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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. I am interested in how the L to R, phoneme by phoneme approach works with multi-syllabic words, as I find that children who slavishly sound out words, waiting for the end before blending, often come unstuck when it becomes essential to look at the word as a series of chunks and know when to stop, start and segment syllables.
     
  2. I am prepared to bet that the error doesn't work the other way round; 'said' being read as 'sad' or 'went' as 'wet'. Which would be interesting, because you'd expect, if anything, that the error would be to miss out letters, rather than put them in. Technically, it's a 'strong but wrong' error.
    It sees them as a visual pattern, in the same way as it sees a tree or a house. This is why people who couldn't tell you how a word is spelled can still read it accurately. VS Ramachandran did some neat experiments showing how the brain 'fills in' details it expects to see.
    It's not an either/or situation. What the brain does with words doesn't necessarily fall neatly into a category determined by the way the person learned to read. The brain doesn't work like a computer. It cobbles together fast and dirty solutions because it has evolved to enable people to survive, not to enable them to get 100% in a SAT test. There are a number of factors impacting on reading when skilled readers read. They use context priming, word frequency and visual cues as well as the L-R order of the letters. Sometimes one of the cues will pre-empt the others and an error occurs.
    It's not my eye movement theory, I got it from Keith Rayner's review paper.
    And I posted a tongue-in-cheek comment at the end of my message. For all I know, you might believe that and be telling children same.[​IMG]
     
  3. No, not deliberately misunderstanding, just pointing out the inconsistencies in what you are saying. You said yourself that a reader can use phonic knowledge and semantic knowledge to read 'wind'. It is merely a short step from that to saying a reader can use phonic knowledge and semantic knowledge to read a previously unseen word which is in the reader's vocabulary. For instance, (to be seasonal) 'snow'. Using phonics alone it could rhyme with 'now' or it could rhyme with 'toe', but because the reader is reading the weather forecast, and has come across the word 'snow' in speech, s/he knows which to use. But when read as a single word in isolation you phonics people would surely have to give a mark to the child who says s'now, even though, as far as I know, that is a non-existent word.
    Take the step Maizie! Free yourself!
     
  4. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Thumbie if children are reading "sad" for "said" and "wet" for "went" they aren't looking carefully at the word and perhaps that is where you need to focus ...bring their attention to all the letters. I find it more common in children who have been taught whole words to jump over parts of the word.
    Personally I've never encountered a child read either word wrongly using phonics but it is more common for some children to miss the "n" in went when segmenting for spelling.
     
  5. Thank you, it is a stage of literacy development to use context when reading, an essential stage which lasts for the whole of a reader's life. Pronunciation is part of it, but more important is the understanding of the word as a unit of meaning. Incidentally, phonics does not help much with the placing of stresses in words, we have to learn that from hearing them used, and we can generally tolerate regional pronunciations, still understanding the word used.
     
  6. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    thumbie you seem to be ignoring what I wrote.
    decoding is an earlier skill and once that is mastered we look for meaning and apply existing knowledge when deciding on alternative pronounciation of words spelt the same but with different meaning. It is a progression and in NOT guessing no matter what you think. Teaching children to use context before they can read the word leads them to say "house" for "home" it doesn't change the meaning but they aren't reading accurately
     
  7. I'm not ignoring what you wrote, I'm agreeing with your assertion that we look for meaning and apply existing knowledge when faced with words which are a bit of a problem. I'm just saying that if this is a method you are happy to allow with words which have multiple meanings (and sometimes pronunciations), then why stop at that point?
    As for teaching children to use context before they can read the word, if it results in a reasonable deduction of what the word says (house/home) I would not be too horrified but would re-direct the child to the word to look more carefully, provided the phonics were within their knowledge and grasp (ie they knew 'h', 'o-e', 'm'), or if not I would tell them the word or teach the phonics, depending on circumstances. Phonic knowledge and contextual understanding work hand in hand. By the way, house and home do mean different things, so it is important that the reader registers the correct word, for full comprehension not just for accuracy of decoding.
     
  8. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    You still seem to be missing the point that it is a later skill that we use once we are competent decoders not one that we should encourage first. You wouldn't expect a child to dive off the high board into the deep end until they can swim would you?
     
  9. Msz, it is my understanding of the post about this (not posted by me), that the problem was children reading 'sad' as 'said' and 'wet' as 'went'. I agree that this is because they are expecting 'said' and 'went', as they appear so much in first texts, and are common words in spoken English. Of course, directing children to the letters in 'sad' and 'wet' should help. Equally the context is likely to be nonsense if they make this error, if the words are in a meaningful text, and that will flag up their mistake for them too (provided they are listening to themselves read).
     
  10. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    There isn't a great deal of comprehension happening in the Ginn 360 book Home but guessing and picture clues from the Searchlight method resulted in lots of children saying house
     
  11. I know you want to make that point, I'm just drawing attention to the inconsistency that says children will know whether it's wind or wind by using context but will not make intelligent use of context in other situations. When learning to read, phonics is one armband and context is the other. Using meaning and context really is not that hard! It is natural and useful - understanding language comes before reading it.
     
  12. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    It isn't an inconsistency it's just progression
     
  13. I can't comment, as I don't know the book. But it's not the only text to use the word 'home' is it? And if it is the title the child doesn't have any supporting textual evidence, only the picture. I'd say 'house' was a good try and do a bit of teaching. That's what hearing children read is all about. Knowing phonics from a daily phonics lesson does not guarantee that children will use that knowledge every time in their reading, they are apprentices and the adults are the master-readers.
     
  14. I don't really get your point.
    I used the word inconsistency because you allow a method in one situation but regard it anathema in another similar situation. That's inconsistent.
    Can you explain about 'progression'- are you saying that it's easier to use context to distinguish between wind and wind and harder to use it to distinguish between wet and went (even with the obvious spelling difference to support as well?). I don't agree.


     
  15. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I would teach them to look at words rather than the pictures and if they did so they would look at all the sounds in order left to right and know that the word doesn't say house but home.
     
  16. Sounds good to me, but you're onto a hiding to nothing if you think you're going to stop them looking at the picture!
    The example you have used, if I am right in guessing that you are talking about the title of a book, isn't really a valid example regarding using the context, is it?
     
  17. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    The book is called Home but the word appears on every page as it is a look and say scheme with the character asking is this home?
    As we are talking about early reading skills it is perfectly valid.
    I've managed for the past 16 or 17 years to teach them to read the words and not the pictures very successfully.

     
  18. So you teach the phonics when tackling the title, and remind as you go through the book. What's the problem? The context supports because the sentence is the same on each page. Both armbands on and splash!
    I hope that, despite that, they have achieved the ability to make their own internal pictures when reading.
     
  19. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    They can make wonderful pictures using their imagination and leave reception reading words not guessing
     
  20. You seem to be doing a lot of guessing yourself, thumbie. I think that I very distinctly said that these words were part of a reading test. Perhaps I should have made it crystal clear and said a word reading test. It is Y7,8 & 9 children that I am testing, not EY children who have been reading predictable text. It is pretty scary that, thanks to the Searchlights strategy we have children on the verge of adulthood who, even though they have been specifically directed to look carefully at each word (and I really cannot say more than that when I am testing them, perhaps shouldn't even be saying that) they still cannot distinguish 'sad' from 'said' or 'wet' from 'went', even when they are seeing them in isolation.
    Whoever came up with the bizarre and idiotic notion that when you are reading you read what you 'expect' to see, not what is actually there on the page, should have been smothered at birth.
    The most absolutely crazy and stupid thing is that children's authors, such as Micheal Rosen, actually support this 'reading for meaning' mantra. Are they aware that it teaches that 'anything is OK' as long as it preserves meaning? It makes a whole mockery of writers writing for effect and chosing their words with great care. How do you know you've actually 'got' the meaning when you've been changing all the words on the page with gay abandon?

     

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