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Teaching the grapheme ure.

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by little monkey, Apr 2, 2010.

  1. Can anyone please advise me on how this grapheme is best taught. I don't want to confuse the children - ure has 2 sounds not one and also in words such as 'sure' the s makes the sound sh. Any advice most welcome.
  2. Whatage are your children and how far have they got with learning the 'advanced code'? How useful will 'ure' be to them?
    It is a tricky grapheme; it only occurs in 3 single syllable words which children might encounter; pure, cure and lure. In the first 2 it is /yoor/ and in the last it is /oor/ (I'm using 'oo' to represent /oo/ as in 'moon'). Are the children familiar with the fact that 'u' can represent a /yoo/ or an /oo/ sound? If they are, the /yoor/, /oor/ would tie in with that.
    After that 'ure' is most common as the ending of a multisyllable word and could be /er/ (picture) or /yoor/ (endure) and it can affect the preceeding consonant, 't' in 'picture' becomes /ch/ and 's' in 'treasure' becomes /zh/ . So, I feel that the children have to be at the stage when they can cope with 'tweaking' for /yoor/ or /oor/, can cope with vowels changing the sound of the preceeding consonant and need to be able to decode the grapheme so as to read multisyllable words that contain it. Then I would introduce one aspect at a time!
    I would teach 'sure' separately as a tricky word; so tricky, in fact, that neither grapheme does what is expected of it!
    If you need a word bank I find this an incredibly useful site http://www.morewords.com/
    It's for crossword addicts really, but is great for finding words containing specific graphemes[​IMG]
  3. Miss Piggywig

    Miss Piggywig New commenter

    As it is so difficult why is itin Phase 3 letters and sounds which we are expecting Reception Children to manage?
  4. Thanks for the quick replies
    The children are 4/5 years old - last term reception, they are a very able little group and this is the last grapheme they need to learn. I'm really struggling with this one as i feel it is a difficult one and how much use will it really be to them at this present time i.e. reading/writing. On the other hand it is phase 3 and is intended to be learnt in reception - so what shall i do introduce it or move on into phase 4 and leave it for the year 1 teacher.
  5. Well, I don't know the answer to that one, I didn't write L & S!
    It's just that it's not a particularly 'useful' grapheme to know if children aren't going to encounter text containing words with it in until they are further into KS1, and, it is not straightforward.
  6. Our posts crossed!
    I'd leave it for the Y1 teacher! The phases aren't a legal obligation. But let her know that you have!
  7. Mmmm i think that's what i'll do- not 100% sure i'm doing the right thing though. If anyone has already taught this grapheme can you let me know how it went.

  8. Page 11 Letters and Sounds: Notes of Guidance for Practitioners and Teachers:
    /ure/ - This phoneme does not occur in all accents. It occurs only if people pronounce words such as 'sure' and 'poor' with an /ooer/ sound, not if they pronounce them as 'shaw' and 'paw'. It, too, can be omitted in Phase Three, perhaps even permanently."

    I have found a number of impractical aspects to Letters and Sounds which I won't go into here. If you look hard enough in the large guidance book and the notes of guidance booklet, there are also a lot of snippets which give teachers better explanations or 'get-outs'.
    However, the whole main book is not compulsory - and I suggest that it isn't really a full programme and, as guidance, teachers need to use a degree of common sense.

    One way of addressing 'ure' type words is to teach 'ue' as /yoo/ and /oo/ and to teach 'u-e' as /yoo/ and /oo/.
    Then, as children get older, reading words such as 'endure' can be read through the split digraph 'u-e' route - ending in /r/.
    Also, as Maizie has said, it is quite helpful to look at words which end -ture as there are many common words like 'picture', 'adventure' and 'future' that sound like 'chu' at the end. I describe this as /ch+schwa/ or /chu/ and it can easily be taught as an extension to teaching /ch/ - and is arguably far more useful than teaching the /yooer/ or /ooer/ sound specifically for 'ure'.
    Words like 'mature' need attention and the split digraph u-e route - but, in any event, SP taught well involves the early notion of pronunciation alternatives and spelling alternatives. This is one reason why I promote the use of an alphabetic code chart so both teaching staff and children (and parents come to that) can see the spelling and pronunciation alternatives and the children can learn to be flexible and fearless readers.
    If teachers teach too rigidly and only refer to a very basic code, then children themselves may become rigid and fearful readers.
  9. Leapyearbaby64

    Leapyearbaby64 New commenter

    I'd suggest moving onto phase 4 and leaving "ure". I suppose it's there because the idea was to have 1 grapheme for every phoneme by the end of FS. But in my view there are other more useful things to teach.
  10. cranberryjuice

    cranberryjuice New commenter

    Hi, we had this issue last year. We decided to give it a miss - we all, reception staff, said the words with ure in a different way, due to our accents, We thought this may confuse the children, especially as they seem to responding really well to the other long vowels and making lots of progress!!! I agree with leapyear baby - more useful things to teach!!!!
  11. I agree with you there, Debbie. It's just that 'ure' isn't really much use to the children at this stage. I wasn't suggesting 'stick to basic code', just 'don't teach something that won't yet be consolidated through reading/writing'
    I would still suggest that 'sure' is taught as a (very) tricky word as it is common and quite frequently used.
  12. I've taught it but as Phase 3 in Year 2. Although they were good readers (those children who can read without you having to teach them!) their writing was weak because they didn't have the phonic knowledge. It was fairly easy, however they had the personal vocab for it. I would echo those who query the value in Reception.
  13. What I think is truly great - is that teachers' professional knowledge and experience is growing such that they can think carefully about content and make sensible judgements about how and when they can approach the details of the alphabetic code.
    Maizie, in no way was I disagreeing with anything that you wrote - at least I didn't think I was.
    I agree that teaching 'sure' is surely a great idea.
    It's a pesky little word that is common to speech and it is also a good way into the 'ure' chunk. Mention of this might also be a good moment to mention the 'ture' chunk to show how it is often 'chu'.
    Children just need a steady introduction to all of the foibles of the alphabetic code - both through a planned programme and through the incidental approach. They themselves then begin to look at words and spellings with interest and can often think of sensible questions and make sensible observations themselves.
    The thrill for me, quite honestly, is that these types of code-based conversations would not even have taken place a few years ago.
    We ARE making good progress as a profession generally - and I hope to see professional curiousity as to just what can be achieved across the board (that is, whatever the setting, whatever the children, whatever the context).
  14. I was absolutely delighted with this thread as I have always been terrified of the ure grapheme and how to approach it. Ive always said to myself, with such guilt, that they will pick it up and they have. I have had the same class for three years.
    However, my problem is my accent which does not lend itself to the oo sound in sure rather it's the or sound. Im OK and they are too with the ch/schwa but the shoor, How difficult is that??.
    I do like the idea of teaching sure as a tricky word. I have always focused on it as a high frequency word to compensate.
    Excellent advise on this thread! Thanks.
    When I go back after the hols Im going to do the ure sound.
  15. Heavens. I was brought up in Essex, lived in Yorkshire for 15 years and have been in the North East for even longer. I don't recall anyone saying anything other than /shore/ for 'sure'!
    Though I'm now wondering if my N.Easterners say ' /shoo-er/ and I'm just not noticing it![​IMG]
  16. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    my class would definitely say shooo er
  17. Its 'shoo-a' here in the Midlands!
  18. My worst, worst, worst one was when one of my six year olds wrote s-n-ai-ol. Since that day I have never said snaiol again. Oh dear!
  19. SherylGM

    SherylGM New commenter

    I've just stumbled across this thread more than 7 years later as I am having the same issue! Being a North Easterner, specifically a Mackem (from Sunderland) my accent really exaggerates 'sure' as 'shoo, errr', which is a source of great mickey-taking from my friends and husband who are from Jarrow, Gateshead, Newcastle merely a few miles away. Pure (pyoo-errrrr, or even pyoo-ah depending on how thick the accent is) is another one. Yet treasure is more of a tresh-ah. I just can't say them without putting the 'yuh' in. Personally I love regional accents and the way they bring character to the language but it does cause all many of difficulties when teaching phonics. Also there are those who see my accent as common, or rough which doesn't help my confidence!
  20. thinkypublishing

    thinkypublishing Occasional commenter

    There are lots of these - 'il' as in 'pencil' is another one.

    I've tried to create word lists where the pronunciation is consistent (assuming you'd pronounce the 'ure' part the same) but then that only applies if you're teaching children with a similar accent to your own.

    My wife has it the opposite way - a southerner amusing young midlanders with her pronunication of grass etc. (she says it wrong of course and she can't pronounce 'u' as in 'bus), but children are used to hearing many different accents nowadays. Likewise with seeing lots of different methods of writing.

    Also of interest -ture as in picture
    and then you have pleasure/measure/leisure with the /ʒə/
    and if you want to be really funky you have allure, bureau...
    a lot to figure out :confused::D

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