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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Posted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:32 pm
by maizie
What did I tell you, John? :mrgreen:

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Posted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:38 pm
by john walker
Yes, Maizie. You are right! I was going to reply but your wise intervention saved me wasting further time.
A heartfelt thank you. :smile:

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Posted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:51 pm
by chew8
Toots wrote:One detail not flagged up in your [John’s] account is that if a reader has to use context and sense in order to decode a word, they are not using phonics. Another is that if a reader has to ask a local or consult a dictionary about pronunciation they are not using phonics. I have no problem with either strategy, which are necessary, but you can't claim them for phonics.
If I have to use context in order to decide between two (or more) possible pronunciations of a written word (e.g. ‘tear’, ‘row’, ‘bass’, ‘progress’), it’s arguable that I am not using phnics at that particular point in the process – but isn’t phonics what has got me to that point? Hasn’t it narrowed down the possible number of pronunciations to just two (or maybe a few more in some cases), and as there are tens of thousands of words in English, doesn’t that degree of narrowing down represent a major part of the job? In the case of John's 'Broughton' example, I would surely not ask a local unless phonics had already suggested to me that more than one pronunciation was possible.

If I have to consult a dictionary, isn’t there a sense in which my decision will be phonics-based? I’ve just looked up ‘bass’ (one of Davis’s’ examples) in two dictionaries. One gives the two pronunciations in the International Phonetic Alphabet; the other gives them in normal spelling with the conventional ‘short’ and ‘long’ marks over the ‘a’. In both cases I need to know how to translate the black marks into sounds in order to arrive at the right pronunciation for the relevant meaning.

Jenny C.

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Posted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:44 pm
by Toots
There is no doubt that phonics is useful for various tasks in reading, but it neither does the whole task of decoding or of reading. I would imagine that young readers will use it to various extents according to their particular skill profiles. Of course, if you teach them phonics intensively, systematically and the rest they will be well-equipped to pass a phonics check, provided that they have the skills needed to learn GPCs and blending, but this does not mean that they are being equipped to read well.

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Posted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:40 pm
by Debbie Hepplewhite
but this does not mean that they are being equipped to read well.
How wrong you are. :???:

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:21 am
by Toots
No, I'm not wrong. But I think you may have misunderstood, and you have taken my remark out of its context. There is no logical, necessary connection between decoding and reading, because you can decode a foreign language without understanding. So excellence in decoding does not equate with excellence in reading.

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 1:25 pm
by maizie
Toots wrote:There is no logical, necessary connection between decoding and reading, because you can decode a foreign language without understanding.
Indeed you can, toots, but in the context in which we are talking about SP it is being taught to children who have English as their first language or children who are learning to speak English. It is a key element of the Simple view of Reading 'decoding x comprehension'.

There would be little point to learning the 'phonics' of a foreign language unless you were going to learn the language or you fancied having a party trick up your sleeve. As we are not debating the definition of 'reading' here your comment is really irrelevant.

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:00 pm
by Toots
I was using the fact that you can learn to decode a foreign language without understanding it to show that teaching decoding is not teaching reading, Maizie. It is an example that removes other elements which are not phonics (such as understanding) from the mix to highlight the actual nature of phonic decoding pure and simple.

How is the comment irrelevant if it demonstrates how phonics is limited? Isn't that central to the discussion?

Ok. So we are teaching phonics to children who generally have some English language, and they can bring that knowledge into the mix. This is why phonics can help children to learn to read - because they have an existing understanding and vocabulary. But it is not phonics which gives them that understanding and vocabulary, and if they haven't got it phonics will not give it to them. So for most children phonics will be useful as part of their learning to read, but it will always have its limitations, and teaching it first, fast and only with a test is playing to its limitations rather than its strengths.

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:41 pm
by maizie
Toots wrote:How is the comment irrelevant if it demonstrates how phonics is limited? Isn't that central to the discussion?
It may be central to what you think, toots, but you do not control the discussion.
Toots wrote: So for most children phonics will be useful as part of their learning to read, but it will always have its limitations,
If you mean that its limitation is that it doesn't 'teach' comprehension or vocabulary skills perhaps you would like to point me to any phonics proponent who says that it does.

Toots wrote:and teaching it first, fast and only with a test is playing to its limitations rather than its strengths.
For the n millionth time, the 'only' refers only to the exclusive use of phonics to identify what a word 'says' before any meaning is attached to it. It does not mean that phonics is to be taught in a complete vacuum.
This teaching approach is set within a literacy-rich environment and requires a full range of further age-appropriate communication, language and literacy activities and creative opportunities.
http://www.rrf.org.uk/pdf/Final_03__The ... 1-2-10.pdf

Which part of this are you finding it difficult to understand?

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:24 pm
by Toots
The part that doesn't make sense is the bit that says that phonics is not taught in a vacuum, by which I take it you mean 'without reference to anything which isn't phonics'. Unless somehow phonics teaching entails teaching something in addition to phonics, which obviously cannot be true, your statement is unverifiable and represents a hope, aspiration or belief rather than a necessary fact.

I am sure that in lots of cases, probably all, phonics is not taught without reference to anything which isn't phonics. You can't have degrees of vacuum, but you can have degrees to which other concerns are allowed into the vicinity of phonics teaching, and government policy risks reducing this degree too much.

Meanwhile SP proponents who say, "'Only' refers only to the exclusive use of phonics to identify what a word 'says' before any meaning is attached to it" are admitting that SP is built on a belief that you can work out what a word 'says' without knowing or finding out its meaning. If you mean 'how a word is pronounced', what about words such as 'row' or 'you'. If you mean 'what the word is', obviously that cannot be discovered without reference to meaning, although phonics might give you some options to match against your understanding of the text and your vocabulary.

Edit: see below my edited version of this post, which for some reason posted again when I edited.

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:24 pm
by Toots
The part that doesn't make sense is the bit that says that phonics is not taught in a vacuum, by which I take it you mean 'without reference to anything which isn't phonics'.

Unless somehow phonics teaching entails teaching something in addition to phonics, which obviously cannot be true, your statement is unverifiable and represents a hope, aspiration or belief rather than a necessary fact.

I am sure that in lots of cases, probably all, phonics is not taught without reference to anything which isn't phonics. You can't have degrees of vacuum, but you can have degrees to which other concerns are allowed into the vicinity of phonics teaching, and government policy risks reducing this degree too much.

Meanwhile SP proponents who say, "'Only' refers only to the exclusive use of phonics to identify what a word 'says' before any meaning is attached to it" are admitting that SP is built on a belief that you can work out what a word 'says' without knowing or finding out its meaning. If you mean 'how a word is pronounced', what about words such as 'row' or 'you'. If you mean 'what the word is', obviously that cannot be discovered without reference to meaning, although phonics might give you some options to match against your understanding of the text and your vocabulary. Your statement puts you on very dodgy ground.

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:22 pm
by maizie
Should have taken my own advice, John :mrgreen:

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:14 pm
by john walker
Hmmm. I was wondering, Maizie ;-)

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:52 pm
by Debbie Hepplewhite
John said earlier:
I have to say, Toots, that you wouldn't be making statements such as the above if you took the trouble to find out exactly what good quality phonics programmes teach.
And John you're right. :grin:

Well - no you're not - because no matter what we say, explain, show, demonstrate, illustrate, point to, toots will always have the last word to diminish the role that phonics - and good phonics programmes - play in teaching reading! :???:

We just go round and round in circles! :roll:

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Posted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:28 am
by chew8
Toots wrote:The part that doesn't make sense is the bit that says that phonics is not taught in a vacuum, by which I take it you mean 'without reference to anything which isn't phonics'.

Of course phonics isn’t taught in a vacuum: it’s taught in the context of/with reference to the knowledge that children already have of spoken language:
Stuart and Stainthorp wrote:When children learn to read, the comprehension processes they use to understand written texts are the same as those they already use to understand spoken messages. The major difference is that the language of written texts is accessed via the eyes rather than via the ears (Rose Review, 2006, Appendix 1, Para. 62).
Synthetic phonics isn’t alone in assuming that beginning readers already understand a lot of spoken words and sentences – the same assumption is made by other approaches (e.g. analytic phonics, look-and-say, whole language). On the whole, children get the meaning of simple child-friendly words and sentences when they have decoded them, but extra checks can be made on this. Letters and Sounds, for example, includes decodable sentences which clearly require children to think about meaning.

Jenny C.