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Posted: Thu May 15, 2014 1:55 pm
by LGP
I recently completed synthetic phonics training with Sounds-Write and am now using it to support my two sons in their school work. In addition, I've started helping the son of a friend who has similar problems to my 11 year old, putting into practice the great stuff I learnt on the training course.

Are there any other parents out there who have done the same? Do you know of any online support groups or resources where information and ideas are exchanged? Is the 'purely practical posts' section on RRF appropriate or mainly aimed at professionals? Until I get more experience I'm tutoring for free locally but this may change in the future - there's a lot of demand out there! Eventually I'd like to volunteer in some kind of charity but I need a lot more experience before I'd feel comfortable doing that.

Any tips/resources from the 'pros' or parents in a similar position?

Thanks. Lucy.

Re: Parents-turned-tutors

Posted: Thu May 15, 2014 2:36 pm
by john walker
Hi Lucy,
Firstly, I'll say a couple of things about Sounds-Write. Don't forget that you will always have access to any new resources we put on the disc through the website. You should have been given the log-in and password when you trained. If not, you can always write to me here or at S-W.
A number of trainees, parents and teachers, do go in for private tutoring. I think you are wise to practise before charging. I have been thinking for some time of assembling a list of tutors available through the website for the benefit of those looking for help. So, your swift kick in my backside to get on with it will inspire me to do something soon! I wonder if the RRF would also consider compiling a list of tutors, with information about the programmes they use. It could make a small charge or accept a donation for finding tutors.
I am strongly in favour of doing charitable work. I tutor for at least three hours a week for no charge. Sounds-Write also donates money to a charity (Circus Starr, a charity that provides circus seat for disabled children) and we provide free places on our courses for a small number of deserving cases. In addition, we are providing training and materials for a school in Zambia and a charity in Papua New Guinea.
I'm sure you'll also get some very valuable tips and ideas from contributors to the forum.

Re: Parents-turned-tutors

Posted: Sun May 18, 2014 10:45 pm
by LGP
Thanks John, I'll email Sounds-Write for the login details. I'm already using lots of the resources from the course folder and CDROM so that's been very helpful.

With regard to a contact list of tutors, I personally think this would be extremely helpful for parents; on my part it took about 6 months of research, emails, phone calls and posting on forums to find one for my son (albeit that was from a starting position of almost complete ignorance about synthetic phonics and a fair amount of stress and panic!). Luckily I came across Susan Godsland's website and a link to the RRF which helped to get the ball rolling.

Perhaps a list with a disclaimer from the RRF plus information about tutors' training and experience will allay fears of people cashing in on the RRF's good reputation? I have friends in different parts of the UK with children that I would dearly love to help but I can't even point them towards a list of suitably trained tutors in their area. Quite frustrating. And perhaps a missed opportunity to get the good news about SP out there amongst parents?

Anyone else in the RRF thinking about this possibility?

Re: Parents-turned-tutors

Posted: Mon May 19, 2014 11:31 am
by Susan Godsland
I did suggest this many years ago, but it never took off.

Re: Parents-turned-tutors

Posted: Thu May 22, 2014 5:49 pm
by Papermover
Hello Lucy! I sat next to you in class ;-) I hope it's going well for you and your boys?

I would love a list of tutors, teachers, schools that use SP, and the same that use specific schemes such as Sounds-Write; PI or Read, Write, Inc.

A list of tutors would be so helpful for parents who are stressed and worried by the time they get to the stage of looking for one.

A list of schools would be useful for parents looking to start their childrens' education, or when moving into an area. It would be useful for me as a trained Sound-Writer. I would like to volunteer to hear readers at a Sounds-Write school, but there doesn't seem to be a list of where they are. To be honest any primary school near to me that uses SP would be good, but I can't find any, not in Camden or Islington anyway.

Re: Parents-turned-tutors

Posted: Fri May 23, 2014 11:24 am
by LGP
Hi Papermover - Hope you and your daughter are enjoying your phonics? I'll text you but in the meantime watch this space in case a list appears by magic!

If it's an admin resource issue then I might dare to poke my head above the parapet and offer my time, if that is at all helpful for the RRF? (She says slightly warily in case it's a huge job!)

Re: Parents-turned-tutors

Posted: Fri May 23, 2014 2:31 pm
by Debbie Hepplewhite
The difficulty is identifying schools that not only use perhaps a specific core synthetic phonics (or linguistic phonics) programme, but that they use it well and according to the Systematic Synthetic Phonics principles.

I meet many lovely, hard-working committed teachers - and yet rarely do I come across teachers or schools who are following my guidance or the use of the resources according to their design, well.

Also, it takes a great deal of time and effort to contact schools, talk to the relevant people - let alone go and visit to observe their actual practice and to get proper information about their results as a consequence of their early literacy teaching.

Further, it seems not uncommon that a teacher, or a couple of teachers, might be fully on board with the research and the full SSP teaching principles, but that is no guarantee that all the other teachers or senior managers are - no guarantee at all.

Then you have an issue of 'quality control' - that one teacher's version of 'good systematic teaching' looks nothing like another teacher's version of quality teaching. Within one school, then, there could be great diversity of teaching and learning opportunities.

And these teachers may be oblivious to all the nuances of the teaching content and methodology and the quality - or lack of.

The recent NFER report cast serious doubt about teachers' full appreciation of the research and the Systematic Synthetic Phonics teaching principles EVEN WHEN they identified themselves with supporting systematic phonics teaching and supporting the Year One phonics screening check.

The NFER researchers tried to be explicit in the questions they asked of teachers - but the responses themselves seemed contradictory!

Re: Parents-turned-tutors

Posted: Fri May 23, 2014 7:00 pm
by LGP
Listing schools does sound tricky Debbie. Given that by the time parents get to the RRF it's likely that their child is having problems at school (whether that's an SP school/teacher not doing it so well or simply a child that's 'fallen through the cracks') perhaps a list of remedial tutors would be more helpful? And possibly easier to manage?

Re: Parents-turned-tutors

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 5:01 am
by cartwheel
Yes, Lucy, there are quite a few "parents-turned-tutors", myself included (5+ years ago).

I don't know of any online forum specifically for tutors, much less specifically for SP tutors. This is the best site in that regard, even for SP tutors like myself who live outside the U.K. Debbie Hepplewhite's Phonics International forum/message boards could prove helpful to you as well.

Although the RRF's "Purely Practical Posts" forum does not get a lot of activity, it has proven to be invaluable when I have had a specific question. And the General Forum seems to invite a wide variety of questions/discussion.

Good luck with your new calling.

Jennie (U.S.)

Re: Parents-turned-tutors

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:26 pm
by volunteer
Hello Lucy, I am also a parent turned volunteer tutor (to my own children and others) who found and continues to find this website and the regular contributors invaluable in many ways.

I was very pleased to read your other thread and see the journey both you and your son have taken. I hope your son's reading (and writing) are continuing to move on forward and you both continue to get satisfaction from the both the improvements and the new worlds which open up.