Daily Homework is the Path to Success

September 22, 2019 2:24 pm Published by

Notwithstanding knee operations, a case of sepsis and a broken arm, I have, over the last few months, been following the education scene closely.

We appear at this moment, more interested in issues not remotely connected to education its content and its standards. It is critical to remember children are children, their childhood is sacrosanct and their schooling must never be hijacked or impeded for adult causes. We are the ones who must fight world issues. A child’s place is in school learning and growing.

Sadly the situation appears to be driven – if not specifically at least substantially by parents and politics rather than students’ needs to progress them through primary to secondary and then tertiary study.

My working life has been unrepentantly dedicated to reading, for the successful teaching of reading gives every child a fair chance to compete on the world stage of both academia and industry. And reading well begins very early. Using phonics every child should be reading fluently by Year 2 ( or 6 years old). By Year 6 every child should be able to read fluently, and to comprehend and interpret the subjects presented in school. Allowing for specific aptitudes, all children should be able to handle KS 2 exam papers with ease where they will be required to read with depth, draw inferences and reach conclusions. With parent support this can be happily achieved. In all subjects.

By secondary school these language skills are developed to an even greater extent when students study our wonderful literary heritage and are expected to present balanced and sophisticated exercises like synopses, character analyses, to gather both explicit and implicit information, write explanations and also to develop their own creative texts.

To achieve this it remains for primary schools, by whatever means necessary, to hear every child read ALOUD every day. Sadly, very few if any schools do, no time they say. With greater frequency children go term after term without reading aloud to anybody. Spelling consists of lists to be learnt at home with little attention given to syllabification, repetition and writing them in class. As far as maths is concerned, some schools have mercifully returned to rote learning of tables, while many have fanciful methods leaving children doing furious finger work as they attempt simple sums.

All I can say is that school time MUST be reserved for school work and that is the only way – along with parent support at every step, that this country will rise in world achievement status.

Long regarded as the best way for teachers to monitor each child’s progress, apparently homework will no longer be reviewed by OFSTED, (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills). Sadly, many schools will skip homework but this would be a huge backward step for students – across the board. It could create a widening chasm between the results of children whose parents yell ”Yippee” and those whose parents continue homework in a fluent action of continuity. Homework exercises (with answers) are available like never before, if you want a sparkling future for your child, use them.

And finally, FINALLY teachers will be helped and encouraged to take control of the classroom. Gavin Williamson (Education Secretar:y) has announced, ”Bad behaviour is a blight in any schoolroom and I am determined to put a stop to it. I am giving my full support to our teachers and school leaders by empowering them with the tools they need to maintain a safe and disciplined school environment.” (The Mail on Sunday, 1 September 2019)

A sound education is only as good as the disengaged and disruptive allow it to be. At long last. It is up to you, the parent, to raise respectful, obedient children.

And now for phonics. So far I have covered all the sight words and phonics needed to enable even a tiny child and certainly an older one to become a competent reader. Just a few more and we have reached the winning post.

I always teach my readers that the sound ‘y’ changes according to where it occurs in a word.

At the beginning it is ‘y’ as in yellow, yes, yet, yeti, yesterday and yap.

Inside a word it is ‘i’ as in ‘ink’, eg physics and system and crystal.

At the end of a word it is ‘ee’, as in happy, silly, funny.

And so,

chrys (kris) as in chrysanthemum. Sound it across, chrys-an-the-mum.

Sy (Si) as in system, sympathy, sys-tem, sym-path-y.

Phys (fis) as in physics, physical, physician, phys-ics, phys-i-cal, phys-i-cian.

Sch (sk) as in school, scholastic, sch-oo-l, sch-ol-as-tic.

Ould (ood) as in could, would, should, c-ould, w-ould, sh-ould.

But ‘ould’ is also pronounced ‘old’ as in shoulder, boulder, sh-ould-er, b-ould-er.

Lastly the ‘my’ group pronounced m-eye.















Now your new reader can easily manage.

‘The air cleared, tiny bursts of crystal fresh breeze flooded in to cool their faces. They were still hot after the fear and excitement of Fulmen’s battle royal. Moreover, they could not forget that animal which had now appeared twice, and with such force and menace. Was this the real danger, not the fireworks and noisy shambles; was the beast the true threat?

What will happen next, Leo wondered silently, I suppose, he thought, I could try to see if there’s a safe spot ahead. Mindful of Lampy’s warnings not to do this without his say-so, a short flight would surely do no harm. More than anything else in his life he had to protect his sisters, moreover, time was running out. To arrive back after or even on his birthday might have terrible effects on the whole of Terra Ulmas. In that case if it meant disobeying the glow-worm for the moment then so be it.

The party had sat down to rest Lampy’s beam for a short while after their recent skirmishes with the forces of Fulmen. They tried to get comfortable on the sharp, gritty stones that carpeted this part of the Magic caves of Alonah. Leo drew his feet up and sat, chin resting on his legs, as though grabbing a short nap.

In reality, he projected his mind. Carefully at first, feeling as he went, his eyes searched from left to right. He hoped desperately the exercise itself was not dangerous and so far everything seemed pretty much like last time. After ages of flying the length of cave after cave, he came to a grotto, not as large as the previous one but just as attractive and, if anything, just as good.

He entered briefly to test its friendliness. Suddenly he felt an urgent need to return. QUICKLY! Leo’s mind was tiring, he was beginning to fall asleep. He had the crushing feeling that animal was near. It was trying to get at him. It was going to kill him! On the point of closing off all thought, his mind as though attached to an elastic band, zapped back to Lampy and the girls, in the space of a nanosecond. And then he really fell asleep.’

From The Magic Caves of Alonah by Robyn Dalby-Stockwell.

We are really galloping towards the end of the phonics needed for your child or person to read and conquer all literature in the years ahead.

This is Teaching Post 17

Link to Teaching Post 1

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This post was written by Alonah Reading Cambridge

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