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What to say when Parents say their child doesn't learn phonetically

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Dalian Daisy, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    On second thoughts, if there is processing gong on it's so fast that it might as well be whole word, just as sound, bullets and light travel too fast to register on our consciousness. I'm a terrible spoonerizer, sometimes with the written word. Only yesterday I read out the greeting on Christmas card as 'crappy ristmas' .
    Some enterprising academic should consider research on the subject of spoonerisms...
  2. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    My eye had noted the C, so it wasn't a spoonerism I'd have made without the printed word.
  3. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    I found this.


    Volume 8, Issue 3

    July 1970,

    Pages 323-350

    <hr style="margin:0px;color:#e6e6e6;" />

    <td style="padding:10px 0pt 0pt;font-size:0.85em;" align="left">
    [​IMG]doi:10.1016/0028-3932(70)90078-3 | How to Cite or Link Using DOI

    Copyright &copy; 1970 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

    <td style="vertical-align:top;padding-top:15px;padding-left:20px;display:block;" align="right">
    [​IMG] Cited By in Scopus (65)

    <tr><td style="font-size:0.9em;">[​IMG] Permissions & Reprints</td></tr></table>

    Spoonerisms: The structure of errors in the serial order of speech


    References and further reading may be available for this article. To view references and further reading you must purchase this article.

    Donald G. MacKay<a name="bfnfn1">[/URL]*

    Psychology Department, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90024, U.S.A.

    Received 16 September 1969. Available online 6 June 2002.

    <h3 class="h3">Abstract</h3>Spoonerisms are defined as involuntary rearrangements of elements in the serial order of speech, as when waste the term is produced as taste the werm. An analysis of 124 Spoonerisms in the natural speech of Germans showed that:
    1. 1. Identical phonemes usually preceded (or followed) the reversed phonemes.
    2. 2. Reversals preceding identical phonemes were as common as reversals following identical phonemes.
    3. Reversed phonemes usually had similar articulatory form, i.e.
    voicing, nasality, openness, and syllabic position were usually
    similar. But the place of articulation of reversed phonemes differed
    more frequently than would be expected by chance.
    serious revision chain-association theories appeared incapable of
    explaining these and other aspects of Spoonerisms. An alternative
    theory of serial order was proposed which had potential application not
    only to the pronunciation of words, but to the syntax of other forms of
    behavior and perception as well.

    <h3 class="h3">R&eacute;sum&eacute;</h3>
  4. It is not surprising that so many teachers on here reject or react negatively to using systematic synthetic phonics as it challenges their long-held beliefs and entrenched norms; questions their practices and in the case of Reading Recovery "experts", threatens their livelihoods and egos.

    Compare the teaching of reading to the plight of Ignaz Semmelweiss, the 19th Century Hungarian physician who came up with the daft idea that most deaths following surgery were caused by infection due to a lack of hygiene amongst surgeons. In other words, simple handwashing. At the time, Semmelweiss was ridiculed, vilified and ostracised by his peers for his ideas and died penniless, alone and driven mad by the failings of his fellow physicians to recognise what he knew to be a very simple truth. He was not only challenging their methods but was up against their unwillingness to admit that they had been the cause of so many deaths to their own patients.

    In a very short time, synthetic phonics will become as basic in the field of reading teaching as handwashing is in medicine. A very simple, effective cure to outcomes that have been caused by previous bad practice. We will wonder how on earth so many children were allowed to fail for so long, and how so many quack cures were blindly lapped up by those in charge.
  5. You mean guessing from the context?
    You mean using analogy?
  6. I think it is testament to the fact that people who can read do not need to decode each phoneme to recognise and read a word. They use a few letters and context, blurghing away merrily.
  7. Depends what part of the country he is from! Where i live 'again' does not have the same vowel sound as 'said'.
  8. You can't really compare these until the situation arises that everyone is using SP and literacy levels hugely increase. Then you and the other SP-only folk will be vindicated. The opposite could happen. SP the sole method of teaching reading - literacy levels do not increase (or fall). Compare with the practice of bleeding patients to make them better.
  9. Precisely, inky!
    We don't actually really know but as the most secure way to instant recognition of words is by practising decoding and blending them a number of times (varies from once to hundreds, depending on the learner...) it does seem more likely that we continue to process them the same way, only at faster than the speed of light, as that is what we have just trained our brains to do!
    How do you know the difference between diary & dairy, trial and trail, if you are not processing all the letters?
    Interestingly, my poor struggling readers habitually read 'sad' as 'said' and 'wet' as 'went'...What does that tell us?
  10. No, guessing from context, in all the instructions on teaching reading the Searchlights way, or helping your child with their reading the Searchlights way, that I have ever read, means "If you don't know what the word is, read on to the end of the sentence and see what might fit'. This is supposed to be a word identification strategy; it's even referred to as 'decoding' at times.
    Debbie is talking about a person who can read the word 'wind', knows that the 'i' can be sounded two ways and that the meaning of the word is different according to how it is sounded, and who uses context to discover which word is required; the wind blowing the leaves around the garden or the road winding round the hillside. That is not guessing, that is applying decoding skills and semantic knowledge.
  11. Using context does not mean 'guessing'. A huge amount of research has been carried out on what are called 'priming' effects in reading. The meaning of the text activates relevant neural networks, so if a word with an ambiguous spelling such as 'wind' or 'read' appears out of context, it is easily mis-read. The context provides clues to the meaning and thus the appropriate pronunciationof the word.
  12. We know a great deal about how children acquire language. The human brain can learn spoken language (or sign language) perfectly adequately without
    explicit instruction, if it is presented with enough examples. It is
    quite possible that children would learn to read intuitively if human
    beings communicated only by the written word. But we don't. So to speed
    up the learning-to-read process, we use explicit instruction.
    As I understand it, several approaches to learning to read, including analytic phonics, are based on the way children acquire spoken language. That they gradually learn to detect and understand patterns of sound in speech, then mimic those patterns. Over time, they learn intuitively to segment the patterns into phrases, words, onset sounds, rhymes, syllables etc. In other words, children use a top-down, analytical approach to language acquisition. In theory, children could learn to read in the same way. Although these approaches make sense theoretically, they overlook two things; that reading is a more complex skill than spoken language, and the number of examples the brain needs to learn a complex skill without explicit instruction.
    Synthetic phonics makes sense and is successful with most children because it makes reading instruction very explicit indeed and saves the brain a lot of trial and error figuring things out for itself.
    This does not mean that SP will produce a 100% literacy levels - just as handwashing did not completely eradicate maternal deaths - because in both cases other factors are involved.


  13. Technical point, but if you watch someone hammering, from a distance, you see the hammer blow before you hear it, so sound is pretty slow, really.
    I agree about the 'most secure' bit. Don't agree about 'we continue to process' bit, because eye movement research alone, never mind the priming and masking research, suggests that expert readers don't do this systematically and with every word.
    Also, another technical point, I don't think anything travels faster than the speed of light, does it?
    Because all the brain needs to do is to see the visual features of the words. The only information you need to disambiguate 'diary' and 'dairy' is 'di' vs 'da', and the overall visual shape of the word. The context would also prime one or other meaning. A sentence like 'I was writing in my dairy', although it makes sense, would generate a lot of errors and expert readers would assume a typo.
    It tells us that 'said' and 'went' are used more frequently in spoken language.

    (Welcome to pedantry corner. [​IMG])
  14. Only in English.
    And only because the English spelling code is so loose
    In languages in which each spelling has just one pronunciation,
    and each sound has fewer alternative spellings than this
    http://englishspellingproblems.blogspot.com/2009/12/rules-and-exceptions-of-english.html ,
    learning to read is much easier than learning to speak
    (and poor language skills at the start of literacy learning are not such a big handicap either).
    Advocates of SP are completely wrong to think that I am against the use of SP.
    I am against the inconsistencies of the English spelling code, because they make learning to read and write so difficult and, even with the best SP teaching, so time-consuming.
    Because the English spelling code is so complex, learning it takes a long time and teaching it requires far more skill, energy and organisation than simpler ones. It's also the reason why there is so much never-ending debate about how best teach reading and writing. With simpler codes, and any literate adult can do it without any sort of training.
    When I first went to Germany at the age of 16 and could neither read nor write the language, although I could speak it a little, I was taught to read it in a few weeks by a slightly older girl who lived nearby and had been 'volunteered' into giving me a few lessons.
    A year later, I taught my 6-year-old cousin while still learning the language myself, but I longer had any difficulty whatsoever decoding any German words.
    The sort of thing that u regularly see on Countdown - contestants offering words which they know how to spell but have trouble pronouncing, including the dictionary expert Suzie Dent - is quite unimaginable in the 6 other European languages I know (either well or a little).
    I have looked at the spelling systems of many others too and in none of them do u get
  15. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    In any language!
    Speech is a natural process for humans but the written form of language is totally man made.
  16. It's also because spoken language requires only fine-grained auditory processing to be adequate. Written language requires fine-grained visual and auditory processing, and an interaction between the two.
  17. When it suits you it is 'applying decoding skills and semantic knowledge', when it does not suit your narrow view of how we read it's 'guessing'. The fact is that readers use a variety of skills, using a variety of evidence, in order to read for meaning. As you rightly say there's a semantic knowledge bit, which can be used to a lesser or greater degree depending on the task be it reading "The wind blowing" or a sentence with an unknown word among many known words.
  18. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    The ability to decode words is an early skill in the reading process. Because of the complex nature of the English orthographical system we sometimes rely on context to establish correct pronounciation of words with the same spelling, it has nothing to do with guessing and is a stage of literacy development.
  19. What, when these words are in a reading test and you have told the children to look very carefully at the words? And they very carefully look at 'sad' and say 'said' and very carefully look at 'wet' and say 'went'. It's nothing to do with their frequency in spoken language - it has everything to do with the children's inability to process words from L to R all through the word because they haven't been rigorously taught to do so.

    And how does the brain 'see' the visual features of the words? It either has beed trained to 'see' them L to R all through the word, or it has been trained to look at the first letter, the shape and make a guess. Why are you proposing that the brain takes an action it has been trained to do and does something completely different? I don't actually 'buy' your eye movement theory because, as I understand it, skilled readers make very few regressions (apart from when reading technical text with many unfamiliar words) and tend to move smoothly through text (and I do know about saccades and fixations).
    Jesus wept! It was a JOKE! A moment of misplaced frivolity...

  20. Utter rubbish, thumbie. What I am saying is that the old NLS taught children to guess words from initial letters and context if they didn't actually know what the word said. I have even seen this advice given on a Dfes produced video about helping children with their reading.
    I think that you are either very deliberately misunderstanding what I am saying or you are incapable of seeing that there is a difference between a completely unknown set of letters on a page which a child cannot identify at all as a word (in which case it decodes and blends it before going on to 'meaning') and a word which a child knows, but which has two different pronunciations which alter its meaning and the child (who knows both of the meanings) has to establish which one fits the context. That is not guessing. Unless of course, you have your own, unique, definition of the word 'guess'.


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