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Reading alphabet or phonics?

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by thumbshrew, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. The sounds are more useful than the names, for learning phonics, but they will need to know both, and how and why they differ, eventually.
  2. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Ask yourself do you need to learn letter names to read words?
  3. hurny

    hurny New commenter

    I teach sounds before letter names. I have found that
    children who have been taught the letter names at their nursery or at home find
    it more difficult to adapt to learning the sounds and it can cause confusion.

    This can also affect their reading and spelling skills. For
    example a child would spell 'belt'as 'blt', thinking the 'l' represented

    If you are going to teach letter names I think it is best to
    explain clearly the difference between the two. Page 80 of letters and sounds
    gives an explanation of how you might approach this,

    Procedure (gradually over a period of two or three

    <ul style="margin-top:0cm;"><li class="MsoNormal">Teach
    the alphabet song and sing it every day for a week.
    <li class="MsoNormal">Display
    two or three animals (or pictures of animals) and ask the children to
    indicate which is the cat, the dog, the cow, etc. and then what sound each
    one makes: meow, woof, moo, etc.
    <li class="MsoNormal">Reiterate
    that one of the animals is a cat and it makes the sound meow.
    <li class="MsoNormal">Display
    a letter (e.g. t) and tell the children that it is a t (say its name) and
    stands for the sound /t/ (say its sound).
    <li class="MsoNormal">Display
    another letter (e.g. m) telling the children what it is. Ask them what
    sound it stands for (as they already know the sounds of the letters).
    <li class="MsoNormal">Display
    the alphabet frieze and point to the letters as the children sing the
    <li class="MsoNormal">Continue
    singing the alphabet daily and pointing to the letters until you are
    satisfied that all the children know the letter names.
    <li class="MsoNormal">Pick
    out a few letters each day and connect the names with the sounds of the

    But the rationale it gives for teaching letter names is
    because the EYFS expects children to know them and it helps when explaining

    When should letter names be introduced?

    The Early Learning Goals expect letter names to be known by the end of the
    Foundation Stage. In phonics, letter names are needed when children start to learn
    two-letter and three letter graphemes (Phase Three) to provide the vocabulary
    to refer to the letters making up the grapheme. It is misleading to refer to the graphemes &lsquo;ai&rsquo; and &lsquo;th&rsquo;as
    /a/-/i/ and /t/-/h/.

    I can see the sense in this, but it still makes
    learning sounds difficult for some children
  4. I don't see any sense in it at all. Why should calling the letters 'a' , 'i', 't', & 'h' by the sounds they represent be any more 'misleading' than calling them ay, ie, tee and aitch?
    Apart from the fact that they are used in common initialisations, such as BBC, and so are a cultural 'norm', I don't see what anyone needs letter names for, ever! (you can learn alphabetic order just as easily with sounds as with letter names...).

  5. Many letters represent more than one sound, indeed, some are sometimes silent. Which alternatives would you choose to be enshrined as the letter name, used in the alphabet or when spelling words out? In effect you would be just substituting another set of letter names for the one we use at present, with the added confusion of each being a letter sound as well as a name. Confusion, too, when saying the letters that make up digraphs and trigraphs, using sounds instead of names. Much better to use our well known list of letter names (the alphabet) which we teach as being separate and different from letter sounds.
  6. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    We don't use letter names when spelling out words even in Y6 ... not a concious decision just some that has evolved as the most effective method with our children

  7. So, when spelling out conscious, for instance, do you say (using first learnt letter sounds), "c,o,n,s,c,i,o,u,s"?
  8. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    no they would sound it out and write it down
  9. Short vowel sounds for the vowel letters and the normal consonant sounds for the consonant letters. The only difficult ones are 'x', which is actually two phonemes, and 'q' which is a third way of spelling the /k/ sound. 'c' & 'k' are easy to discriminate because most of the children come to us calling them curly & kicking /k/, anyway.
    I never spell a word out for a child. Yet another of those unfathomable cruelties which SP teaching inflicts on children, I'm afraid. The most I ever do is help them with a 'tricky' bit or an unknown grapheme.
  10. OK, so how do you tell them that 'sc' represents 'sh' in this word, and 'iou' represents 'u', do you say, for instance, "the 'sh' is written 's,c' Using 's' for 'sand' and 'c' for 'cat'"? Or do you avoid saying anything and just show it in writing? My surname can be spelt in several different ways, so when telling it on the phone I invariably spell it out. It's very useful-being able to do that, but just a minor point, obviously.
  11. To be honest it seems more like an absurdity than a cruelty.
  12. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I teach the alternatives so when a child wants to spell the word they would sound it out and I would remind them to think about the ways the sound can be written but I would not tell them which to use.
    and yes I can ( and they could ) spell my names out over the phone using letter names but don't you find that you often need to resort to the NATO phonetic alphabet [​IMG]
  13. Ok. How about when they choose the wrong spelling? Or can't remember all the alternatives? Or when you are first teaching them and they haven't got it yet? Just curious to think that you manage never to resort to the simple solution of saying the occasional letter name. I'm afraid I'd be a bit stuck with the NATO alphabet, and have never had to use it.
  14. Oh, good one, thumbie. I was wondering what you would come back with[​IMG]

    It actually works on the principle that someone learns better by doing something themselves than having someone do it for them. Isn't that how modern teaching and learning is supposed to work?
    Just like Msz's Y6 children, they break the word they don't know how to spell into its component sounds and spell each sound in the order in which it comes in the word. You might think this absurd but I find it promotes independence (they don't have to wait for the teacher to 'tell' them the spelling) and raises their self esteem (" I really can spell this word!").
    Whereas if you toss a letter string at them they still can't even attempt to spell it the next time they need to because they can't remember the letters or what order they go in.
  15. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    probably because I don't resport to telling the child how to spell the word, which admittedly is the quick and easy route but I want them to develop independence and be able to spell when I'm not there to help (afterall I can't tell them in an exam or test).
    So no one has ever asked you if that is T for tango or D for delta when spelling thumbie or M for Mike or N for November?
  16. No, what I find absurd is the idea that you do not teach and use a simple, consistent method of communicating the letters you are talking about without ambiguity. Once taught this gives the child a perfectly good tool to use independently when talking about words and spellings, on the odd occasion when making sounds is an unnecessary and ambiguous complication. I'm not referring at all to using letter names to tell children what to do when they can work it out for themselves using their phonic knowledge.
  17. How sad, that you do not allow yourself to tell children how to spell and which phonic alternative is correct. They will most certainly be all at sea in an exam if you have not corrected their mistakes, or supported them with occasional kind reminders. With the NATO alphabet, yes I have confirmed words when others have used the alphabet as a check. However, I have never used it myself, as I am rather ashamed to say, I don't know it. Do you teach that to your children in preference to the usual alphabet?;-)
  18. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I should point out I don't teach Y6 nor do I have any influence on how spelling is taught. The very experienced teacher has taught that way for over 30 years (and she doesn't call it phonics) because she finds it effective
  19. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    No I don't teach it to my children to use.
  20. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    They most certainly aren't all at sea in an exam because they have learnt how to be independent learners.
    who said I don't correct mistakes? If they spell a word incorrectly I mark it as incorrect and theycorrect it.

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