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Phonics related - how would you teacher this

Discussion in 'Primary' started by mystery10, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    How would you teach a year 2 child that many words like farmer, teacher, builder, worker, etc end in er, but that others end in or such as sailor, visitor, doctor ......... how many ones ending "or" are there and would you teach them all?
    How do you go about it so that they don't sit their wondering when they are writing a word ending in an /er/ sound whether it is spelt "or" or "er" at the end?
     
  2. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    How would you teach a year 2 child that many words like farmer, teacher, builder, worker, etc end in er, but that others end in or such as sailor, visitor, doctor ......... how many ones ending "or" are there and would you teach them all?
    How do you go about it so that they don't sit their wondering when they are writing a word ending in an /er/ sound whether it is spelt "or" or "er" at the end?
     
  3. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Thank you, and sorry about my their / there typo [​IMG]
     
  4. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    OK read the "schwa" stuff - still a bit stuck though!!
     
  5. A decent training course will teach you how to deal with schwa spellings.
    Meanwhile, have a look at my page on spelling -the 'main points for helping with spelling' briefly covers schwas.
    http://www.dyslexics.org.uk/spelling.htm
    HTH
     
  6. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Well I've looked at all the different ways that words ending in an unstressed /er/ can be spelled e.g. er, our, ar, re, ure, a and got some examples of each. But there's no pattern or rule to teach a child as to when to use which is there?
    So I'm back to the same old question that goes through my head each time - do you just say to the child "look we've found all these different ways a word ending with an /er/ sound can be spelled, the only way to be really sure is to look in a dictionary?"
    Msz, your year 2's sound so certain of their spellings, how do you teach this - or maybe not teach it? And everyone else please?
     
  7. I have listed 75
    http://englishspellingproblems.co.uk/html/other_problems.html
    and all the other relatively common words with schwa.
    These are the ones with -or endings:
    Actor, advisor, alligator, ambassador, ancestor, anchor, assessor, author, boaconstrictor, calculator, castor, conductor, conveyor, corridor, decorator, demonstrator, director, doctor, editor, elevator, emperor, equator, error, escalator, factor, gladiator, governor, indicator, interior, inventor, investors, junior, juror, legislators, liquor, major, manor, mayor, minor, mirror, monitor, motor, navigator, operator, orator, prior, professor, proprietor, radiator, razor, rector, refrigerator, respirator, rotor, scissors, senator, senior, sensors, solicitor, spectator, sponsor, successor, superior, supervisor, surveyor, survivor, tailor, tenor, terror, tractor, traitor, tutor, victor, visitor, warrior.Most Y2 children would not use many of those in their writing yet, but u pick out what u need.
     
  8. but u can pick out what u need.
    Like all learning of exceptional spellings, it really comes down just to brute memorisation.
    The best way to memorise the exceptional spellings for schwa is to exaggerate their pronunciation when learning to spell them. In normal speech 'actor' and 'printer' end with the same unstressed /-er/ sound, but it helps to say 'actor' when learning to spell the word.
    Would it not be nice if all those 75 words were spelt with -er too, like 250 others (banister, barrister, computer....) and needed no special attention? Maybe if teacher stopped correcting them, they soon would be?
    'Adviser' and 'advisor' are both acceptable now. 'Actor' and 'author' were 'actour' and 'authour' not so long ago.
     
  9. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Well that makes sense to me - pick out the words a year 2 child might wish to write down and learn those. It will give the semblance of a "good speller" for a short while.
    I'm finding this all very baffling. Loads of people are saying there's a perfect SSP way of teaching spelling at this stage, but I can't see what it is, and haven't seen it written down anywhere.
    In this particular example there's no way of knowing which of these endings to use, the only way is to learn the spellings through reading, writing, being corrected, using a dictionary etc. When there is so much choice of what might be right I'm losing the plot as to why teaching it based on sounds might be such a good idea. Help!!
    Everyone seems to think that word lists are a good idea in some way - but constructed how? Everyone's notions of what the lists should consist of seem to vary, and there would have to be an awful lot of lists over a child's lifetime.
    In this particular example I don't see the point of lists ------ OK we could make the child learn (via lots of imaginative and different ways of teaching) teacher, visitor, colour, popular, theatre, failure, idea, and some other examples from each type -------- but then what, and so what? I never had a problem spelling any of these and no-one ever made me sit down and think about all the different ways a word ending with an unstressed /er/ could be spelled. I used a dictionary if I thought I needed to and all my work in all subjects was marked thoroughly, and I had to write out words I had mispelled three times.

     
  10. This makes it pretty clear that beyond a very basic level, i.e. from Y1 onwards, learning to spell English is not learning phonics but learning when phonics does not work - learning which words don't follow the basic patterns entirely and how they break them? Make, take, bake - break; sound, round, found - down, town; bed, fed, led - said, head....?
    Teaching spelling is better than leaving children to learn them by themselves?
    I agree - but only to some extent, because most people who end up good spellers actually teach mainly themselves.
    To take children through all the common words with some tricky letters in them (the common ones which I have listed at www.EnglishSpellingProblems.co.uk and on my blog run to 3700) would take very long and would be pointless for at least half of all pupils.
    Most can manage to learn a few hundred of them, and it's worth plugging away with the most often used words, but the bulk of irregular/variant spellings pupils simply have to try and learn by themselves. Imprinting them on their minds through reading and learning from their mistakes, such as writing out each misspelt word three times when they get back a piece of marked work.
    The learning load is just too enormous for covering all of it in lessons. And for many pupils it's also much too great to cope with - ever.
    That's why at secondary level teachers use red ink very selectively. For pupils who show signs of being able to cope, they correct every misspelt word.
    For others, they pick out just some of the most important / most often occurring ones. If they use too much red ink, they end up with almost nothing to correct, because their pupils write less and less. They are constantly having to weigh up how much they should accept phonic spellings and how much to correct them.
    If it was possible to learn to spell English entirely with phonics, this problem would not exist.
    Words with an unstressed /-er/ ending, for example, would all have the same spelling:
    enter, center, acter, harber, chauffer, marter, anser, advencher...

     
  11. Your problem, masha, is that you completely fail to understand what 'phonics' actually is. 'Phonics' is about letter/sound correspondences. Every single word is made up of a sequence of letter/sound correspondences, even if they are ones you don't like very much. As the 'sounds' came before the 'correspondences' there is absolutely no way that any one 'sound' has to be represented by any one particular letter or set of letters. If you could internalise this concept you would understand phonics teaching so much better, but then, it would not be so convenient for your crusade.

     
  12. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    I would be really pleased if someone could answer my question in post 11.
    Maizie that was a bit of a batty answer. [​IMG] We all know that there is no way any one sound has to be represented by any one particular letter or set of letters. Clearly it doesn't as the English language demonstrates this abundantly - and it also demonstrates that no particular combination of letters has to have just one pronunciation either. Masha clearly know this very well - I hate to think how many hours she must have spent analysing English spelling patterns and their variants, deviations, influences from other languages etc.
    Whether one would like the English language to have its spelling reformed or not at this point in time is another matter. But whether or not there is future reform, we have the language as it currently stands to teach to our pupils and children (and grandchildren) and I'm stuck on year 2 spelling!!
     
  13. Perhaps, although I have read every available explanation, everything that u have ever referred me to, and also Debbie's introduction to her Phonics International course and the McGuinness book 'Why children can't read'. And when Chris Jolly was chair of the English Spelling Society, he explained to us in detail what phonics teaching is.
    Why don't u help to improve my knowledge by answering Mystery's post above (no 11)?
    Indeed. But learning to read and write, and teaching those skills, is much easier when they do.
    As Debbie said not so long ago:
    “If only the code was as simple as a letter, or group of letters, representing any one particular phoneme, then the teaching and learning of the code would be speedy and straightforward”.
     
  14. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Yes I do like the idea of the posh spelling voice. I could also try a not so posh voice for castle, grass etc, and a French accent for some words, German for others etc. This could be fun.
     
  15. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Msz, yes that sequence sounds good to me. My secret is that I've got a little book that Masha wrote that helps me with examples of each type; the children are quicker than me at coming up with examples.
     
  16. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    My secret is that I ignore Masha's lists totally ... it's not a well kept secret to be honest [​IMG]
    Masha doesn't appear to have a clear understanding of phoneme grapheme correspondence so her lists aren't reliable
     
  17. I am glad, Mystery, that u find my little book useful, but I hope u are aware that u can get all the words for free online too. At:
    [/URL] and also my website. I had those lists published in a book as well because for some references I myself still use books quite a bit more than the internet. So I did the booklet for the likes of me. I also thought that English teachers might find having small sets of them useful in class sometimes. My main aim was to give ready access to those word banks in whatever format suited people best.
    Debbie and Msz have both made it much clearer at last what synthetic phonics is, and that for spelling it involves a great deal of teaching spelling word banks, or what used to be called spelling lists.
    I have grouped the 6800 most used English words by spelling pattern, although I list mainly the exceptions to the main patterns. Except for sounds which have no clearly dominant pattern, such as /air/, /au/, /ee/, /oa/, long and short /oo/. For those I have listed all common words with the respective sounds.
     
  18. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

  19. Please find one that isn't. The lists on my website have been up since 2006 and now get looked at by hundreds of people every day, and so far I have had only one error pointed out to me:
    'Plait' is not an irregular spelling for the /ai/ sound as in 'plate, gate, mate', (as 'wait, waist, eight' are), but a variant spelling for short /a/ (cat, sat, mat). - I have corrected that error.
    My lists are meant to help teachers, so I welcome having every error pointed out to me.
     

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