Feedback on Phonic Check

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Kiki
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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Kiki » Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:12 pm

You seem intent on contriving the meaning that you prefer out of one paper that forms a part of decades of research into the teaching of reading and broader academics achievement. A very tempting thing to do but not really helpful.

You asked earlier about research to read; might I suggest Progress in Understanding Reading by Stanovich which is a great overview of the science and evidence. It is very readable and I notice that Amazon has a used copy for only £5.32

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Progress-Unders ... ng+reading

There have also been some excellent papers out of New Zealand and Australia recently which specifically look at the achievement gap issue I alluded to earlier (hopefully someone has the link as I haven't it to hand)

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maizie
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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by maizie » Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:38 pm

Kiki wrote:You seem intent on contriving the meaning that you prefer out of one paper that forms a part of decades of research into the teaching of reading and broader academics achievement.
You will find, kiki, that toots can contrive the meaning she prefers out of any paper that you refer her to. She will also accuse you of doing the same thing.

I guess that you're feeling quixotic ;-)

Toots

Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Toots » Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:55 pm

In reply to Kiki,

Ummm. No. I'm not intent on contriving anything. And I'm writing about this particular paper because it is the one cited on Jenny's post. I didn't choose it myself. I'm simply pointing out what the study actually says, in the face of an apparent belief that it supports systematic synthetic phonics.

I'm confining my comments to this study because it was brought up by Jenny as demonstrating
chew8 wrote:that there is evidence that a synthetic phonics start leads not only to the ability to sound words out phonically but also to the ability to read unfamiliar words by analogy with familiar words and to recognise words apparently as wholes
The study does not really support this claim. It supports a view that children who build up a good sight vocabulary by mapping sounds to letters in known words are well-equipped to tackle unfamiliar words and add them to their sight vocabulary.

The research I was wondering about earlier was the research that led you to believe that adults read by serial decoding, if I remember rightly. Perhaps you could tell me what research that was before hustling me onto something else you have chosen to support your view. I have to say I have read some Stanovich and find it does not support synthetic phonics teaching as unequivocally as some suggest, particularly the brand of SSP popular in the UK at present.

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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by chew8 » Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:39 pm

You had mentioned reading words at sight and reading by analogy, Toots, and my first reference was to a Johnston and Watson article, which dealt with both those things. I added a mention of the Ehri article because it also made the point about ‘sight’-word reading being underpinned by grapheme-phoneme knowledge and because I could provide a link enabling people to read it in full. What Ehri talks about is not synthetic phonics as we know it in the UK (I don’t think she has done any research specifically on that), but I think she would agree that UK s.p. is one way of ensuring that word-reading is underpinned by grapheme-phoneme knowledge. See the paragraph under Figure 8 on p. 179 of her article.

There was also a relevant article by Johnston et al. published on line in Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal in 2011, but one has to pay to access it. They matched two groups of 10-year-olds on socio-economic status and time spent in school: a group taught as beginners by the Progression in Phonics ‘searchlights’ (mixed methods) approach in England and a group taught as beginners by synthetic phonics in Scotland. They found that ‘Overall, the group taught by synthetic phonics had better word reading, spelling, and reading comprehension’.

It is in the UK context that we are considering the Y1 phonics screening check and how the kind of teaching it should foster relates to automatic word-reading and comprehension in the longer term. Both the previous Labour government and the present coalition government have taken the work of Johnston et al. seriously, and I don't think they have been irresponsible in doing so.

Jenny C.

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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Kiki » Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:07 pm

maizie wrote: I guess that you're feeling quixotic ;-)
bought Lottery tickets today too! :lol:

Toots

Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Toots » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:34 pm

Jenny, Ehri writes: "When readers learn a sight word, they look at the spelling, they pronounce the word, they distinguish separate phonemes in the pronunciation, and they recognize how the graphemes match up to phonemes in that word. Reading the word a few times secures its connections in memory." I can't see this as grapheme/phoneme knowledge under-pinning sight word reading. Sounds and letters are associated because of their relationship with the whole word. If grapheme/phoneme knowledge underpins sight word reading it is only in the same measure as sight word reading underpins grapheme/phoneme knowledge. The relationship between both areas of knowledge is essentially reciprocal in Ehri's description.

Developing a large sight-word vocabulary is the ultimate aim for good reading. The aim is not about being able to identify and blend GPCs, this is a supporting skill. Really it comes down to what good readers do, and good readers do not decode words, they know words.

Unfortunately SSP, with its emphasis on building words from the GPCs, ignores the reciprocity Ehri describes, and this emphasis is reinforced and demonstrated by the phonic check.

My understanding of the paragraph on page 179 you mention is that readers who could see the written spellings of words when they heard them and when they were told their meanings found them easier to recall and define in a trial. Presumably reading and hearing a word is better for learning than hearing alone. I think Ehri's main point here is that new vocabulary is best learnt if a child sees the word as well as hearing it and having it explained. Learning the words as sight vocabulary was a powerful aid to recall. But, interestingly, the children were not observed decoding the words, they heard them but did not read them out loud, so their alphabetic knowledge was being confirmed rather than tested in this context. Really, I don't see how this supports your assertion that, "she would agree that UK s.p. is one way of ensuring that word-reading is underpinned by grapheme-phoneme knowledge." Perhaps you could explain how you draw this conclusion.

I can't comment on the other study you mention, not having read it. I would have to read it before agreeing or disagreeing with you about it.

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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by chew8 » Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:18 am

Toots:

My conclusions about Ehri are based not just on that one article but also on many other articles of hers that I’ve read over the years and on knowing some of the work of some of the people whom she cites (e.g. Share). It would take me many hours to re-read everything relevant and summarise it, and I just don’t have the time for this.

It seems to me, however, that the key work which is relevant from the UK perspective has been done by Johnston et al. They have looked very specifically at the word-reading, spelling and comprehension of 10-year-olds according to whether they were taught by systematic synthetic phonics or by a more eclectic approach as beginners. I find their conclusions very convincing, but can appreciate that you may not want to pay to access the article that I cited.

Could you let us know, however, what research you would cite in support of your own view if that is (as it seems to be) that children go on to be better word-readers and comprehenders (and spellers?) if they are taught by eclectic methods as beginners?

Jenny C.

Toots

Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Toots » Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:44 am

What you're asking there, in effect, Jenny, is that I take it on trust that your reading supports the SSP mission, including your knowledge of Ehri's standpoint. However, one of the most dominant feature of discussions I have had with supporters of SSP (when I say that I mean SSP as configured in England at present), on the TES forum and on here, is that the research papers used to support their position do not, in fact, unequivocally do so. Stanovich is a case in point. In my most exasperated moments I have found myself wondering if the people in question have actually read the material they cite, and in my most mystified moments I even suspect them of not being able to read with attention and comprehension of detail.

My standpoint comes from questioning the received wisdom that SSP is 'The Answer', not from holding a contrary position (believing in eclectic methods). With each declaration of SSP orthodoxy I have come across I have had doubts and questioned the wisdom, without receiving any feedback from the 'experts' which puts to rest the arguments that arise. Actually the reactions received have been a hot potch that has ranged from evident failure to understand what I am getting at, to lack of interest, to patronage and onwards to personal attack and sarcasm about phonics-phobia and the rest.

To give one example I found that SSP folk fail to acknowledge that context - yes, even guessing from pictures- can support phonic awareness and knowledge. This guessing from pictures is something I find supported in the Ehri article, where there is an implication that hearing a whole word spoken and seeing it written supports phonic learning. The child tracks the sounds from the utterance through the written word, and seeing a simple picture with a simple word written underneath is a similar experience to hearing the word spoken. My reading of Stanovich's longitudinal study of the use of context by readers also supports the notion that context is used during the phase where children are amassing sight vocabulary, and, like phonics, is discarded as the child's reading becomes more automatic.

I will find some links to articles which I have read along the way and edit my post to include them.

http://www.cogsci.ucsd.edu/~bkbergen/co ... rtlett.pdf

http://gsite.univ-provence.fr/gsite/Loc ... oswami.pdf

http://www.ite.org.uk/ite_readings/simp ... eading.pdf

http://www.philosophy-of-education.org/ ... /Davis.pdf

That will have to do for now, I tried to link others but for some reason it would not work.

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Debbie Hepplewhite
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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:31 am

toots - I find it hard to consider that you have heard many children of all ages read their school reading books aloud.

The reason I say this is because of the many children of all ages that I hear read aloud, a huge percentage of them guess words from pictures and context and frequently guess incorrectly.

I have even heard children read this way when they are excellent at applying code knowledge and synthesising - in other words, the guessing route is their 'quick' and 'lazy' route - used more automatically and in preference to decoding even though they can decode accurately.

Thus, SSP promoters have seen that guessing words as a more eclectic route to reading enable children to read books pretty much at their level of existing oral language but inaccurately - and that the children's levels of spoken language further encourage them to take a stab at words rather than read carefully and accurately.

Certainly this is one of many reasons why I myself don't promote multi-cueing.

I also witness many children take stabs at words and fail to pay attention to the endings of words. It is immaterial to them whether a word is plural or a negative version of the word. Thus, accuracy of meaning could be flawed - not just accuracy of lifting the words off the page. SSP promotes close scrutiny all-through-the-word right through to the end of the word.

I also find that children taught through a more eclectic route are far less attentive to the detail of spelling and this leads to a mis-match between comprehension levels of reading and levels of writing - with the writing being significantly weaker than the reading.

At least with SSP teaching principles, we are not only teaching the decoding for reading, we are explicitly teaching the encoding for spelling. Thus, we no longer rely on either emergent reading or emergent writing.

Further, as children's books change in nature over time - that is, they do not include supporting pictures - some children at least begin to 'stall out'.

Teachers of infants may be totally unaware of this 'stall out' effect. Their pupils get through books designed for infants well enough - but then cannot manage the more challenging texts and picture-less texts for the long-haul.

When children or adults need to read new, longer and more challenging words beyond their oral vocabulary, they need to be able to apply alphabetic code knowledge and left to right, print to sound, decoding skills - even at the level of word chunks. There are no picture cues, nor context cues, that can help readers if words are not in their oral vocabularies.

Therefore, we give children a false idea of what can help them to read in the long term when we teach them to rely on pictures and context cues.

Toots

Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Toots » Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:46 am

But what you are describing, Debbie, is a failure of tuition not a failure of method. Pupils need to be taught the simple truth that if they make a wild guess they are probably going to be wrong. It's the teacher's job to show and explain the relationship between context (the picture), the word and the written word and how these can be used together. In its most simple form there is a picture of a cat with the word written under it and the teacher explaining the relationship of picture to word to sounds. The advantage of this for the child over coming across 'cat' without a picture is that s/he knows the word they are going to decode. After all, as readers, teachers know the words that children are attempting to decode, so it is very easy for them to distinguish the relations of letters to sounds. We can say, "Well, in this word you sound the 'a' like this..." supporting the child along the way to internalising what the word looks like in association to the string of sounds it represents. Where there is a picture the child can know the word and then compare their known word with the written version, discovering how phonics works alongside gaining sight vocabulary.

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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Kiki » Wed Oct 09, 2013 12:21 pm

though not so wild guesses, such as horse for pony are also wrong.

Eg:

"you can lead a horse to water......."

We are not preparing children for a life of reading illustrative picture laden books out to parents and teachers. We are preparing them to become independent readers/learners/enjoyers/accurate-decipherers of all manner of print. For example secondary text-books are not too big on explanatory pictures, neither was the last tax-form I filled in, a newspaper might have some photos but nothing very helpful for guessing/predicting and most novels written for age 12 up have little in the way of illustrative crutches.

Toots

Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Toots » Wed Oct 09, 2013 12:33 pm

Agreed. But I refer you again to the Ehri article. A sight vocabulary is incremental, in that readers use existing alphabetic and word knowledge when they encounter unfamiliar words, which as they become familiar enlarge the readers alphabetic and word knowledge. Jump starting the initial learning is about showing children that printed words represent spoken words and how this works. Using pictures at this stage supports the process of starting the ball rolling. At later stages readers supply their own 'pictures' - the meanings they gather from reading- which can be confirmed against what can be expected from the grammar and syntax of the text (context).

I would regard reading 'pony' for 'horse' as a wild guess, in a child who has even a small amount of phonic knowledge, and would tell them so and why. If they had no phonic knowledge and were therefore using a picture cue in isolation it would be a starting point for explaining why the word does not spell 'pony'.

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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by volunteer » Wed Oct 09, 2013 12:37 pm

Toots wrote:But what you are describing, Debbie, is a failure of tuition not a failure of method. Pupils need to be taught the simple truth that if they make a wild guess they are probably going to be wrong. It's the teacher's job to show and explain the relationship between context (the picture), the word and the written word and how these can be used together. In its most simple form there is a picture of a cat with the word written under it and the teacher explaining the relationship of picture to word to sounds. The advantage of this for the child over coming across 'cat' without a picture is that s/he knows the word they are going to decode. After all, as readers, teachers know the words that children are attempting to decode, so it is very easy for them to distinguish the relations of letters to sounds. We can say, "Well, in this word you sound the 'a' like this..." supporting the child along the way to internalising what the word looks like in association to the string of sounds it represents. Where there is a picture the child can know the word and then compare their known word with the written version, discovering how phonics works alongside gaining sight vocabulary.
It is quite fun with a three year old to look at a picture of a cat and then look at the letters and sound them out and blend and vice versa. I cease to find it amusing with 7 year olds who are reading about a shark swimming, have a nice picture to look at, see the following sentence "the shark is swimming in the sea" and read to me instead "the shark is swimming in the ocean". OK, I could go into a great long game with them about how can it say ocean when it starts with an s, so what might it say instead? But what's the point? If they had know how to sound out and blend, that "s" represents and /s/ sound and /ea/ represents an /ee/ sound they can work out that word in a jiffy.

My seven year old's sloppy reading is annoying me like anything at the moment. 40/40 in the phonics test, free reader very young, and very accurate when I taught her phonics over the summer holiday between Year R and Year 1. Now in year 3 - sloppy. I don't know how your method would help her Toots. Can't even think of pictures for the words that she guesses as being something else instead (generally ones that would fit with the gist of the text) but that she could have worked out if she wasn't being sloppy.

She had lessons labelled as phonics lessons but they weren't up to much, and the school promotes multi-cueing still. Can't really blame the school though as in three years there she probably has not been heard to read by a teacher for more than a total of 5 proper pages I would imagine. It's my fault for sending her to school every day leaving little time to do things well at home.

Toots

Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Toots » Wed Oct 09, 2013 3:32 pm

Children are sloppy. Adults are sloppy. To be more charitable, they take shortcuts. It's when reading with real purpose to find out and know that we read with full attention, and then we bring all the skills to bear because of the need to be accurate and understand the text. If the 'ocean' child can decode 'sea' it was just a matter of him making an on the hoof assumption, wasn't it? He just needs his assumption challenged, and to be told to read more carefully. If he said it because he can't decode 'sea', teach him the phonics. Similarly with your daughter. Does she make the same mistakes when the reading is for herself as when it's for you, or when asked to read something for a specific purpose?

The incidents you describe are about human nature. Children know that an adult will bail them out when reading aloud if necessary. Try saying you are going to mark their reading rather than listen and support for a much clearer picture of the accuracy they are capable of.

However, the point needs to be made - and it relates to Debbie's post above as well - that children who are good phonic decoders but who choose not to bother are not good readers. Good readers are those who are past the segment and blend stage and can automatically respond to words and parts of words. As Ehri says somewhere in that article reading using sight vocabulary is not a strategy, you don't have to bring it to bear, it just happens. Good readers can't help but read when a bit of text is put in front of them. But it isn't 'just happening' for these 'can't be bothered' children; reading isn't a bother for a good reader. They need lots more practice of simply reading in order to read. Requiring that they phonically decode words they are being sloppy about will support this development, but only if they are reading enough text at the right level to allow the words and parts of words encountered to become sight vocabulary.

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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by kenm » Wed Oct 09, 2013 8:34 pm

Toots, what do you mean by "sight word"?
"... the innovator has as enemies all those who have done well under the old regime, and only lukewarm allies among those who may do well under the new." Niccolo Macchiavelli, "The Prince", Chapter 6

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