1. No-Name Slob
    Offline

    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    1,232
    Likes Received:
    925
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas

    Teaching kids to read

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by No-Name Slob, Aug 25, 2015.

    I'm not sure if this is just my state, my school district, my son's teacher, whatever. But has anyone else experienced a teacher employing the use of context clues, rather than phonetic pronunciation to teach children (5-6 year olds) how to read?

    His teacher last year told us flat out that they don't teach kids to read phonetically anymore. Apparently, they use context clues like looking at the pictures in the story, as well as repeated exposure to teach them to read.

    This has created a monster. I'm not sure if this works for other kids, but it didn't work for ours. He's constantly skipping ahead while reading, and only tries to sound something out as a last resort. His first reaction is to simply guess at the word.

    Now I'm frustrated, because I feel like I'm having to deprogram him at home from everything he was taught last year. I don't think that his reading ability has suffered, but it's definitely created a lot of bad habits that I now have to break.

    Has anyone heard of this? What are your thoughts on this approach?
     
  2. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,604
    Likes Received:
    5,877
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    That's a new one. When my son was in kindergarten they were teaching "best-guess spelling". Idiots! It's much harder to unlearn a mistake than it is to learn it right in the first place.

    Ask the school or the teacher upon what research is their new technique based? I'd also Google it, look for actual research not just someone's great idea based on someone's anecdotal experience.

    Kids learn to read when you read to them and it's reinforced when they try to read it on their own. Just having them look at the pictures and guess the story seems about as un-researched a technique as best-guess spelling.
     
  3. Jaro
    Offline

    Jaro Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    71
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    They teach reading that way at my daughter's school as well. I don't understand why they change things like this. She was also skipping words, and even making up whole sentences based on what the picture on the page was.
     
    No-Name Slob likes this.
  4. No-Name Slob
    Offline

    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    1,232
    Likes Received:
    925
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    THANK YOU. I really needed my frustrations validated, and to know that my kid's not the only one. As someone who loves reading, it's very frustrating for me to watch him pick up terrible habits!
     
  5. Steerpike
    Online

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,060
    Likes Received:
    5,265
    Location:
    California, US
    Yep, I've seen it as well and determined that it is much less effective and efficient than the older way of teaching reading.
     
    No-Name Slob likes this.
  6. Aaron DC
    Offline

    Aaron DC Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,554
    Likes Received:
    1,251
    Location:
    At my keyboard
    How do you read a book with no pictures? I do not know how they teach kids to read here but this method you've outlined sounds dodgy as.
     
  7. Steerpike
    Online

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,060
    Likes Received:
    5,265
    Location:
    California, US
    People with advanced degrees in Education and little to no actual classroom time or experience with kids come up with this stuff.
     
    ladybird and No-Name Slob like this.
  8. Jaro
    Offline

    Jaro Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    71
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    Yes, it's bad. It has been a trial trying to get her to start sounding out words when she doesn't know them. She is on an average reading level in her school, though I highly suspect if you measured this school's levels with a school that teaches to read using phonetic pronunciation, she would be well below average. I have a problem with that. I LOVE to read, and I would love to pass that on to here. But it is so hard when you have to fix things that never should have been broken in the first place.
     
    No-Name Slob likes this.
  9. ManOrAstroMan
    Offline

    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2012
    Messages:
    817
    Likes Received:
    342
    Location:
    Missouri
    as awful as my school was, they at least taught phonics.
    Granted, I learned to read by watching my mom or dad's finger follow the words on the page when they read to me. I twigged that those squiggles on the page meant something, and started paying attention. They noticed I was trying to make sense of those squiggles and took it upon themselves to teach me about letters and sounds. I was reading on my own before kindergarten, and was baffled by how little my classmates knew about reading. While they were trying to work out Go Dog, Go , I was happy with my paleontology books.
     
  10. Aaron DC
    Offline

    Aaron DC Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,554
    Likes Received:
    1,251
    Location:
    At my keyboard
    Here's what one teaching friend said (relating to teaching reading in Australia):

    different schools use different methods to teach reading. We teach phonological awareness first - so rhyming, syllables, compound words etc then they move on to book awareness with pictures,text directions, reading left to right, then they go on to words and reading small picture books. We changed a few years ago and find it is really helping. We have high number of students with english as their second language so it really helps.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2015
    No-Name Slob likes this.
  11. semicolon
    Offline

    semicolon Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2015
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Northern Illinois
    When I was in kindergarten/1st grade, I remember there was the Phonics stuff, and this wasn't too long ago, within the last 8 or 9 years. They must have made the switch pretty recently. Perhaps around the time that they made the switch to Common Core? They may have done what they did with all this weird teaching. Sort of what's happening at the middle school/junior high level is they're having all of the incoming middle schoolers learn science quite differently. They begin the year talking about motion and gravity and things like that. Then they move on to life science (cells, animals, etc.), then they do earth science (law of superposition, etc.). Then, the next year, they have the kids learn a little bit more from each field, I guess you can call it. Meanwhile, all of the other children who had already attended the school before they made the switch, who had already been learning all of that same stuff but each subject was just one year's worth. Those kids continue doing that, which confuses any teacher who's teaching 2 subjects for different grades.

    Anyways, I just went off on a tangent there. Sorry. It probably happened around the time they started doing that, though.
     
  12. fivetoesten
    Offline

    fivetoesten Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2014
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    10
    The context clues are the words surrounding the target word. I just pulled this from a reading site after a quick search:

    Injustice: Kevin thought that it was a great injustice that girls could wear earrings in the school while the boys could not.

    The definition is right there in the sentence.

    Pictures have their place, especially for English Language Learners, as does Environmental Print, etc. The key for success is to use a balanced approach.

    The canonical elements of reading instruction are phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension, and you need all five, but the best readers have parents or others who regularly read to them.
     
  13. fivetoesten
    Offline

    fivetoesten Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2014
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    10
    But many of those people have spent 20 years in the trenches. Some strategies turn out to be lemons, but there are many very well researched and battle-tested strategies taught by teachers whose hard work and dedication should earn them trophies, adoration, and piles of cash.
     
  14. Bookster
    Offline

    Bookster Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2015
    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    71
    Location:
    Right between the eyes
    semicolon and GingerCoffee like this.
  15. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,604
    Likes Received:
    5,877
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    It wouldn't surprise me if the teacher in the OP case either didn't understand this concept, or wasn't effective in teaching the child to use the context of the sentence rather than the pictures.

    Perhaps @No-Name Slob, you could reinforce the idea of clues within the words rather than the pictures. Then in the next parent-teacher conference ask the teacher if she might be emphasizing the pictures too much given your child's tendency to tell a story about the pictures instead of reading.
     
  16. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,604
    Likes Received:
    5,877
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    That's an interesting take on Sesame Street.
     
  17. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    I'm not convinced phonics is really any good on its own though. There're so many exceptions that phonics are next to meaningless. It's a useful tool, but a pretty limited one. Frankly it might be far more effective - esp with regards to spelling - to simply memorise the word. Forget the whole "sound it out" - just remember how it's supposed to sound. That's how you manage with a whole host of English words anyway. If Chinese children (I was one of them) could remember the sound of words without the easy tool of being able to sound anything out, I think English-speaking children would manage as well.

    ^none of this is to say the method of context clues is any good btw. It sounds pretty dire.
     
  18. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,604
    Likes Received:
    5,877
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    My two cents:

    There are three options when it comes to teaching methods: Traditional methods (the Sesame St example), intuitive methods (the Sesame St criticism example), and evidence based methods. Always look for the evidence based methods.

    Observe, hypothesize, test, evaluate.

    Here's an example of an article on context reading for new readers that discusses the evidence and supports the conclusions with the cited research:

    The Use of Context Cues in Reading
    It's well worth a look at the discussion of the issues here.


    Then there is the bottom line, (in my opinion ;) ), whatever you do, you want the child to feel successful and to enjoy the reading experience.
     
    fivetoesten likes this.
  19. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,604
    Likes Received:
    5,877
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    For early readers, sounding out the words they don't recognize is a useful exercise. One doesn't typically introduce complex phonics until later.

    But I have another question, was English your first language? Because if it wasn't then I can understand your frustration with English phonics. Trying to learn a language is a different task from trying to learn to read.
     
  20. Shadowfax
    Offline

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,504
    Likes Received:
    1,337
    About 6 months ago there was a You-Tube video of a child of about 12-15 months old being asked to "find a word". He almost invariably found the correct word...and it wasn't just "Mum" and "Dad". There was the usual apoplexy in the responses about "pressurising" children, but the thing was, this lad was loving it. No pressure, just a game. Quality time with his father.

    Children learn words...there's research (sorry, too late at night) that we identify words from the first letter, last letter and length. You can misspell words like b*ggery in the middle, but the reader will still know what you meant. So, sounding it out? Nonsense. Who pronounces CAT see-aahh-tee?
     
  21. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    I was introduced to Phonics when I was 8, which was when I moved to England from Hong Kong. Technically, Cantonese is my mother tongue. Over the years it's become that I'm actually way more fluent in English than Cantonese to the point where I'd consider English my mother tongue. I can express anything and everything I want in English, but not in Cantonese anymore, and I certainly couldn't write as much as this current post in Chinese.

    With Chinese, we were simply told how to pronounce each word, and we memorised it. No questions asked. You didn't have to make sense of it - it just is the way it is. In that sense, English spelling was a piece of cake for me, since I was already accustomed to memorising Chinese characters. In Hong Kong, I wasn't taught that the letter A had a sound. It was simply A (ai), eg. the name of the letter. I memorised spelling by simply memorising the sequence of letters involved.

    Then I moved to the UK and was told each letter had a sound. It completely baffled me at first - the idea that three separate sounds led to well, one sound (syllable) was odd, since in Chinese you obviously cannot combine sounds/words that way. In fact, that's a mistake my husband often makes when I teach him Cantonese words with more than one syllable - he has a habit of joining certain sounds and they should never be joined at all.

    So by the end, I was mixing my methods. Memorising on the one hand, and then wherever phonics applied, I used that too. One of the first times I started stringing the sounds of letters together was actually when I first came across the word "afraid". Had never seen that word before, so obviously I didn't know how to pronounce it. But I saw "rai" and remembered the word "rain". So I took the sound from that, and then added "af" and "d" to it. (I don't remember now if I knew A+F sounded like Af or if it's because I knew the word After and singled out Af from that) Still pronounced it slightly wrong, but hey I didn't really speak English back then :D

    So I wouldn't say phonics was frustrating - it's a little baffling initially. But in the end I just accepted that's just how things are, just as there's no point in questioning why a certain Chinese word is pronounced a certain way. It is the way it is. But I've just seen Czech children find phonics baffling because in Czech the words really do look the way they sound, every letter.

    However I'd say teaching phonics is better than what some Czech teachers encourage - they encourage kids to spell out the English word the Czech way... You can imagine how well that goes :rolleyes:
     
    GingerCoffee and Aaron DC like this.
  22. ladybird
    Offline

    ladybird Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2013
    Messages:
    269
    Likes Received:
    81
    Agree. When I went to school I was taught phoentics. 7 years later at the same school my sister was taught -Initial Teaching Alphabet (ITA), a system designed by Sir James Pitman -
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1523708.stm

    It set her back years. If it ain't broken why do they keep coming up with these new-fangled ideas? :)
     
  23. daemon
    Offline

    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    Messages:
    1,361
    Likes Received:
    982
    I think that really does make 90% of the difference, just like immersion for learning a language.
     
    ManOrAstroMan likes this.
  24. Steerpike
    Online

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,060
    Likes Received:
    5,265
    Location:
    California, US
    You have to keep "innovating" to get new grad students and, ultimately, Ph.Ds into the field.

    "Right, carry on!" isnt a thesis that is going to get past your committee :)
     
  25. ladybird
    Offline

    ladybird Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2013
    Messages:
    269
    Likes Received:
    81
    It's like our boy politicians: no experience of life or the real world.
    back on topic...
    @No-Name Slob context clues sound even worse than ITA!
     

Share This Page