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Phonics

Discussion in 'Primary' started by ROSIEGIRL, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    actually Eddie I think the same every time I read your claims (based on reviewing your CD which you kindly sent) but up to now I've refrained from saying out loud.

     
  2. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Thanks Yohana, yes I did give you the wrong post number and you found the right one.
    I do find it interesting that you say that reading does not add anything to the life of a 4, 5, or 6 year old. At what point do you think it might add to the life of a child, and why?

     
  3. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I would argue that reading can add a great deal to the life of a child regardless of age. As an only child books were my friends long before school
     
  4. ok stand corrected. I do agree with mystery and Msz, I guess maybe I took the extreme position because I observe that it IS relevant and interesting of course!... my daughter proves that to me everyday if I didn't already know it as a teacher.
    Perhaps I am only trying to emphasise that where we perhaps obsess, stress and generally worry about it we maybe convey that to children, and what might come later with the right kind of grounding, we start worrying about from 3,4,5 years of age when the main concerns of children are otherwise..
    Again not to say that we can't and coudn't do what we do.... just that scandinavian schools, steiner schools (I know Mzs I remember your criticism here ) and certain national/supranational systems- the European schools- etc..... consider 6/7 a perfectly adequate age to start formal systematic instruction... I know also it is an argument lost - I just keep referring to it so we can keep in perspective the wider picture (yes I know that English is more complex- but even starting at 6 native english children can learn to read by 7.
    It is the pressure on reception and year one when young children in our culture are by historical accident in artificially age-defined, large groups, with uniforms, rules and strict demarcation of timethat I worry about rather than the reading per se.
     
  5. I think Msz makes very pertinent points; particularly when asking how non-readers are going to access your programme.
    With regard to the 'trial' of your intervention, I think that there are also some very pertinent points made on this blog:
    http://deevybee.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2012-01-01T00:00:00Z&updated-max=2013-01-01T00:00:00Z&max-results=6
    Point #4 is particularly relevant:

     
  6. In an earlier post, Yohana, you talked about Montessori in connection with children learning to read through writing. I have read the part of her book which describes this process and also the fact that the 3y olds in the nursery, who were not intended to be learning to write, picked up the letters, listened in on the older children's instruction and taught themselves to read. Montessori seems to rather approve of this. She certainly wasn't wringing her hands and wailing that they couldn't possibly learn to read because they still had their baby teeth.
    Actually, I'm sure that English children wouldn't suffer if taught to read later (though remember, the countries which start later have more transparent orthographies so the children learn to read much faster than English learners do). What is also clear is that children can, and do, learn to read much earlier, also without any harm. If you were to raise the topic of learning to read on the TES Opinion forum you would be overwhelmed by posters proudly describing how they learned to read when barely out of the womb (well, when 2 or 3 years old). It is only here, on EY that any objection is made to learning to read 'early'.
     
  7. ok Maizie,maybe I could be clearer and say it isn;t the reading per se....of course and of course to everything you say... maybe my only take on it is the pressure, the grouping, the high stakes ,,, if that were a subject of a thread - well it often is!- then probably that too would get a good airing.
    I guess since the mid 1990's when the tide of bureaucracy ( inspectiors - of whom I was one) seemed to flood over all the barriers of progressive, child-focused advances building upwards from the nursery school, I bacame highly adverse to the limited, rediuctionist methods used to evaluate schools and teachers. I do see that the school starting age of four creates its own early starting points in a race which is swift and quite remorseless in its focus on achieving or not.. I am not against early reading- i guess I am just for everything as well which is not just reading - the canon of songs, rhymes, stories and games that need three years 3-6 to really be developed. Discussion as tizard and highes said 'that answers their quesitons - not ours'.
    No objection to what you say though. hope you can see where I am coming from.. a bit futile I know but I am not foolish enough to think I can swim against the tide too much- just enough to gain strength and invigorrate the bllod supply to my brain but out quick enough to not be dragged down and away.
     
  8. Why can't that be done too? After all, 10 -15 minutes of phonics doesn't exactly fill the school day.
    I do agree. But isn't it human nature to take everything to excess? What seemed like reasonably sensible measure of periodical testing to check that schools were teaching to a reasonable standard (SATS) became a weapon. Sometimes a self inflicted weapon with schools forcing up results by teaching to the test and so creating new expectations in the powers that be. It may have been our Masters who started it but schools have been complicit in it by responding to the command 'Jump' with the words 'How high?'. If they'd all turned round and said 'B8gger off' things might be a bit different today..



     
  9. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Yes, but not even that, it seems to me that schools invent their own "testing regimes" which are even more onerous than the externally imposed ones. This is even now that there are no "external" tests (apart from the briefest of phonics tests at the end of year 1) until the end of KS2.
    For example, my school took it upon itself recently to have a "whole school writing assessment day". My young year 1 child came home upset. She had not enjoyed writing that day as they'd had a different teacher in the classroom. They had been told to write a story in a particular theme. She said she couldn't think what to write about (certainly not like her at home) and she'd done three short sentences and not finished her story. "Everyone else had finished" were her plaintive words. She didn't know this was a "writing assessment day" fortunately, but whatever it was about that day it didn't get her going and she didn't like it.
    Equally it's not going to have helped the poor teacher either as if that was supposed to be the significant piece of work this term, there's at least one child she hasn't got something from. Why would any school need a "writing assessment day"? Doesn't writing happen every day that can be used to learn about how the child is currently writing and where they gently need to be moved onto next?
    And yes, Yohana's right, there is endless grouping, differentiation of work which is not always the "right" differentiation so the child is either not challenged or "over challenged", there is the unpleasant banter between children from a very early age about which groups they are in, which book colour they are reading etc etc. However, none of that is forced upon schools, it's the way some choose to do it. OK, some slavishly follow the LA adviser and some advisers have very different views from others. There is nothing enshrined in legislation though is there stating "though shalt follow every piece of advice from the LA adviser". I thought schools were freed from this tyranny years ago and that they choose to spend their delegated budget on advisory services. Or have I got that wrong? Apologies if I have.
    Historically, the OFSTED inspection of nursery education (as opposed to a social services inspection with a different slant) came about because of the massive injection of funding into early years in all sectors didn't it? 12.5 hours of free nursery education per week was brought in under the previous Tory government for each child from the term following their third birthday until compulsory school age. Providers could choose whether or not to take part in the scheme. All sectors could take part (but at the time not individual childminders) so that their customers could benefit from the grant funding, but to take part, an inspection was necessary. This then continued on and evolved under the succeeding Labour govmt into the Early Years Foundation Stage and the post-it culture of children playing with little adult interaction apart from when it's their turn to be observed by the early years worker and have some post-it notes filled in. But the post-it culture is like everything else; it's one interpretation of what is required. Not all settings operate that way. It was and is possible not to do it that way and still comply with what is required by the DfE etc.
     
  10. 3.10 in the morning you posted mystery --- don;t you sleep!
    Much to agree wih in what you say...Although I don't really recognse this....
    There was a lot of over-formal interaction especially from private nurseries where not a lot of discussion was encouraged and an excess use of worksheets etc but in general a lot of the EYFS was slightly 'lost in translation'. The emphasis on early writing and number was used to intimidate some settings and the perceived 'need' for paper evidence has overwhelmed much of the weaker secttings - LEA nursery schools have always shone out as a beacon of common sense and accumulated early childhood experience.
    As funnily and idiosyncratically enough did many of the PPA playgroups who are an unfortunate victim of this expansion you describe. Many home grown initiatives lost out as it was cheaper to put children into reception clases - or gave schools an extra source of funding -and so many kids lost the lower more intimate adult-child ratios of 1-8 for the 1-15/20+ of the reception and the demands of school.
    Parental involvement which offered another way into families and to the child through the mother as Macmillan urged all those years ago- was also lost with the sheer formalities of primary schools mitigated against such free and flexible ineractions and contributed to the erosion of another support for language development as the bedrock of all learning.
    Now we have the crazy but logical extension of the 'accountability' culture into the obligation for nurseries to turn their profiles into points, a pressure on 'suffiicient demonstrable progress' (ie increase in their points) , moderation of everything and the clawing back of money from settings where parents for wahtever reason used the nursery flexibly to suit their needs.and bucket loads of 'quality improvement' money sloshing around with the aim of trying to raise the LEA scores in the tables stakes





     
  11. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    When I taught in reception there was no pressure or groupings or high stakes the children learnt because they were motivated to want to learn.
    As a school we don't group in any year group.
     
  12. I have finished wiping away my tears of mirth!
    The oh, so thinly veiled irony had me in fits. Yes, what a world it would be if children started using words to invent meaning, have ideas, and (heaven help us) think for themselves!
    Thank you for sharing this gem - you added a sparkle to my day.
     
  13. 'but you won't accept that in some schools such as mine all children leave us reading to a high level '
    How can such a statement be relevant or even vaguely valid when I say that there are dozens of schools that get 100% passes consistently every year?
    It was Msz who said she passes on children who have failed to learn to read confidently but knowing that they will catch up later! I did not challenge that - I merely said that every year 100,000 don't catch up! Unlike much of what is stated here, that is an indisputable fact and it is indisuputable that it has been fairly constant over many years and many 'eureka strategeies' which were introduced on the basis of the kind of 'evidence' which was produced in respect of the seminal Clackmannashire work and which has been shown to be quite inaccurate..
    The reference you submit is about dyslexics - My approach has no relevance for dyslexics and I certainly have never made any such claim.
    My early years intervention is a pilot project and controls are not relevant in the aims of pilot projects. It does so happen that in one school in Kent, they have 13 Year 2 children they categorize as non or near-non readers spread over two classes. Only one class with six children is using the perceptual learning intervention and their early indications are very positive.
    I do not expect that all 85 children involved in my early years pilot project will achieve Level 2 English at the next Key Stage 1 test becasue inevitably some of them will have specific learning difficulties but it will be interesting to see the kind of responses there wil be if a significant proportion of them do so.
    English has a complex orthography but it is nevertheless a phonetic orthography. It goes without saying that there is a secure place for phonics in the intitial teaching of reading - no-one questions that. What is questionable is the dominance and exclusivity of an approach which is having no impact on literacy standards nationally. It is intereesting that every school which participated in my KS2 pilot project achieved such remarkable KS 2 results that they are now committed to the concept of perceptual learning - they are now second year users and I will be monitoring their KS2 results to assess the cumulative impact.
    I initially wanted only 10 schools for my pilot project - in the event I allowed it to rise to over 20 but I could have had 100 and all I did was mention it on this forum. This suggests tht there is a lot of concern among those who read this thread about this dominance and exclusivity.


     
  14. We keep telling you, eddie. the NLS 'phonics' element was mostly ignored in favour of the 'guessing' strategies. That ran from 1998 to 2007. Government 'guidance' on the initial teaching of reading changed to systematic, structured phonics from Sept. 2007, but it is only guidance and is not implemented by all schools (thumbie doesn't follow it, for a start...). The guidance only changed to ' systematic, structured synthetic phonics' late in 2010.
    Where are you getting the idea from that SP has been taught for years?
     
  15. Progression in Phonics was published in 2000. I recall getting all the resources copied and laminated for use throughout reception and KS1. The children I taught will be 17 now. I repeat, I have nothing against phonics. I don't see how any one can have anything 'against' it, as it is a fact of life. Weirdly, the idea of 'phonics' as a 'method' (SP) has made it seem as if it is something new and innovative, instead of the building block of the language. As if teaching phonics has never been done before. Any reader uses phonics, however explicitly taught. The idea that one has to adopt a special phonics scheme, or otherwise be in some way be a phonics denier, is very strange.
     
  16. Mystery10, thank you for your long post a while back about your experiences of teaching children one to one. It would take pages on here to respond well. But one brief thing that strikes me is that the poor reader you mentioned seems to have been failed in many ways by the organisation of their learning as much as by any particular method. You mention guided reading, and I think that has a lot to answer for. I have found guided reading to be very unsatisfactory with younger children. I say, bring back good old fashioned intensive one to one teaching of reading and lots of it. young children aren't designed for guided reading!
     
  17. Teaching phonics was extremely minimal at best in many schools and absent from much teacher-training.
    Joyce Morris coined the phrase 'phonics phobia' and some teachers have described that they had to do a bit of phonics 'behind closed doors'.
    Fads and philosophies dominated reading instruction such as 'real books' and 'range of strategies' and 'look and say' and so on. Phonics could be absent or virtually absent in these eras.
    Phonics is not new - but modern synthetic phonics programmes are different in the level of emphasis of phoneme-level content, degree of detail, the nature of supportive teaching and learning resources - and they way that they drip-feed common words into the programmes rather than begin with an initial sight vocabulary.
     
  18. There is an impenetrable fog on this forum. I will return when the first objective results from my Y2 intervention are in - not that I think it will make any difference to some here. The fact that so many schools wanted to take part in the Y2 project is pehaps the most telling fact thus far and it is these people and those who I had to disappoint who I will be addressing.

    .
     
  19. But Progression in Phonics was part of the literacy strategy, and the first 15 minutes of the Literacy Hour (not sure on the exact timing) was devoted to word work including phonics. We used to start with a phonics game every single day.Maybe there were some schools who did not follow this, but it was written into the literacy hour.Phonics is certainly not new. What is new is the spreading belief that it is sufficient.
     
  20. Sufficient for what?
    I am getting the feeling that there is a myth around that phonics proponents, such as myself, are suggesting that all reading is, is phonics.
    This is simply not true and it is a ridiculous idea.
    I really appreciate the Simple View of Reading model for its emphasis on word decoding and oral comprehension.
    And what feeds oral comprehension in the language-rich and literature-rich environment which phonics proponents heavily promote.
    The role of literature is massive and I sort of 'add it' to the Simple View of Reading for the 'teaching' perspective.
    When children are able to read books for themselves, however, their language comprehension can increase massively. Much vocabulary is learned not from the spoken language but via literature.
    So, phonics proponents are doing their utmost so that all the children can read the words on the pages as easily as possible to open up the wonderful world of literature.
     

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