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Reading strategies: helpful or fatal for struggling beginning readers?

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

  1. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Noting wrongly how written language works [​IMG]
  2. No, noting how it usually works and applying that knowledge. Then, perhaps realising that the word 'the'-y or 'the'-se doesn't make sense and realising they have made an error.
  3. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    and not knowing how to put it right because they haven't been taught
  4. Or putting it right because they have been taught SP alongside other strategies, or because they approach an adult who is able to support them, or because they realise what word would fit the sentence and find that it also fits the written word.
  5. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I've never seen a child who has been taught phonics make this error only those who have been taught sight words and without exception they know it's wrong but don't know how to correct it.
  6. Of course different strategies yield different errors.
  7. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    No one told me I was teaching errors!!![​IMG]
  8. Don't panic, Msz. You are not teaching errors (I hope), it's just that children make errors because they are learners, and different strategies result in different sorts of errors. But I hope you don't teach them to use multiple exclamation marks!!!![​IMG]
  9. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    no they don't need multiple exclamation marks as none of them post on the TES primary forum [​IMG]
  10. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    I like the how to read "brandish" example earlier in the thread. I think all those different words one can quickly see within the word are great for word puzzlers - bra, bran, an, and, dish, ran, rand, etc etc.
    Personally though I think it would be more helpful to teach children a way that works each time e.g. the syllable splitting rules in Toe by Toe for words you have never met before (it doesn't always work perfectly, but it does a good job a lot of the time) and leave the other stuff for word games, or for children to see for themselves.
    Teaching a method of words within words fails on lots of counts for me - the child might not be able to see any (this kind of game comes much more easily to some people than others - maybe it comes more easily to the better reader), they might be in such a muddle when looking at a big word, the word they pick might be of no help (because it splits a ch or sh sound for example), and it also is teaching a lot of "dotting around" while you are reading. Also the child who hasn't been taught a logical way through it and isn't a "resilient learner" by this point just puts their head down and goes "this is too difficult for me" or asks to be told the word, because TBH, what's the point in them trying when odds on they are going to get it "wrong".
    It's interesting because I would say one of my own children ( a very good reader) has hit this point where she needs some logical help in how to decode much longer words. She hasn't been given any at school other than "words within words" she tells me, and she is really hitting a problem in my view. Even longer new words which she could easily have decoded nearly a year or so ago are now attacked in such an illogical way that she can never get to the real word in a million years.
    If I didn't think otherwise, I might think some kind of late onset dyslexia (age 6) had just started up!
    I've got my half-term holiday homework cut-out!
  11. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Thank you. I was going to search around for some useful materials later today and you have started me off.
  12. You have misunderstood the strategy of using analogy. It is not about a word puzzle of looking for smaller words within long ones. The idea is that the child recognises chunks of words, which may not even be words on their own but which follow recognised patterns. It's a strategy which like any strategy is used initially with guidance from the teacher or adult, who wil not pose if as a puzzle ("How many words can you see in this long word?") because that will not help the child read. It is much more informal than that, consisting of talking through words and what can be noticed about them. Has your daughter been told to look for small words she knows within longer words and abandon the use of blending? I find that pretty strange, as it is really an extension of the blending strategy -"Do you already know what this word chunk 'says'?". it's about drawing attention to patterns and seeing if the child can use them. Having just spent a morning with some reception class children who are struggling with phonics I found it frustrating that children were so preoccupied with remembering the sounds for individual graphemes and then blending, with the need of maximum support, that they did not recognise the same word when it appeared 3 or 4 times on a page in their decodable reading books. it was as if their ability to note the appearance of the whole word was switched off by their phonic training. Unfortunately their struggles with blending meant that the text itself was coming out in a series of stuttered sounds and hard won single words. I feel very unsure that these children are going to be able to blend painlessly (easy peasy/ doddle fashion in debbie's assessment) any time soon. Meanwhile they are getting very little from their reading books beside a sense of achievement in struggling to the end! But I was able to resist the temptation to encourage use of context and any other strategies, as I know the school is working hard at SP. I was a good girl! [​IMG]
  13. If we encourage children to guess what is happening in the story, then the children will NOT read but guess. They will NOT need to read the words letter by letter, sound by sound but read the PICTURE! Children DO NOT NEED CLUE what is happening, they need to know the phonic rules and recognise letters, instead of guessing according to the pictures!!! If a word is similar to what they "expect" will happen they will NOT read but say the word they THINK there supposed to be there. Thats NOT READING!
  14. So are you saying that in reading there is no element of predicting content, and that children should not look at the pictures when reading picture books? No amount of capital letters and exclamation marks in your post will make that true. You used the word yourself, 'read the picture'. Of course, when anyone is reading a picture book they have to read the picture, it generally tells part of the story. Think of a book such as 'Rosie's Walk'.You are confusing reading with decoding. In order to decode the text correctly children must learn to say the right sounds for the right letters and letter groups. Nobody is arguing with that. However, when decoding the text actually interferes with children understanding it, or when it introduces an overwhelming sense of laborious effort, the decoding task is not recommending the activity of reading to the child. And in the case of the children I heard read today it failed them, because although they came across the same word repeatedly they had to decode it each time, decoding it once or twice was not enough. When asked to read a sentence of text, or a word, they immediately went into decoding mode despite having read the same words seconds before. When shown the same word again after completing the book they decoded it yet again. And it was not a painless easy peasy process, lots of support was needed. Is this satisfactory? I don't think so. Children should be enjoying their reading books. Despite all my best efforts to make the process enjoyable I got a strong sense that the children experienced the reading task as being onerous. They leapt upon the chat about the text with relief and enthusiasm. It is that enthusiasm that needs to be channelled into the reading process, and if that means using context, analogy etc. alongside SP, so be it.
  15. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Perhaps there should be no pictures in 'reading books' then? Presumably they just distract children and stop them reading?
  16. I agree and disagree with Debbie Hepplewaite simply because we use the resources she has developed with OUP. The alphabetic code is useful to use to help the children but as we have only introduced it this year we have had to use it a little bit differently until we all get used to it. The phonics sheets are useful and the children understand how to use them (tick words they can read, circle words they don't understand) and this has led to some good word investigation using the dictionaries.

    I still don't however believe that phonics is the only strategy. I try to go by phonics first, and then if you are still unsure then read it In the context and use the picture clues etc. This may not be the approach you promote but i feel it has worked for the children in my class especially the children struggling to read.

    I have only been teaching two years and we have always been told about different learning styles and how Important it is to cater for them but the government doesn't take this approach with Reading - It's all phonics, phonics, phonics. What is wrong with using the other strategies? Obviously you are not going to bombard the children with those strategies all at once but if they work then why not use them? Reading is hard enough for children without forcing them to do it one way.

    Finally, the year 1 phonics test is a joke. Sorry - had to get that one in.
  17. Had to edit post as have just read above - YES. WE ARE LOSING EMJOYMENT! I am young enough to have been taught by biff, chip and floppy but also letter land. I loved the stories but used the pictures to help me all the time! Break the word up was the only decoding strategy I remember with teachers thumbs over words. Long queues at desks waiting to read and so many children having their work marked at the same time as you reading the teacher wasn't even listening properly. I think were the old days but I still learnt to read. But maybe that's because I had the support at home as well. I was read to most nights and we always had stories in school. I think we need to really Instil a real love of reading so we make the children want to do it. It can be so frustrating for some children.
  18. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Thumbie, you were worrying in reception about children who sounded the same word out 3 or 4 times? Why was that worrying you? Aesthetically it doesn't sound nice, no, but it's not really a problem, certainly not in reception is it? Also, it doesn't mean that the reader is losing the sense of what is going on, necessarily, either. Clearly if a child was reading more advanced material and having to sound out every word they probably will lose some comprehension as a result of the effort going into the sounding out and blending, but what you were witnessing wasn't necessarily a problem, at that stage or with that material, per se.
    It's quite funny, as an adult listening to a child sounding out and blending their way through a simple book, I lose the will to live and can't understand the simplest of books myself, but I haven't come across a child (and these are ones with "reading difficulties" I work with) who loses the sense of a passage because of this. What you see as an impediment to understanding (blending through the word) is to the beginner reader a joy as they decipher what the words say. Why would you expect a child to remember cat says cat without sounding out and blending it multiple times? How many times do you think a child would have to be exposed to a word to recognise it reliably "on sight" (e.g. not mix cat with bat or hat or cath?)? I would suggest that with the overwhelming majority of children it would be more than 3 or 4 times.
    So enjoy reception children sounding out!! If you seem a bit less than enthusiastic about it they are going to want to stop doing it when they are not ready to. It's still a useful skill from time to time much later on ....... don't kill it off now!
    No, I didn't misunderstand your point about words within words - I know teachers are not teaching children to find as many words as they can within other words. But if you teach a child to find words within words as a strategy they don't know which ones to aim at when they are doing this on their own. So in "brandish" would they go for bra, or brand, or ran, or rand, or an etc etc. How about the word "then"? A child might mistakenly split up the /th/ sound and see a hen. What use is that to them?
    One of my children is taught this method at school ........ I don't know how they teach it ......... it hasn't helped my daughter to tackle brand new words with lots of syllables. In fact she's got worse at it over two terms. It's not really a synthetic phonics school (the code they learn always lags the reading they are doing, they still teach a smattering of rime and onset and multi-cueing)-it's more "whole word" with a smattering of analytic phonics if I had to "label" it. With the synthetic phonics she learned at home during the last summer holiday she was much better at decoding multi-syllabic words than she is now after two terms of being told to find words within words.
    That could of course be because the method has not been explained well to her, and as I don't understand it, I can't reinforce it at home.
    If you can explain the method properly to me, so I don't misunderstand you, and I can see that it has some logic behind it that I can teach my child, I will give it a try.

  19. It would not worry me so much if the child was able to sound out and blend independently, but these children needed a lot of support. I am afraid I do see that as a problem, because they are unable to tackle even simple words independently. And I do see it as a problem that, having decoded a word several times there was no sign that they were noticing that it was the same word each time. I can see now why you have such a lot of faith in SP if you feel this is OK.As for the 'hen' in 'then', it only needs pointing out to the child that there is a 'th' at the beginning of the word. You ask me to explain the method but it is really just a common sense approach. However, maybe this method doesn't suit your daughter and if she seems to be going backwards and losing confidence, you need to talk about it to her teacher. I can understand your concern.

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