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Feedback related to younger learners to the age of 11
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debbie



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Posts: 2449
Location: UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Hi Debbie

I just thought I'd update you as I've been in touch with you before saying that I've got an individual licence for your programme and love it and I was going to try and get school to use it.
There is progress on that front as I've shown the resources to my colleagues and they are very impressed - I wish I'd had the confidence to speak up sooner! We are hoping to buy the school licence, we are just waiting for the literacy coordinator to approve it which hopefully won't take long.

I continue to be astounded by the results that I am having from using the programme. I have a child already writing at Level 2b at this stage of Year 1 and several others already at 2c. There are lots of Level 2 readers already too. Even my lowest ability children are making good progress and noone seems to be completely stuck.

Keep up the good work and I'll let you know how it goes in school when we buy it.


I asked this Y1 teacher (UK) if I could post her message to me on the 'feedback' forum and she replied with further details of how she uses the PI resources in her class:


Quote:
Hi
That's fine to post it on the message forum.
I think that what the children like is that it is so structured and they know exactly what to expect each day. I have made a Smart Notebook template that I use for every session, basically doing all the steps that you show on one of your videos but I've done it on Smart Notebook rather than using flashcards. I show a table with all the sounds they've learned and they read them when I point to them. We then look at lists of words with the previous couple of days sounds on. I then introduce the new sound, we then read some words with the new sound in together and then the children go to their tables to do the sounds book sheet.

I have given every child a phonics folder (just a loose leaf file) and this is out in their place every session. When they have done their sounds book sheet they put it in the folder. It means that if a child finishes quickly they can take out earlier sheets and continue to practise them. I also use the sentence sheets on some days for revision and ask the children to circle the sounds and read the text.

I have a group of children that were quite low ability so as it took a bit of time doing the basics at the start of the year they are now working on unit 3 with my LSA each session whilst I teach the rest of the class who are coming towards the end of unit 6 now.

In terms of informing parents I make a sheet every week which has the sounds for that week along with a list of words for the parents to practise reading with their child. I sometimes will put some information about phonics on the back of the sheet. I did this a lot at the start of the year and now I just do it occasionally to give parents and update of where we are up to with phonics.

Other teachers have taken phonics on board more this year, Year 3 in particular, at my school. The thing I find some people do both at my school and on message forums I go on is treat phonics as an end in itself. So they take a phonics session in isolation rather than linking it to everything to do with reading and writing. I find it works best to constantly refer to phonics so when I listen to children read I point out sounds in their books that we have been learning or when we are writing if they ask how to spell a word I ask them to sound it out and go and look at our 'sounds wall' if they get stuck.

The other thing that I think is making phonics work this year with my class is total consistency - so like I say keeping lessons pretty much the same format every day, but also making sure I have phonics every day and it doesn't get missed. If we have an event in school so I have to change my timetable it is never phonics that is dropped as I think it is the most crucial lesson out of everything.

I'm glad it's useful me keeping you informed. I find teaching children to read is my favourite part of my job so I'm passionate about anything that will help me do that.


I was very pleased that this teacher was prepared to take the time to be so informative. In my reply, I asked if use of the core SOUNDS BOOK ACTIVITY SHEETS was being alternated with the 'I CAN READ' texts or 'SENTENCES' [or people could alternate with 'SIMPLE SENTENCES' from the Early Years Starter Package). The sentence and text level resources can be used in several different ways and ALL the children can use them by accessing them at their own level either independently or with adult supervision (making sure the children apply themselves to their objective - not the adult 'doing' it for the children!!).

I am always very gratified when people keep in touch with me - and genuine feedback is very important indeed. I do hope that this teacher's colleagues will try out the PI programme to provide a whole school approach to teaching reading and spelling - and if they do, I'm sure this teacher will let me know the outcome! Wink

It is not uncommon for an individual teacher to try out the PI programme's resources and then to pass on the findings to colleagues. Very Happy
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debbie



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Hi Debbie,

Just thought I'd send you an email to introduce myself - I'm ..................... daughter, ............

I'm doing PI in my classroom too Smile I just joined your mailing list of tutorials on recommendation of Mum.

I absolutely LOVE Phonics International. It's made SUCH a huge impact on the kids I teach so thank you so much.

Anyways, better get back to it - just thought I'd drop you a small email!

Cheers,


Australian early years teacher trialling the action mnemonics
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debbie



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is taken straight from the online TES (Times Educational Supplement) primary forum posted on 09/05/2010:


Quote:
This thread makes interesting reading. I don't use Letters and Sounds with my class, but use Phonics International (www.phonicsinternational.com). I found Letters and Sound was a good starting point but really didn't provide enough resources. It is also full of all these ideas for activities, but they take a lot of resourcing and preparing for what is quite a short activity.

I teach my phonics sessions following the same structure every day. I recap previous sounds by showing them all on the board and pointing to them for the children to read, I then get the children to practise reading words with the previous couple of days sounds in. I then teach the new sound by putting it on the board and talking about it. We then read some words together with the new sound in. This takes up to 10 minutes. I then send the children to their tables where they complete a sheet from Phonics International - it has words for them to read and space to practise writing the sound.
Compared to some of the Letters and Sounds activities I realise how I teach it may sound quite boring. It is very teacher led and the interactive part is the children reading the words. I don't use a great deal of resources or play many games in the lessons. HOWEVER, it is working absolutely fantastic and the children really love the phonics lessons. We do it after play every day and they always come in asking what sound are they learning today. There is a lot of independent learning as the children are reading words on their sheets and ticking them if they can read them. They file their work in their phonics folders themselves and highlight new sounds on a bookmark.

The point I think I'm trying to make here is that I think it is vital to teach children to read in a very systematic and structured way. You can't learn to read by reading. That is a contradiction - how can you read in the first place if you've not been taught to read. I accept that some children will just pick up reading without much teaching (I believe that's how I learned to read myself) but there are no guarantees that this will happen and certainly not for every child. Therefore teaching children how to decode is so important.
I think a mistake some people make is taking phonics as an end in itself rather than a means to an end. So they are only thinking about if the children can identify all the sounds rather than looking at it in the wider picture - are the children reading words confidently in their books with sounds in they've learned? Are they spotting sounds in words around them?
For those of you who are cynical about phonics teaching, I'd urge you to put a really systematic plan in place for your class and you'll be amazed by the effect it has. I have a lot of level 2 readers and writers already and I teach Y1. I also have a class of children who love reading and writing.

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debbie



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This was taken from the mumsnet forum posted 30th May 2010:

Quote:
I would recommend Debbie's programme to anyone. Very comprehensive resources and extremely effective.

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debbie



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2010 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lovely message from a lady who has put together a training package using some PI resources from the Early Years Starter Package for volunteer adults who help out with hearing readers at a primary school:

Quote:
Hello Again,

I just picked my kids up from school and one of the mums who attended my Support-A-Reader training came up to tell me how much she loves the booklet I put together – your modelling cards and simple sentences. She said she doesn’t use it with the Year 3’s she helps at the school because the teacher gives out books for the children to read, instead she uses it with her five year old son. She was absolutely beaming as she told me how he can sound out all the words and read whole sentences by himself. She has two older children who struggled and spent a fortune on Kumon to help them catch up, hence her excitement seeing her five year old read and want to read more.

You must hear things like this all the time – thought I’d tell you anyway that there is another happy mum out there!!

Keep up the great work.


Hopefully, you'll hear more about this training package in the future as it is being developed and trialled by one of our PI trainers as we speak!
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debbie



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Hi Debbie, I just had to share with you- I've had so much positive feedback from the parents of the children in my class about their reading and writing- and they've only been at school 2 weeks! We've only covered 4 phonemes and today it 'clicked' with a lot of the children that we can read words by blending the phonemes together- not from guessing and struggling from pictures etc. The parents seem to be realising this 'miracle' too! Now just to convince the head teacher that SP is the way forward! Bring on the revolution in Australia!

Best wishes,

[Teacher in Australia].


I have just posted this on the 'Fancy a chat?' forum too - as I am trying to get volunteers to type up simple diary recounts of their teaching so that we can upload them onto the website to share with others. Students' names would not be identified.

If anyone is happy to do this, please do contact me at debbie@phonicsinternational.com . Wink
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debbie



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was good to hear from Sharon, a primary teacher, about the handwriting style I promoted on a Times Education Supplement message forum over a year ago:

Quote:
I read your advice on handwriting in a thread that you contributed to in September. I just want to say that I found it incredibly useful, so thank you for sharing both that and your article. I have some shocking writers in Year 4 who I will now get to work on!


And later, I received this email from Sharon:

Quote:
I used the handwriting style you recommended with about half of my Year 4 class and it was very successful - with the children who put the effort in to using it. With one of my children (a child with dyslexia) he came into my class as more or less an emergent writer and left it with beautiful joined up handwriting using your style!

It was also fantastically easy to explain to parents and I prepared a parent sheet for use at home to explain the joins to them which also proved very popular.

Since then I have been promoting it with other colleagues as an alternative to the Nelson scheme which has been favoured by the school in the past but not securely taught or used.

So thank you once again!


UK Primary Teacher

This is the handwriting style I promote and I shall be making a video clip about it shortly!

http://www.phonicsinternational.com/Joined%20Handwriting.pdf

[I am adding the purpose-designed handwriting link below as this did not exist at the time of this posting:

See: www.debbiehepplewhitehandwriting.com for free resources and guidance - including video guidance.]
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debbie



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
In July 2010 after nearly nine months in the reception class I discovered, to my horror, that my grand-daughter had no knowledge of phnonics or any sight vocabulary. Having taught for 40 years (35 in Special Education) I was furious with myself for not checking before; but even more cross that most of my old material had been given away on retirement. Thankfully I found your site and the cost has been well spent. An intensive programme with her over the Summer holidays meant she really did hit the ground running. I am glad to report that her reading age is now more in line with what I would expect from her if one takes the BPVS as a guide to verbal intelligence but there has been an added bonus her sister who only turned two in August was so interested in the games we played and me messing around with phonic cards that she already is identifying letters and has picked up sight words of her favourite stories.

Please continue your good work. Children do need to be taught - they do not catch reading, that is unless they are very lucky.

Obviously I will not be renewing my subscription as I have no more grand-children but wish you continuing success.


A happy Grandma! Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Time has flown since we met over 'Skype'! I thought I'd let you know that everyone continues to be super keen on Phonics International and that the programme seems to be working extremely well. Even our LEA are taking an interest!


Headteacher in Wales, UK
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debbie



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
... I wanted to let you know how amazingly inspired many of us were after your inset here last October. Afterwards, we made major changes in our teaching of spelling through phonics and results in standardised tests have been excellent in the classes that embraced change.


Literacy Coordinator: Primary School, UK
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debbie



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Feedback from a parent-user:


Quote:
I just wanted to say how happy I am at finally finding a truly great synthetic phonics program. I have taught my children with synthetic phonics for a couple years now but I was having to make up my own resources and I was missing many parts of the alphabetic code. I plan on buying your full program to use with my children to fill in all the holes. Thank you! I can not say it enough. This is such a blessing to have and is the core knowledge that so many kids are missing!


Always pleasing to hear! Thank you for your comments! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was so pleased to receive this lovely feedback from a literacy coordinator in the Isle of Wight:

Quote:
Hi Debbie,

I hope that this email finds you both well. You may recall travelling
down the the IW in January to deliver some phonic training to us. I
just wanted to contact you to say what a positive impact the training
and the Phonics International resources that you gifted us has had on
teaching and learning in school.

I have been determined to develop and improve the teaching of phonics
beyond Yr1 for some time but without your help I was finding it difficult to
know where to start.

We now have daily phonic sessions running in all classes up to Yr 3 and I've delivered CPD to teaching staff in KS2 and all our TAs in order to extend the programme up to Yr6.

We've also held an information evening for parents and initiated the 'book bag' routine.

What is really lovely is that as I walk around school I see more and more 'alphabetic codes' appearing and I hear discussions taking place about different graphemes and the phonemes they represent.

Personally I've learnt a huge amount about spelling, it's like learning my own language for the very first time!

This week we have hosted a visit for GTP students training on the Island.
Their focus was the teaching of phonics and early reading skills.
During our feedback session they were very complimentary about the
teaching and learning they saw taking place and in particular the
enthusiasm with which phonic lessons were being delivered and
received.

I am so very grateful for your visit and just wanted you to know what
a positive impact your resources are having on our children's learning.

Kind regards


I replied with a comment about the level of phonics critics in the media and...

further:

Quote:
Hi Debbie,

Thanks for your reply. It sounds like you're very busy. I really don't
understand the anti phonics argument. All I can think is that it comes
down to ignorance or perhaps from people who aren't really involved
with teaching children how to read and write.

I think back to all the years that I 'fudged' spelling questions with
children because I didn't know enough to give an explanation about
the letter patterns.

Now when we spell a word I whip out the alphabetic code and we work it out together. We were working on the 'ge' grapheme last week and George put his hand up and said 'Just like my name'. I can honestly say I'd never realised why 'George' was spelt the way it is until that moment, when we segmented it together!

Pay no attention to the critics and keep up the good work because the
results are amazing.

It would be great to meet up when you're on the island if possible.
Let me know when you have the dates. I'm also happy to give a personal
testimony at your twighlight training if it helps spread the word!

Kind regards


My comment to everyone:

There ARE so many phonics critics grabbing the attention of the media that it is really important for those of us who have seen the huge improvements from our synthetic phonics teaching (for reading and spelling) to share this information.

Anecdotes provide the human interest - but it is also important that we have evidence in the form of pre- and post- synthetic phonics teaching with reading and spelling tests.

Thank you so much to everyone who takes the time and trouble to contact me with feedback! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.phonicsinternational.com/PI_in_primary_school_in_England.pdf

We've just added another report on findings from using Phonics International resources in an English high-achieving village school. This report can be found via the PI homepage in the centre column.

We are very grateful when you provide us with reports such as this which include not only your personal experiences (the 'journey') but also any assessment results which you are able to include.

Please do send us descriptions of your experiences which help to share good practice in different contexts.

Thank you! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Dear Debbie,

I’ve already begun to implement your advice about displaying the mini posters in the classroom in order to revise the phonemes already covered.

We are also beginning to look afresh at our approach to handwriting so your advice in this area was also very valuable.

Here are some of my thoughts about our experiences of using the P.I. programme. I hope that they are useful to you:

P.I. has given us a structured approach to phonics that we are able to use from Yr2 onwards to continue the excellent start to phonics in YrR and Yr1 using Letters and Sounds.

From Yr2 we now have a daily phonics session using the P.I. materials to teach all the alternative graphemes. The programme has given both the teachers and children in school a much greater understanding of ‘The Alphabetic Code’ which we constantly refer to when new graphemes are introduced, or if we are searching for alternative letter patterns for a sound. The children in Yr2 are now very comfortable using terms like ‘split digraph’ or ‘grapheme’ to describe words when they are spelling or reading them.

One father whose child moved to his Yr2 class in September said:
‘Whatever you’re doing really works. His reading has improved dramatically since joining the school’.

As a teacher I am constantly learning new graphemes that I had never really connected to sounds previously. It’s like the scales have been removed from my eyes and I am learning to read afresh.

The P.I. programme has given me the confidence to believe that I’m really teaching reading and writing in a cumulative way rather than just muddling through. When a child asks me how to spell a word now I can explain the letter patterns involved in a really informed way for the first time.

We will await with interest our Yr2 SAT results this year and also the results of the Yr2 children re-taking the Yr1 Phonic screening check to see the results of a more vigorous approach to phonics teaching in Yr2.


From a Literacy Coordinator in an English primary school. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I am totally committed to securing Phonics International throughout our school and hope to use this as the training ground for my NPQH next year.

This is a brilliant tool that not only will benefit the children, parents and school but also enhance my leadership skills - THANK YOU SO MUCH


From a Deputy Headteacher, UK
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