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Not Accessing Phonics?


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I have a child who doesn't appear to be picking up phonics at all, even though he is in the top 10% of the class in terms of reading ability. His writing is very poor and it is becoming obvious that phonics just isn't for him. Everything he can read I'm sure he must have learnt by sight and he uses strategies such as predication and looking at pictures to help him decipher text. He's is actually a really good reader compared to most year one children I've come across, not just this class.

 

What can we do for him? We went on phonics training recently and they mentioned children like this and said that there might be 10% of children in a class for whom phonics will never ever be any use. I do strongly believe he is one of them, but I've never been told about any strategies for dealing with children like this. What can I do for him? It's his writing that is particularly suffering (he's at the stage of writing a pretty random collection of letters and saying it's a sentence, even though his reading and comprehension skills are way above this).

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How about giving him a 'word bank' that he can refer to when he's writing.

 

It could be a special box or something, and when he reads a word that he finds interesting, he could copy it onto a small card and keep it in his bank (maybe divided up into verbs, nouns, etc.)

 

Also, sometimes let him 'tell' a story by recording it rather than writing it down, and then perhaps allow him to use the computer to type it up?

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For my more able children, once they are reading pretty fluently (as opposed to sounding out most of the words!), and they want to spell a tricky word when they are writing, I encourage them to think about what they see when they read the word. This has only really worked for the most able - the 'average' group find it difficult to think like that/don't seem to have the memories, and I have never got that far with the weaker groups.

 

It may not be of any help, but maybe getting the child to spell things as he has seen them in books would help?

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Thanks for the suggestions!

 

The problem seems to be more realising that when he writes things have to be divided into words. He simply writes a string of letters and I think part of the problem is that he finds it hard to visualise words out of context or recall how text looks. Is there anything focused I can do around that, or should I just keep plugging away with guided writing and hope that it eventually 'clicks'?

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I find that it helps when children with these visualisation issue can write a word on a sticky label, one label = 1 word so they have a visual prompt.

 

It doesn't matter if they write only one letter on the label, the rest can be filled in later.

 

This is of course preceded by a lot of work on initial sounds written on a label, with other letters added on to create the required word. Some children need a lot of visual work before they internalise everything. Pelmanism type games help with this too.

 

Jenni

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