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My name is Sharon, and I can't teach phonics.

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Ok, there's my confession.

DS learned how to read before I pulled him out of ps. But it was the whole language approach, and now that he's ready to move up, I can tell he knows little to nothing about phonics. This is causing my little guy lots of frustration!

I bought Phonic Pathways... but, what I've discovered, is that I barely understand how phonics work, and thus can barely teach it! I understand things like "Sh" makes the shhhhh sound, but I get into the long/short vowel thing and I'm done. Trying to teach "oo" just got my ds to laugh at me! The fact that I'm hearing impaired probably doesn't help.

I'd love a phonics program that came with an audio CD or CD/DVD-ROM for the computer to help us with pronunciation.

Any recs? TIA

Sharon
post #2 of 26
Then just go to whole words :-)

There is good research to show that phonics is a method that most children learn to read in spite of rather than because of. Very few children *need* it. Research for Albsu in the UK found that adult illiteracy was highest in those groups who went through schooling where phonics was the only method employed :-(

Anyhow - I completely understand the 'can't do phonics' thing - it leaves me cold as well. Technically I know how it works, but it doesn't 'work' in my mind - I learnt to read from a whole word setting, with spelling out letters to my parents for words I didn't 'see' (they'd tell me what it was, and I'd remember it for the next time I met it). I've done this with 2 of mine now, and its worked fine. Learn alphabet (letter names), learn key words (there are lists out there online - only around 100 words make up the majority of everything we read!), do basic sentance contructions with cards or magnets or whatever (initally based on sentances that are from familar books or that they use in daily life or come up with themselves. Then moving on to books that they know (real ones, rather than reading schemes mainly) and giving them tapes to listen and follow the book to, dual copies to read along with me, having them put in words as we read together.... We find that its a much more natural progression, and the whole 'reading together' is very much how our ancestors would have all learnt (from the bible and other household texts) anyway :-)

HTH
post #3 of 26
I've become a phonics convert and am trying to review different materials. Hooked on Phonics has tapes, but is expensive--your local library may have it, however. My son has difficulty with auditory stuff, so we have begun using a computer program called Earobics that he finds helpful--I would mostly recommend this if he has difficulty hearing distinctions between sounds and splitting words into component sounds.

I am not sure if doing stuff online at starfall.com would be helpful.

Sherri
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Helen- Thanks for the ideas! Even though Eric learned to read with whole language, it was really really hard for him. Maybe they started him too early- I don't know. I guess I was hoping that using phonics would help him "break down" the words and make it easier.

Like, because he did whole language, he skips over new words and just says a word he knows. Like, he was reading something and the next word was "cause." So, he's reading, and he says, "can." It's like he's identified some of the letters with certain sight words, and then he's just rattling them off. It's getting frustrating for both of us!

Johannas, thanks for the info. I'm going to check it out!

:
post #5 of 26
Gracious, I wish public schools would learn that whole language does not have to exclude phonics. I am more of a whole language person, so that is what we are doing but we are also doing phonics. (sorry for the rant...)

I have alot of phonics games because dd's pre-k gave us her old stuff from kindy and she does really well with the games. I also bought phonics tiles for playing with.

There is some evidence that shows that if the child substitues "can" for "cause" and you don't correct it, he is gaining a good sense of the word can and you can later after he is done reading, go back and talk about cause.
(where did I read that...shared storybook reading maybe?)

I know that I often will see the wrong form of a word or a mispelling and correct it on my own because many times it is a filler word (can, the, etc) and not important to the context.
post #6 of 26
I used a series set to music that I like a whole lot better than Hooked on Phonics. It is called Phonics is my Way. My kids liked it a lot and it made learning the phonics rules quite easy. A lot of hsers around here use Sing,Spell,Read,Write as well.
post #7 of 26
Hi, Sharon! I'm Linda, and I"m just happy to be here

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon, RN View Post
is that I barely understand how phonics work, and thus can barely teach it! I understand things like "Sh" makes the shhhhh sound, but I get into the long/short vowel thing and I'm done. Trying to teach "oo" just got my ds to laugh at me! The fact that I'm hearing impaired probably doesn't help.
no, being hearing impaired doesn't help.

short vowels are the sounds one hears in the words:

cat
bet
sit
dog
dug

Long vowels are just the names of the vowels.

Some of the vowels can make other sounds as well:

A makes 3 sounds -- a in cat, its name, and the sound you hear in words like mall and father.

O also makes 3 sounds -- O in dog, its name, and the sound you hear in words like do and to.

I used to tutor literacy and therefore know phonics inside and out. If you have any questions, just ask. It's possible that what you have will work just fine if you just ask a few questions when you are confused. We all learn all sorts of things by homeschooling.

If you want something different, though...
My favorite resource for phonics is Reading Reflex. It has little puzzles that you cut out of the book and then your child plays with. It is very good for basic phonics, but I don't like the structure of book for advanced phonics. It cost about $20. It's a great place to start -- very fun, very open ended.

If your child likes workbooks, The Go For the Code series is well written and straight forward.

The most detailed program is The Writing Road to Writing. It is far more detail than most kids need, though with certain LDs it can be helpful (I would only recommend it as a last resort).

I personally think that I nice mix of phonics and whole language works well, the exact mix varying with the child. Without phonics, a child doesn't have any tools to approach a new word, and no real help when trying to spell. It isn't the whole story, but some phonics is a good thing.
post #8 of 26
Sharon,

I have read that even if a person starts to read at a very young age, at age eight will be at the same reading level as somebody who learned to read at age eight.
post #9 of 26
I was a teacher in another life and I have to say, the whole language/phonics debate really annoys me. They are not mutually exclusive and one is not better than the other. They are simply two parts of the reading process and frankly, everyone needs to understand both.

Anyway, OP, learning phonics is the (necessary) grunt work of reading (like memorizing times tables). Perhaps you can start with something simple like flash cards. I recently purchased a little book from Amazon that is so awesome. It's small, cheap, and just so easy and common sense. It is: http://www.amazon.com/Three-Rs-Ruth-...2874771&sr=8-1

I have a bunch of other links I can pull out later today about teaching reading.
post #10 of 26
Whole language is not whole-word (the old "look-say" method). Whole language includes meaningful phonics. Phonics programs teach phonics in isolation, primarily - r makes the sound /r/, etc. Whole language teaches in context - this word starts with the same letter as your name, so the first sound must be /r/.

And yes, being HI would make this much harder. The vast majority of kids will intuit phonetic knowledge on their own, as Helen pointed out, especially once they get the basics down. It's funny - I'm learning Arabic now, and I'm finding myself doing the same thing. Sometimes I understand why a sound must be represented by a certain letter, rather than another letter, even though no one has explained the "rule" - but when I think about it, I realize that I've read other words with the same sounds and I'm just following the pattern.

Dar
post #11 of 26
I don't know if an 8 year old would like this, but the "Talking Word Factory" dvd by Leapfrog covers the basics of phonics. I don't own it, but there's at least one sequel that covers silent e.

My kids also like the "Between the Lions" TV show on PBS. There are a bunch of cute shorts that illustrate various aspects of phonics (including oo).

HTH!

ZM
post #12 of 26
this site teaches from the abc all the way to being able to read
since it is free the 4 page links you want to open are the ones in the middle of the page i would have to ask my dd what the other things do but then i would lose the pc
http://www.starfall.com/
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
Hi, Sharon! I'm Linda, and I"m just happy to be here


[INDENT]A makes 3 sounds -- a in cat, its name, and the sound you hear in words like mall and father.

.

Okay, so am I the only one who does not think the words "mall" and "father" contain the same sound? Is this my "midwest" accent DH is always accusing me off? Because frankly, "mall" and "father" have VERY different vowel sounds in them, the way I (and everyone else in the general area) says them. Here, "father" is pronounced with the same sound as in "top" or "Hot". I'm just saying.......
post #14 of 26
"Mall" and "father" have different vowel sounds the way I say them ("mawl" and "fahther.") My SIL pronounces "doll" like "dahl" and thinks it's funny that my brother and I say it like "dawl" - so I suppose maybe there are people who pronounce "mall" like "mahl."
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
Whole language is not whole-word (the old "look-say" method). Whole language includes meaningful phonics. Phonics programs teach phonics in isolation, primarily - r makes the sound /r/, etc. Whole language teaches in context - this word starts with the same letter as your name, so the first sound must be /r/.
Agreed, but in the context when a parent says that they don't understand phonics and others respond that phonics aren't needed, one does get the feeling that "meaningful phonics" isn't part of what is being advocated.

Meaningful phonics in a whole language approach requires the parent understand phonics and can show the child how to apply it to whatever reading material appeals to the child.
post #16 of 26
In your situation, I would TOTALLY recommend the computer program Phonics Tutor. It is a fantastic program, but it is a strong (Orton Gillingham) based program that thoroughly teaches phonics, makes mom having to pronounce things a non issue because it does it for you, and it is oriented towards the older child or adult learner. (So it isn't targeting four and five year olds.) It does a great job teaching spelling as part of how it works.
post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks everybody, y'all have been so helpful!

Just so you guys know, I didn't mean to start a phonics vs whole language (or word or whatever) debate. I mean, keep the ideas coming because I'm learning alot! This is an area I don't know much about and I guess I've never formed an opinion either way. I remember when my son was in ps he was in "Reading Recovery." (Talk about a name! "My name is Eric, and I'm here because I've been placed in the bottom 20% in reading in my class." LOL)

The way the resource teacher "taught" me to help him read totally confused me, and I'm usually pretty quick to learn things. And, Eric didn't seem all that thrilled about it, either. I guess I just figured phonics was the way I learned, maybe it would be easier to teach and he would like the new approach. I'm really not worried about his reading level- I think he does fine. But, he's really expressed a desire to read more advanced things and learn to spell more words. So, I knew I could come here and find all kinds of good advice!

So, the point of this rambling post @ 2am (other than the margarita I had with dinner) is to say that I love information about all types of reading styles! Please keep it coming!

Thanks again!
post #18 of 26
If it makes you feel any better, my 9yo dd is an excellent reader and still doesn't really "get" phonics. Unfortunately her spelling is not so great and I think that may be why. But she can READ anything LOL.
post #19 of 26
I hope I didn't come off as argumentative before. My comments weren't directed at anyone on this thread, just toward the debate in general, which I heard a lot of in college and in the professional teaching world.

I hope everything works out, Sharon. It looks like there are lots of useful programs out there.
post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinese Pistache View Post
I hope I didn't come off as argumentative before. My comments weren't directed at anyone on this thread, just toward the debate in general, which I heard a lot of in college and in the professional teaching world.

I hope everything works out, Sharon. It looks like there are lots of useful programs out there.
Oh, no, nothing sounded argumentative at all! I just wanted to let people know that I wanted to know info about everything. I didn't want someone to read this thread and say, "Oh, look a phonics lover/whole language hater... I'm not going to bother telling her about this GREAT website because she's not interested." That's all that meant.
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