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Reception children not getting phonics or key words

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by kaz_allan, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. Hi
    We have been working on speaking and listening etc and have gone through the whole of phase 2 letters and sounds. We have a group of children who are just not getting it at all. We have linked jolly phonics and they can give actions but dont know any sounds or key words at all including mum and dad!
    Any advice as to what to do next - we are moving to phase 3 for those who are confident in phase 2 but am not sure if repeating phase 2 would be the right thing for those children who have picked up very little. The children concerned are either some of the young ones or ones that parents are not supportive at home.
    We want these children to catch up but not sure how to go about it. Has anyone else got this issue and if so what is the best way to help them learn it?
    thanks
     
  2. Hi
    We have been working on speaking and listening etc and have gone through the whole of phase 2 letters and sounds. We have a group of children who are just not getting it at all. We have linked jolly phonics and they can give actions but dont know any sounds or key words at all including mum and dad!
    Any advice as to what to do next - we are moving to phase 3 for those who are confident in phase 2 but am not sure if repeating phase 2 would be the right thing for those children who have picked up very little. The children concerned are either some of the young ones or ones that parents are not supportive at home.
    We want these children to catch up but not sure how to go about it. Has anyone else got this issue and if so what is the best way to help them learn it?
    thanks
     
  3. Lots of repetition and ensure phonological awareness skills are emergent - without the ability to orally identifysounds they will struggle
     
  4. Hi,
    Were the children all secure in Phase 1 aspects before you started Phase 2? I think if they're not getting it then you have to go back to basics i.e. Phase 1 then satpin etc until they start to gain confidence. Remember to provide activities in as many ways as you can e.g. visual/auditory/kinaesthetic and in all your areas of provision. Remember also it's still early days some children will have only turned four in the summer months and just because they all come into school at the same time, they are still nearly a whole year younger than your eldest children. That gap of time is huge in terms of their rates of development. They will get there! Good luck.
     
  5. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    I'm sorry I'm not really sure from your original description what they can / can't do. What does "we have linked Jolly Phonics" mean also?
    Do you think if someone experienced with teaching synthetic phonics took them off one by one they would be able to work out what is going on?
    If they can't recognise one grapheme and say an appropriate phoneme e.g. say "ssssssss" when an S is help up, and can't do that after a few games with it, then maybe there is not much point in trying to do words like mum yet.
    I think it is important to get them working one to one with someone to find what is really going on. They might well not have taken anything in, but when you think that a lot of nursery age children can grasp quite a few grapheme phoneme correspondences quite quickly, it does seem like you need to get to the bottom of it. If no repetition is going on at home, and you think that is necessary for them, then is there some way of building that in to the school day? What is it that you would like the parents to do that they are not doing?
    If someone says a word to them, can they segment it orally at all? Say what sound it starts with? Say what the sound at the end is? Can they recognise numbers?
    Surely this group is not just one amorphous lump - they must differ in some way in what they each can / can't do? You might find out more one to one. They might just hate sitting there in a group making silly noises!!

    Good luck. It sounds tough.
     
  6. I agree with mystery10, when children are struggling with phonics and there is not an obvious reason such as age, speeech and language etc you need to spend some individual time with them,analysing what they can/can't do and their prefered learning styles. I regularly( once every 2/3 weeks) do a phonic update with all children, even those who are moving ahead, to ensure that they are not missing any aspect of phonic aquisition. I have found children who can give a word beginning with a sound, who do not actually understand the Initial letter sound concept and therefore can't move on and children who don't register the shape of letters,(but can respond to heard sounds) and need a tactile approach for example making the letter shape from a fluffy pipecleaner and touching it as they form the letter and say the sound. I also think the transition from sound to word and word to sentence should be thorough and not just addressed in whole class sessions, but also in small group and 1:1 reading.
     
  7. I would suggest that you forget about the 'key words' until the children are more secure with their letter/sound knowledge and decoding and blending of strightforward words.
    Also, don't waste too much (any) time on revisiting 'phase 1' . The activities are not particularly useful for reading. Much better to concentrate on segmenting words into sounds alongside the learning of correspondences.
     
  8. - my class are just the same. Somechildren are slower to tune in to the whole sounds business and don't seem to take so much in during whole class work. I recognise the benefits of the scaffolding that whole class work provides but some children just get lazy and when someone else is quicker at saying the sound or blending them together they just give up a bit.
    A couple of weeks ago I identified about 8 children who didn't appear to know many of the sounds so every day during our phonics reveiw (so 5 mins approx) I sent half of them to work with TA with a tray of magnetic letters - identifying letters, tracing them on the table when they make the sound.- whilst I did quickwrite or similar with the rest.Also they didn't miss the quickwrite every day and they joined us for all the new stuff and each time in their small group the new sounds were added so they just had more interactive and targetted attention
    Now I have just 1 who doesn't know some of the phase 2 sounds, which we have just finished covering. however many are still struggling with blending and or segmenting,so this week we have been concentrating on blending and segmenting with the small groups, using magnetic letters to build words and blend the sounds. Alongside this we are still doing lots of phase 1 stuff - listening for sounds, sounds lotto, put your c-oa-t on your p-e-g etc.
    Children don't need to be secure in Phase one before going on to phase 2 but the skills in phase one are required so teaching should continue alongside the further phases.
    I don't know if this will work with yours but it will also help to find out exactly what it is they don't know.
    Quite a few of mine have very little English too but they are still able to learn the sounds and one little girl with hardly any English is happily blending cvc and even cvcc words.
     
  9. Perhaps just give them time and let them grow. They are very young. Your phonics teaching agenda may well nopt be their learning agenda at the moment and why can that not be so. No matter hopw much time you lead the horse to water or magnetic letter it will not drink until thirsty or wanting to read. Maybe just lots of good early years activities, - play i.e self-directed purposeful activities when they arrive in the morning - accompanied by talk
    Entertaining and enthusing sessions of traditional songs and ryhmes at least a couple of times a day (the real 'lou lou skip to my lou' and not the 'e e e eggs`' on my arm version). Lots of nursery rhymes and clapping games, oral and book stories, and all the while they will be growing in phonic awareness that doesn´t fit a structured scheme but is rich and interconnected - its what the brain does isn´t it.
    Jusgt because some of the kids are getting it doesn't mean that the pace or timing is something that they are necessarily comfortable with. It isn´t a race. Childhood has its time. Are we starting to become too worried by the pressure that is forcing us to march to a beat that is not of our own choosing? There is much more to language development before six years of age than phonics. Hold fast, don't worry. Warp factor 2 can wait., let the starship hold at acnhor for awhile and gaze upon the stars. They might never catch up because they might not be behind, not so many in one class anyway, they might just be young and at a different stage of development which is just where they should be.
    Cheers, sorry if I ´m telling you to suck eggs, its just that it seems like we've discovered phonics all of a sudden and we evangelically are promoting it as teaching bible. Far more important that children are engaged in language to communicate, that they can represent and reflect their experiences in life and are given the tools- vocabulary and concepts-, to do so. Decoding their world is as important, if not more so than our obsession with print perhaps.

     
  10. We try to force things into children's heads at our peril. They are not empty vessels. Their brains, dispositions, understanding have to be ready to make the leap involved in differentiating a sound in a word and associating a sign with a sound. We would not expect babies to be able to do this if only we just repeated and repeated it enough, and we should be aware that our youngest or least experienced children need to attain the right level of maturity before we expect certain skills.When you consider the age of children in reception class, some are 5 before they start and some are only just 4, which amounts to a difference of one fifth of their llves, the same proportion as the difference between 20 and 25, or 56 and 70. We need to consider this. That race towards reading, and especially the panic mode hammering away at phonics does a disservice to our children and to the discipline which is early years teaching. Our children need us to relax and trust that they will learn, and foster their curiosity and love of books, movement, music and rhyme to prepare them for their next steps. After all, this is what the EYFS purports to do with ot's age bands and developmental analysis. It recognises that knowledge and skills are built on foundations and cannot be imposed where the foundations are not in place.
     
  11. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Thumbie and Yohana could be right, that with this particular group you would be hitting your head on a brick wall until they are a little older - could be next week though!! However, before you jump to that conclusion, surely you need to look a little more at what you have taught, what they have / have not picked up, before you decide that waiting for some further development to take place is the answer. And I'm sure that group is not one homegenous blob, and it's very hard within a phonics group to know what a child can / can't do.
    I volunteer and I've been given children who I have been told do not know / cannot do loads of stuff which one to one I have found they do, so I've had a very pleasant surprise.
     
  12. I would not advocate a sort of negative waiting around for children to be ready. I would put into place activities and opportunities to encourage them to be ready, to grasp the foundations. We ask children, when even speaking intelligibly and understanding speech is new to them, to suddenly move from listening for meaning to listening in order to differentiate sounds, from expressing meaning to blending meaningless sounds, perhaps into words (mmm, but what is a word?)that are not in their vocabulary, and which are not being used as units of meaning. It's a peculiar and puzzling process.Is it surprising that children do not always cotton on straight away? Children have to have a secure understanding of what they are doing. For instance they have to have a concept of what reading is, of what we are asking when we ask them to make sounds, of what we want when we ask them to listen to sounds, of how this connects to words, reading and meaning. Children who have shared books with adults, who are able to speak and listen, are well equipped to grasp what is being asked of them. So this is the stage we need to aspire for for the children who have less experience of books and print and who still struggle with listening and speaking. Again and again it is notable that the older children and the more experienced children are the ones who are ready. This is not because they are more 'clever', it is because the foundations are there. The urgency with which phonics first is being pushed seems to me to be causing teachers to lose their sense of empathy with children. After all it's essentially a 'top down' approach with all children having phonics lessons in an agreed order (some call it systematic, but to me it just seems conveniently simple) and the ones who seem somewhat baffled by it all just having more of the same. It's standardised in a way children are not.
     
  13. good points thumbie, ones I wasn't totally thinking of either. of course, as part-time provision takes hold those areas such as mine (Brent) where the most deprived had not only full -time places but also extended-day provision are going to be seeing the effects quite profoundly and we will be perhaps back to re-inventing the wheel of why we did things a certain way. sad but obvious when we consider that most posturing is political and that high percentage of well paid people work in controlling the status quo - OFSTED, SMT etc and the people who would really benefit from that money don't get a whiff of it. Part-time providion might work in the leafy suburbs where thevoters lurk, but not in the iner city estates where th nursery class and garden are the lungs to breathe (and ladders placed against insuperable walls), for many children.
     

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