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Using the programme as a spelling programme with older class

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Joined: 21 Oct 2007
Posts: 14
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 6:50 pm    Post subject: Using the programme as a spelling programme with older class Reply with quote

Dear Debbie,
I am interested in your suggestions for using the programme as a spelling programme right up through the school.
Obviously as SP filters up through the school, the children will have a good code knowledge and be competent in the skills of blending and segmenting, however as of right now only the first 3 classes are, or are in the process of being, thus equipped, having been taught to read and write using SP from the start.
Plans are afoot to assess and fill in the gaps in the code knowledge of the older students and to train them in the skills of blending all through a words to read and segmenting words into sounds, mapping the correct graphemes onto the phonemes to spell.
The children in the junior and middle classes will have adequate time to complete the programme from the start if necessary, however the children in the senior classes will not.
Older struggling readers have already commenced work on the programme with the learning support teacher.
He is now using it with individuals or small groups, as his main intervention tool.
However, I am sure there are children in the older classes who need further consolidation of their code knowledge and specific blending and segmenting training.
I feel that selecting material from various units, to be used as whole class spelling programme, will be of great benefit to these children, as the sounds book activity sheets and wordlists will also involve further consolidation of code knowledge, blending and segmenting skills.
Given the limited time frame left for the oldest pupils and the fact that it will not be possible to group and teach them according to specific code knowledge gaps, can you recommend the units or correspondences you would consider as a priority to include in our programme of work to help us achieve maximum benefit.
Any advice will be greatfully appreciated,
Thank you,
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Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 2581
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's very simple - just look at the pupils' current spelling knowledge and ability.

Some older pupils with weaker spelling ability may need to start a spelling programme in the earlier units.

Other pupils with a better grasp of spelling may be better starting the programme as a spelling programme in STAGE TWO (units 6 to 12).

The programme has tremendous potential for the teacher to judge where to start teaching and even to select graphemes in the order as preferred once a 'cumulative' word bank is not so essential - that is, the pupils can now read and are not so dependent on 'cumulative' words for reading and spelling.

I have suggested that some pupils in Years five and six need additional spelling starting, perhaps, from digraphs in unit 2 - but also they can receive the whole class spelling lessons which have started with 'soft c' in unit 6. The earlier units are the 'booster' lessons and the whole class lessons will raise their awareness of more code alongside their peers.

What I think is important for all pupils is building in dictation opportunities. The text level work ('I can read') is good for code-searching (underline specific focus graphemes) as well as being suitable for dictation.

Getting to know the text level material will also help in recalling 'word associations' - that is words with the same sounds and spellings. Games can be played whereby the pupils have to recall all the words of a particular sound and spelling variation from the previous spelling lesson. "Can you list/say all the words with the 'ir' spelling?"

Knowledge of word meanings is also a feature of learning to read and spell. I would expect common use of dictionaries in classes of older pupils. Any words they read of which they don't know the meaning, they can look up in an appropriate dictionary and say, or write, in a sentence.

Most important of all, pupils undertaking the programme as a spelling programme will gain a good understanding of the notion of The Alphabetic Code with spelling and pronunciation variations and I suggest that it is very important that full advantage is taken of the various formats of The Alphabetic Code charts to refer to liberally.

This will put pupils at a greater advantage and help them to be more knowledgeable about The Alphabetic Code than most of their parents and teachers.

When I travel round schools providing teacher-training, I see no equivalent charts to The Alphabetic Code charts I have designed. I ask who has posters on their walls to provide reference points for teaching and learning The Alphabetic Code. There are invariably none.

I would expect the language in classrooms to be commonly along the lines of segmenting spoken words and pupils perhaps asking, "Which spelling variation is in the word....?" with the teacher being able to point to a giant version of The Alphabetic Code chart and saying, "This grapheme as in the word example ....".

The reason that I avoid being overly prescriptive with the Phonics International programme is because it is designed to be used very flexibly according to the needs of each teacher and his/her pupils.

As the resources are largely paper-based, teachers need to consider the posters and activity sheets as 'working documents'. Everyone, for example, needs to feel free to write on the posters and sheets as need and preference arises.

Teachers may also like to add further word examples to expand on the bank of words spelt with the focus sounds and graphemes.

I think one spelling lesson a week is insufficient. Ideally teachers need to timetable two or three spelling lessons a week dependent on need.

I would not expect word lists to be 'sent home' to be learnt through 'Look, cover, write, check' exercises.

Additional vocabulary banks will need to be highlighted which are specific to subject areas. These spellings would not need any focus on common graphemes but as pupils gain experience, they should be able to spell many topic words independently through their wider segmenting skills and their growing understanding of The Alphabetic Code.

Experience of synthetic phonics teaching and learning will help pupils to become very attentive to spelling details in words.

I look forward to your futher questions and the feedback of your colleagues.
Debbie Hepplewhite
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Joined: 21 Oct 2007
Posts: 14
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your detailed and helpful reply Debbie.
I'll keep you posted when we get things up and running.
It would be great if other teachers, using the programme, used the forum to share their experiences and ideas.
I'm sure we could learn a lot from each other.
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