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Class not getting phonics


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Help! Out of 30 only 4 can blend. We are under pressure by SMT to have all children blending ad segmenting and mine are not getting it.


We do lots of modelling c-a-t is cat etc. I show them on the board. Model it and ask them to copy. I get answers like c-a-t is 'dog' or p-I-n 'kick'. Not even close!!!

They know the sounds but can't blend or segment. don't really know how any other way to teach it and desperate for suggestions - help!!

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Lots of games and aural discrimination. Lots of short sessions throughout the day.

I loved Big Cat Phonics in yr 1 although I didnt have it in Reception. Are you using any interactive games?

Ask to go and see other schools and compare your provision and practice.

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Have you looked at phase one oral blending in letters and sounds?

I know it's hard but sometimes no matter how much you do it, some children just aren't ready for it yet. I know the score but even so I've been concern about 4 of my class that just aren't orally blending but today the penny dropped.

As long as you are doing oral blending activities every day, constantly exposing them to it, you can do no more, and have faith, it will happen.

Some ideas are:

1. During register time robot talk the children's names and get them to robot talk their reply.

2. Have a get up and move filler session...touch your h/e/d etc. I must do this 4 times a day, filling any space where we have to wait for children coming out of the cloakroom etc. when you robot talk the words get the children to jump once for each phoneme, tuning them into the idea that the word has different parts.

3. Have a puppet that can only talk in sound talk and ask the children to listen to what he is saying.

4. Talk to parents and give them little games to play...point them In the direction of websites they can use.

All the games like what's in the box, Georgie's gym etc are all in letters and sounds.

Just keep going. It can be soul destroying and hard work, especially with SMT on your back. But you cannot force nature and children will get it when they are ready. But I would also say, do not hold them back...start to introduce them to letters and sound buttons as often children can absorb this and then when the penny drops they start to fly because you have exposed them to it all. Don't overload them, go slowly but give them a rich environment and experience of letters and phonemes.

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I'd second everything said above. Last year I started doing more work on the phase 1 stuff than I ever had done before, it really made a difference. My children do love having a chat to our class puppet - Grandad and giving him a bit of exercise (Grandad can you j-o-g, h-o-p etc.) or asking him questions he answers by sound talking (What did you have for breakfast? T-oa-s-t)

We play:

1. Fetch me a/Go to touch a... (sound talk the thing they need to touch) really easy to play this both in and outdoors, lot of running involved)

2. I spy where we sound talk the whole word (this is one I often encourage parents to play too). We play either using things around the room or pictures of objects either I do the spying (they are blending) or they do so they are segmenting.

We do lots of modelling where we sound talk a word then say it immediately afterwards without any kind of 'it makes' in between e.g. pick up your book b-a-g, bag. We do this at all sorts of random times throughout the day so that they are hearing it all the time.

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It can also go back to how much really targeted phase 1 oral blending has gone on BEFORE they got to you. If you have a nursery class maybe you will need to look at this as a developmental area? Then it isn't a race to the finish but building on firm foundations.


For me, it does reinforce the fact that without those kinds of experiences before they start in Reception. I've seen many children disadvantaged when they are in the final 3 terms of the whole EYFS phase because teaching the basic skills of sounds awareness has been missed out in their EYFS experiences before they got to Reception. We as teachers across the EYFS have to make sure they get the right kind of experiences (and I'm not saying "phonics" with all that PGC work for 2 yr olds etc etc, but good aural discrimination and sounds awareness). Reception teachers have so much pressure to ensure children get to the ELGs, that without back up from all those who teach the children before them it can be a soul destroying task in a very short time.


Edited by catma
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Have you got plenty of resources?

There are excellent books about including "Foundations of Literacy" by Ros Bayley and Sue Palmer if you think you need ideas.

Books of songs and rhymes ( Singing phonics?) and websites/ catalogues selling resources to facilitate phonics. Look at TTS, Yellow Door, Lawrence Educational, A & C Black.

If you are being pressurised and you lack resources, highlight this as a provision need---although money spent will no doubt increase the demand on you, but equally if you have identified a need and they dont respond....

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