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Teachers views towards Systematic Synthetic Phonics

Discussion in 'Primary' started by tomjoyce, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. Hi Everyone,

    I am currently completing a small scale research project as part of the MA requirement of my PGCE and was wondering if anyone had any views towards 'systematic synthetic phonics'.

    All views are grateful received.

    Many Thanks

  2. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    a quick search of the TES fora will throw up lots of opinions.
  3. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I don't suppose you ever need to read "pseudo words" do you nerllybird?
  4. Hooray!! Someone is talking common sense and reason! There are enough of us teachers out there who have ALWAYS taught phonics as a main skill but have also encouraged children to develop a range of other skills... in order for them to develop fluency and independence, not barking at decoded print...
    *Stands back and waits for the backlash...*
  5. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    such as?
  6. Not my quote... but I expected backlash.. said, was, saw... the 'tricky' words... Maybe I don't teach phonics as well as everyone else. Hey ho... Only taught 600 children to read. Including non readers in year 2. And this year an autistic child (year 2) who was literally terrified of sounds... Don't expect anyone will believe me though... [​IMG]
  7. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    sorry for the miss quote I'll change it
    but tricky isn't the same as not following phonic rules which they all do.
  8. I think that asking children how to spell nonsense words is a really bad idea because it suggests that a bunch of graphemes is just a sound, rather than a word which means something. I overheard a phonics lesson taken by a TA which requested 'now spell cox'. I did wonder if any of them used the 'ck' version.

    Of course phonics has its place, but then so does context and reading for meaning. And then there are certain words which just have to be remembered, since application of standard phonic knowledge doesn't help.
  9. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    they weren't asked to spell nonsense words
    one or two
  10. Yup. Maybe my expectations are too low... Some of my year 2's struggle with the MANY alternatives for some sounds. I have children currently reading at a high level 2 who will <strike>fail</strike> not achieve the phonics recheck in June... Am I the only teacher experiencing this dilemma? Perhaps I should go stack shelves in Tesco... [​IMG]
  11. You are not alone!
  12. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    can I ask if you got any real training in phonics or were you given a copy of letters & sounds and expected to get on with it?
    (that's a criticism of the system not individual teachers)
  13. They're tricky, surely, because they don't follow the rules of phonics? Where, for example, does it say that the digraph /ai/ makes the /e/ sound? or that /a/ makes the /o/ sound?
    And what is the rule that explains through/thought/though? Or were/here? Or he/me/the? Or Wednesday? Or go/to/so/do?
    I could go on. Ooh, 'could'. In fact, far from there being 'one or two' words which don't conform to the rules of phonics, I have even seen one source which estimates that half of all words in the English language come into this category. Although since there are twenty-two such words within the 45 I just typed, maybe it's not so far-fetched after all!

  14. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    In most good phonic programmes it's an alternative spelling for /e/ said, again, creme fraiche ...
    was, want, watch, what, swamp, swat, swan, quality, quantity, quad ...
    there isn't a rule but there is the conceptual knowledge that in English a single spelling can represent more than one sound ...basic stuff like that
    Wednesday - the letter s is a common spelling for the sound /z/ a, is, has, was, does ...
    you mean oul as a way to spell the sound u?
    can I ask you the same question ... where you just given a copy of L&S and expected to teach phonics?

  15. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    'A' makes /o/ is taught in phase 5. It happens a lot - almost every time 'a' follows 'w' or 'qu' it makes /o/. As in wand, was, squash, wallet, wander, what.

    It seems to me that you are treating "the rules of phonics" as what the children learn in phases 2-4. Most of what you have mentioned gets covered in phase 5 which should be taught in year 1.

    That said, I'm not a complete defender of phonics. I think the problem is (as you, or someone else earlier?) said, children learn other ways of recognising words. If I had the children with me 24/7 perhaps I could ensure they don't attempt any other ways of tackling unknown words. Then, when meeting fake words in the test, they would just use phonics rather than whole word recognition. Which is what some of my top readers did last summer, meaning 2a/ b readers "failed".

    Incidentally, does anyone else think there are some children for whom phonics just doesn't work? I've got a girl in my class with a wonderfully supportive mum (also a teacher) who tries so hard in school, and mum works hard with her at home. Yet, phonics is just not working for her, at this point in year 2 she can't really recognise or write most vowel digraphs despite constant revision. Since mum gave up trying to do this at home with her, and taught her to recognise and spell whole (high frequency words) her reading and writing has improved significantly. It just seems that phonics is not working for her, especially for reading.
  16. Okay... so where did you gain your knowledge of phonics? I must be missing something here... [​IMG]
  17. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    3 years of linguistics at university and good phonic training
  18. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Yes but a very small minority ...I've met four or five in 25 years one being my son (coincidentally all of them were ASD)
  19. Ditto... 4 year degree, 3 years linguistics. Phonics training, but by then I had taught enough children to know that phonics is a too, butl not THE ONLY tool. When I trained, the phonics bible hadn't been printed yet. And we had other advisors suggesting other tried and tested ways which work alongside phonics - tools in a toolkit for a complex job. Using phonics alone is barking at decoded print...
    *stands back again...!* [​IMG]
  20. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    then I'm surprised you believed that "said" "was" and "saw" needed to be learnt by sight
    more barking that learning lists of words by sight?


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