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Posted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 2:20 pm
Hi, l am a parent who is new to this forum.
My daughter (DD2) is 9 years old, in Year 4, in a small, non-academic (private school) class of 13 children.
She had a very "cuddly" teacher last year and learned very little. This year the teacher is much more direct and strict, which is better for DD2.
DD2 is reading, "The Roman Mysteries" series at present, and also reads a lot of other material - she reads for pleasure and she reads well. Maths is good, although tables have not been properly taught.
She cannot spell at all. She has virtually no phonetic knowledge. l've read some of this website, The Sound Reading System, Our Right To Read, and Dyslexics.org.uk. l have purchased "The Reading Reflex" and "Why children can't read". l now feel like l need a doctorate in the subject before l can find help for her!
We live in Gloucestershire, and l've spoken to several tutors, none of whom believe in Phonics.
l guided DD1 last year, through the 11+ exams and she is now at the local grammar school (Cheltenham). She has no spelling problems, but she was an easy child to work with.
Could someone please advise me of a suitable tutor in Gloucestershire, preferably in Cheltenham? l cannot work with her myself.
We are using Wordshark when we can, at home.
Any advice gratefully received.
Posted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:09 pm
Hi, godot, welcome to the message board
I can't help you with a tutor, I'm afraid, but if you are not feeling confident about teaching her yourself could I suggest, as a better than nothing measure, that you install some text to speech software on your computer and invest in a little programme called AcceleeReadAcceleeWrite (ARAW). It's not entirely
pukka synthetic phonics, but it is good enough and, I think, much more useful than Wordshark. Basically, it consists of sets of sentences, each little set based on a particular sound or grapheme, which the child reads, memorizes and then types into the computer. The text to speech programme reads back exactly
what the child has typed, so the correlation between phonemes and graphemes is made extremely
I would also suggest that you look at Debbie's Phonics International, which is suitable for any age and gives masses of support for 'amateur' teachers! If you didn't want to but the ARAW you could equally well use text to speech software with words & sentences from Debbie's programme, though it would probably require more planning.
I would just note, though, that spelling has an element of kinaesthetic memory to it, so your daughter would need to practice writing
correct spelling as well as keyboarding.
I'd also note that one of the most useless strategies for learning spellings is the Look Say Cover Write and Check method!
Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:17 pm
Thanks for the advice, though l am reluctant to spend more money on software.
l am surprised there are no tutors in Gloucestershire, even someone Ruth Miskin training would be helpful.
l struggle to teach her; how, for example do you teach which ousound to use for "around" ('ou' or 'ow)?
Also, "shout", "brown", "shower", "found" etc.
l know there is an element of looking at it and "knowing" it looks wrong, but what do l say when that fails?
When about 3 or 4 years old she would have said 'titty ton', for 'kitty Conn' and get some things muddled.
Now, she still says 'understooded' for understood, and 'tooken' for taken.
l am desperate that she does not fall any further behind; are there any week courses l could take her on e.g. in Oxford?
Posted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:11 pm
godot wrote:Thanks for the advice, though l am reluctant to spend more money on software.
The programme I mentioned costs about £50. If you have the latest version of Windows I believe it has text to speech capability, otherwise you would need a text to speech programe - you might be able to find a free one on the Web.
godot wrote:l am surprised there are no tutors in Gloucestershire, even someone Ruth Miskin training would be helpful.
I am nowhere near Gloucester so don't know of any in the area. I had hoped that someone else might have had some suggestions
I do know someone who works in the Gloucester area, I'll contact her and see if she knows of anyone.
godot wrote:l struggle to teach her; how, for example do you teach which ousound to use for "around" ('ou' or 'ow)?
Sorting words according to the spelling of the sound can be quite useful. You have to insist that the child 'says the sounds as they write them'. But, ultimately it is a question of learning the word specific sound spellings. Some children don't ever seem to master this... But, frequent practic of correctly spelling the word helps to automise it.
godot wrote:l know there is an element of looking at it and "knowing" it looks wrong, but what do l say when that fails?
That only works if the person using it is a skilled reader and is able to spot the 'wrongness' of the word because it is very familiar to them.
I'm sorry we don't seem to be able to help you at present, but I will contact my friend.
Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:24 pm
You could email Fiona Nevola and find out if anyone who has done the Sound Reading System training is tutoring in your area. I have done the training and have been teaching the programme for nearly 5 years, I find the programme highly effective. You may need to travel a bit of distance though. I tutor in Herts, so cannot help you unfortunately. Fiona's email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you don't have any luck there, I'm sure you would find Debbie Hepplewhite's Phonics International prgramme very user-friendly. It is based around a sounds book and your child would write words for the ow spelling for /ow/ then the ou spelling. Look at www.phonicsinternational.com
Posted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:35 am
Many thanks, l shall give this a try.
Posted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:49 pm
Phonics International provides alphabetic code guidance on every Sounds Book Activity Sheet which is the core resource.
It also has 'I can read' texts which double up in the later units as mnemonic spelling stories. They can be used for grapheme searches, reading, self-dications or dictations, they have comprehension questions and pictures to make the spelling alternatives and story memorable - plus simple spelling word banks to recall.
If you decide to look into this, I can speak with you on the phone and/or email you with advice at any time.
Kind regards, Debbie
PS: If nothing else, go into unit 1 via the homepage and choose an alphabetic code chart to download for a wardrobe door in your house somewhere!