Q about learning phonics

(19 Posts)
MangoTiramisu Tue 10-Sep-13 06:10:00

My son has just started school. I've noticed that they are teaching them 4 different phonics a week. With my other child, in the same class, it was 1 a week. Is this normal now? It seems a bit much for a group of 4-year olds when the expectation was that they knew nothing when they walked in the door.

Euphemia Tue 10-Sep-13 07:16:15

Depends on the teacher/school.

In my area, two per week seems to be the norm. I teach three per week as I think two is too slow a pace, and because of timetabling I can't fit another one into the week. I'd have liked to have done four, and revise them all on a Friday, but there's just not time.

The teacher will be continually checking that the children are keeping up, and re-teaching if need be.

Phonics is supposed to be fast-paced: Jolly Phonics recommends teaching six phonemes a week (!) but I've never heard of anyone attempting that.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 10-Sep-13 07:40:04

DD did the six per week. Seemed to work very well for her class.

Hulababy Tue 10-Sep-13 10:49:09

Ours varies week to week and class by class. We follow Debbie Hepplewhite's floppy phonics scheme which actually starts fairly slowly with 2-3 sounds a week - alternative days of learn and write activities (roughly)

Periwinkle007 Tue 10-Sep-13 11:01:48

If I remember last year right it was one a day but whether that was one a day for 4 days then recap on friday I am not sure - my daughter didn't really share that information!

PastSellByDate Tue 10-Sep-13 11:21:35

Hi MangoTiramasu:

Jolly phonics does seem to work. Mix of sweet songs reinforcing sounds, lively worksheets and pragmatic scheme of building up vowel & consonant sounds & then blending sounds. I don't know if our school did as many as 4 phonemes a week - they were big on 'sound' of the week (which linked into that weekend's homework/ guided reading.

If you're worried try to ask the teacher if she could indicate what sounds are being worked on that week so that you can be aware & ensure to reinforce them at home. I agree learning them (in the sense of totally knowing them from that point forward) in 1 week seems very speedy - but I suspect it is more subtle than that - and they are continuously returning to sounds (ah sound for 'a', etc...) in class, reinforcing this approach.

Jolly phonics do a nice range of workbooks with lots of colouring and good writing practice. I stumbled across these in time for DD2 (too late for DD1) but they seemed to really help.

Oxford Owl have a new 'phonics made easy' section which might be helpful: www.oxfordowl.co.uk/home/reading-owl/expert-help/phonics-made-easy

My DDs teachers also used alphablocks (CBeebies) in class as well: www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/alphablocks/

Euphemia: mrz has said that s/he teaches 6 a week but hopefully will be along soon to confirm & give his/ her opinion on this.

HTH

MangoTiramisu Tue 10-Sep-13 12:06:56

You guys bring tears to my eyes, you are all so helpful. There are no bookshops where I live, no WHSmith and zero resources that are decent to teach your kids. I have to get it all from the UK and never know what to look for.
Honestly, you guys are bloody diamonds. I just looked at Oxford Owl, just what we need, brilliant!

Euphemia Tue 10-Sep-13 19:13:16

Past Mrz has told me before that she does 5 per week.

mrz Tue 10-Sep-13 19:30:30

Sue LLoyd who wrote Jolly Phonics originally said 6 sounds a week (hence satpin) covering all 42 sounds in 7 weeks but we found one a day more manageable with JP.

maizieD Tue 10-Sep-13 19:40:21

Jolly Phonics recommends teaching six phonemes a week (!) but I've never heard of anyone attempting that.

Sue Lloyd (developer of JP) did! She did it because that's what, as a classroom (and specifically SEN) teacher, she found to be most effective. I suspect that it is constant revision and repetition which makes it work. With so many sounds per week the other advantage is that children can be reading words in a very short time, making the learning more purposeful for them. But I can also see that close attention must be paid to the slower to learn, with extra practice for them to ensure that they don't fall behind.

Sue did a series of articles about the development of JP for the RRF Newsletter.

www.rrf.org.uk/archive.php?n_issueNumber=45

They are in the first three newsletters if anyone is interested.

stargirl1701 Tue 10-Sep-13 19:41:53

I did one a day when I taught P1. We used Jolly Phonics.

merrymouse Tue 10-Sep-13 19:46:12

I think the theory is to introduce letters at a pace that allows the children to start making words quickly: being able to hear the order of sounds and identify them wherever they are in the word is more important than knowing all the letters/sounds before starting to learn to read.

louloubellamozzarella Tue 10-Sep-13 19:49:29

Children have a phonics check assessment in Y1 now - so maybe that's why the learning is not structured?

louloubellamozzarella Tue 10-Sep-13 19:49:51

Sorry *more structured

mrz Tue 10-Sep-13 19:55:05

I taught 6 sounds a week back in 1993 when I first used Jolly Phonics but it meant fitting in two sounds one day (definitely not impossible but find one a day more manageable to fit into the timetable ).
louloubellamozzarella I would think with the phonics check schools should be more structured.

ClayDavis Tue 10-Sep-13 20:37:45

As far as I remember the planning chart on the inside cover of my JP handbook has 5 sounds a week but I think the text in the main body suggests 6. I have seen one school teach 6 by introducing 3 sounds on the Monday and 3 on the Tuesday and spending the rest of the week blending and segmenting using those sounds.

BirdyBedtime Wed 11-Sep-13 12:42:34

DS has been learning one sound a day which feels right (and I think DD did the same). We practice at home using a rub-clean letter book to reinforce. His school has moved from Jolly Phonics to RWI so we'll soon see the differences between the 2.

YoniBottsBumgina Wed 11-Sep-13 12:50:58

Can I hijack quickly? I am teaching DS phonics myself and am following (I think) the Jolly Phonics introduction order. He already knows the basic letter sounds of the alphabet so I bought a book to help me work out what order and how to teach the other sounds, but now I'm confused. The book says to introduce S, A, T and P first, so for example with S, would you teach just s and ss, or also that c(e), c(i), c(y) can sometimes make the sound /s/? Do you teach that S can sometimes make the sound /z/?

The book is more of a parents' guide than a teacher's guide which is probably why it doesn't go into much detail. But the thing I need to know is how to approach words that aren't as simple as "sat" "tap" "pat" etc.

maizieD Wed 11-Sep-13 16:11:32

Jolly Phonics teaches the 'simple code' first i.e one way of representing each sound (Jp teaches 42 'sounds' but there can be about 44, depending on accent). then it teaches the other ways of representing each sound.

Debbie's alphabet code chart on www.phonicsinternational.com shows the 'simple' and the 'advanced' codes very clearly. She also gives lots of advice for parents helping/teaching their child. The Jolly Phonics Handbook would give clear instructions if you're prepared to pay for it. Their website (google Jolly Learning) gives the order of introduction.

You are bound at some time to encounter sound spellings which you haven't yet taught; in which case just say that 'this spelling is code for (or 'represents', or however you're putting it) sound/x/ and we will learn more about it later'. It's helpful to use decodable books initially as they will keep step with the sounds as they are learned and don't introduce too much at once.

Most children don't seem to have a problem with 's' being a /s/ or a /z/ at the end of words. Yes, teach him to try both sounds when decoding; he'll know which one is right when he blends the word.

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