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Teachers views towards Systematic Synthetic Phonics

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

  1. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    No it is the work of one of the younger children, neither one of the "better" or "worse" just an average 5 year old.
    actually they mainly demonstrate that the child hasn't been taught the <oor> spelling representing /or/ or the suffix <ed>
  2. It will be the same old stuff in new guises, but essentially amounting to nothing more than repetition, repetition, repetition - as Mrs/Mrz has herself frequentyly stated.
    While English spelling remains as it is
    there is no other way of ensuring progress, although with quite a few children even that keeps failing to work.
  3. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    The other way is to stop moaning about English spellings and ensure every child has the skills and knowledge they need.
  4. No I am not, Marsha. The popular belief is that people either remember letter strings or 'visualise' what a word looks like before writing it on the page. This is vastly different from looking at the word after it has been written to see if it 'looks' right. That is proofreading, not spelling.
    Of course, confident writers don't even bother to do that, but as competent readers (as the two usually go together) any spelling errors would jump out at them even with only a cursory glance.
    Well, how else do you expect anyone to learn anything other than by memorisation? Nothing goes in by osmosis, you know. Even in languages with more transparent othographies children have to learn the relevant letter/sound correspondences by memorising them.
    Is your use of the word something to do with the fact that 'memorisation, is a dirty word when used in relation to phonics learning but absolutely fine whem used in relation to whole word learning? Or do you just have a weird view of how people learn?
  5. [​IMG]
    (Can't do that when you're on a mission, though...[​IMG])

  6. Yes, and in English children have to memorise not only the letter/sound correspondences but also which words contain which correspondences. The process of learning the letter/sound correspondences works in tandem with the process of learning the words; it's crazy to switch one of them off because of dogma. But, in fact, most children will compensate, especially if they are avid readers/writers. This self-teaching is close to what you might call learning by osmosis - something SP enthusiasts tend to try and avoid, but which they are quite happy to allow (apparently) for the learning of whole words. Your assertion that correcting spellings isn't spelling but proof-reading is not true. If it is about how to write a word correctly it is about spelling - what else could it possibly be about? You contradict yourself when you say that good spellers will identify mistakes with only a cursory glance. Again, two skills work in tandem - knowing what a correct spelling feels like to write and knowing what it looks like.
  7. I think, thumbie, that you and I are totally at cross purposes here. Either we are talking about the same thing i.e that one or more repetitions of sounding out and blending a word (depending very much on the child, some need far more repetitions than others) will secure it in long term memory and a child will in future be able to read it 'on sight'. Or, I am talking about that process while you are talking about teaching children to memorise words as 'wholes',without any attention to the letter/sound correspondences they contain.
    I just do not see learning to read as a 'word learning' process. Words will go into long term memory after sounding out and blending without any particular effort on the part of the child to 'learn' the word. And, if they don't have the word in sight memory, the next time they encounter it all they have to do is sound it out and blend it again. No stress, no worry...
    I just don't know if we are using different terminology for the same thing or whether we are still miles apart[​IMG]

    Sorry, thumbie. I think that what you do to write the word on the page is a spelling process and what you do to check it is proof reading. I would not beexpecting a child to look at each word as they wrote it. I would expect the child to write at least a sentence before checking.
    Of course, if they were actually having a spelling lesson or they hadn't been sure how to spell a particular word I would be asking them to check it immediately they had written it. Firstly by sounding out and blending it. I'd only ask them if it 'looked' right if it were a word that I knew they had frquently encountered in their reading.
  8. Well, I'm not talking about learning whole words without attending to letter/sound correspondences, am I? Perhaps you should reread my post.Sounding out and blending a word correctly will not happen reliably where the GPCs are so unreliable (ie in English), so the notion that a child will necessarily learn to read a word by sounding it out repeatedly is flawed. The word needs, at the very least, to be in their vocabulary and to be decodable through the context. Mistakes are even more likely to happen in the case of attempting to spell using GPC knowledge without word knowledge.Perhaps the fact that you work with older children is of significance here. Young children's vocabularies are more limited than teenagers' (mostly).Correcting wrong spellings is a commonplace in my experience, and can happen straight after writing a word wrongly, or on looking back later. If what you are doing is recognising the mistake and correcting it, you are using spelling skill. I have no idea why you regard this as controversial. Of course you need spelling skill for effective proof reading, and many children will need to proof read to maximise their spelling skills. They haven't picked up what has gone wrong when writing but can do so when reading back (or, for good spellers, frequently, as you say, through a cursory glance).
  9. Sigh....the child tries the GPCs he knows. If the word is in his vocabulary he will know it when he uses the correct GPC. If it isn't in his vocabulary he'll have to check pronunciation and meaning. Once he knows at least the correct pronunciation it will go into long term memory with how ever many repetitions that that particular child needs. I am clearly here talking of a child with good phonic knowledge and fairly independent reading skills. I wouldn't, in a classroom situation, expect an unskilled reader to be independently reading words which are beyond the scope of his current phonic knowledge and skills. So the scenario you describe is less likely to occur.
    OMG thumbie. You don't know just how poor some secondary children's vocabularies are! Many haven't moved on since Y1..
    My original point was that actually spelling the word in the first place is not a visual skill; in that you don't copy down a mental picture of what the word looks like. My original comment about this was addressed to Marsha, who does think that spelling is a visual skill. You seem to agree with me that 'remembering' correct spellings has a strong kinaesthetic element.
    i'm not sure I agree with you that proof reading and correcting is a spelling skill, but I don't think that it is worth arguing about as we seem to come to much the same conclusion in the end. I still don't really know, though, if you think that the initial stage of spelling (ie writing the letters down) involves a visual skill?
    P.S The use of 'he' to talk about a pupil is just because I loathe 'they' and s/he looks clumsy. So I've decided to be sexist[​IMG] I don't have any particular child in mind.
  10. Well, Maizie, if children are coming to you in secondary school with the vocabularies of 5/6 year olds I am not surprised that you have to use reading instruction methods more suitable to 5/6 year olds. This certainly raises questions about your continued assertions that these children have not been taught phonics before. I suggest they were not able to learn phonics before. Checking pronunciation and meaning, in other words being told punctuation and meaning, is an add on to phonics, of course. The child won't necessarily be able to ask about this when reading independently, and won't be able to do it for herself. In fact, very often, children go with the first pronunciation they identify, whether it has any known meaning or not, unless of course they check against context. That is the ony independent way they can identify pronunciation or meaning of words which they are unsure of.
  11. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    thumbie your own narrow view of phonics is quite possibly the reason you dislike it so much.
  12. I would say that is exactly what has happened with the children who still struggle with reading by age 11 and make lots of spelling mistakes. They can cope with consistent phoneme-grapheme correspondences, from simple ones like bed, fed, led to more complex ones like 'date, late, plate', or even 'diner - dinner'. They get off to a good start with those.
    But they get confused by all the exceptions (said, leadx2, many; wait, straight, eight) which require not the application basic phonic correspondences but word by word memorisation of various quirks.
    Without all the exceptions, English phonics would be as effective as in other languages. U would need nothing but phonics for teaching children to read and write. The process would be faster and u would get much less failure.
    Learning to spell by rule (by reliable phoneme-grapheme correspondences) is much easier and takes less time than having to learn the rules and memorise spelling quirks for at least 3,700 common words in addition to the rules:
    <font color="#0000ff">http://englishspellingproblems.blogspot.com/2010/11/english-spelling-rules.html</font>
    And of course children learn those exceptions better if they are taught in a systematic, well-planned, consistent manner, if their progress is carefully monitored and they get extra help if they need it, but without all those exceptions there would be no need for it.
    And for many children that rote-learning burden is simply too overwhelming, even when very well taught.
    That's why I advocate taking a fresh look at how English is spelt and examining if it is possible to remove some of the irregular dross which obscures the main rules of English spelling system.
    Clearly redundant -e endings, for example, (are, have, gone) do nothing but undermine the main English way of spelling long vowels (dare, save, bone). Do we really need to keep hanging on to them? (Most were introduced by 16th C printers who were paid by the line and liked to make words longer.)
    Johnson undermined the English method of marking short vowels in longer words with a doubled consonant (ballad, belllow, bitty, poppy, offer) by exempting hundreds of words of Latin orgin from this method (salad, celery, city, copy, profit) and needlessly adding doubled consonants to dozens of others (collapse, collect, attach, offend)
    so that consonant doubling in longer words in now entirely incomprehensible and has to be learned word by word.
    Is it sensible to keep obeying the dictates of a man who revered Latin but had little respect for English and doubted if it would ever become fit for scientific discourse?

  13. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I wonder if you (or thumbie) can explain why these children can learn and apply phonics now, when they are being taught it in a systematic way and they couldn't previously.

  14. I don't dislike phonics. It's nothing to do with personal preferences. I work with the definition provided in the Rose Report, not something I have dreamt up for myself. It is this definition which informs the phonics check and the match funding initiative. I see no reason to adopt a new definition because someone on a forum thinks mine is too narrow. Go to Michael Gove and tell him. In fact, as I have said before, I think SP is excellent but also that it is not enough. That judgement is not based on opinion but on facts.
  15. I wonder if you can say for sure that they were not taught in a systematic way previously? There is no way I could say why they have not learnt up to the point of coming into maizie's hands without knowing much more about the situation and the children (and Maizie). However, I definitely think their poor vocabularies is one of the factors I would look at if taking a serious interest.
  16. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I actually know maizie's school (looked at for my son) and I know the catchment area as I previously taught in a primary school across the road and agree vocabulary will impact on understanding and ability to recognise whether they are pronouncing some words correctly or not but that doesn't explain why these children can suddenly use phonics to read and spell albeit at a basic level initially.
  17. Then I would ask you why and how 6 year olds can:
    or, more accurately, 'decode' and 'spell plausibly'? It seems that maizie's charges are operating at a similar level of linguistic maturity to 6 year olds. This indicates that they have very poor learning abilities that have not served them well through primary school. It is conceivable that they are only ready to learn phonics usefully at age 11.
  18. Am I right in inferring from your recent posts, thumbie, that you think that children with poor vocabularies can't learn to read with phonics? (Or even, perhaps, can't learn to read at all?)
  19. No. I don't know where you get that from. Perhaps you could reread my last post.
  20. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    do you only want them to do these things "plausibly" thumbie? in that case stick to using picture and initial letter clues

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