Advice from those who have taught SP in schools

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Anna
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Advice from those who have taught SP in schools

Post by Anna » Tue Jan 09, 2007 12:47 pm

Hello everyone and Happy New Year,

I have just assessed a new pupil who is starting the Sound Reading System with me. She is in Year 2, aged 6 years and 4 months. I have found her results very interesting, as they really highlighted to me the problems with mixed methods.

On the underlying skills tests, she did very well on blending and not bad with segmenting - she used consonant blends but I find this is common and is rememdied quickly by using phonemes all the time. She muddled
She couldn't get the concept of auditory processing at all, so she doesn't realise that you can manipulate sounds in words to make new words.

The code knowledge was very interesting. Like many pupils, she started by giving me names (for single letter sounds). Usually when I say' that's the name, can you tell me the sound'? They can do so but she just couldn't understand what was required

I then tested her spelling with the Parallel Spelling test. She was trying to apply her phonic knowledge here, which was positive. She was able to achieve a spelling age equivalent of 7 years just by spelling CVC and 4 sound basic code words correctly. However, the test clearly showed her limitations - she knows only single letter/sound correspondences and sh, ch and th - although she is applying these consistently. Perhaps because the focus has been on individual sounds, not through the word - she couldn't spell the th in month. She didn't know any vowel digraphs or advanced code. To me this really highlighted the limitations of 'invented spelling'. She had no way of spelling words anywhere near correctly with this lack of code knowledge.

It seems to me that schools vary

The point I will be making is that this age equivalent may appear positive but I would expect a child taught SP to be able to produce a word much closer to the correct spelling. Also, of course, without being taught the code she may well 'stall' at this level. I wondered if those with more experience of teaching SP in the classroom could tell me how far ahead of age equivalent the average child (after 2 years of SP teaching) would be on a standardised test? I am just interested to know. I can see from the words used and the errors made just what her limitations are. The words at this level all include code which I would teach in the SRS - le, ge, er, ou in 'ground' (if she had put ow I'd be pleased), month etc.

I found her reading results even more revealing. She was extremely hesitant, even in passage 1. She constantly made (incorrect) guesses based on words she was trying to remember by sight. She omitted many basic words and struggled to decode CV and CVC words, even though she can spell these.

I can only assume that this is what happens when decoding is not the main/only strategy. She knows single letter/sound correspondences but doesn't know she can appy these to her reading or is confused as to which strategy to use. Of course, with her lack of knowledge of Advanced Code, she couldn't attemp to sound out more difficult words.

Anna
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Post by Anna » Tue Jan 09, 2007 12:54 pm

Hi all,

Sorry that was a partial message - I clicked post instead of preview! Hopefully you can get the gist. What I was saying about schools varying is that even with the very flawed NLS, some vowel digraphs are meant to be taught (although I know it is very spread out) and yet this Year 2 pupil didn't appear to know any. Other pupils know some of them but not many spelling alternatives. None of them seem to know that /v/ at the end of the word is spelled 've'!! :cry:

Anyway I'd be interested to get any feedback. I just realised that I've been teaching SP for a year now and I've leanred so much both from teaching the programme and from following all the discussions on this board and now the BRI board as well. So thanks, to eveyone for all the illuminating discussions. I feel very confident in what I'm doing now and am so pleased with the progress my pupils have made. :D

Anna
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Post by Anna » Tue Jan 09, 2007 12:56 pm

Sorry folks, too many typos in my first message - she ISN'T applying her knowledge of sounds. Although she knows th, she spelled month - mrufr.

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maizie
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Post by maizie » Tue Jan 09, 2007 7:02 pm

Anna,

If this is any help, this is the Sounds-Write report on pupils in 13 schools taught with Sounds-Write from YR. It has figures for spelling ages at Yr, Y1 & Y2. they use the Paralell Spelling test.

http://www.sounds-write.co.uk/sw_research_report_06.pdf

Another comparison source would be the full report of the Clackmananshire research, but I can't find it! Maybe Susan G will have link to it (not the Insight report, which is a shortened version)

I then tested her spelling with the Parallel Spelling test. She was trying to apply her phonic knowledge here, which was positive. She was able to achieve a spelling age equivalent of 7 years just by spelling CVC and 4 sound basic code words correctly. However, the test clearly showed her limitations - she knows only single letter/sound correspondences and sh, ch and th - although she is applying these consistently.

This struck a chord with me, though more in connection with reading. When I test children on entry in Y7 with the Burt word reading test I find that they can most of them get through the first page fairly well (though towards the end, when the words get a little more complex, they sometimes start stumbling!) When presented with the next page, full of multi-syllable words, many of them come to a complete stop. 6 years of reading 'instruction' has given them only the ability to read very simple, one to one correspondence, words. Their spelling performance reflects the same thing.

Your pupil's spelling age may look good now, but she has very likely hit her peak! Without further code knowledge she wouldn't get any further; her spelling age at Y7 would probably hover around the same level, 7 -8ish, as do those of my Y7s.

I wonder if it is the ability of these children to perform at apparent age appropriate levels (or, just below),on a significant number of 'simple' words, which contributes to a perception in the first few years at school that they are doing OK?

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Susan Godsland
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Post by Susan Godsland » Tue Jan 09, 2007 8:06 pm

THE EFFECTS OF SYNTHETIC
PHONICS TEACHING ON READING
AND SPELLING ATTAINMENT

A SEVEN YEAR LONGITUDINAL STUDY

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc ... 023582.pdf

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/library/docu ... terchg.pdf

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maizie
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Post by maizie » Tue Jan 09, 2007 8:28 pm

Thankyou, Susan.

I've bookmarked it now!

willow
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Post by willow » Tue Jan 09, 2007 10:21 pm

I am not a teacher so can only give my dd's experience. At 5yrs 3 mths she had a reading age of 8.1 and a spelling age of 7.9 on the Burt and Schonell tests.

She had a good grouding in SP in her nursery year and I taught her JP in term 1 of Reception. I am not sure how typical she is!

elsy
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Post by elsy » Wed Jan 10, 2007 12:10 am

maizie wrote:
I wonder if it is the ability of these children to perform at apparent age appropriate levels (or, just below),on a significant number of 'simple' words, which contributes to a perception in the first few years at school that they are doing OK?
I would agree with that from my own experience. That coupled with the fact that the books they read are generally fairly predictable and with supporting illustrations so their poor decoding is not so easily apparent.

CuriousMum
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Post by CuriousMum » Wed Jan 10, 2007 1:00 am

As with Willow, I'm not a teacher so can only give my own son's progress after slightly under 2 years. At 5y3m (last month) he got a reading age of 12.8 on the Burt reading test; I haven't carried out the Schonell spelling test. However, he is an excellent speller and can confidently spell many common words including the days of the week, and words such as 'exhausted', 'beautiful', 'journey', 'leisure', 'chemical', 'dangerous' and 'weight' (as well as 'wait', of course!). His phonic knowledge has made him very aware of alternative spellings, such as 'whale' and 'wail', or 'made' and 'maid'.

Mixed methods are taught at my son's school, as well, and the pattern of reading and spelling described in the original post is very common amongst the majority of his classmates, though as always there are some high achievers who have just 'got it'.

I have just been elected a parent governor and have asked to sit on the curriculum sub-committee.

Anna
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Post by Anna » Wed Jan 10, 2007 11:40 am

Many thanks to those who have replied so far. It's been very illuminating. What excellent results you have achieved with your children, Willow and Curious Mum. It really shows what we should be expecting from the right sort of teaching with no muddlement from mixed methods. That is what I wanted to know. It makes me so sad that so many children are missing out on this opportunity when the knowledge of how to teach successfully is available.

New teachers just want to be informed how to teach children their children to read successfully when faced with their first class. I think teacher training institutions have a lot to answer for.

Will reply more fully when I have a chance. Got to prepare some lessons now.

Thanks again, :D

Anna

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Post by Kelly » Fri Jan 12, 2007 6:42 am

Like Willow and Curious Mum I am not a teacher, but have taught both my daughter and son at home.

On the Burt reading test my son 7.0 scored 10.10 and my daughter 5.2 scored 6.9.

I think my daughter's score in particular is amazing and shows just how effective synthetic phonics is. She hasn't had a easy childhood due mainly to undiagnosed food intolerances (leading to anaemia). She has also had speech difficulties.

Hope that helps.

john walker
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Post by john walker » Fri Jan 12, 2007 6:05 pm

Dear Maizie,
If this is any help, this is the Sounds-Write report on pupils in 13 schools taught with Sounds-Write from YR. It has figures for spelling ages at Yr, Y1 & Y2. they use the Paralell Spelling test.
http://www.sounds-write.co.uk/sw_research_report_06.pdf
Thank you for directing Anna to our data, but, in actual fact, our latest report inludes data on 1,806 YR pupils from 76 classes in 33 schools. We have also published figures on 779 Y1 pupils from 33 classes in 18 schools. There is some follow up on over two hundred Y2 pupils who have done Sounds-Write from the start of reception.
Best wishes,
John Walker,
Sounds-Write
John Walker
Sounds-Write
www.sounds-write.co.uk
http://literacyblog.blogspot.com

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maizie
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Post by maizie » Fri Jan 12, 2007 6:07 pm

According the Oxford Reading website this book has a reading age somewhere between 4.5 and 5.0
.

I wouldn't worry too much about that, frances. Reading ages are a very imperfect tool and are certainly not based on the body of phonic knowledge which a child could be expected to have at any given age. This is where Dick's Instructional Accomplishments' would be a more valid measure!

If 'came and 'some' were outside the limit of his phonic knowledge, there is no particular problem about him being 'stuck' on them! I'd be surprised if any average 4/5 yr old found them easy (unless they'd been flashcarded into submission with them, in which case they probably wouldn't be able to read 'tame' and 'some'!)

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Post by g.carter » Fri Jan 12, 2007 7:09 pm

Frances - Maizie is right. Most reading tests follow a Whole Language/Look and Say route . Why should your son know come and some?

Come, Peter, come.

Come, Jane, come.

Here is some cake, Jane.

Peter and Jane eat some cake.

Mummy says 'Come, Peter, and play with a train'

Mummy says ' Come, Jane, and help Mummy.'

or whatever.... accompanied in the 1970s by vociferous complaints from emerging 3 year old feminist daughter 'Why does Peter have all the Fun?'

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Post by Kelly » Fri Jan 12, 2007 8:25 pm

That is perhaps a good point frances5. I haven't taught my children by Jolly Phonics, I have used my own worksheets based on Mona McNee's Step by Step.

Out of interest what system did you use Willow and Curious Mum?

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