"So" is a sight word and can't be sounded out...

(313 Posts)
Stampstamp Thu 19-Sep-13 13:11:46

Said the reception class teacher today. Aaargh! Thank heavens DD can already mostly read (she's nearly 5). Why do some teachers and schools have such a limited understanding of phonics, it seems so fundamental to me?

lorisparkle Thu 19-Sep-13 15:16:53

I think the teacher meant that it is a word that can not be sounded with the phonics and phonic rules at a particular stage. I'm sure the letters and sounds handbook talks about the tricky words at different phases and often when a child moves onto a different phase a word could then be sounded out using the rules they are learning.

MrsMelons Thu 19-Sep-13 15:32:02

I am confused, so can't be sounded out using phonics. It is a tricky word as such, same as me, be, he etc.

IAmNotLouise Thu 19-Sep-13 15:52:23

so, he, me and be can all be sounded out, MrsMelons.

Stampstamp Thu 19-Sep-13 15:53:46

It can be sounded out with phonics. The letter "o" sometimes makes the sound as in "dog", and sometimes the sound as in "bone". Like so, no, yo, ho [perhaps a bit inappropriate grin]

Stampstamp Thu 19-Sep-13 15:55:48

She specifically said "So" can't be sounded out, it would come out as /s/ /o/ as in "dog". There's not really a point to this post, I'm having a rant as it frustrates me, and is concerning in a school.

Euphemia Thu 19-Sep-13 16:18:20

All words can be sounded out. Words are written representations of speech.

carrie74 Thu 19-Sep-13 16:23:48

It can't be sounded out using the system my children used (Read Write Inc), it would be a red word (ie needs to be learned by sight).

MajorMassSpecsMistriss Thu 19-Sep-13 16:24:22

I was under the impression that the 'o' in bone is pronounced that way due to the 'e' at the end, a rule that doesn't apply in the case of 'so'

Katz Thu 19-Sep-13 16:25:52

But o in bone is that sound because of magic e

frazzled1772 Thu 19-Sep-13 16:26:44

All words can be be broken down into their syllables. However the long vowel sound in so would normally be written either as "oa" as in goat, "ow" as in slow, "o and silent e (ask in poke) for example . "So" does not fit these rules as such it cannot be "sounded out" - using the rules of phonics.

nickelbabe Thu 19-Sep-13 16:30:30

yes, (to the longinator) but surely, the rule would state that if so many words of two letters are said with a long o, then it must be a phonic rule of its own?

so:
no
so
Flo
yo
ho ho ho
go
do (a deer a female deer) (although I think it's spelled doh in music so ignore that)
lo (he comes with clouds descending)
Mo

merrymouse Thu 19-Sep-13 16:39:01

Agree with loris.

Some (most?) words can be sounded out using rules that aren't taught in first phonics lessons.

Am sure I saw a government spelling list recently where common words moved from 'tricky' list to decodable list as child progressed.

CecilyP Thu 19-Sep-13 16:59:13

It is the normal pronunciation of the letter 'o' at the end of a word, so 'so' can obviously be sounded out should you need to. How else are you supposed to pronounce it. The word 'so' does, however, appear on the list of tricky words (I have no idea what is supposed to be tricky about it) in the Jolly Phonics scheme which most of the newer phonics schemes seem to follow on from. The teacher seems to be accepting this unquestioningly. When do you ever hear 'o' pronounced as in 'dog' when the the letter 'o' is at the end of the word?

CecilyP Thu 19-Sep-13 17:06:23

All words can be be broken down into their syllables. However the long vowel sound in so would normally be written either as "oa" as in goat, "ow" as in slow, "o and silent e (ask in poke) for example . "So" does not fit these rules as such it cannot be "sounded out" - using the rules of phonics.

Of course it can be sounded out. How else are you supposed to pronounce it? It is just another alternative and perfectly common spelling once you think beyond single syllable words. Whereas 'oa' is not, as far as I know, a permissible spelling of this sound at the end of a word as it would be pronounced as in 'boa' or 'Goa'.

merrymouse Thu 19-Sep-13 17:15:54

It's because of discussions like this that they start off with a few simple rules to get you going.

bibbetybobbityboo Thu 19-Sep-13 17:26:01

It is a tricky word. At this stage children will only have been taught that o is as in 'dog'. alternative phonemes come later The oa sound in bone is represented by the split digraph 'o-e'.

IAmNotLouise Thu 19-Sep-13 17:31:26

I think the government list you are talking about is the appendix to letters and sounds, merrymouse. It's not statutory.

Even then 'tricky' words are not taught as sight words. They are taught as words with a 'tricky' part, so you teach the 'tricky' part and blend them right from the beginning. 'so' would be taught by explaining that in this word the 'o' makes the sound <oa> and then you would blend the /s/ and /oa/.

mrz Thu 19-Sep-13 17:39:22

the letter <o> represents the sound /oa/ in many words
so
no
go
old
cold
sold
told
hold
post
most
post
volt
obey
open
over
ghost
comb
echo
only
solo
etc
etc
etc

so should not be taught as a sight word it should be taught as a word where the letter represents another sound to the one we know already and sounded out (even in RWI)

HumphreyCobbler Thu 19-Sep-13 17:44:00

Red words in RWI are those that make a sound the children have not been explicitly taught yet, NOT a word that cannot be sounded out. The teacher does not understand the phonic scheme they are using. Correct usage of RWI would be an explanation that in this word the o makes an /oa/ sound, with the understanding that this is a sound to be looked at later. And not that much later either, you get through the sounds very quickly in RWI.

Growlithe Thu 19-Sep-13 17:50:34

Could it be that they've only just started phonics (it's only the start of Reception) and they are introducing very simple sounds to start with, but maybe using the word 'so' as an easy word to learn by sight to encourage them when reading starter books? <I'm no teacher - just guessing>

mrz Thu 19-Sep-13 17:55:14

frazzled1772 the sound /oa/ can be spelt

oa - boat
ow - grow
oe- toe
o-e -home
ough -dough
o - both
ol - yolk
ou- soul

as well as some more unusual ways brooch, beau, sew, yeoman

frazzled1772 Thu 19-Sep-13 17:57:07

Mrz some of those words are o~e (magic e words) old, cold hold etc are is not the long vowel sound it's the short vowel sound. They have to simplify the rules - so that children can begin to learn the basics, later on they get the complexities. "Tricky words" are words that don't follow the rules but are really useful to be able to sight read as they are used a lot. Long vowel sounds are taught at a later stage.

frazzled1772 Thu 19-Sep-13 18:00:09

so is a red word in RWI

mrz Thu 19-Sep-13 18:01:57

[shocked] frazzled I currently teach Y1 after teaching reception for almost 20 years and frankly that's utter rubbish ...

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