or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › Alternatives to phonics?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Alternatives to phonics? - Page 2

post #21 of 33

DD (6) is reading at a second grade level and I haven't done any formal phonics instruction with her yet.  Rather than sitting down and teaching phonics, we've talked about  examples in the books we're reading.

 

Before she was reading, I read all the how to teach reading books I could get from the library and from friends who are teachers. What ended up happening was that DD picked up on a great deal through our daily reading. We would check out dozens of books from the library each week in addition to our own home library.

 

She has picked up some phonics from computer software and PBS shows. She sings the little songs from starfall still so I think that helped.

 

I don't think it has to be boring.

post #22 of 33

I gotta say, phonics is important in order to get beyond functional literacy. Once you get into highschool and adult reading levels, there aren't always pictures from which to guess the context.

 

However, the presentation of phonics is often boring, and IMO, rather overwraught at times.  I had the opportunity to review a couple of different systems, and while they may work for others, I was left scratching my head and thinking it was way too much work for something that my children picked up intuitively.

 

Our kids learned "phonics" in their toddler years, as I read to them, and we looked at letters, played alphabet puzzles, and watched fun alphabet videos.  Anytime a kid pointed out a letter and I said "Ooooh!  That's right.  What sound does that letter make?", that was phonics.  By the time they got to kindergarten workbooks and early readers, the basics of phonics were already ingrained in their little synapses.  From there it was no problem to develop their reading skills, adding phonetic combinations (long vowel sounds, for instance), and talking about "rule breakers" (like why "have" is not pronounced "hayv".

post #23 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

DD1 was my first homelearner. Despite my attempts to remind myself not to worry, I was a little concerned about her "delayed" reading. DH was even more worried about it, and he did put on some pressure. This year was the key - she just really got into it over the last 6-8 months (she turned 8 last month). However, it's my opinion that our attempts to teach her through a mostly phonic based approach backfired badly. She hates English and thinks it's an incredibly stupid language, because of all the exceptions to rules, homonyms, silent letters, and combinations that make no sense to her from a phonics perspective (eg. "ight", "ough", etc.). I wish we'd focused more on whole language initially, as she's been more resistant to reading than I ever would have believed.

 

 

When we come across one of those words, I use an exaggerated "WHY do we say it that way!!??  That's so silly!  That's English for you.  You just have to memorize that one."  That also works for when the same letter combinations are pronounced differently, like "ea": in "bear", "hear" and "head".  (Especially the present/ past tense "read/ read.")  That casual, silly, "oh well!"  approach to English might not help your daughter at this stage (who knows?), but your son could benefit.  And your DD could hear you saying these things to him and internalize it.  Because at our house and at this age (my girls are 6 and 4) it's just not that big of a deal.  And I tell them even grown-ups don't know all the words, and when we don't we sound it out, look it up, or just guess and call it good (though I don't emphasize that option, the truth is that we do that more than we care to admit.)

post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post

I gotta say, phonics is important in order to get beyond functional literacy. Once you get into highschool and adult reading levels, there aren't always pictures from which to guess the context.


I just looked up the definition of phonics, because I realized I didn't really know what it meant. It refers to a "method of teaching" reading according to the rules of letter-sounds and such. In other words, phonics is a systematic approach to phonetically-based reading instruction. As such, I disagree with you. The idea with non-phonics methods of reading instruction is that various exercises, activities and word-attack strategies will allow children to figure out the conventions of letter-sounds, combinations, digraphs and such, not that the child will never have this knowledge. Yes, an understanding of the phonetic conventions of our language is necessary for high levels of literacy: I agree with that. But I don't agree that systematic phonics instruction is necessary for all children to gain that understanding. After all I have an entire household of incredibly competent readers here, six of us, who have never had an ounce of systematic phonics instruction. And you can bet that the Bill Bryson book my 8-year-old is reading doesn't have any pictures!

 

Miranda

post #25 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post



When we come across one of those words, I use an exaggerated "WHY do we say it that way!!??  That's so silly!  That's English for you.  You just have to memorize that one."  That also works for when the same letter combinations are pronounced differently, like "ea": in "bear", "hear" and "head".  (Especially the present/ past tense "read/ read.")  That casual, silly, "oh well!"  approach to English might not help your daughter at this stage (who knows?), but your son could benefit.  And your DD could hear you saying these things to him and internalize it.  Because at our house and at this age (my girls are 6 and 4) it's just not that big of a deal.  And I tell them even grown-ups don't know all the words, and when we don't we sound it out, look it up, or just guess and call it good (though I don't emphasize that option, the truth is that we do that more than we care to admit.)



I've been doing that kind of thing all along, but dd1 is a very serious minded little girl and she just gets annoyed. She's not annoyed with me, but she is annoyed with English. She just plain thinks it's stupid.

 

DS2 is figuring out the phonics stuff pretty much on his own, and asks me about sounds all the time. He doesn't mind when things don't "fit" - he thinks of it more like a puzzle.

post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I've been doing that kind of thing all along, but dd1 is a very serious minded little girl and she just gets annoyed. She's not annoyed with me, but she is annoyed with English. She just plain thinks it's stupid.

 

DS2 is figuring out the phonics stuff pretty much on his own, and asks me about sounds all the time. He doesn't mind when things don't "fit" - he thinks of it more like a puzzle.


DD1 likes to learn bits and pieces of Spanish.  She seems intrigued that the letters almost invariably make the same sounds.  Same for German, with regional variations.  I never gave this much thought (I've learned the basics of both) until I brought home a French language book to learn the basics of pronunciation.  I found myself extremely irritated that in French, the pronunciation for single and plural nouns was the same!  They didn't look the same!   What?  Am I going to have to memorize how to pronounce every single word?  Damn the French!  This was a new feeling for me, and one similar I am sure that others learning English or learning to READ English feel.

     Sometimes we wonder aloud how a word like "answer" gets to be spelled that way.  And I have fun with old nursery rhymes which sometimes give us a glimpse as to how things were once pronounced, as in "There was a little girl/ who had a little curl/ right in the middle of her FORE'ed. / When she was good she was very, very good/ and when she was bad she was HORRID". (or 'orrid!)  Sometimes we guess together how the poem might have rhymed ("wander/ gander"), unless it's obvious they don't.  And any old poem that attempts to rhyme "food/ good" gets a silly reading from me.  I'll read it and try to rhyme it various ways.  This got a lot of giggles from them when I first did it.  They know that one now and just want it read right.

     

 

post #27 of 33

Look into Spell to write and read.

post #28 of 33
Thread Starter 

Interesting discussion.

I don't remember how I learned to read but I know I was taught at school in kindergarten. After that I don't remember ever thinking about phonics or blends etc. In Grade 1 I read the whole Bible during the sermons at church. Reading did not seem hard. It's kind of funny because people who support phonics say that doing everything by sight words won't work well, but isn't that what phonics is....memorizing a bunch of rules. I like the whole language approach and do feel that as our children learn to talk through immersion in speech....maybe they can learn to read by being read to a lot. Has anyone read to a child while slowly moving their finger along underneath the words? Does this help the child to put together what he is seeing and hearing?

 

I do think that if I think phonics is boring it is important because the teacher needs to be enthusiastic about the subject. Now, if my dd is having trouble reading and would benefit from phonics then of course I would do  it enthusiastically.

 

I am reading some novels right now and every now and then I come across a word I don't know. Sometimes I can pronounce it but don't know the meaning, and sometimes I don't know either. Sometimes I skip the word and say....who cares? But lately if I have the computer around...I google it. I am not a dumb person. I graduated with a university degree in the top of my class. That doesn't mean I know every word. I guess I am thinking that even teaching phonics will not ensure that your child will know what a given word actually means.

post #29 of 33

Sometimes I use my finger if I think they are trying to follow the words, but mostly I don't.  It irritates DD1 who has a hard time with distractions, but DD2 asks me to do it, so I'll do it for a bit.  I think by doing it you run the danger of reading turning from fun into a "lesson", so pay attention to that.  Some kids couldn't care one way or another, but others will resist any attempts at "teaching" if they are not 100% on board.  (I have one of both.)  Our first goal is to have kids that enjoy reading and will eventually do it on their own because they want to.

     

post #30 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Breanne Sproule View Post

 

I do think that if I think phonics is boring it is important because the teacher needs to be enthusiastic about the subject.



I don't agree with this. I'm arachaphobic. DD1 is utterly fascinated by spiders (when she could barely pick out the word "spider" on a book spine, she could say "cephalothorax" and knew where the spinnarets are located, etc. etc.). She's learned a ton about them, and wants to study them "in a lab" when she's grown up. She knows I'm arachnaphobic, and thinks it's hilarious that I could be scared of something so small...and doesn't care if I'm cringing as I point out the interesting features on an 8" X 12" close-up of a spider's face, as long as she gets the information she's hungry for.

 

And, honestly - I don't think any teacher could have stopped me from reading, even if they'd hated it. They managed to kill my nascent interest in poetry for a long, long time, and I don't know if I'll ever be able to appreciate Shakespeare...but they couldn't have killed my love of reading, in general. (I also loved math, to the point where I did exercises for fun in my teens, and I definitely had teachers who weren't enthusiastic about math.)

post #31 of 33

At our house we love Starfall.com and Click n Read. My son is 4 and reading on a 1-2 grade level, I think.

post #32 of 33

I've used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons for all my kids.  They've all been fantastic readers.  Some people think it's boring, but I think it's mainly because they are trying to follow the script in the book.  I don't follow the script, nor do I do all the activities suggested.  Once my kids learn to blend sounds, the lesson involves them reading me the sounds, then the words, then the story.  I try to keep it light-hearted and fun.  I suggest having a reward to be earned at the end of the book.  It's a huge accomplishment and a reward in sight can help keep them going if their interest starts to stall out.  I did find that my kids needed more phonics instruction after the 100 lessons book, in order to learn spelling.  All About Spelling has been awesome for that, and can itself be used to learn how to read.  My kids think it's a lot of fun.  There's also an All About Reading program, but I haven't used that.

post #33 of 33

Phonics is not only important for teaching reading but also spelling and vocabulary. It's never too late to get started.

 

Phonetic Typing

English Language Learning

Fun Easy and FREE!

http://phonetictyping.com

http://facebook.com/phonetictyping

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Learning at Home and Beyond
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › Alternatives to phonics?