Page 1 of 1

Rules for Reading and Spelling

Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:36 pm
by Elizabeth
Should children in KS1 be taught rules about grapheme-phoneme correspondences?

For example:

- Single ‘c’ followed by ‘e’, ‘i’, or ‘y’ sounds /s/, e.g. celery, pencil, Lucy
- Single ‘g’ followed by ‘e’, ‘i’, or ‘y’ generally sounds /j/, e.g. large, ginger, Egypt (exceptions e.g. get, begin, girl)
- Sometimes add ‘u’ to spell /g/ before ‘e’, ‘i’ or ‘y’ e.g. guess, guitar, Guy
- Generally use ‘c’ for /k/ sound e.g. cat, scream, cube
Use ‘k’ for the /k/ sound before ‘e’, ‘i’ or ‘y’ e.g. Kenny, kitten
Use ‘k’ for the /k/ at the end of a word after another consonant e. e.g. bark, think.

I would be interested to know what others think about this.

Re: Rules for Reading and Spelling

Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:22 pm
by maizie
And 'ck' in a single syllable word after a 'short' vowel :grin:

I do, but teach them as 'probabilities'.

Re: Rules for Reading and Spelling

Posted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:50 pm
by Debbie Hepplewhite
- Single ‘c’ followed by ‘e’, ‘i’, or ‘y’ sounds /s/, e.g. celery, pencil, Lucy

Yes, I do think this should be taught/introduced really early on. Words with 'soft c' are extremely common.

I tell the real event of the very first phonics lesson I gave to the last Reception class that I taught. Having introduced letter 's' and the sound /s/, Alice pointed out that she could hear /s/ in her name but that her name did not have a letter 's'.

I immediately said, "Well, that's very interesting, Alice, let's see if that is the case." We orally segmented Alice's name and identified the /s/ sound at the end of her name. I wrote her name on the board and then tracked beneath the writing to identify which letters were code for the /s/ sound. We discovered that 'ce' was code for the sound.

We looked at the top row of my Phonics International alphabetic code chart and I pointed at the /s/ notation and 'snake' key word example, then tracked along the row until we came to the grapheme 'ce' - just the same as in Alice's name. I commented how the 'ce' in Alice's name was the same as the 'ce' in 'palace' the key word example on the chart. I then said that other words had that code such as 'dance' and 'prince' - but that we would learn much more about that "later".

But during that very first lesson, Alice doubled her learning - as did a few other children in the class capable of understanding that logic.

The grapheme 'ce' as code for /s/ is a very good route into learning about the letter 'c' followed by 'e', 'i' and 'y' alerting the reader that the 'c' is code for /s/.


- Single ‘g’ followed by ‘e’, ‘i’, or ‘y’ generally sounds /j/, e.g. large, ginger, Egypt (exceptions e.g. get, begin, girl)

Yes, as above - but I would not say 'generally', I would say 'sometimes' - and I would not talk about 'exceptions'.

I would not give the example of 'large' as I would teach the grapheme 'ge' as a unit which is code for the sound /j/.

There are a lot of common words spelled with 'g' as code for /j/ such as 'giant' and 'giraffe' - words that children encounter in stories and information books. I think it would be wrong to neglect teaching this part of the alphabetic code - even for infants.

Not only that, words which end with the /j/ sound are never spelled with letter 'j' so children need an early introduction to end graphemes 'dge' and 'ge'. When they want to write independently, they need to know NOT to spell the sound /j/ with letter 'j' at the end of words and they may need to ask their teacher 'which' spelling alternative they need.

Once again, a visual alphabetic code chart helps substantially in terms of explaining the relationship between sounds of speech and spelling alternatives - and is a quick and powerful tool to talk to children in terms of spelling alternatives when they want to write something.

- Sometimes add ‘u’ to spell /g/ before ‘e’, ‘i’ or ‘y’ e.g. guess, guitar, Guy

Yes, I would tell children this too. I introduce this at a later stage in my Phonics International programme, but this would not preclude me from mentioning this example beforehand - perhaps through incidental teaching and when teaching 'soft g'.

- Generally use ‘c’ for /k/ sound e.g. cat, scream, cube
Use ‘k’ for the /k/ sound before ‘e’, ‘i’ or ‘y’ e.g. Kenny, kitten
Use ‘k’ for the /k/ at the end of a word after another consonant e. e.g. bark, think.


I would teach never use 'ck' after a 'long vowel sound' and "Use ‘k’ for the /k/ sound before ‘e’, ‘i’ or ‘y’ e.g. Kenny, kitten".

Re: Rules for Reading and Spelling

Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:18 am
by kenm
Both "hadj" (also spelt "hajj") and "raj" are in my English dictionary, and nowadays I would expect some children (especially those of eastern ancestry) to come across one or the other in secondary in religious, cultural or historical studies.

Re: Rules for Reading and Spelling

Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:39 am
by Elizabeth
Ken wrote:
Both "hadj" (also spelt "hajj") and "raj" are in my English dictionary, and nowadays I would expect some children (especially those of eastern ancestry) to come across one or the other in secondary in religious, cultural or historical studies.
Yes! There are nearly always exceptions.

Here are a few more ‘rules’ I have come across as suitable to teach children:

c before e is /s/, BUT: soccer

kn is /n/, BUT: breakneck, banknote, cockney, hackney, weeknight, bleakness (plus lots more ending in ‘kness’)

‘y’ at the end of a short word is pronounced /i-e/, BUT: any

‘wa’ is pronounced /wo/, BUT wag, wax, wagon, swam and all the words where the ‘a’ is combined with another letter to make a digraph, e.g. way, wafer, wave, waste, wait, war, ware, sway

‘ea’ followed by ‘m’ is pronounced /ee/, BUT dreamt, preamble, lineament

‘i’ is never used at the end of a word, BUT there many words where this is not true. Although most of them are unusual, there are some common ones too: broccoli, chapatti, taxi, corgi, chilli, paparazzi, pepperoni, bikini

I think we should always use words like ‘usually’, 'probably' (as per Maggie) or 'likely' or 'generally' (as per Debbie) and not 'rules'.