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struggling with unit 7 and above with Y1 son

 
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mum24



Joined: 04 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 9:23 am    Post subject: struggling with unit 7 and above with Y1 son Reply with quote

This is the first time I've posted on the board and I'd like to say a huge thank you to Debbie for helping my family so much. We have genetic hearing loss in my family and I've have been very worried about how my children would cope at mainstream school. One thing I no longer have to worry about is whether they are able to learn their synthetic phonics as with your brilliant course they have been picking them up very quickly at home with just a few minutes teaching each day.

I have four children under 6, and am currently using your course for my oldest son (6 yesterday and in Y1) and my daughter (age 4 and YR). We have been working in 3 day cycles, starting on day 1 with 'sound book activity sheets' for the new phoneme, the following day we revise them with the 'picture posters' and on day 3 we go through the 'I can read, write and draw' sheets together. My son is on level 7 and my daughter having benefitted from watching my son use the course is already on unit 6 although she is not 5 till August.

Their progress has been wonderful and they have enjoyed the course very much, I can see the satisfaction it brings them to be able to read well. I now seem to have hit a problem though as we have started unit 7. We no longer have 'picture posters' which my son misses as we used to play a game covering up the pictures and uncovering them once they'd read the word, they seemed to like it! I know they shouldn't need pictures to help them to decode, but it was a small reward that seemed to be worth having. Secondly, the 'I can read write and draw text has changed to just reading, and the text is very heavy going for a 5/6 year old. My son has lost interest in reading these because the text is just a bit too grown up for him and is very long.

I think these texts must have been written with older pupils in mind? We would love to keep going with the course but having worked so brilliantly for the first 6 units, we now seem to have ground to a bit of a halt. At the moment we are just doing the 'sounds activity sheets' on day one, followed by the 'miniposters' on day 2 and I'm at a bit of a loss what to do on day 3 because my son just looks despondently at the I can read sheets, reads a couple of lines then says he's had enough, and I can see what he means.

Obviously the initial course has been designed to cover a broad spectrum of learners. I was just wondering if you might be able to develop a course for very young learners going beyond unit 6, including the original layout of 'picture posters' and 'I can read, write and draw sheets'?

Once again thank you for all you have helped my family to achieve,

Michelle Moorhead
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debbie



Joined: 08 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Michelle,

Thank you so much for your unexpected message which has 'come out of the blue' for me!

It is so hard to try to help people who prefer not to use the message forum and who don't relay back to me how they are doing with the Phonics International programme.

I see that people are reading the messages but it is clear that not many people either want to, or feel comfortable, to use the message forum freely as I hoped they would! I hope your message will encourage others to share their findings.

Also, I am not the least bit afraid of any comments which may well be criticism or be interpreted as criticism. I welcome feed back of any description and will address every comment as it is made - good or bad.

Well - you have positively romped away with your son and I am very impressed.

I understand your comments entirely and I am doing something about just the circumstances you describe. Bear in mind that in a school scenario, I might expect a Year One teacher to be focusing on dictations to improve handwriting and spelling and, in addition, the learner's 'reading' material should be a breadth of reading books which enable plenty of reading rehearsal at the Alphabetic Code knowledge level.

Over time, I have it in mind to provide many cumulative Code 'e-books' which will cater for all ages of learner and a broad range of circumstances but, as you know, this is a new programme which is still undergoing development (and may always do so until everyone is more fully catered for!).

I am really pleased to hear of you getting good use from the Picture Posters. I have commissioned the programme's illustrator to draw pictures which will enable me to continue throughout the programme with the breadth of resources in units 1 to 6 because I am hearing that they are useful resources and the illustrations do provide incentives, vocabulary enrichment and mnemonics for learners of all ages and contexts.

In addition, I have commissioned more full 'pictures' for the storylines in unit 7 which will help learners to remember specific words for specific spellings. I am going to provide more extensive word banks to go with these pictures as 'word associations' are the next step for addressing spelling more widely.

There is nothing for it but learners to remember 'which' words have 'which' grapheme alternatives and this is another area that I consider teachers are not well enough supported in how to help learners recall specific spellings.

So - yes - I take your comments on board entirely and can only say that I am beavering away - along with the illustrator - at providing similar resources throughout the programme.

It is also in the pipeline to produce a complete 'sentence strand' throughout the programme which will be that much simpler than the text strand. Once again, though, this is not going to help you in the immediate term.

May I ask you what reading resources your son's school is providing? Is the school taking on board synthetic phonics teaching (as they should be) and does the school appear to have suitable reading books?

It may be that you need to change your routines for the time being and focus on different aspects of learning at home.

One idea would be for you to introduce the next new letter/s-sound correspondence and then support, as necessary, your son blending the words on the Sounds Book Activity Sheets which will enable you to discuss the meanings of the word. He could then do the usual handwriting, drawing and spelling routines.

But how about going on to the free clip-art programmes on the internet and looking for some 'favourite' pictures to create his own illustrations for some selected words?

Also, do you do some simple dictation activities? I cannot emphasise strongly enough how important simple dictations are for learners and yet this is often a very neglected routine in schools where children are invariably expected to write freely and creatively at all times rather than the writing process being a supported skills-based process.

Once you have found a few clip-art pictures, think of very simple sentences with some of the target graphemes and words to write captions for them.

My design plans are not going to help you during the next month but I promise you all these things are 'in hand' and will be there within the next few months. Confused
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Last edited by debbie on Wed May 28, 2008 2:08 pm; edited 2 times in total
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debbie



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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One more comment - I note that you have been using the I can read, write and draw texts but you don't mention using the I can read texts.

If you have not already used the I can read texts, may I suggest that you now do what I describe as the 'layered' approach.

This means that you refer back to the texts (or other resources) from earlier units for reading practice now that your son can blend.

You say he is struggling with the I can read texts from unit 7, so how about revising the letter/s-sound correspondences he has learnt to date through the I can read texts for units 1 to 6 either 'instead of' learning any more graphemes right now, or 'as well as' learning the new graphemes from unit 7 onwards.

Your son could read a text and then, having found out what the Code says, he could be the illustrator for each piece of text.

In my teaching (Reception, primary and special needs) I find the I can read texts very useful and often re-visit them for various children according to need. They can be used for grapheme searches, for reading, for dictations (some of the sentences), for stimulating more full story ideas and for translating into joined handwriting.

Another resource you could re-visit is the Sounds Book Activity Sheets themselves. Re-read them with a focus on 'meaning' in mind. Which words does your son not yet know the meaning of and can he say or write simple sentences using a selection of the words?

Also, what about using the Picture Cards and Word Blend Cards together. Provide some pictures and matching words - but in a muddle - for your son to match up.

This matching up words with pictures can also be undertaken in the form of a Pairs Game where all the cards are placed face down. The learner/s turn over two cards at a time (one Picture Card and one Word Blend Card) and try to match them. When this is unsuccessful, the cards have to be placed face down again and the players have to 'remember' which picture and which word are where whilst they pick up other cards to find a match and then keep and, later, count the pairs up.

Other activities could include matching lower case letters to upper case letters - there is a set of cards in unit 2 consisting of upper case and lower case letters for precisely this matching and then putting into alphabetical order. There are also handwriting activities in unit 2 where the learner either writes the upper case letter to match the lower case letter or vice versa. Of course it could be that your son is already competent at this level of handwriting in which case he would not benefit from these types of activities! I have found, however, that sometimes schools neglect to teach well enough the technical skills such as writing capital letters correctly!
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Debbie Hepplewhite
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debbie



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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2008 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Michelle,

You might be pleased to know that resources are on their way for units 7 to 12 which include pictures! I hope your son will be newly encouraged and that you will be able to put them to good use.

These are a continuation of the Alphabetic Code Frieze Poster series and the Colour-in Sounds Book series.

Another strand which will be brand new to the programme will be following shortly after that for unit 7 - more about that later! Wink
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debbie



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alphabetic Code Frieze Posters have now been added to unit 7.

Colour-In Sounds Book sheets are on their way for units 7 to 12 and also the latest strand in development, 'Grouping the Spelling Alternatives' Posters. You can see the first of these which has been added to the bottom of the resources list in the free unit 1. Wink
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debbie



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2008 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Michelle,

You might be pleased to discover that I am continuing the Colour-In Sounds Book strand which was previously only available in units 1 to 6. Tonight we have uploaded the unit 7 sheets and more will follow shortly.

These could be a good focus for your Year 1 son as he learns new letter/s-sound correspondences in the STAGE TWO part of the programme.

You were saying how he seemed to lose interest in new learning when the 'picture' elements of the programme stopped and the I can read texts were too difficult for him.

Hopefully, there will be activities he can do to revise learning in units 1 to 6 whilst at the same time he could be introduced to new graphemes from unit 7 onwards through the Alphabetic Code Frieze Posters and now the Colour-In Sounds Book sheets.

He should also be able to do the Sounds Book activity sheets with your support on which he will be able to draw his own pictures! Very Happy
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mum24



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2008 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Debbie, this is just a very quick note to say thank you so much for your very detailed and helpful replies to my questions. We went on holiday shortly after I posted my querie and since our return we have had rather a lot of illness in the family Sad so this is the first chance i've had to reply. I just wanted to say a very big thank you and to let you know your help is very, very much appreciated, I am looking forward to getting back into our reading routine, which has suffered these past 3 weeks, and will be taking a long look at your suggestions and advice. I will be in touch again very soon,

Many thanks,

Michelle
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debbie



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well Michelle - it's good that you had a family holiday but what a shame there has been some ill-health since then! I hope everyone is fully recovered by now.

You'll see that we've been busy since your first posting.

I think you and your son might enjoy the Spelling Sheets which are brand new. At the moment they are to be found in units 1 to 5. I have designed a set for unit 6 - and I am finding that they are so successful that I may well continue them beyond unit 6.

I make up booklets with up to five of these Spelling Sheets but only ask the children to do one sheet at a time.

In a classroom setting, I introduce the new sheet and describe how the children can work in pairs with one acting 'like a teacher' pointing randomly to the graphemes in the top list of graphemes. The 'pupil' then says the sounds. They then reverse roles.

Then they look at the pictures starting top left of their own sheet. They think what the word could be and orally segment that word and count the sounds on their left hand - palm facing - starting with their thumb which is 'on the left' to emulate the way that writing starts on the left. If the number of sounds counted matches the number of sound-dashes under the picture, then the next step is to check and see if the necessary graphemes are in the top list. Then the word is written on the sound dashes.

If the suggested word does not seem to fit, another suitable word is suggested. For some words, the teacher may need to say what the word is from checking on the overarching word list provided in each unit with the Spelling Sheets.

My colleague prefers to have monochrome printouts of the Spelling Sheets (black and white) so that the children can also do a bit of colouring.

If we see any incorrect letter formation, we find a bit of space on the sheet for additional practice of the letter shape.

I am hoping that your son will enjoy doing some of these Spelling Sheets and that it will be good spelling and handwriting practice and good revision for him. Wink
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