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Teaching children to read

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by anon2145, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. Hi there - I hope it's ok to ask this question here - I am a parent and not a teacher (yet!).
    All three of my children have been taught to read whilst they were in a nursery attached to our local lower school, and they were taught exclusively using phonics. This has worked well for them and they are all sound readers.
    My nephew has just turned 4 and for some time now my sister in law has been teaching him to read. I don't think he has had any teaching at his nursery which is a private one; she has taught him herself at home. I noticed the other day when we were visiting that she doesn't use phonics at all - she is teaching him using the names of the letters - i.e "double you" instead of "wuh" for the letter w. So he can spell his name, but not phonetically, and he can recognise certain words - I noticed one of them was "children" but this is by recognition and not by decoding it phonetically.
    Is he going to have problems when he starts reception in September ? Or do some schools teach basic reading skills non-phonetically ?
  2. Trudy

    Trudy New commenter

    I would say that most early years practitioners use a range of strategies, including synthetic phonics, to teach reading - some words are not read phonetically so some words can be taught by recognition. I would recommend that your sister in law has a look at something like Jolly Phonics so that your nephew is prepared a little bit for what will come when he starts school. If he is learning well the way she is teaching him there is no need to change things completely, though, as what works for one child may not work as well for another!
  3. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    As a Reception teacher, I hate it when children come in knowing letter names and not letter sounds - they almost have to try to forget what they've learned as it is absolutely no use to them in learning to read or spell. I love it when they come in knowing letter sounds, but would rather they'd been taught nothing than just knew the letter names.
    I'd second Trudy's suggestion that your sister in law looks at Jolly Phonics - the finger phonics books, and other resources are readily available from Early Learning Centre shops or many bookshops.
    I would disagree with her argument that some words aren't read phonetically - almost all words can be read phonetically. It's just that some use the more complex code that children might not meet in Reception classes. So they are decodable, but not with the knowledge and skills that beginner readers have acquired.
    Although some children will learn to recognise some words by sight, it's a far more effective strategy to recognise letters, know the sounds that they usually make, and to be able to blend those sounds to read words.
  4. Can i suggest she googles You-tube Jolly Phonics; its' a good way to intoduce the sounds and actions if you think she's unfamiliar with them
  5. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    I would have to say that when children can learn the names of the letters and have done so by the time they come into reception it is not hard to teach the sounds that the letters also represent and children who do know the 26 letter names quickly pick up on systematic phonics teaching.
  6. I agree that children have different capacities to pick up reading in different ways - but, sadly, some are damaged in the long term if they are encouraged or taught to consider reading to be a whole word shape or guessing activity.
    All the children need to learn the alphabetic code and this will serve them well in the short and long term.
    So, it is irrelevant what their learning styles are - it is the same alphabetic code that they need to learn.
    Having said that, many of us were not taught the alphabetic code per se - far from it. However, we were largely the lucky children who probably had plenty of help at home, a natural flair of reading and who managed to learn to read book by book by book and from a variety of methods. Many of us will have 'deduced' much of the alphabetic code without even realising it.
    Our writing system is based on a relationship between speech sounds and spelling alternatives - albeit a complex code - and it will benefit children if teachers and parents understand this and help children to assimilate the alphabetic code and to practise the blending, segmenting and handwriting skills.


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