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Where to start? My grandson thinks this is boring stuff.

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Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 2513
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 10:44 am    Post subject: Where to start? My grandson thinks this is boring stuff. Reply with quote

I just received this email enquiry below and asked this lady if she would be happy for me to copy it here so other people could benefit from both the question and the reply - this is not an altogether uncommon situation for parents and grandparents!

Dear Debbie,

I am very impressed with Phonics International together with the teaching thereof, however with so many recourses to access I am totally confused as to what I need to purchase to get me going and my second problem is that I have a dyslexia/ADHD 9 year old grandson who is reading at a 7 year old level. I would like to get him up to speed but I do not know where to start him with regards to your programme. He is an extremely reluctant learner, he does not have a lot of idea about phonics and when l try to teach him he rebels and tells me he already knows. I have tried many different approaches without a lot of success. On the flipside of the coin this child is extremely intelligent scoring in the genius category for oral language, he also thinks he is an adult that doesn't have to learn this boring stuff.

Your thoughts on where to start this child on the path to success would be greatly appreciated.



(Retired Teacher)

Debbie Hepplewhite

Last edited by debbie on Sat Nov 16, 2013 10:54 am; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 2513
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are my suggestions:

First of all thank you for your very kind words about Phonics International much appreciated!

Here are some suggestions for motivating your grandson.

If you haven't already done so, demonstrate to him that 'phonics' alphabetic code knowledge and phonics skills are the domain of literate adults for reading and spelling new, longer and more challenging words.

So, phonics is not 'baby stuff', phonics is 'adult stuff'.

I work really hard to change this perception wherever I go because I suggest that most teachers and all learners think that phonics is baby stuff and therefore it is humiliating for them to think they are getting phonics teaching.

If you haven't already done so, show him the range of free Alphabetic Code Charts via the free resources page at .

This will show him that these charts with information about the alphabetic code are needed even to train and inform teachers and adults.

Then, select with him one of the 'mini' charts to show just how much knowledge is needed for the 'code' of English.

Explain to him that the alphabetic code for the English language is one of the hardest in the world and make this interesting by referring to the history of the English code whereby we have so many invading peoples bringing not only their spoken language but also their written codes. This has led to the complexity.

Then, make the basis of your teaching with him going forwards about teaching a complex code that even adults struggle with.

Your core resources in the Phonics International programme are the 'Sounds Book Activity Sheets' alternating with the 'I can read' texts and questions building up knowledge of spelling word banks.

Explain to your grandson that people in English-speaking countries have a higher rate of illiteracy or weak literacy than many other languages because of this complex code.

Then, if you study and select some of the guidance documents on my Free Resources webpage of , you will find for example the latest pdf on setting up the phonics folder.

I suggest you set him up a phonics folder based on the guidance in that new pdf then look for the Sounds Book Activity Sheets and alternating I can read texts from unit to unit in the programme.

There are some free assessments on the Free Resources webpage and if you can get him to be interested enough, use your knowledge of him to select which assessments you think will be helpful.

Then, look closely at the level of 'content' in the core Sounds Book Activity Sheets and I can read texts to decide on an appropriate starting point for him.

This is referring to the full Phonics International programme which is provided online via an annual licence system.

Your other route is to look closely at what is included in the latest series of 8 eBooks which are provided as pdfs and which are mainly compiled from resources in the existing PI programme. You might think this is the easier way forwards.

You can find out about the eBooks via the homepage of .

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.
And so here are my suggestions which would apply to anyone using a phonics programme with reluctant learners - all the more difficult when they are indeed family members as we know!

I really think your route to gaining his cooperation is to demonstrate to him that this is not baby stuff!

I would be very grateful if you would allow me to copy and paste your query and my answer on to my PI forum.

I l do this 'anonymously' so there are no links to your name and situation.

Your query is not an uncommon one and it would probably be helpful if other people could learn of these suggestions.

Warm regards,


Debbie Hepplewhite
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