Where to go next?

This forum has been created to provide a non-challenging environment for teachers and parents new to using synthetic phonics.

kenm
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Post by kenm » Sat Nov 24, 2007 9:44 pm

Judy wrote:[...]I wonder whether, because this girl had a very late start with reading, and still prefers to read 'easy' books, she has not acquired a sufficiently wide vocabulary to do that? I must add that she is not lazy but her confidence is still fragile and she doesn't talk much!
Letting my imagination roam (that's easy; it's not constrained by experience), I wonder whether following a text while listening to its audio-book would improve her vocabulary. Audio books are available from a number of sources.

The Observer reviews one every week, three recent ones being:

"Thames: Sacred River", Peter Ackroyd, read by Simon Callow; three parts, each 3 hours for £13.99

"A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters", Julian Barnes, read by Alex Jennings, 11 hours for £32.99

"More Time for Politics: Diaries 2001-2007", written and read by Tony Benn, 4 hrs. 30 mins. for £14.99

Several sources are listed here.

Nowadays it is also possible to download MP3.
"... the innovator has as enemies all those who have done well under the old regime, and only lukewarm allies among those who may do well under the new." Niccolo Macchiavelli, "The Prince", Chapter 6

Judy
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Post by Judy » Sat Nov 24, 2007 9:52 pm

Thank you for the suggestion, Ken.

I had thought of audio-books but I'm afraid I don't think she would ask if there were words she didn't 'know'. I don't know whether this is something particular to strugglers or whether it is universal, but I've noticed that if they don't understand something, they don't take the initiave to ask.

But what I have been able to do, is persuade her mother to read 'The Railway Children' to her, making sure that she understands what she's hearing. This fits in well with the 'Victorian' theme we are exploring and the last I heard they were both enjoying it. :grin:

kenm
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Post by kenm » Sun Nov 25, 2007 1:09 am

Judy wrote:[...]But what I have been able to do, is persuade her mother to read 'The Railway Children' to her, making sure that she understands what she's hearing. This fits in well with the 'Victorian' theme we are exploring and the last I heard they were both enjoying it. :grin:
Much better! I expect she'll enjoy the film too.
"... the innovator has as enemies all those who have done well under the old regime, and only lukewarm allies among those who may do well under the new." Niccolo Macchiavelli, "The Prince", Chapter 6

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maizie
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Post by maizie » Sun Nov 25, 2007 12:21 pm

Much better! I expect she'll enjoy the film too.

Oooo! It still has me weeping buckets :grin:

Judy
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Post by Judy » Sun Dec 02, 2007 12:48 am

Susan S. wrote on the General Forum in a thread about Reading Age -
Basic decoding skills instruction may be complete by age 7 or 8, but a number of students will require more to enable them to apply their skills to more challenging text. I gather programs like Stride Ahead in the UK address this;
Has anyone used 'Stride Ahead'? I am wondering whether it would be helpful for this pupil.

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maizie
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Post by maizie » Sun Dec 02, 2007 1:37 am

I've got a copy!

I'm trying it out on one child; it has some very useful 'nonsense' multisyllable words to decode. As she knows that they are nonsense words, she doesn't try to fit what she thinks she sees to words that she knows!

It also has passages to read for increasing fluency and 'comprehension' but as my main programme is Ruth Miskin's Freshstart, which addresses these areas too, I haven't used them.

We've also been trialling Rod Everson's 'multisyllable word reading in 10 lessons'!

I think that both approaches are useful.

FEtutor
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Post by FEtutor » Sun Dec 02, 2007 2:00 am

maizie wrote: it has some very useful 'nonsense' multisyllable words to decode. As she knows that they are nonsense words, she doesn't try to fit what she thinks she sees to words that she knows!
Exactly what I've found when using nonsense words with adults too: they are also relieved of the shameful feeling that they should know the words!

Would either Stride Ahead or RM's Fresh Start be OK for adults too, Maizie?

JAC
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Post by JAC » Sun Dec 02, 2007 3:51 am

I used Stride Ahead quite effectively with a Y10 boy a couple of years ago. He disliked the use of nonsense words, but the programme did work.
I find extensive use of nonsense words problematic. Decoding words is a bit like solving a puzzle, and the reward is getting the right word, double bonus if it is a word you know the meaning of.
Consequently, nonsense words have not got the reward factor built in!
I also use Michael Bend's ABeCeDarian, which is a derivative of the PG approach. One of his manuals is for those readers who cannot decode well, but can read a lot of words, and it uses nonsense words extensively. I do use it sparingly. I am beginning to think that it is better to use lists of more unusual words that contain the correspondences, rather than nonsense words, where possible, for those students who resist working with nonsense words. Place names are a potential source of extra words. Fortunately we have heaps of Aboriginal place names that can be used, but I have also used the names of suburbs. You could also pick out names from name books, although some of the more modern made-up names also have unusual spellings!
On the other hand, I do have one Y2 child who has come to like 'alien' words. I guess we have to adapt a bit to individual differences.

There is a programme called 'We all can Read" [url]http://www.%20weallcanread.com[/url] which has a little reader interspersing nonsense words within normal syntax.
eg Tev the yem is on the eck.

chew8
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Post by chew8 » Sun Dec 02, 2007 9:01 am

I have devised a nonsense-word game which children enjoy and which therefore arguably has a bit of the 'reward factor'. I have sets of cards with real words and nonsense words on them and a home-made post-box in which to post the nonsense words to an imaginary alien called 'Gopnik'. I start off with equal numbers of both kinds of words spread out face down, but get the child to pick one and put it to one side without looking, so that there will now be one more word in one category than in the other, but we don't know which. The child then picks up the cards one by one, reads them, decides whether they are 'our' words or Gopnik's, and posts the nonsense words to Gopnik. At the end the child counts up to see whether we or Gopnik has won.

Jenny C.

Judy
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Post by Judy » Sun Dec 02, 2007 11:27 am

Thank you all for your replies.

It's not an easy situation. I believe that a lot more regular reading to an adult of increasingly complex texts is what she really needs but because she reads (and writes) slowly it is as much as she can manage to complete her school homework at home.

Her slow reading speed is one problem.

The other seems to me to be that her vocabulary is quite limited so, even though she can decode most multisyllable words she comes across, she does not know where to put the emphasis. (Knowing what the word means is another matter!) I don't think nonsense words would necessarily help with this as there would be no right or wrong place to put the stress.

Would 'Stride Ahead' address these issues? And would it be suitable for using once a week with maybe a very small amount (say, half an hour in total) of independent work in between?

mtyler
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Post by mtyler » Sun Dec 02, 2007 3:45 pm

After trying a number of different options with my daughter, I found the most helpful, though not the most liked, approach was just to have her read and talk about what she was reading. For some of the more challenging texts this meant dissecting sentence by sentence. I did not use a curriculum, I just had her read the sentence for full fluency, helping where needed. We identify the subject and verb and I help her put the clauses in context. My daughter tends to have a difficult time with sentences where the heart of the meaning is suspended--that is, where there are many clauses and phrases added between the subject and verb, or where these clauses occlude the meaning. So when we come to these sentences we break them apart.

We have been reading a middle school biography of Thucydides, a Greek historian. This has been difficult for her, and I would not have given it to her for reading on her own. There are many multisyllabic words with the need for differentiation: democracy, democratic, aristocracy, aristocrat, etc. She has a tendency to guess at the suffixes of long word and so we have had to spend time reading all the way through the word contientiously again. Also it contains many Greek names which are difficult for me! So we have worked slowly through the book. The book also contains passages from Thucydides which are difficult for her to understand, both in terms of vocabulary and sentence structure. However, I have been very impressed with how well she has done. She does not like it when I have her read a chapter again and she does not like it when I have her tell me what passages mean, but the results have been outstanding. Her fluency has increased and she is more comfortable with the text at the end of the book than she was at the beginning. We have been able to have interesting discussions about power and personality, the results of war and disease, and types and methods of historical documentation. We have done this 1-2 times per week, a chapter at a time. We are on the last chapter and will consolidate the information on a timeline as well as she will write a paragraph about Thucydides.

We are also working on a grammar program called Shurley Grammar which has an outstanding record--at least in the US homeschooling market--for actually teaching kids grammar. I have been impressed with the program as it is helping my daughter understand parts of sentences and this is helping her to gather meaning from more complex sentences. When we are dissecting complex sentences, she is better able to find the core of a sentence--and thus suspend her tendency to panic that she doesn't understand.

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maizie
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Post by maizie » Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:24 pm

FE tutor asked:
Would either Stride Ahead or RM's Fresh Start be OK for adults too, Maizie?
Sorry I didn't reply earlier.

I don't think that adults would care for Freshstart, it is written for late KS2 and early KS3 and it shows!

I think that Stride Ahead would be useful if your adults don't get frustrated by nonsense words. It has comprehension passages in it too, which are more age appropriate for post 16 learners.

FEtutor
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Post by FEtutor » Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:59 pm

Thanks Maizie

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