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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. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I'm not sure if you believe they don't have illustrations in their books but would like to assure you they do however they know that the text is what we read and the illustration provides additional enjoyment and sometimes even a separate story.

  2. thumbie, before I explode, would you please give me your definition of 'guessing' in the context of reading?
    I am saying that the Searchlights strategy taught children that if they came across a collection of letters that they didn't 'know' as a word (i.e they were incapapble of sounding it out- you know, it seems so stupid to write that because you would expect that any child's first strategy with an unknown word would be to sound it out, but I have plenty of children who look blankly at a perfectly simple to decode word and say 'I don't know it'. [​IMG] ) not a word that they could say , but didn't know the meaning of, but <u>a word they did not 'know' in any sense whatsoever</u>, they should read on to the end of the sentence and'predict' what the word might be. Now, I call that guessing. What do you call it?
    I do not call it guessing if the child knows what the word says, knows that it can be pronounced two ways and has two (or more ) meanings and uses the context of the sentence to decide which it must be. If you think that is guessing as well then I think we are living on different planets.

  3. incapapble[​IMG] 'incapable'
  4. I apologise for that maizie, I was too lazy to search back through the posts to find the first mention of the sad/said thing. I wasn't guessing, I was just not remembering accurately. Having said that, reading tests are sometimes about reading sentences, in my experience.
    I think it's probably more difficult to distinguish 'wet' and 'went' in isolation than in context, because you have no meaning to refer to. These are such easy words to use phonics to decode I wonder if your pupils have ever been taught even the most basic of phonics in a way that they could access. Were they very bad attenders in their early school years?
    Well I think we have all experienced misreading something because of expectations, I know i have and that on occasion I have had to go back and look again when I have realised it doesn't make sense. Another example of context supporting accurate reading. Similarly when someone mistyped 'been' a few posts back, it was a combination of context and the correct letter in the word that prompted a correct interpretation (beep, or bees or whatever it was, again too lazy to look back, did not meet expectations).
    The words have to the correct words for meaning to be preserved, but it is not the whole story. I think what Rosen is getting at is that 'the meaning is the thing', not to be confused with 'the words are the thing'.

  5. maisie, you keep quoting the searchlights at me although I have never said that I go along with all that. It's so long since I read it, I can't defend or attack it so would prefer not to attempt to discuss it.
    I don't think the use of the word 'guess' is very helpful, as it is being loaded to attack people who oppose your viewpoint.
    You could say that Sherlock Holmes used guesswork to solve crimes. He did not know who the culprit was, but he used evidence to make an informed guess. In that sense, there is a lot of guessing going on when applying phonics - guessing which version of the phoneme/digraph/trigraph applies in each unknown word, for instance, and then checking the guess against the evidence of the context or the reader's vocabulary. There is, likewise a lot of informed guessing in the use of context- the word may have an accessible meaning but be difficult to de-code, so with the meaning in mind you check against the printed word and your phonic approximation.
    Your use of the word 'guess' has consistently been applied only for the second occurence, and has been used to discredit that method, even though Sherlock would have been proud of it. I prefer deduce (maybe Sherlock would too).
  6. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    however you keep advocating using the Searchlight methods
    I hope that isn't how people teach children to use phonics
    Children are not deducing anything when they are presented with a word beginning with d and look at the picture of dad walking the dog and "guess" first dad then dog when the word is down ...
    or when faced with the sentence "I like ..." look at the picture and guess dog when the word is puppy
  7. Do I? Can't you accept that I am simply speaking from my own experience, knowledge and point of view.
    Well, when there are various phonemes for the same grapheme, how else do you do it? It's wind and wind all over again. When it comes to cough, through, though, bough, thought etc. you either have to know all the phonic variations of 'ough' and apply them until you get the right one (fitting the context/ or reader's vocab), learn word families (rhyme/analogy) or learn them by look and say. I hate to disappoint you, but SP just doesn't do it, efficiently, on its own.

  8. Actually they are deducing something, but they are not using all the clues and they are failing to deduce correctly, like the child who looks at 'row' (with oars), says 'row'(fight), decodes incorrectly but doesn't notice that their guess doesn't make sense, or, if you prefer, sees 'apron', uses a short a when decoding and doesn't bother to check that it's a real word that fits context.
  9. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    yes i can accept that is your opinion
    You teach the alternatives starting with the most common and teach children to try each
    and I hate to contradict you and say it does

  10. How do they know that they have chosen the correct alternative without using their knowledge or the context. SP does not do it on it's own. Even if they do stumble upon the correct alternative, if it is word that is totally new to them how will they glean the meaning without using the context.
    You know, I'm only stating the bxxxxxxx obvious.
  11. By the time they've got it they'll have forgotten the beginning of the sentence.
    Do you know, I can't help feeling really sorry for those kids.
  12. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    As I've stated over and over learning to read involves learning a series of skills which is a developmental process. Decoding words using phonics is an early skill, children if taught correctly can apply the knowledge to read words.

    Of course if they or you or I encounter a completely new word we will
    sometimes need support to determine meaning (often for a child it will
    be an adult who will explain the meaning. Perhaps as adults we can
    determine the meaning from context or I don't know about you but I
    sometimes resort to a dictionary). But would we really give a young
    child a book with vocabulary they don't understand to read unsupported
  13. Oh, come off it, thumbie. Words out of context are no more difficult than words in context. Particularly if you are supposed to have been learning to read for the previous six years.
    Well, hooray, we're almost agreed on something! I think that they were taught very basic phonics, Unfortunately it got mixed with look & guess...and I know it was mixed with look & guess because I ask them how they were taught to work out unfamiliar words...

    I doubt it. Their attendance is mostly absolutely fine I don't see that it should have been particularly different at primary.

    I think that what Rosen is doing is talking out of his rear end; parroting a load of guff that's being fed to him by the UKLA. He is also busily cutting off his nose to spite his face as he promotes the method of teaching reading which is most successful at producing non- readers.
    You can't get the right meaning until you get the words right.
    I'm afraid I have to say that I feel extremely sorry for children taught your way because their dislike and fear of reading, their poor self esteem and their poor attainment is absolutely heartbreaking.
    I would love to know where this deep rooted fear of children actually understanding and competently carrying out the reading process originates...
  14. Think about it. Childen develop understanding of words before they learn phonics. Understanding of words is developmental from age 0, understanding of phonics is taught from age 3/4. So children are well-equipped, age 3/4, to understand simple spoken sentences. They can apply this to understanding written sentences. What would be the point of teaching a child phonics if they did not understand language? Children, if taught phonics correctly, can apply the knowledge to decode unknown words correctly with the support of a known context.
    But they may need support to make the right choices in decoding words they already know eg a word as familiar in meaning to the average child as giraffe needs to be read with a choice of the right 'g' sound, the right 'i' sound and an understanding that the 'e' is silent. It's a big ask, but if the child knows the sentence is about an animal at the zoo you give them a fighting chance of getting it. They might need an adult to support them in decoding the phonics, but not in knowing the meaning, and the dictionary can stay on the shelf.
  15. You've got to be joking! To use the example quoted by yourself or one of your buddies, how would you decode 'wind' if you had no context?
    There you go again. Reading 'wind' out of context is a bigger guessing game than guessing a given word after repetitive exposure to it during lessons.
    Have you ever taken the trouble to find out? My daughter missed a lot of year 1, and also had an undiagnosed hearing problem at the time. Her spelling is still dodgy at age 23, although she has a degree. She didn't miss much time later in her school career. You could take some time, too, to find out if the children had frequent changes of school as that could have had an impact.
    I don't know in detail what Rosen says, and I would agree with this:
    I have no argument with the value of phonic teaching to help children access meaning. But that is only one element of the task of reading. Children need to go beyond this but with SP are discouraged from using their natural propensity to seek meaning in texts. Part of this propensity is the ability, which most children acquire despite efforts to inhibit it, to use patterns, rhymes, context and expectations to read words/ texts.
    You only seem to know about the casualties, who have not learnt phonics. You can't assume that therefore using patterns, rhymes, context and expectations is ineffective. Do your pupils use these strategies any better than they use phonics?
    From my point of view I could say exactly the same about you. The difference is that I can see that understanding and competently carrying out the reading process requires more than being able to read each word correctly according to phonic rules (never mind if you choose the wrong ones!)

  16. I think what he wants to promote is reading for information and reading for enjoyment. And what he is worried about is education (or SP or any other reading strategy) being seen as an end in itself. With the advent of league tables, children's performance in tests has tended to become a proxy for school performance, and reading for information or enjoyment as a means to improving children's performance in tests. That's the context in which SP is being propagated by government - not as a tool to enhance reading proficiency in order for the child as an individual and as a member of the community to become better informed, thoughtful or happier.
    Yes, SP might be the best way of teaching children to read, but if it's being touted as a political magic bullet, there will be trouble ahead.

  17. Hooray. And you have to approach any text searching for meaning before it will give you information or enjoyment. Reading words, so that you can read words, and earn the approbation of your SP teacher, is a sterile pursuit.
  18. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Is it? The ability to read is one of life's great treasures. People do it for themselves, inthe end, not for their doting parents EY teachers.
  19. This woman is definitely on a completely different planet from me....
  20. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Ooh I like this - were having a Right Royal Ruck here and no mistake! [​IMG]

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