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Posted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 7:18 pm
by guest
I would appreciate any comments / feedback on my website. I have recently added a number of digraphs to the 'hear the sounds' section - I hope it makes it more useful for parents.

Focus on Phonics

Posted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 7:48 pm
by guest
Whoops - I guess I should have added a link to the site -

Sue Blackburn
Focus on Phonics


Posted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 10:49 pm
by kenm
guest wrote:I would appreciate any comments / feedback on my website. I have recently added a number of digraphs to the 'hear the sounds' section - I hope it makes it more useful for parents.
Do you want them here? I was going to send you a PM, but couldn't see how. Are you prepared to reveal your email address here?

Website feedback

Posted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 9:32 am
by guest
I am quite happy to receive feedback through the RRF forum or to my website address ( Since setting up the site in August I have made a number of changes based on customer feedback and info from forums such as RRF - Debbie Hep. has been really supportive throughout. My aim is obviously to make the site as accurate and helpful as possible for any parents who visit it.

Sue B.

Posted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:02 pm
by kenm
I'm posting here, because my views are only partly informed and other contributors may wish to contradict me if my facts are wrong or my vocabulary non-standard in this area.

So far, I have read only your "What is Phonics" Q & A pages. These were my reactions:

Q2 and Q3 both cover the same ground to some extent. When I first got A3, my immediate reaction was that I had clicked the wrong button, because the answer started identically to A2. Could you condense them into one?

Q6 "My son is only 2 years old ..."

I would add: "See whether he is interested in your writing letters and words for him". You may think it's too soon to sound them at the same time, but my son found it fascinating before the age of two to watch letters appearing (I wrote words in large letters on empty toilet roll centres, using red fibre pen) and became a confident reader before he was five.

Q12 "My son seems to show no interest in reading ..."
A12 "... for some parents it can to turn into a battleground to be faced every evening!"

The first "to" is not needed here.

Q14 "I have been told my son may be dyslexic – what does this mean?"

This is a can of worms and needs advice from other members. I suspect that your confident statement: "Dyslexia causes difficulties in learning to read, write and spell." would not get general agreement: some people think it is much too frequently used just as a description of poor reading, a preliminary cause not having been identified. I am not sure what "this", in the question, refers to, but if it is "dyslexic", you have a problem, because it has almost as many meanings as people who use the term (not that you try to give them one). If you mean the telling, that also varies, but if it's a teacher telling, one possible explanation is that he has been badly taught and the school is looking for an excuse to hand him over to an "expert" teacher. See the discussions about dyslexia on this message board.

Q15 "Can you explain some of the jargon associated with phonics?"

"What is a CVC word?
"This is the simplest type of word made up of a consonant – vowel – consonant e.g. ‘c-a-t’, ‘h-e-n’, ‘p-i-g’, ‘d-o-g’, ‘b-u-s’"

Are these considered simpler than VCs like "at" and "in"?

"What is blending?
"A blend of letters is where there is more than one letter, but the individual sounds can still be heard - for example ‘sp’, ‘cl’, ‘tr’, ‘st’."

"cl" gave me a lot of trouble. In the small sans serif font that my browser delivered (other browsers may do better", it looked like "d". The font that the questions displayed in was clearer, but Times, Georgia, or even Courier would be better still. Also, you distinguish the answers by colour, so you could use a larger size for them.


"What are ‘key words’ or ‘sight words’?"
"These are high frequency, essential words that children need to learn to recognise on sight, such as ‘the’, ‘said’, ‘my’, ‘she’. The majority of these key words can be decoded once letter sounds are known. Although a small number (such as ‘here’, does’, ‘was’, ‘one’) do not follow normal phonetic rules, an understanding of letter sounds can still help when a child comes across them."

I don't regard the "e-e" rule as "abnormal", just less frequently applicable than the short vowels, so "here" makes an inappropriate example, IMO. If you want to keep it, you could replace "normal" with "the most common", but "does", "was" and "one" really are abnormal.

website feedback

Posted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:45 pm
by guest
Thank you for taking the time to look at the site - it was helpful of you to pick up a couple of errors that I had not noticed and I will get these put right in due course.

With regards to the statement about dyslexia - this was taken straight from the Dyslexia Institute website. I do not profess to be an expert in this area and so chose to direct people to two established dyslexia websites where they can find much more information and help in this area.

A CVC word is as I describe it (the term 'CVC word' is sometimes used without an explanation).

If anybody else has any feedback on the 'cl' problem or the 'key words' explanation, that would be useful.

Meanwhile, thank you again.
Sue B