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National Literacy Trust 'explanation' of SP

Posted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 5:28 pm
by maizie
At last I have found a mention of 'phonics' on the National Literacy Trust website, (though only via this site http://oaktreedesigns.co.uk/index.html )

It's no wonder SSP is so poorly regarded. This is a 'framed' definition if ever there was one! Note the use of 'in isolation', a phrase much used by SP detractors. And the implication that words are sounded out letter by letter. How would they explain sounding out 'think'?
Synthetic phonics - an approach associated with the teaching of reading in which phonemes (sounds) associated with particular graphemes (letters) are pronounced in isolation and blended together (synthesised). For example, children are taught to take a single-syllable word such as cat apart into its three letters, pronounce a phoneme for each letter in turn /k, æ, t/, and blend the phonemes together to form a word.
There are also definitions of Analytic phonics, Analogy phonics ( :?: ) and Embedded phonics. (I suspect the implication is that all ways are equally good...)

http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/resourc ... f_teaching

There is a glossary of 'phonics' terms, too. Our friend John Walker would love its references to letters 'making sounds', I'm sure ;-) No phonics resources, though, although the link was supposedly to resources as well as explanation.

I'm a bit :???: about the site I linked from, too ;-)

Re: National Literacy Trust 'explanation' of SP

Posted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:23 am
by kenm
NLT wrote: A phonogram, known in linguistics as a rime, is composed of the vowel and all the sounds that follow it, such as –ake in the word cake. Children use these phonograms to learn about “word families” for example cake, make, bake, fake.
Wikipedia wrote:A phonogram is a grapheme (written character) which represents a phoneme (speech sound) or combination of phonemes, such as the letters of the Latin alphabet or the Japanese kana. For example, "igh" is an English-language phonogram that represents the hard "I" sound in "high". Whereas the word phonemes refers to the sounds, the word phonogram refers to the letter(s) that represent that sound.
The Free Dictionary wrote:1. (Linguistics) any written symbol standing for a sound, syllable, morpheme, or word
2. (Linguistics) a sequence of written symbols having the same sound in a variety of different words, for example, ough in bought, ought, and brought
The Wikipedia definition implies that punctuation symbols are graphemes but not phonograms; it starts by contradicting the NLT in specifying a single grapheme as a phonogram, but accepts the possibility that it may consist of more than one in the third sentence.

Multiple meanings within the discipline in which it used reduce the usefulness of a word. Meanwhile we (or is it just me?) lack a distinctive name for a grapheme, such as "x" ("j", soft "g"?), that represents two or more phonemes.

Re: National Literacy Trust 'explanation' of SP

Posted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 12:51 pm
by john walker
Hi Ken,
I'm in favour of using language that is accessible to all. Although at a teachers' conference I would expect teachers to be using the 'jargon of the trade' and talking about 'digraphs', 'trigraphs' and 'phonograms', I think it's much better to use terminology that is likely to be understood by everyone (or almost everyone!).
So, why not use a simple formula? There are sounds and there are spellings, spellings and sounds. One can spell a sound with one, two, three or four letters. In Sounds-Write, we talk about < sh > to represent the sound /sh/ as a two-letter spelling; similarly, < ough > is a four-letter spelling. It does exactly what it says on the tin!
It's not that I believe that children can't easily learn to use the term 'grapheme'. I'm sure they can. The problem is that most parents don't understand what it means and their eyes glaze over when teachers revert to the jargon.
As for the National Literacy Trust, Maizie, if only they'd allow space for a reply to their ignorance... :roll: What fun that would be! :lol:

Re: National Literacy Trust 'explanation' of SP

Posted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 1:06 pm
by chew8
The NLT’s definitions of synthetic and analytic phonics look as if they are based on what Greg Brooks wrote on pages 10-11 of his paper for the 2003 DfE phonics seminar:

http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/4938/5/nls_phonics0303gbrooks.pdf

I don’t have a problem with the idea that in s.p. sounds are pronounced ‘in isolation’. The very notion of ‘synthesising’ implies raw material which is not synthesised – we do teach children to produce isolated sounds in response to graphemes before blending those sounds into whole words.The fact that the first step involves isolated sounds does not imply that the sounds remain isolated, however.

I have always found the following, which Brooks quotes from Strickland, a bit puzzling:
She wrote:Analytic phonics refers to an approach in which the sounds associated with letters are not pronounced in isolation. Children identify the phonic element from a set of words in which each word contains the particular element under study. For example, teacher and students discuss how the following words are alike: pat, park, push and pen.’
I suppose that the answer to the question of how those words are alike could be that they ‘start with the same sound’, but it seems odd not to go on to say what that sound is, and that involves saying /p/ in isolation.

Jenny C.

Re: National Literacy Trust 'explanation' of SP

Posted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:10 pm
by kenm
john walker wrote:Hi Ken,
I'm in favour of using language that is accessible to all. Although at a teachers' conference I would expect teachers to be using the 'jargon of the trade' and talking about 'digraphs', 'trigraphs' and 'phonograms', I think it's much better to use terminology that is likely to be understood by everyone (or almost everyone!).
So, why not use a simple formula? There are sounds and there are spellings, spellings and sounds. One can spell a sound with one, two, three or four letters. In Sounds-Write, we talk about < sh > to represent the sound /sh/ as a two-letter spelling; similarly, < ough > is a four-letter spelling. It does exactly what it says on the tin!
It's not that I believe that children can't easily learn to use the term 'grapheme'. I'm sure they can. The problem is that most parents don't understand what it means and their eyes glaze over when teachers revert to the jargon.[..]
I don't mind ordinary language when it is sufficiently precise, but I object to technical terms when there is more than one meaning used by different workers in the same discipline.

As for your example, I can think of two situations in which a single phoneme corresponds to a range of sounds, context within a word and regional accents, so "phoneme" needs to be available to discuss these complexities. "Sound" is used occasionally in discussion of music; it would be unusual to talk of its graphic representations as "spelling" although some of them (solfa, solfège) use letters.