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Reading strategies: helpful or fatal for struggling beginning readers?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by gcf, May 10, 2012.

  1. You have no idea of the phonics ability of the child concerned, nor my ability to teach it. Nor do you know what phonics teaching has been experienced by this child in nursery, reception and year 1. Just because people disagree with you, it does not follow that they don't understand.
    The fundamentalist thought process is very simplistic hence its appeal to intellectual dwarfs. They are right. There is not the slightest possibility that they are wrong. To state a view which is contrary to theirs is apostasy. That fact that another 100,000 children are about to leave school unable to read or write confidently has nothing to do with them. There views are non-negotiable. And another 100,000 children will leave school shortly unable to read or write confidently.
    Like the views of all fundamentalists their views defy logic and commonsense and by if chance the data for this this year were to show that the percentage of illiterate school leavers were to fall by half a percentage point - they would scream "It was us wot did it and this is the proof! They have their own personal definition of 'proof' which would be comical funny if were not so disatrous for so many children.
    On the other hand, if the percentage increases slightly, they will claim that its all down to lazy or incompetent teachers who decline to accept the exclusivity and superiority of the true faith.
    Their dogma liveth forever.

  2. I think many of the alternative methods are simply disruptive in very early readers. Minnie's outline seems relatively sensible, given that she is promoting blending as a first priority, and other methods only after that.
    I do believe not all 'searchlights' are equal though. The idea that childrne should use a picture to work out a work is simply bizarre, and add nothing to their reading capability in my view. However, 'context cues' like 'reading on', seems to make sense where children have a good vocab, and could 'tweak' their pronunciation of a word so that it makes sense within a certain sentence.
    'Scored' - to me at least - is a word that a child should ONLY be decoding. It is a common word, familiar to many Y2 children, using relatively familiar grapheme-phoneme correspondences. Other techniques shouldn't be used until the reason for the decoding difficulty has been tackled. Just my opinion!
    I have a child in my class who had hearing difficulties as a young child. She has learned to largely sight read and has poor decoding skills. She has managed to get to Y5, and a level 3a reading level, before this has presented itself as a problem - but her inability to decode complex words IS now holding her back, and I have had to take her right back to decoding. Much of the reading she does with others involves tham actively stopping her from attempting to use Searchlight strategies which no longer work for her, and refocusing her on decoding using her phonic skills.
  3. You have misrepresented what I said with regard to using 'and' in decoding 'sand' by using the term 'need'. There is no 'need' to see 'and' in 'sand', and I agree it is a 'doddle' to decode it grapheme by grapheme. However, to note the 'and' is to note a pattern which will be of use in many other words, and this technique will be of use with many other common word chunks and syllables. Approaching a word grapheme by grapheme fragments those useful patterns and makes them harder to note, so that each new word seems novel, instead of being simply a new version of something known. Yes, it may be a doddle to decode each word as you come to it, if you have a really good memory for and knowledge of GPCs, but it's even more of a doodle to read the word quickly and efficiently because you recognise a letter pattern.So, although there is no 'need' to use this strategy, it is vey helpful to have it available.Seen from my point of view it is not an either/or situation. As I said somewhere above, the aim is for children to read words and then recognise them instantly in the future. Use SP and supplement it with context and analogy. The only distinction between using word chunks and using GPCs is the adult's terminology. For a child, learning GPCs or a common word chunk is part of same process, you are learning the sounds that the letters represent. You write about 'inexperienced phonics teacher' as though we are all'phonics teachers'. No, we are teachers of reading.
  4. But when there are about 800+ 'common letter patterns' to remember and only 160 -180 common graphemes which are the quickest to learn and apply?

    Oh dear. I am sorry everyone...the mouth zip failed[​IMG]

  5. You don't have to remember them if you know them, as part of your learnt sight vocabulary. And once you come across a word such a sand, to which you can attach a clear concept which relates to your experience, it becomes much easier to remember and then know than a GPC to which you can only attach a noise.I also repeat that it does not need to be either/or. It is SP enthusiasts that unnecessarily insist on that.When it comes to learning and remembering large amounts of data, such as written words, it seems that human beings are very good at doing it. They can learn to read 1000s of words sometimes in more than 1 language without running out of memory.
  6. thumbie - I don't disagree with everything you say - but there is a difference between good phonics teaching taught as a main strategy and phonics teaching which is too watered down by the teacher focusing on so many other strategies that phonics ceases to become 'main' and the other strategies take equal attention to the detriment of the phonics teaching and learning.
    eddiecarron - I find your language so extreme as to put off debate which is always a shame. The '20% failed readers' which you draw attention to over and again are not the product of failed synthetic phonics teaching.
    I suggest that these are usually the very pupils who will be best served by very good phonics teaching no matter what you protest. Challenge that by abusive language if you will but that's the way it is.
    I wonder what parents reading such threads as these think of the discussions and whose hands they would choose to put their children into if the children were struggling?
    minnieminx - on another current thread about spelling, you said that you are happy with your Year Two children spelling with phonics attempts rather than correct spellings - this, and other comments you have made on numerous other threads have led me to believe that you are not fully committed, nor conversant, with rigorous phonics teaching. My apologies if this actually does you an injustice.
  7. Interestingly - and revealingly - there was an item about spelling on the national news this morning.
    Two people were being interviewed.
    One gentleman was arguing the corner for teachers not marking for spelling when the learning intention of the activity was not spelling. I suggest that for quite a while this has been the prevailing advice from many people but, effectively, it leads to the abandonment of marking for spelling.
    The other lady was suggesting that it didn't always affect the chances of people applying to university etc if their spelling was weak but she was a bit half-hearted about this.
    Interviews on the 'street' with a cross-section of people suggested that, actually, it was important that people can spell. One chap even said he would reject job seekers who could not spell well - or words to that effect. I believe this to be a common reality - thus ability to spell and write reasonably well is really a life-chance thing. This is my position.
    People contacting the news team were also indicating quite strongly that they felt spelling was important - despite the common teaching profession position that it is the 'content' that counts rather than the spelling.
    And so we go on.
    NOT A WORD was said about the TEACHING of spelling. NOTHING was raised about the fact we have a complicated English written code, that spelling is particularly difficult in the English language and that teachers are generally neither trained to teach spelling rigorously (or at all) nor are they trained to mark for spelling or how to mark for spelling.
    In more recent times, this government is putting some emphasis on spelling and grammar - and it is looking like the teaching unions are ready for a fight if national assessment of spelling and grammar comes into play in primary.
    So, what do you think most parents would want for their children?
    What do you think the children would want when they become young adults and their spelling is causing an embarrassment - or leads to a self-perception, and public perception, that they are not so capable as others perhaps?
    So - I wonder how many spelling word banks are on the walls of the typical English classroom to teach and support the pupils.
    I wonder how many classrooms are bereft of an alphabetic code chart placed in a position for constant reference.
  8. [​IMG] Sssh Minnie. There is a reason not to get drawn into these 'debates' as I think you'd posted elsewhere!

    (PS I've always enjoyed your posts and picked up some great tips / ideas that I've used in class. [​IMG])
  9. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    but surely that requires you to have unique 800+ words in your sight vocabulary (so that they contain all of the alternatives) and be able to relate one of these 800+ words to the particular word you want to read. Does knowing that sand is the substance you find on a beach, in the sand tray or on a building site help you to read brandish or grandpa or landscape or Pandora?
  10. No, you"re seeing it as a teaching point instead of as a learning technique. You don't need to teach all the common letter patterns, you point out to the children some of the letter patterns in teaching so that they can apply the technique in their learning. They then have that technique available to them alongside other strategies.The fact that sand is a tangible and familiar substance means that when a child reads the word 'sand' he associates the word with a known concept. When the word is repeated in the same text or other texts the child remembers it refers to the stuff on the beach. This helps them to recognise the word. I'm not saying knowing about sand helps them to read 'brandish'. I'm saying that knowing about sand helps them to read 'sand' which contains a letter pattern which they may apply when they come across 'brandish'.
  11. Well, you are writing from the perspective of your belief that 'good phonics teaching' is the single key for progress in reading. I believe that 'good phonics teaching' is part of a combination lock for progress in reading. I don't think it is watered down by looking at other strategies, but enriched. So we won't agree on that.You attack Eddie for vitriolic language, but be honest. Maizie takes the biscuit on that score.[​IMG]
  12. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    No I'm not talking about teaching I'm talking about those fortunate minority of children who will pick up words with little effort.
    I'm pointing out that a child has to have internalised words containing all 800+ letter patters and be able to relate those to other words containing the same patterns before they can read more than the 800+ they originally learnt.
  13. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    What did the child find difficult with scored? sorry I to ask [​IMG]
  14. I'm talking about a learning process which gradually builds up over time. Part of a process, not a prerequisite before reading can occur.
  15. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    So am I

  16. Then this statement is wrong, isn't it? Each pattern learnt unlocks a group of words. And don't forget, SP is happening at the same time.
  17. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    ah but you said they were learning words

    so I'm pointing out that their sight vocabulary has to include words containing those 800+ unique patterns and the child has to realise that the patterns contained in the words they know can be transferred to help read other words .. very slow process
    so you are now saying it is a teaching point?
  18. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    LOL I know! I answered with an example of one child on one day with one word. Wish I'd not bothered, but it was a seemingly innocent thread to start with.

    It is a shame that normal teachers with normal classes (who yes have idiosyncrasies and off days and weird non-understandable troubles sometimes) cannot ask or answer anything to do with reading, phonics and spelling without being jumped on.
  19. Yes, they are learning words. Eg 'and', 'an', 'or', or parts of words eg 'and', 'an', 'or'.Once you know 'and', it very quickly unlocks many words. Not necessarily a slow process. Not exclusive, SP alongside.A strategy rather than a body of knowledge. No, I'm saying it is a learning technique.Tataa, off to London.
  20. Keep asking!
    By calling not just the initial phase of learning to read and write 'phonics', but virtually all teaching of reading and writing, SP advocates have left many teachers and parents very confused. It is really important for this to be clarified.

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