Monday, 18 April 2016
The Phonic Pharce (Adventures of L-Plate Gran)
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Grandma in possession of a small child must be in want of practically nothing. Except advice. Lots and lots of advice. Currently on how I am blighting Little G's academic chances by the stuff I let her do.
Now, anecdotally I didn't 'learn' to read until I was 7 - my parents sent me to one of those knit-your-own-yoghurt schools that were trendy in the 1950s. But I was definitely reading by the time I was 4. I taught myself from library books, because I wanted to know what was happening in the pictures.
Little G has been 'reading' for ages in that she knows the stories in several books, turning the pages at the appropriate time. She can recite most of Slinky Malinki ... saying words like 'rapscallion cat' with evident glee. She can pick out and say letters on shop signs and associate them with words.
But according to the phonics police on Twitter, I should not be letting her. She MUST NOT say 'Dee for Daddy ... Gee for Grandma' etc. because in Year 1 (that's around FOUR YEARS OLD) she may have to take a phonics test. Yep, a test!
I remember phonics stuff from the early 1970s when I was branch librarian at Harlesden Library. It was the only way to teach kids reading (sic). We had picture books and simple stories in phonic-type words. Nobody (including the kids) could read them. It was dropped a short time later as it was considered that it hindered rather than helped children to access literacy.
But that was then, friends. Today, trendy educators who never knew any better have re-introduced it. Over my dead body. So, fellow Grandparents, please join me in a corporate act of musical defiance. Altogether now - after three:
W,X,Y and Z
Now I know my ABC, next time won't you sing with me?''
To be continued ... ....
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We had this horrendous phonic scheme in the Reception class where I taught for a while. The Reception teacher retired early because all the pleasure of reading with the children had gone. They had to parrot and write meaningless phonemes every day. Needless to say after a few years it was abandoned.ReplyDelete
Bet that was when I noticed its incursion. I see they have cancelled the tests, but you can bet they will be back! The Termination! (of enjoyable reading)Delete
I used to work with a very bright science technician who knew her stuff, but who suffered greatly because of having been through school at exactly the "wrong" time - her spelling was very poor, which made finding stuff in the science prep room very tricky!!!ReplyDelete
You cannot impose one system on all kids. I tutor A level English, and the first thing I do is analuse, with the student, their optimum learning style. For processors, I break the work down into steps, for visualisers, we use a lot of colours, for kinaesthetics, we make it ''do-able''..etc. That way, the build up confidence and do well at exams. How many 4/5 year olds will start their school with a sense of 'failure'?Delete
I've had endless discussions about this with daughters, one of whom is a teacher - and agrees that some children learn really well with phonics, while others don't. The silliness in the system is the lack of flexibility.ReplyDelete
Absolutely...I learned through recognising the words, as I am, I now realise, a visualiser.... had I been taught phonics, I'd have failed to read fluently.Delete
School/education (reading, writing, math) is not for your enjoyment. Sole purpose: be a 'tool' for the money making machine. Joy you can't measure (in a chart and show in a Powerpoint presentation) Therefore crappy stuff to learn the 'how-tos' for the future toolsReplyDelete
I always say to my students that if you have a winning personality and can get on with people, you will achieve. I cite me: crap paper qualifications, but I've never failed to do what I want!!Delete
It is depressing how little policy makers learn from experience...ReplyDelete
And how reluctant they are to *listen* to those at the sharp end!Delete
Children all learn in their own way, no matter what we do, and didn't they stop using that system for a reason?ReplyDelete
yes they did...but like fashion, it comes round again.Delete
Totally agree with you, Carol. Overuse and reliance on phonics drill and practice is not reading instruction, it is reading mutilation and massacre of readers. Children need real books in their hands, books that excite them, stimulate their imaginations and inspire them to want to find out - about or what happens - whatever takes their interest. Your little darling is a reader in the making, keep her away from the phoney phonics reading annihilators!ReplyDelete
I am heartened! Given the trolling I received from the *so called* experts!Delete
Don't get me started! Yes, I know some children learn well with phonics, but that means they have to learn twice doesn't it? Why teach them a system that bears no relation to the real words? I'm sorry, I just don't get it. I realise it helps ESL students whose language has a different script and they need to make the right sounds, but even then they still have to learn how to read the real words so they can spell them too. I cannot see the point of it for native speaking children. When do they learn to read properly? Or am I missing something? If I'm talking rubbish, feel free to tell me...ReplyDelete
It is crazy to test at primary level...they develop at such vastly different rates. So, no you are not missing anything!Delete