How Fast Phonics Helps Teenage Exam Success

September 2, 2016 1:35 pm Published by

A level results are out and as either exhilarated fulfilment or deep regret overcome crowds of 18 year olds, weary parents are marvelling at how fast the years have sped by. Their four year old Reception newbies are off to university. With dedicated far sighted planning your child, either about to start school or on the way through school, can be among those congratulating themselves when the time arrives.

How is your teaching coming along? Are you making sure you enjoy the games and the success as much as your child? We progress to the next step and now embrace the first real phonics. Write each sound in red felt pen on a white file card, explain them and set them out on the floor, or table. Then ask your child to identify sounds at random.

oo    Make them googly eyes and give some good over-the-top oooos. Wail all over the house. I draw a sort of upside-down raindrop shape around them and make a ghost. Children love it.

ee    Another beloved sound. I draw little ears at the top, whiskers each on each side and put a dot inside each letter. Then we squeak all over the house, saying ee, ee, ee.

sh    This is a finger to your lips and hushing everybody to let the baby sleep.

wh    Wh is the way we blow out candles on a birthday cake.

th    This is the naughty sound because we have to put our tongue out a bit to say it.

ch    Ch is a train going ch, ch, ch to London, or Paris or Sydney or to Wonderland.

Before giving you the final sound I want to add that a small drawing of each sound, a ghost, a mouse face, a finger hushing, a birthday cake and a puffing train, will add speed to the learning and help comprehension. The last sound really foxed me when I started all those years ago, ironically it emerged as the fastest and easiest to learn.

ck    Boring old ‘ck’ it hasn’t got a picture so it is just ‘boring old ck.’ Little ones adopt this ‘boring’ sound.

When these are learnt, words like; moon, wheel,shop, chunk, rush, what, rack, thump, three, chuck, can all be included in your stories. Slowly, slowly, making certain your little learner knows, understands and remembers to read across each word sounding as you go, reminding where necessary, being patient.

As soon as all sounds are firmly established your little reader will read:

Shall we have beautiful thick cheesy, chunky chips when we go on the little ships?

I saw your black silk bag on the deck. It has a funny red clasp and looks just like black jelly.

Plump cherry, sherry berry, jelly sandwich, jam hamwich. Smooth eggs with legs.

Children love funny stories so fool around with words, but keep to the above sounds. Importantly, have fun.

The world of reading; libraries, computers and every single printed word is now opening its arms to embrace your child. And you can be proud.

When the new school year is just around the corner for every child in the country it means the beginning of another step up the ladder of academia. For many it will hold a significant milestone. Four year olds will be marshalled into garrulous inquisitive groups, each person demanding attention. Last year’s Year Fours will be embarking on what, in my opinion, is arguably the most important year of their entire school career. Year Five is the settling down, listening up and beginning to take life seriously for the first time before Year Six. Year Six is where the secondary school years and future careers will be decided.

In spite of what schools claim, in spite of heated denials, KS2 results determine your child’s immediate future. He will either spend the next seven years in well conducted classrooms with excellent teachers, huge encouragement, pleasing yearly tests and satisfying GCSE and A-level results. Or, if his results are poor, he will be placed in lower sets where bored, abusive teenagers argue the toss with a succession of supply teachers and stand-ins, where achievement is second to survival. Once in these sets your child pretty well stays there.

Two case studies to support my point:

Case Study 1. Daisy came to me in Year Four unable to read. By Year Six her reading was age appropriate, but those early years had left great gaps in her academic development. The amazing threes and fours she achieved at KS2, nowhere near reflected her potential and she was placed into bottom sets at her Comprehensive School. For the next two years this capable and eager student had to cope with week after week of no Maths, French or English. There was lots of undirected art, book decorating and silent reading while the higher sets were establishing the building blocks of their GCSEs and A-levels. Daisy and I worked together and in our two hours a week covered much of the work she was missing at school. But no matter how hard she worked or how her subjects improved the school resolutely refused to promote her. Year Nine, her parents found an excellent, no nonsense, hard working ex grammar school. She was interviewed, given searching tests and placed into a top set in each subject. Brilliant outcome, but those years from Reception to Year Four and Years Seven and Eight with their crucial building blocks – we are still recovering those.

Case Study 2. Hannah was a Year Ten drop-out. For whatever reasons her KS2 results had been dire and she had been in the lowest sets since Year Seven. Now she had simply walked out of school and mum brought her to me. Hannah was fed up with boys throwing paper darts, arguing with teachers and eternally time wasting. Very few subjects were being taught to any extent. She had worked hard to achieve better sets but once again, nobody compared the conditions to her potential and ambition so she remained put. In the end school was a waste of time. She spent a couple of months with me, but in this year before GCSE the gaps were too great. I had to ask too much of her, so this clever girl gave up altogether.

I have so many case studies, all repetitive in their causes and treatment. Taught to read via my fast phonics every child has realised it could decode every word – without having to memorize the one million words in our language. Each child has soared ahead with confidence. Sadly for those who learn to read via the ‘Look and Guess’ method those, KS2 tests can present a monumental, life defining hurdle. I reiterate my initial point. Year Five is one of those critical years in your child’s education. Make sure he can read faultlessly, listen to him/her reading every day, watching the text as your reader decodes every word correctly. If you do this, your child’s most important homework, then at the end of Year Six there will be no tears or worry.

Next time I shall add more phonics and turn my attention to the who, the where and the when of teaching children to read.

This is Teaching Post 4

Link to Teaching Post 5

Tags: , , ,

Categorised in: , , ,

This post was written by Alonah Reading Cambridge

Comments are closed here.