seen this year's check.
  16. I am told that phonics only teaches these things, Maizie, and I am told to teach GPCs, and segmenting and blending. The RRF tells me that this is what is taught, the phonics check is checking this, the match funding criteria requires that programmes are based on these principles.

    Concepts, vocabulary, ideas, understanding are not taught through phonics. But I am not saying that teachers don't teach these. Many teachers have said that they believe children should use strategies in addition to phonics to read. This has been interpreted as some as a sign that they are not teaching phonics properly. Perhaps you agree with me that this is not necessarily the case. These teachers may well be teaching children to use context in combination with phonics to decode words, talking about the story and what makes sense when they read, helping children to interpret illustrations and bring that knowledge to their reading. But they are doing this despite the pressure to concentrate hard on phonics.

    The existence of the phonics test and all the instruction and guidance underpinning it is not conducive to the concentration on strategies for understanding, building concepts, vocabulary etc which will make the decoded words come alive for children. The simple view of reading, which underpins Rose's endorsement of SSP designates comprehension as something that happens later in a child's reading progress.

    So no, Maizie, you haven't got it.
  17. There are dictionary definitions of the single word 'phonics' but we are talking about the 'Synthetic Phonics Teaching Principles' which are the common features drawn from effective evidence-based practice - both from research and in the classroom.

    Have you looked at any, or all, of the mainstream synthetic phonics programmes thumbie? What do you think their content includes?

    I wish you were privy to the feedback I receive from teachers almost daily about how well their children are doing with the use of good phonics programmes and practices. Many teachers express amazement because they didn't think so much progress could be made.

    I can't understand why you would not be finding this in schools where you work. According to you anyone can teach phonics who can read and write - but also according to you, it appears as if you have a very limited view of phonics teaching and do not consider that the wider vocabulary development and language work is part and parcel of the phonics teaching - you seem to see these as over and above the phonics teaching therefore you see the promotion of phonics as very limited.

    The teaching and learning cycle, however, consists of 'revisit and review', teacher-led introduce the focus letter/s-sound correspondence and model a few examples, then pupils practice at code and word level - and then apply and extend to sentence and text level.

    Even at word level there is the opportunity for vocabulary development and grammar, and of course there is language comprehension with sentence and text level activities.

    Further, I promote a very code-based approach which then goes on to spelling word bank work - thus the programme progresses to a spelling programme which also involves vocabulary enrichment and language comprehension - in fact, lots of opportunities for dictionary work.
  18. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    You aren't seriously suggesting that a child (with English as their first language) gets to the age of 6 and has never heard the word blow ... but if they get that wrong [​IMG] they will still score 39 ...
  19. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    who has told you that thumbie? I know people, myself included, have continually told you that your understanding is incomplete
    ...no matter how often you say it you are wrong!
  20. You can't have it both ways Msz. Either the phonic check is about decoding using segmenting and blending or it is not.

    Understanding, even using, a word in context, is not the same as recognising it when having decoded. These are youngsters in the process of learning the language. How is a child to know that 'blow' rhyming with 'cow' is not a word? As you so rightly say, for a chikd, a nonword is basically the same as a word not encountered yet.

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