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View Full Version : Is phonics-only a sacred cow?



Ariadne
03-22-2011, 07:25 PM
(Not sure if this is the right forum.)

My ASD son's former therapist insisted that the homeschooling community's love affair (scratch that: obsession) with phonics is misguided at best. She insisted that some kids take a while to develop enough auditory processing skills to get phonics.

Just imagine if you're sounding out a word and by the time you reach the 't' in f-a-s-t, you've forgotten the sounds you already figured out.

She swore by introducing these kids to reading via sight reading and dealing with the phonics at a later date, giving these kids some time to possibly internalize a lot of the phonics on their own.

I wish I'd had this advice when I bought Phonics Pathways back in the day and spent hours struggling with my now-12yo. My other two learned to read EASILY via Leap Frog phonics DVDs and a sight-reading software that accompanied those wonders of sight-reading: the Dick and Jane books.

I've since taught them some phonics but it was really more a matter of giving them language to discuss the code they were already figuring out on their own. e.g. My 6yo will show me how a bunch of ou words look the same and rhyme, or he'll see a new word with ou in it and say "That's going to sound like 'out'", but he won't necessarily remember to say that "ou says owww, Mommy".

Just today yet another friend called me to share how switching her reading-troubled kid to sight reading had worked wonders.

Anyone else BTDT?

(And to anyone who has made it this far, I think phonics-only IS a sacred cow that should be launched.)

BrendaE
03-22-2011, 07:34 PM
DD didnt have phonics and DSS did. Though DD was a very early reader... and she is special for other reasons... I see a HUGE impact and a good thing out of DSS having had phonics first. I definitely do not think it should be launched and I didnt even know all this stuff about what publics schools do etc...

DSS, despite their age difference and EVERYTHING, has a much better handle on spelling and figuring out how to pronounce words he never heard of before.

Another home school family I know has a young son with pretty bad speech problems. he did not have phonics... I helped his mother set up a program of it.... and damn it to hell if it did help him not only speak better but read really well too. I may very well depend on the phonics program too.. I have no idea.. but I wouldnt dismiss it as a tool.

Just my 2 cents.

(not doing phonics with my DD is my single ONE regret in all our home school years)

Pefa
03-22-2011, 08:05 PM
Shoot, just lost my post.

I don't think either camp is magic. You need enough sight memory to hang onto the first letters while you sound out the last ones (I don't remember how long you have but it's a really really short time). Phonics gives you a way to attack English's thornier patches but sight is the only way through brambles such as "you" "know" "through" "though" "bough" "receive" or "piece". Most of us us both strategies, the balance is individual.

As for spelling, I don't know - my sight reader kids remember the shape of a word, my phonics kids the rules (although one of my phonics kids disdains rules of all kinds and it shows.)

Riceball_Mommy
03-22-2011, 08:09 PM
So far, a combination of sight words and phonics has been working out for us. My daughter has some trouble, there are some sight words that she seemed to get right away, then just didn't seem to remember for awhile and now she knows them again. She seems to be going through a bit of that same cycle with phonics as well. She is starting to do a lot better with blending the letter sounds.

Anyway I was just trying to say that I don't think phonics should be completely left behind, but combining it with sight words seems to work out well and gives you the best of both worlds.

Ariadne
03-22-2011, 08:16 PM
I definitely do not think it should be launched and I didnt even know all this stuff about what publics schools do etc... I think I'm not being clear. I'm not saying to jettison phonics. I teach phonics, as I said in my OP. What I think is a sacred cow that no one challenges is the idea of "phonics only". People act like sight reading is anathema and that it should have no place in a home school, where I'm all for doing what works.

BrendaE
03-22-2011, 08:22 PM
I think I'm not being clear. I'm not saying to jettison phonics. I teach phonics, as I said in my OP. What I think is a sacred cow that no one challenges is the idea of "phonics only". People act like sight reading is anathema and that it should have no place in a home school, where I'm all for doing what works.

Hmm I guess I assumed (seems incorrectly) that reading sight words is included with a phonics program. I have only used the Phonics program from k-12.com though. It includes phonics and reading and sight words and its all really well meshed together.

Lou
03-22-2011, 08:23 PM
What is "SIGHT READING"? All I ever hear about is phonics.

I'm certain we do a mix of styles, but "phonics" is the only style that has a name that I know of...curious to know if one aspect of my reading teachings is labeled "sight reading"???

Ariadne
03-22-2011, 08:42 PM
Hmm I guess I assumed (seems incorrectly) that reading sight words is included with a phonics program. I have only used the Phonics program from k-12.com though. It includes phonics and reading and sight words and its all really well meshed together.Hmm. Interesting. Glad you said something.

I've never seen a program labeled "phonics" that includes sight reading. Have I seen reading programs that include both? Sure. But something labeled "phonics" generally is, well, phonics. I am not at all familiar with K-12, though, other than the price tag, which is out of our range.


What is "SIGHT READING"? All I ever hear about is phonics. Now this is more of what I've experienced within the homeschooling community.

Sight reading is just having kids memorize words. There is the extreme end of things (which I do not advocate) where reading instruction consists of nothing but memorizing words like Chinese characters. There is the light end of things which consists of adding commonly-used words and words that "don't follow rules" to an otherwise phonics-dominated program.

I have been speaking to the middle range of things, where you actually shelve phonics for a while and just focus on memorizing, allowing the child to grow up a bit. Then you go back to phonics once they've matured, but in the interim they weren't left feeling inadequate because they couldn't read, nor were grandma and grandpa overwrought because their dear grandchild cannot read because of their crazy homeschooling daughter-in-law.

:D

BrendaE
03-22-2011, 08:49 PM
You can straight out buy the k-12 phonics program from k-12 as there are no internet lessons etc included with it. It comes in a big box and includes lets see... two huge piles of sight word cards that go along with whatever section of phonics youre working on and about 30 or so reader books that follow along. Several magnet boards and all the magent letters that the kids and you manipulate while learning the phonics. A play by play instructor book about how to introduce each lesson... part of those lessons include the child and parent using physical motions to help remember sound combos etc (That part was FUN!), and then it includes a book full of worksheets for the child as well. It costs about $100 USD, and for DSS it was worth every penny. He is not quite 8 yet and he can READ anything ..and I do mean anything, you put in front of him. He of course doesnt understand it all or know the meaning of all the words... haha but he can READ it. hehe

oh it comes with some instruction DVD's for parents too...

K12 Phonics works (https://ecomm.k12.com/ecommerce/public/itemDetails.xhtml?cid=476384)


I was wrong its $200

naturegirl7
03-22-2011, 08:52 PM
DS (5) is a sight reader and a phonics HATER. We read to him all the time and had started teaching him basic letter sounds when we realized that he had taught himself to read. He can't sound words out when reading or spelling - so we are trying to learn phonics now and he hates it, calls it babywork. *sigh*
He can read at a VERY advanced level though, and often can guess what words are based upon the context of the sentence and other words they resemble.... We are only really working on phonics to improve his speech issues and hopefully help with spelling.
That said I do believe phonics is fundamental - but just like anything else, for some kids it works and for others it doesnt

sdvance
03-22-2011, 08:58 PM
We had a huge problem with out 8 year old and phonics. He absolutely couldn't grasp the concept especially when he was in private school. They believed it was phonics or nothing. I do believe his auditory processing skills just weren't what they needed to be. He's a very visual learner. I noticed he would memorize words very well and was able to read those words. So, we stopped the phonics for about 6 months and just did lots of sight reading with memorization of words. Now, I've reintroduced the phonics, and he seems to get it! His reading had improved tremendously.

dbmamaz
03-22-2011, 09:01 PM
Raven went to public kindergarten. They studied 2 letters a week and also sent home lists of common words to memorize as flashcards. When I first started homeschooling him, I played a game with letters where he had to sound out simple 3-letter combinations and if it made a real word (most of them did because of how i arranged it), we then made a card with that word he'd already sounded out, and put it in our sight-word pile - which we had a game with. He loved that - but then he started picking up more sight words on his computer. Now he is mostly a sight-word reader, sometimes actually substituting a similar meaning word, occasionally sounding out a word he doesnt recognize right away. I'm coaching him on sounding things out, cuz he is always guessing and adding in letters that arent there. But he reads much, much better than he did (but really, more than a year behind where his siblings were at this age).

I mentioned in the other thread that sight-word reading was developed for deaf kids. Sounding out IS a problem for Raven becuase he has a bad lisp and often does not really know what he is hearing. But as we work through words and I point out the spelling and the sounds, and then make him say it again more clearly, its helping his speech too.

I think like anything, there are people who can get 'religous' about one way or another . . .but this is a secular group and I find most people here are, you know, pretty reasonable. IMO.

Lou
03-22-2011, 09:03 PM
ahh...then yes, we do sight reading & phonics.

Some of the things I do: (and you can tell me if I do sight reading?)

I use "dolch words" as the spelling list. http://www.mrsperkins.com/dolch-words-all.html
We do flash card style with a chunk of new words (I made the flash cards myself using a printable website), then once my son can read the cards quickly on sight, the cards are added to the master pile of flash cards. Once they are in the master pile, then I use the flash cards to have my 3 year old spell them out (she says the letters she sees on the card) and my son is not able to see the cards, he only hears my daughter spelling the words out (she's practicing her letter identification) and then he tells us what word she spelt out verbally. Then he practices writing the words on 'trace work sheets' I make up using the words he's currently working on. We practice finding the words in books we are reading & then when we are driving in the car I randomly ask him to spell some of the words. In the fall when we start grade 1, I will have him to formal spelling lists and test him on writing out the words from memory.

We also do a couple phonics things...Bob books, hooked on phonics, starfall's web site, etc...sounding out words and identifying combinations that don't really follow rules but have common sounds, etc. (I feel like I'm always saying well that word is just one you need to memorize because it doesn't really sound out well)

I find my son will absorb the leap frog DVD's and 'get it' with one or two viewings...my daughter on the other hand isn't all that fond of leap frog DVD's...but to expose them to various learning styles while I learn their preferred styles, we do a little of everything.

At night I have my son read "dick & jane" books to his sister...and I print off early readers from a couple web sites that he will read to us before we do some sort of 'activity' with the book..sometimes I have them highlight certain words, color the pictures, find letters, etc....a great tool to take to the resturants with us...takes a while for my son to read it to us, then they color the books, find words, letters, etc...and lunch is served and people think my kids are well behaved at the resturant...ha, ha...if the kids had their way, they would be wild beasties running around and under tables causing all sorts of crazy if they could. ;)

Ariadne
03-22-2011, 09:23 PM
I think like anything, there are people who can get 'religous' about one way or another . . .but this is a secular group and I find most people here are, you know, pretty reasonable. IMO.I figured as much. I just had this on my mind after speaking with my friend. She was one of those who had fallen for the phonics-as-religion trap and was stuck there. I felt so bad for her and her son and I was thrilled today to hear about the positive change for him.

MarkInMD
03-22-2011, 11:08 PM
I also mentioned some of our experience in that other learning-to-read thread, but to rehash and add to it:

Our older son absolutely taught himself to read. The only thing we did was read aloud to him and he picked up on all those words to the point where not only could he read whole books to us at age 2 1/2 (and not just little BOB-type books, but things like Put Me in the Zoo and Ten Apples Up on Top), but he'd recognize those words outside of the context of the books. Phonics was completely unnecessary for him. Even now, if he messes up a pronunciation of an unfamiliar word, all you have to do is say it once and more than likely he'll not only remember how to say it forevermore, but probably how to spell it, too, no matter the size of the word. It's definitely his biggest strength (which is good, because there sure are weaknesses in other areas!).

Our younger son is just now learning to read, and it's definitely different with him. He's in a Head Start program in the AM and a public school pre-K in the PM where they do some of this work (both phonics and sight reading), and he's starting to get it. It's not automatic with him, though. We have to use this combo approach in order for him to internalize the words and rules. I'd say he's ahead of most kids in his class at this point.

I don't think phonics-only is the best approach, mainly because the "rules" don't always apply. The comedian Gallagher has a great couple of bits (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWN9rTc08GU) about how goofy English can get, especially with words like "one" and "two."

Teri
03-22-2011, 11:14 PM
I thought the opposite camp was called "whole language"?
Sight words are words that can not be sounded out via phonics.

Joseph and Caroline did not have any phonics instruction (they learned to read very early on their own).
Libby received extensive phonics instruction from her dyslexia program.

MarkInMD
03-22-2011, 11:29 PM
Yes, whole language is a commonly used term. I believe one of its leading proponents is named Jim Trelease (sp?). I know I quoted from him extensively in many college papers I wrote, because my mom the teacher was a huge whole language advocate (although reasonable to other points of view).

Lou
03-22-2011, 11:31 PM
I also mentioned some of our experience in that other learning-to-read thread, but to rehash and add to it:

Our older son absolutely taught himself to read. The only thing we did was read aloud to him and he picked up on all those words to the point where not only could he read whole books to us at age 2 1/2 (and not just little BOB-type books, but things like Put Me in the Zoo and Ten Apples Up on Top), but he'd recognize those words outside of the context of the books. Phonics was completely unnecessary for him. Even now, if he messes up a pronunciation of an unfamiliar word, all you have to do is say it once and more than likely he'll not only remember how to say it forevermore, but probably how to spell it, too, no matter the size of the word. It's definitely his biggest strength (which is good, because there sure are weaknesses in other areas!)."

You describe my son...he was reading (and COMPLETELY TAUGHT HIMSELF) at age 2 1/2....when he started preschool I asked why they weren't encouraging his reading? or doing anything re: letters? words? etc...and I was told that typically children that read before age 4 are autistic...which of course sent this mother into research mode...took my son to be tested at an autistic center. The folks at the autistic center said they have never heard that and told me to dismiss that comment that my son was not on the spectrum. The school did not encourage reading until the kindergarten level...so he was 'discouraged' (which always bothered me, but I didn't do much about it) and he lost the ability really...it was ODD...like the skill was just simply lost. Then in kindergarten (age 5) when they started to 'teach it' (he attended a private school that starts at age 3) he picked it up quickly and was advanced at reading compared to his classmates, but he's not that much farther then he was at age 2 1/2 ....so glad we've pulled him and wish we would of never sent him in the first place...but it's too late to change that now. :/

Anyhow, my point is I'm happy to read other folks' posts that show some children just have a memory type learning style and that it's AOK...my son watched the leap frog dvd with letters when he was 18 months or so and poof after one or two viewings knew his letters, letter sounds, etc...so I've always supplimented all of our learning with whatever DVD's I can find on the topic, because it seems to really sink in and click with him. (relieved to hear about other kids that are similar!) My daughter is NOT like that...she's more work on mom's part to teach. ;)

Lou
03-22-2011, 11:34 PM
FYI ~ I think I've stumbled across your blog somewhere, the names tornado and hurricane ring a bell...do you have a homeschooling blog?

dbmamaz
03-22-2011, 11:37 PM
My husband taught himself to read before kindergarten even tho he was legally blind. He doesnt remember how he learned. I was curious, since Raven is slower. But really, I was not in the advanced reading class until 2nd grade. And i clearly remember trying to ask why queen didnt start with a k, since it does start with the k sound . . kw . . the teacher just looked down her nose at me and said "queen starts with a Q' with that air that implied YOU should already KNOW that. ahh, school. Oops, i guess I do that sometimes too, dont i. damn.

BrendaE
03-22-2011, 11:48 PM
My husband taught himself to read before kindergarten even tho he was legally blind. He doesnt remember how he learned. I was curious, since Raven is slower. But really, I was not in the advanced reading class until 2nd grade. And i clearly remember trying to ask why queen didnt start with a k, since it does start with the k sound . . kw . . the teacher just looked down her nose at me and said "queen starts with a Q' with that air that implied YOU should already KNOW that. ahh, school. Oops, i guess I do that sometimes too, dont i. damn.

hmm i actually wonder why it does start with a Q... it comes from the word kvinna where the v makes a w AND v sort of wispy sound. kvinna means woman. Sooo who changed it to qu and WHY...hmmm... sorry..ot!

MarkInMD
03-22-2011, 11:57 PM
FYI ~ I think I've stumbled across your blog somewhere, the names tornado and hurricane ring a bell...do you have a homeschooling blog?

My wife has a blog with the title Raising Hurricane and Tornado (http://raisinghurricaneandtornado.blogspot.com/), maybe that's it. Updated infrequently and not always about homeschooling, but you're welcome to read. One of our other members, StartingOver, has "Texas Tornado" in her blog, so that might be it, too.

Early reading can be something on the autism spectrum, but so can late reading. It can also just be a case of a kid who's gifted at it. In our case, it's probably a manifestation of Hurricane's Asperger's. But by the same token, he also has an Aspie friend who is waaaaaay late to reading. So yeah, it's kind of a wash.

Outofrange
03-22-2011, 11:57 PM
This is an interesting thread. I am a whole word/language learner and my daughter learns best through phonics like her dad. It seems to be very individual and I would not say one way is superior to the other. I have noticed that people who are whole word/language learners tend to not spell as well as people who learned with phonics. Has anyone else noticed this?

MarkInMD
03-23-2011, 12:00 AM
This is an interesting thread. I am a whole word/language learner and my daughter learns best through phonics like her dad. It seems to be very individual and I would not say one way is superior to the other. I have noticed that people who are whole word/language learners tend to not spell as well as people who learned with phonics. Has anyone else noticed this?

Only if he's never seen a word before, in Hurricane's case. Like the time he spelled margarine "mardren." But if you show him, then he'll usually get it. But I can certainly see this being the case for some.

Teri
03-23-2011, 12:00 AM
I don't remember ever learning with phonics and I was always considered a superior speller in school.

I have not noticed that connection in our family.

Outofrange
03-23-2011, 12:05 AM
I am thinking it may be that people who thrive with phonics are those who will play with words and dissect them thus understanding how they work better than people like me who never had to do more than look at a word and remember what it was. I dont know, I just did an informal survey of my friends and that seemed to be way it went. Not always but most of the time.

BrendaE
03-23-2011, 12:09 AM
This is an interesting thread. I am a whole word/language learner and my daughter learns best through phonics like her dad. It seems to be very individual and I would not say one way is superior to the other. I have noticed that people who are whole word/language learners tend to not spell as well as people who learned with phonics. Has anyone else noticed this?

that is my DD. She kind of taught herself to read during age 3... so somehow we just never bothered with phonics. I didnt officially start teaching class type stuff until she was 5. By then, well... she could already read pretty well. She has poor spelling skills now. I blame it on her being bilingual and a lack of phonics when she was small. :(

CatInTheSun
03-23-2011, 12:26 AM
...I mentioned in the other thread that sight-word reading was developed for deaf kids. Sounding out IS a problem for Raven becuase he has a bad lisp and often does not really know what he is hearing. But as we work through words and I point out the spelling and the sounds, and then make him say it again more clearly, its helping his speech too....

I've noticed with the 2 kids who read now, learning to read (phonics) really improved their speech. My 5yo can still be hard to understand and sometimes she'll ask us to write out a word she isn't saying correctly, then when see sees it she can say it. So I think learning how to move the mouth thru different sounds and between different sounds is a nice art of phonics, esp the blended style of teaching in 100EZ lessons and may esp benefit visual learners. I think this is opposite of CW about "phonetic awareness". I realize I can't catch middle sounds of foreign languages unless I can read it, so I assume it's a similar thing.

When teaching DD#1 to read, I realized I go thru "the motions" of making silent letters when I speak -- for example putting my tongue to the "t" position in words like "listen" even though I don't sound it. I remember thinking in 3rd grade, "they wouldn't put a t there if we weren't supposed to say it" so I guess I hedged my bets <lol> and I gotta say it's made spelling easy. :) I also don't schwa -- /ur/ /er/ /ir/ and /ar/ are all voiced a bit differently, though you probably couldn't hear the difference. Just an oddity I discovered dissecting the subject as an adult. :D

Kylie
03-23-2011, 12:31 AM
I think you have to find the combination that works best for each particular child and ignore a great deal of the oppositions that play out in regards to both sides of the fence.

They each have their own positives and negatives. I personally am more on the phonics side of the fence because it is what (so far) has worked for our family.

I get very upset with many experts touting the whole language approach of simply just immerse your child and read read read to them and they will learn to read. For what percentage of children does this actually happen for? I personally know of one family and all of their children are gifted.

My nephew does a whole language approach at a private school and whilst he accelerated early on and seemed to be ahead of my ds in his reading ability he did not have the ability to sound out unfamiliar words and simply guessed and in most cases guessed incorrectly. If someone has never been taught how to sound out words what do they do when they come across a word they don't know?

Jeni
03-23-2011, 03:12 AM
My schooling took place during the "Whole word" boom in the '80's and '90's. I didn't know this at the time of course, I've only just realized this is how I was taught. I don't recall any phonics lessons past the basic letter sounds. There were no digraphs or blends or any of the other rules we've taught dd over the last several years. I do remember being drilled on word flash cards (I wouldn't say the word "as" because I wasn't aware that the letter "s" made the "z" sound....). I have no idea if my terrible spelling has anything to do with that switch from phonetic teaching to whole word.

I prefer to use both. Though I do agree, I had to do some serious research to find out what sight words/whole words/dolch words were because phonics is the most frequently discussed language arts topic among homeschoolers. I actually learned about site words from my public school mom friend. Our dd's are the same age and she was worried (which of course translated into my worry) that dd was behind because she hadn't learned the same K dolch words her dd had.

MarkInMD
03-23-2011, 05:17 AM
How the heck do I manage to turn everything into an incoherent novel? Ugh.

Thomas Pynchon writes incoherent novels. This one, I followed. :)

jeliau
03-23-2011, 06:18 AM
My ds didn't speak until he was 3-years-old. He started off with sign language and using picture words to express his needs. Because of this his first actual reading was with whole words but that stalled early on. We used Calvert in kindergarten and that introduced him to phonics books. We then ended up continuing with that for years by going through some ETS phonics books and ending with Explode the Code. By the time he was using ETC, if I tried to "teach" him he just got frustrated. But, if I allowed him just to do the workbooks without the lessons he learned on his own, and quickly. Now, nearly any new vocabulary word he gets he can pronounce correctly the first try, and b/c of phonics, he has an idea of the meaning of the word by its parts.

Jeliau

Mom to dd (24), dd (21), homeschooled ds (9), and gd (1)

Teri
03-23-2011, 09:07 AM
I don't remember learning phonics ever. I have two kids that learned to read before school age, so they never learned phonics.
I was considered a very advanced speller in school. I could see a word one time and remember its spelling. I was always levels and levels ahead of my classmates in the SRA spelling box. :p
My kids don't seem to have inherited my spelling ability, but they are certainly adequate.

The 9 year that DID get phonics instruction is dyslexic and her spelling will always be creative. LOL She doesn't misspell words that follow the rules though.

farrarwilliams
03-23-2011, 09:54 AM
Gee, why do I have to be so busy this week that I can't respond in threads that I have lots of thoughts on!

First, I think a lot of people - especially homeschoolers - confuse a sight word approach (which the majority of schools currently have) and whole language. Whole language was a movement born in the 70's to encourage educators to get away from emphasizing spelling and composition and things like that and instead let kids meet words and language in a more organic way - using whatever tools work for them and especially allowing them to write however they want in the early years, which means that steps like when kids are 4 and write pretend "words" that are just scribbles, or when they're 6 and doing invented spelling, are important steps in a process for the whole language people. Kids memorizing short books then "reading" them would also be considered positive by the whole language people - assuming the child did it themselves. Whole language can include (but doesn't have to) phonics and sight words. I would say it's more about the affect of having positive, organic experiences in learning to read and write than it is about a specific methodology.

I think if done right, that can work for a lot of kids. It's certainly how I learned. The problem is that for a relatively large chunk of kids (I forget the statistics I've seen, but IIRC it's something like 30%) it does not work and in fact makes it harder for them to learn later because they never intuitively got the connection (even if the teachers were doing some phonics) between words and letters. My understanding is that emphasizing sight words (most schools do it with some light phonics work) has a much better track record, but only in the early grades. By 4th or 5th grade, a large number of kids hit a reading slump. Part of the sight word approach is to emphasize guessing words strongly, and you can see how that could go awry once words start getting more complex and texts start getting longer. On the other hand, phonics has a much better track record long term - more kids learn to read that way than with either of the other approaches.

However, phonics is very much slow and steady wins the race. I liked what Corrigan said about how there's no shame in kids not being ready to read. That's so true! Sight words especially can push kids to be "reading" much earlier, so it makes it feel like all kids should do that. On the other hand, phonics demands that kids be cognitively ready to put sounds together and sustain the effort through longer words.

For me personally, I feel like the problem with the phonics as a sacred cow thing (which most homeschoolers SO have) is that it ignores some of the positive aspects of the whole language approach, such as the importance of enjoyment and fun with learning to read and write. It also seems to emphasize only the rote skill of reading. There was one year that I taught a class of kids back when I was teaching who had all gone through phonics only in the early grades. Those kids could spell reasonably well (the internet age seemed to have maybe hurt them a little there, but whatever) and they could decode any word. But they had very little ability to infer or understand anything from context. They couldn't understand what they were reading. I think phonics may turn out some kids who can read at a very high level at a relatively early age but who may struggle to really engage with the text. As well, the fear that some strongly phonics families have that their kids will accidentally memorize some sight words or figure things out from context makes me a little batty. Reading should be more organic than that.

Anyway, I try to have a sort of whole language approach, but we do a lot of phonics to give it a strong backbone. We do NOT memorize sight words as part of our study, but I also don't discourage them from memorizing them.

I don't know if that's right, but that's what we do.

And that's way more than I meant to write!

dbmamaz
03-23-2011, 11:01 AM
Hmm. I'm thinking maybe i need to look in to a little more phonics work w Raven at some point. As I said, I do try to make him sound words out, but its really, really hard. He gets SO frustrated with it. i usually let him just make the letter sounds and then I say the word. He knows some big words i dont think he knows, but can get totally stuck on smaller words he doesnt know. but he gets SOOO mad about it! argg. I've been mostly just winging it, since he refused to read the Bob books. I know T4L has phonics, but I dont think he's been doing them.

laundrycrisis
03-23-2011, 11:33 AM
I believe phonics are important and need to be covered at some point. I think it's a mistake to skip it completely. But I agree that the phonics approach will be very hard and maybe impossible for a child whose auditory processing skills are not cooperating. That child may have a much easier time learning to read with less emphasis on phonics. I think it's good to give a kids opportunities to learn to read in different ways and let them do what works best for them. Teach them letter sounds and show them the logic of phonics. Read books and say whole words while pointing at them. Give them a chance to begin to learn both ways. If phonics isn't their chosen path to reading in the beginning, they can work through phonics and word analysis programs later.

Laina
03-23-2011, 12:05 PM
What she said! Great post!


Gee, why do I have to be so busy this week that I can't respond in threads that I have lots of thoughts on!

First, I think a lot of people - especially homeschoolers - confuse a sight word approach (which the majority of schools currently have) and whole language. Whole language was a movement born in the 70's to encourage educators to get away from emphasizing spelling and composition and things like that and instead let kids meet words and language in a more organic way - using whatever tools work for them and especially allowing them to write however they want in the early years, which means that steps like when kids are 4 and write pretend "words" that are just scribbles, or when they're 6 and doing invented spelling, are important steps in a process for the whole language people. Kids memorizing short books then "reading" them would also be considered positive by the whole language people - assuming the child did it themselves. Whole language can include (but doesn't have to) phonics and sight words. I would say it's more about the affect of having positive, organic experiences in learning to read and write than it is about a specific methodology.

I think if done right, that can work for a lot of kids. It's certainly how I learned. The problem is that for a relatively large chunk of kids (I forget the statistics I've seen, but IIRC it's something like 30%) it does not work and in fact makes it harder for them to learn later because they never intuitively got the connection (even if the teachers were doing some phonics) between words and letters. My understanding is that emphasizing sight words (most schools do it with some light phonics work) has a much better track record, but only in the early grades. By 4th or 5th grade, a large number of kids hit a reading slump. Part of the sight word approach is to emphasize guessing words strongly, and you can see how that could go awry once words start getting more complex and texts start getting longer. On the other hand, phonics has a much better track record long term - more kids learn to read that way than with either of the other approaches.

However, phonics is very much slow and steady wins the race. I liked what Corrigan said about how there's no shame in kids not being ready to read. That's so true! Sight words especially can push kids to be "reading" much earlier, so it makes it feel like all kids should do that. On the other hand, phonics demands that kids be cognitively ready to put sounds together and sustain the effort through longer words.

For me personally, I feel like the problem with the phonics as a sacred cow thing (which most homeschoolers SO have) is that it ignores some of the positive aspects of the whole language approach, such as the importance of enjoyment and fun with learning to read and write. It also seems to emphasize only the rote skill of reading. There was one year that I taught a class of kids back when I was teaching who had all gone through phonics only in the early grades. Those kids could spell reasonably well (the internet age seemed to have maybe hurt them a little there, but whatever) and they could decode any word. But they had very little ability to infer or understand anything from context. They couldn't understand what they were reading. I think phonics may turn out some kids who can read at a very high level at a relatively early age but who may struggle to really engage with the text. As well, the fear that some strongly phonics families have that their kids will accidentally memorize some sight words or figure things out from context makes me a little batty. Reading should be more organic than that.

Anyway, I try to have a sort of whole language approach, but we do a lot of phonics to give it a strong backbone. We do NOT memorize sight words as part of our study, but I also don't discourage them from memorizing them.

I don't know if that's right, but that's what we do.

And that's way more than I meant to write!

Lou
03-23-2011, 12:39 PM
Gee, why do I have to be so busy this week that I can't respond in threads that I have lots of thoughts on!

First, I think a lot of people - especially homeschoolers - confuse a sight word approach (which the majority of schools currently have) and whole language. Whole language was a movement born in the 70's to encourage educators to get away from emphasizing spelling and composition and things like that and instead let kids meet words and language in a more organic way - using whatever tools work for them and especially allowing them to write however they want in the early years, which means that steps like when kids are 4 and write pretend "words" that are just scribbles, or when they're 6 and doing invented spelling, are important steps in a process for the whole language people. Kids memorizing short books then "reading" them would also be considered positive by the whole language people - assuming the child did it themselves. Whole language can include (but doesn't have to) phonics and sight words. I would say it's more about the affect of having positive, organic experiences in learning to read and write than it is about a specific methodology.

I'm curious then if we are (in your opinion) doing whole language in our house?

1) we memorize sight words
2) we do some phonics work
3) we have journals the kids write in that has no rules. They just write whatever they want (including made up words, mis-spelled words & pictures)

StartingOver
03-23-2011, 12:57 PM
In our home we do a combination, but we always start with phonics. I teach the children the sounds of the letters, or Leap Frog does. LOL When my little ones start trying to read words around them, I start to say c...a...t. and they can hear cat, we move on to blending. I teach simple three letter words, then we read, read, read to the point that they are automatic. Then we move on to beginning blends, and read, read, read until they are committed to memory. This mean my children are in the beginning readers for a while. I do have tons of them so that they don't get so bored. We continue on the path of OPGTR, stopping to practice like crazy when there is a big change. It was about the same when I taught my older children to read. It has worked well for us. But I have had very early readers, who learn very easily.

Mine learn very few sight words, I do what them to commit most words to memory to build fluency though. I do not do "inventive spelling". I teach spelling as soon as we start reading, if they can read three letter words, they can spell them. All About Spelling is perfect for this.

I saw what the "Whole Language" in my area did to some of my family members. Maybe it wasn't done the way that Farrar described, I don't know. But it failed miserably IMO.

Lou
03-23-2011, 12:58 PM
My wife has a blog with the title Raising Hurricane and Tornado (http://raisinghurricaneandtornado.blogspot.com/), maybe that's it. Updated infrequently and not always about homeschooling, but you're welcome to read. One of our other members, StartingOver, has "Texas Tornado" in her blog, so that might be it, too.

Early reading can be something on the autism spectrum, but so can late reading. It can also just be a case of a kid who's gifted at it. In our case, it's probably a manifestation of Hurricane's Asperger's. But by the same token, he also has an Aspie friend who is waaaaaay late to reading. So yeah, it's kind of a wash.

It was your wife's blog...because both Hurricane & Tornado were talked about. Nothing about Texas, it was for sure two children with the names Hurricane & Tornado that caught my eye. (I have a few weather storms for children as well) :cool:

Interesting that Hurricane is an aspie, because it would NOT suprise me if one day they say my son is also...but when they tested him, he did not display enough to be put on the spectrum. He does display some tricky behavior at times, but it is always when he is in an overwhelmingly stressful situation...after reading the book "Simplicity Parenting" http://www.amazon.com/Simplicity-Parenting-Extraordinary-Calmer-Happier/dp/0345507983/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1300898580&sr=8-1 I thought it might be possible that he has some tricky behavior traits because his life was overwhelming with too much. We simplified our lives and saw a difference in him...then we pulled him from school to homeschool and saw DRASTIC changes in him. He is very bright (our family doctor thinks he is gifted & bored) He is very senstive (random things can trigger tantrums, however, since we have been home, it's far less often). He also enjoys talking MOSTLY about his topics. Because he is VERY SOCIAL and engages his friends in conversation & play, they dismissed any spectrum behaviors he otherwise displayed. (After the testing at their office, they did a home visit and we arranged a playdate with several friends to come over and they observed him in his play)

Anyhow, I wouldn't be suprised if someone decided somewhere down the road that he did fit on the spectrum. In the mean while, we feel he's in the best hands (ours! and not the school system to get lost in, bored & left behind to 'dumb down') :cool:

As a baby he NEVER fit any text book and then when our daughter was born, she fit the text books to the tee...total opposites!

***

Back to topic...sorry for the mini hijack...would love to hear more about WHOLE LANGAUAGE!!! :D

Lou
03-23-2011, 01:04 PM
I have NO IDEA how I learned to read. I don't recall "learning" how to read...I do recall a 1st grade teacher going over the letter sounds (guessing that was phonics) and thinking it was baby work because I already knew all that and sounding out letters was beneath me (and my stinky prissy tude that I had at the time) I was placed in gifted classes as an elementary school aged child and then I vividly recall being so bored in high school I dumbed right down and maybe even lower as I found myself failing a grade 1 geography lesson on the computer this morning! LOL

Does anyone have opinions on the book "learning reading in 100 easy lessons" ??? (is that strictly phonics...it stinks being new to all this curriculum stuff and having to figure it all out)

StartingOver
03-23-2011, 01:08 PM
I remember learning to read, my mother taught me phonics at home. Long before she sent me to school. But I do remember phonics in school too. My first experience with Whole Language was when my little sister attended school, she is 8 years younger than I am, so 34 now. This was in Alaska. I do remember it didn't stay long there, the parents were very upset about the change in our area.

farrarwilliams
03-23-2011, 01:12 PM
Yeah, I think that's basically whole language. I think a lot of the original intention with whole language was the belief (which, as I understand it, seemed to be born out by studies at that time, but which has since been refuted somewhat in studies that have shown that phonics simply brings a larger portion of kids to reading better) that the interaction between the teacher and the child was the most important aspect of learning to read and therefore a tailored approach or an approach that was more freeform would work better.

I don't know a lot about how "whole language" was implemented in the public schools - I went to a small private school that practiced whole language as a kid and it was practiced much as I described with a lot of games, invented spelling writings, etc. By the time my brother went to public school, they had swung back around and he got all phonics. But I suspect that, like most things that are complex, when it went into schools it got oversimplified and morphed into this approach where kids are memorizing the "whole word" as a sight word. Certainly nowadays, that's a necessary element. Both phonics and whole language assume that kids won't read on a set timetable - with phonics because it's a slow approach that builds and relies on starting only when kids can properly blend and whole language because it assumes that kids will have a sort of magic "getting it" moment that may come as late as 8 or 9 years old. But by teaching kids word by word, the schools can much more easily guarantee that kids will be reading in time to pass those standardized tests. It also gives them something to put in the textbooks other than amorphous whole language activities.


I'm curious then if we are (in your opinion) doing whole language in our house?

1) we memorize sight words
2) we do some phonics work
3) we have journals the kids write in that has no rules. They just write whatever they want (including made up words, mis-spelled words & pictures)

jeliau
03-23-2011, 03:59 PM
Anyhow, I wouldn't be suprised if someone decided somewhere down the road that he did fit on the spectrum.

Wow, this is SO my ds! Just yesterday in therapy the doc asked to check him AGAIN for the spectrum. We move so much and every time they test him, but like your son, he's always too social, etc. We're going on Tuesday to retest and see where he is *this year* and they're also going to IQ test him. He's been diagnosed ADHD (emphasis on the H) since 4-years-old, then they thought maybe bi-polar, but have all settled for years on just ADHD with some sensory integration issues.

Jeliau

Mom to dd (24), dd (21), homeschooled ds (9), gd (1)

Batgirl
03-23-2011, 04:50 PM
No, kids on the spectrum vary in this respect. I have a friend whose asd boys were very "sight word" oriented and learned that way but my son's reading really only started to improve when we started to emphasize phonics more heavily. I did have him memorize the most common sight words (and, the, we, etc.) but that's not how he learned to read. Emphasizing sight words just made him think that he could guess what a word was. Phonics taught him that he could figure it out by sounding. I really think it depends on the child,

Anderags
03-23-2011, 05:29 PM
I sure I am coming at this from a very naive angle, I very new to homeschooling, but wouldn't it just be about how your child processes info best? My auditory learner does phonics and blending and catches on to that process quickly, and my visual learner gets sight words faster. I tend to teach them both because we usual work on reading all together, but I can definitely see the difference in how they pick up the info and use it.

Anderags
03-23-2011, 06:14 PM
Yes, but it doesn't have anything to do with being an auditory or visual learner. They've actually studied that. The big study on it back in the 70s (I think it was the 70s) was actually funded by a publisher of a whole word curriculum, and no matter how they moved the numbers around, they simply could not make it show that visual learners learned better with a sight word or whole language approach. So no one knows why some kids learn better one way than the other, but it isn't about any standard auditory/visual learning styles.

Oh, that's really interesting.

higgledypiggledy
03-23-2011, 07:47 PM
I research brain function and literacy aquisition. I think when people start thinking about phonics they begin with the assumption that phonetic methods begin with associating glyphs (letters) with phonemes (sounds). Children need a fair amount of experience and mastery of phonemic awareness before they need to combine phonemes with glyphs. Individuals who are are phonemically aware can consistantly recognize and create rhyme, blend isolated sounds together to form both nonsense and sense words, identify the begininng, middle and ending sounds in a spoken word, identify how many different phonemes are in a spoken word, segment words, substitue sounds to create new words, add sounds to spoken words, delete sounds from spoken words and "sing' vowels/"punctuate" with consonants. Once they are sufficiently phonemic aware, children are more successful in relating phonemes to the glyphs that represent them. Phonemes associated with glyphs is phonetic awareness. It is the second developmental step in a phonics based approach. One of the failings I've seen with many phonics programs on the market is that they begin with step two, phonetic awareness and leave out phonemic awareness. Many people use a "sight" word method and talk about how much English breaks the phonics rules. The reality is that English is both a phonetic (single phoneme with glyph) and syllabic (phoneme/glyph realtionship altered or defined by nature of the syllable type) language. There are FAR fewer exceptions in English than people are aware of because they never studied the linguistics behind English. I've notice some posts here about children recognizing patterns and read a few different blogs about how those patterns are breaking the phonics rules when in fact they are following the syllabic rules of English. I have yet to met an elementary reading teacher in the ps sytem that understands the nature of the English language and I'm not surprised to see the debate occuring amongst hs-ers as well. I think the holy cow thing comes up because most people are not familiar with the linguists denoted definition of phonics and the eduspeak/cultural connoted meaning. In reality a true phonics approach begins with development of auditory skills, beginning very early and lasting for years before formal phonetic awareness instruction occurs. While the human brain is very mysterious, we do know that for some children their brains are hardwired differently and mastering phonemic awareness is delayed or in some cases almost impossible. I would note that is very much the exception. These are brains that are different from the majority of the population. Most children have sufficient phonemic awareness to begin working on the glyph/phoneme relationship by age five assuming their development is not retarded by a language poor environment. Even after children move on to mastering the phonetic and syllabic rules of English, they continue in their phonemic development which is why the study of great poetry and prose are a part of a well design phonics program. Recognizing how phonemes are most effectively used to convey meaning to audience (usually lumped as merely word choice but most people don't associate word choice with phoneme choice and instead as best definition choice) is the next developmental phase of a phonics programs. I could go on, but I just realized how ridiculously long my post has gotten. A true phonics program is far more than the paltry letter/sound associations most people refer to. It isn't a holy cow, but it an important part of understanding and manipulating the English language.

BrendaE
03-23-2011, 08:03 PM
@ Higgledy piggledy

I guess it now makes better sense to me that I always considered Dr. Seuss as poetry now. Thank you for that post!!! (for more than just the Dr. S connection)

dbmamaz
03-23-2011, 08:20 PM
if i'm following your post, you are talking about the preschool standards - rhyming games and such? what you say is interesting and i wish my brain wasnt so oxygen-starved and drowning in shifting hormones, so that I might be interested in a link to explain more . . .

amygrimis
03-23-2011, 08:50 PM
Honestly, and this comes from a mom who hasn't truly started yet, but I think the beautiful thing about hs'ing is that we can figure out what works the best and change things as necessary. Would I personally ever completely abandon phonics if it wasn't working for us (it is currently)? Doubtful. I don't remember how I learned to read, probably sight since I learned early and pretty much on my own, but I know I learned phonics somewhere because I'm fairly decent at figuring out obscure words by how they should sound in relation to rules.

My guy has been learning through phonics with my cousin and he's been reading up a storm. I can see the points about not remembering the first sound by the time he gets to the last sound, though. I notice it definitely on 5+ letter words and with some 4 letter words. Guess we'll see how all of that goes as we progress!

Super interesting and informative thread! Y'all are super smart and informed!

Ariadne
03-23-2011, 08:52 PM
Honestly, I think your son's therapist just thinks there's some benefit to rushing kids to read when they clearly aren't ready yet. There's no shame in being developmentally unready for reading.I agree that there's no shame, but tell that to the kid who feels the shame.

I respectfully disagree that my son's therapist "just thinks there's some benefit to rushing kids to read when they clearly aren't ready yet". It's not like that at all. She just cares for the kid's feelings, and if they WANT to read but CAN'T, here's an option.

My friend's son is totally thrilled and wants to show off his newfound reading skills. What if his mom had thought as you do? He'd still be sitting there, jealous of his siblings and same-age friends and ashamed of himself...no matter what his mom said.

I don't believe in "better late than early" or "better early than late" or anything remotely akin to either of those. I believe in doing what works for the kid and for me. If he wants to read, I'm sure as hell not going to sit there and say, "It's okay if you're not ready" repeatedly, ignoring the very real shame that he feels. I'm going to find something that works.

Outofrange
03-23-2011, 09:24 PM
I don't believe in "better late than early" or "better early than late" or anything remotely akin to either of those. I believe in doing what works for the kid and for me. If he wants to read, I'm sure as hell not going to sit there and say, "It's okay if you're not ready" repeatedly, ignoring the very real shame that he feels. I'm going to find something that works.

I hope you dont feel attacked in this thread. I think everyone agrees that each child learns differently and needs different techniques. It sounds to me like people are just saying that some phonic at some point is good for helping to understand the "rules" of how words are put together.

farrarwilliams
03-23-2011, 10:12 PM
One of the nice things about homeschooling is that you can focus on the method that works for your kid. In the public schools, if they use a method that works for only 70% of kids, then that's a bit tragic. But even if they find one that works for 95% of kids, then there are still hundreds and thousands of kids who it doesn't work for - some of them may be kids for whom the method that only served 70% of the kids would have worked. I guess as homeschoolers, it's good to know what the research says (and my understanding is that it says the success rate with a good phonics program is simply better than any other method), but we can also feel free to discard it and let our kids be the exceptions - or be the kids who thrive better under another method.

MarkInMD
03-23-2011, 10:13 PM
Interesting that Hurricane is an aspie, because it would NOT suprise me if one day they say my son is also...but when they tested him, he did not display enough to be put on the spectrum. He does display some tricky behavior at times, but it is always when he is in an overwhelmingly stressful situation...after reading the book "Simplicity Parenting" http://www.amazon.com/Simplicity-Parenting-Extraordinary-Calmer-Happier/dp/0345507983/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1300898580&sr=8-1 I thought it might be possible that he has some tricky behavior traits because his life was overwhelming with too much. We simplified our lives and saw a difference in him...then we pulled him from school to homeschool and saw DRASTIC changes in him. He is very bright (our family doctor thinks he is gifted & bored) He is very senstive (random things can trigger tantrums, however, since we have been home, it's far less often). He also enjoys talking MOSTLY about his topics. Because he is VERY SOCIAL and engages his friends in conversation & play, they dismissed any spectrum behaviors he otherwise displayed. (After the testing at their office, they did a home visit and we arranged a playdate with several friends to come over and they observed him in his play)

Anyhow, I wouldn't be suprised if someone decided somewhere down the road that he did fit on the spectrum. In the mean while, we feel he's in the best hands (ours! and not the school system to get lost in, bored & left behind to 'dumb down') :cool:

Hurricane isn't specifically diagnosed, but my wife is a pediatric OT with a specialty in the autism spectrum, and it became obvious to her (and eventually to me) that he's more than likely a high-functioning Aspie kid. However, he's also pretty sociable. As my DW will tell you, the word "spectrum" is used for a reason, because there are so many variations of "color" among people on it that one size will not fit all. All common traits will not be seen in every kid. So you may be right in that he's on the spectrum but at a different point than Hurricane, or any other Aspie kid. (This is old news to some folks here, but I felt I should clarify that he's never had the diagnosis and we don't plan to get one for various reasons.)

I love the breakdown of the glyph/phoneme attributes. I'm kind of a language nerd myself, although I've never broken it down like that. Thanks for sharing the expertise.

Lou
03-23-2011, 11:03 PM
Wow, this is SO my ds! Just yesterday in therapy the doc asked to check him AGAIN for the spectrum. We move so much and every time they test him, but like your son, he's always too social, etc. We're going on Tuesday to retest and see where he is *this year* and they're also going to IQ test him. He's been diagnosed ADHD (emphasis on the H) since 4-years-old, then they thought maybe bi-polar, but have all settled for years on just ADHD with some sensory integration issues.

Jeliau

Mom to dd (24), dd (21), homeschooled ds (9), gd (1)

I highly suggest you read the Simplicity Parenting book. It was the first book (and trust me I have read my FAIR SHARE over the years) that seemed to 'be speaking about' my son. When we simplified his life it made a big difference and it seems homeschooling has also made a big difference.

jeliau
03-24-2011, 01:02 AM
I highly suggest you read the Simplicity Parenting book.

Will do! Thanks!

Lou
03-24-2011, 01:49 AM
Will do! Thanks!

If you do end up reading it, I'd love to get a private message with your thoughts on it...curious if it speaks to you as well or not? :) My son was SOOO ACTIVE and BUSY as a baby (ALERT is what everyone always referred to him as...to the point I hated the term alert for a while there, because he was alert 24/7 and I was exhausted!) :) anyhow, as soon as we could, we had him in everything, music class, swim, playgroups, gym classes, etc...running him here there everywhere and he seemed to love it all...but once we adjusted to a bit slower more simple pace, I realized how frantic he can get when we have to rush about...(book talks more on it all...and much better then myself) ;)

Ariadne
03-24-2011, 12:22 PM
Ummm...but no hard feelings. These things happen online. lolYes, they do! Sorry about that. I guess I wasn't clear enough in my OP. Sometimes I forget that people can't read my mind, lol.

(Waaaaaait a minute. You mean my husband can't read my mind either? Frak. You'd think after 20 years....)

albeto
03-24-2011, 02:14 PM
I research brain function and literacy aquisition....

This was absolutely fascinating for me.

:)

StartingOver
03-24-2011, 02:43 PM
I research brain function and literacy aquisition. I think when people start thinking about phonics they begin with the assumption that phonetic methods begin with associating glyphs (letters) with phonemes (sounds). Children need a fair amount of experience and mastery of phonemic awareness before they need to combine phonemes with glyphs. Individuals who are are phonemically aware can consistantly recognize and create rhyme, blend isolated sounds together to form both nonsense and sense words, identify the begininng, middle and ending sounds in a spoken word, identify how many different phonemes are in a spoken word, segment words, substitue sounds to create new words, add sounds to spoken words, delete sounds from spoken words and "sing' vowels/"punctuate" with consonants. Once they are sufficiently phonemic aware, children are more successful in relating phonemes to the glyphs that represent them. Phonemes associated with glyphs is phonetic awareness. It is the second developmental step in a phonics based approach. One of the failings I've seen with many phonics programs on the market is that they begin with step two, phonetic awareness and leave out phonemic awareness. Many people use a "sight" word method and talk about how much English breaks the phonics rules. The reality is that English is both a phonetic (single phoneme with glyph) and syllabic (phoneme/glyph realtionship altered or defined by nature of the syllable type) language. There are FAR fewer exceptions in English than people are aware of because they never studied the linguistics behind English. I've notice some posts here about children recognizing patterns and read a few different blogs about how those patterns are breaking the phonics rules when in fact they are following the syllabic rules of English. I have yet to met an elementary reading teacher in the ps sytem that understands the nature of the English language and I'm not surprised to see the debate occuring amongst hs-ers as well. I think the holy cow thing comes up because most people are not familiar with the linguists denoted definition of phonics and the eduspeak/cultural connoted meaning. In reality a true phonics approach begins with development of auditory skills, beginning very early and lasting for years before formal phonetic awareness instruction occurs. While the human brain is very mysterious, we do know that for some children their brains are hardwired differently and mastering phonemic awareness is delayed or in some cases almost impossible. I would note that is very much the exception. These are brains that are different from the majority of the population. Most children have sufficient phonemic awareness to begin working on the glyph/phoneme relationship by age five assuming their development is not retarded by a language poor environment. Even after children move on to mastering the phonetic and syllabic rules of English, they continue in their phonemic development which is why the study of great poetry and prose are a part of a well design phonics program. Recognizing how phonemes are most effectively used to convey meaning to audience (usually lumped as merely word choice but most people don't associate word choice with phoneme choice and instead as best definition choice) is the next developmental phase of a phonics programs. I could go on, but I just realized how ridiculously long my post has gotten. A true phonics program is far more than the paltry letter/sound associations most people refer to. It isn't a holy cow, but it an important part of understanding and manipulating the English language.

I have made no claims to being a scholar, but I got this, or at least I thought I did. ;-) I received a message in response to one I sent that confirmed that I did really get this. Whew.

Check out the link, it is wonderful. I love tons of Don Potters sight. This is the way my mother learned, I learned, and my children learn to read. http://donpotter.net/PDF/Word%20Mastery%20-%20Typed.pdf

higgledypiggledy
03-24-2011, 02:51 PM
In the end, what tipped my family into hs was watching in HORROR as the local school implemented practices that were completely counter to the structure of English and brain function when teaching kids to read. My husband still struggles with the idea of hs but it was when he started reading through and really understanding my research and other very good research going on out there that he had to ask himself, "What the heck are they doing to kids? How are they supposed to fully master the English language?" So much of literacy aquisition is wrapped up in philosophy and utopian social ideals that we often forget the biological nature of it. It is creating the synopsis necessary to relate speech to sight. Those synapsis must connect varying parts of the brain and are aquired over an entire lifetime. Learning to read is a process that occurs in the brain. When mastered it enlarges the soul.

StartingOver
03-24-2011, 03:23 PM
In the end, what tipped my family into hs was watching in HORROR as the local school implemented practices that were completely counter to the structure of English and brain function when teaching kids to read. My husband still struggles with the idea of hs but it was when he started reading through and really understanding my research and other very good research going on out there that he had to ask himself, "What the heck are they doing to kids? How are they supposed to fully master the English language?" So much of literacy aquisition is wrapped up in philosophy and utopian social ideals that we often forget the biological nature of it. It is creating the synopsis necessary to relate speech to sight. Those synopsis must connect varying parts of the brain and are aquired over an entire lifetime. Learning to read is a process that occurs in the brain. When mastered it enlarges the soul.

I was sold many years ago because of my own lousy public school education. What convinced my hubby was The Dumbing Down of American Education. What has keep him there, is seeing what the children have learned each day and their excitement to share with him.

higgledypiggledy
03-24-2011, 05:09 PM
Oops, I had a typo and tried to correct it by editing but it isn't going up. I meant synapsis, not synopsis. Just goes to show my brain function is still spotty sometimes.

Ariadne
03-24-2011, 07:38 PM
I research brain function and literacy aquisition.


This was absolutely fascinating for me.

:)I know, right?

Lou
03-24-2011, 10:24 PM
I was sold on homeschooling quickly and easily...the hubby was reluctant, but decided to TRUST ME when things got not so great at the school...figured we'd give it a try (take it a year at a time is what sold him on giving me a chance) Now he's speaking up and finding out several of his fellow co-workers homeschooled their now grown children. I think he's been shocked now 3 times and it's making him feel more comfy about it. And it seems with each day he gets more pro-homeschooling. Just tonight he looked at a teacher's manual I purchased and said, "really? the teachers have these kinds of books that just tell them what to do when. If that's the case, ANYONE can teach!" and I reminded him that is why I think him & I are the best teachers for our children, because we love them and we can read the manuals just the same and if it's not working for our kids we can change it we aren't obligated to do just one thing regardless of it's success rate. I think our recent experience with a teacher has soured him against teachers (which I think will settle once his emotions regarding the situation settle, but for now he's generalizing a bit) soooo if there is a class room teacher out there, please do not get offended by his comment. :)

Ariadne
03-25-2011, 12:44 PM
I was sold on homeschooling quickly and easily...the hubby was reluctant, but decided to TRUST ME when things got not so great at the school...figured we'd give it a try (take it a year at a time is what sold him on giving me a chance) Now he's speaking up and finding out several of his fellow co-workers homeschooled their now grown children. I think he's been shocked now 3 times and it's making him feel more comfy about it. And it seems with each day he gets more pro-homeschooling. Just tonight he looked at a teacher's manual I purchased and said, "really? the teachers have these kinds of books that just tell them what to do when. If that's the case, ANYONE can teach!" and I reminded him that is why I think him & I are the best teachers for our children, because we love them and we can read the manuals just the same and if it's not working for our kids we can change it we aren't obligated to do just one thing regardless of it's success rate. I think our recent experience with a teacher has soured him against teachers (which I think will settle once his emotions regarding the situation settle, but for now he's generalizing a bit) soooo if there is a class room teacher out there, please do not get offended by his comment. :)I wish my husband were like that. He is influenced by his own upbringing and his family, though. (Everyone does private school. Except us.)

Lou
03-27-2011, 01:20 AM
I wish my husband were like that. He is influenced by his own upbringing and his family, though. (Everyone does private school. Except us.)

Both my hubby and I did private school until high school...then we both attended the same high school and we both felt we got NOTHING out of high school...so long before we had children we always thought private school...Then our plan was rocked by a crummy situation and the alternative options were not great fits for our family and homeschooling seemed to be the best option. It has been a process for my hubby to be settled with it...I do feel I need to be quiet serious about it come this summer/fall (we are schooling fairly lax right now, more so trying to get my son's character back on track first) to insure he's still confident about it...I'm SLOWLY winning my MIL over...My FIL was skeptical until a homeschooling (indepentent study program type school) representative talked to his Rotary group...that won him over...my MIL is worried about the socializing...which I have gently mentioned a few KEY POINTS re: socializing snaffus when you put 30 5 years olds together. :) And she too is learning with time just how many people homeschool and she was recently suprised by a respected friend's reaction when she told her friend that her grandchildren were currently homeschooling...the friend went ON & ON about how it's the best thing for the kids and how great it is and how lucky her grandchildren are, etc...so that was helpful...I think with time all things will come around. :)

Forgot to mention MY parents ~ My mother is supportive of whatever I think is great...she feels she raised her kids and she's done, so they are my kids and my turn to do what I think is right...My Father is unsure, but he would NEVER say it..I just know he thinks it, because he will ask about what we learned today...although he does really like the fact that we can get together at his convenience now for a grandpa visit, where before it was not always easy because the kids were in class. I would either pull them from school, pick them up early, etc and this way we can school around grandpa's visit...so he likes that aspect and I just remind him the kids are doing well. :)

Ariadne
03-27-2011, 01:26 AM
I think with time all things will come around. :)That would be nice.

My in-laws are so, well, conventional. They are extremely social with zillions of friends, and they understand all of those little "understood" social rules.

Then I came into their life. Sigh. I was raised quite differently.

I don't know if my mil will ever come around. It's not that her opinion bothers me so much as her subtle influence on my husband on this issue. That gets tiresome.

Lou
03-28-2011, 01:23 AM
That would be nice.

My in-laws are so, well, conventional. They are extremely social with zillions of friends, and they understand all of those little "understood" social rules.

Then I came into their life. Sigh. I was raised quite differently.

I don't know if my mil will ever come around. It's not that her opinion bothers me so much as her subtle influence on my husband on this issue. That gets tiresome.

Ohhhh the hubby & I come from fairly different backgrounds as well...our friends used to joke and say we were "Dharma & Greg" (if you ever saw that tv show?)

I am a fairly bold person and if I have an issue with my MIL (or FIL) I will discuss that issue directly with them, so my hubby isn't in the middle attempting poorly to play both sides to the middle. Before I got married someone gave me that advice (men are from mars booK maybe?) The book (or wherever I got that tip) explained that when you put your spouse in the middle you are asking them to have conflict with someone they love (either you or their parent) and they won't want to have conflict with someone they love, so they will end up making things worse...it's best to address a problem directly yourself, because the in laws will blame you anyhow and so it will be the same or better. ;) (that is it in a nutshell)

The area I am blessed in is, my hubby has a strong belief that when you get married, THAT is your first priority and first FAMILY...your parents, cousins, siblings, etc are now 'extended' family and not 1st priority. So we are a united front when it comes to issues with our parents. really for the most part none of the parents challenge us anymore...but we've been a united front for about 17 years now!

LOL...this topic reminds me of today...my MIL took our son to his piano recital and when they came back, they had a TURTLE...apparently my MIL thought it would be OK to let my son bring a turtle he found home...and it appears to be a lost turtle (not wild) so I call the pet shop to see what we would need to give this turtle a good home...ohhh they have a set up kit for $300...I immediately called my MIL and left a message on her machine telling her she could buy the kit for her grandson since this was her brilliant idea or she can come take the turtle away from him and put it back where they found it. We shall see what she ends up doing...for now it is living in a rubbermaid container.

Lou
03-28-2011, 01:32 AM
It's not that her opinion bothers me so much as her subtle influence on my husband on this issue. That gets tiresome.

Oh just keep telling yourself how amazing the feeling will be when your kids grow up just fine...and wouldn't it be brilliant if your children are off the charts when a private school cousin of theirs ends up being a complete drop out...(well that isn't nice to say...so I take that back) ;)

Just wait for your day...it will come...be strong! :) Silent & strong...let your children be the proof.

My cousin's unschool and their parents (my aunt & uncle) were not pleased to learn about unschooling...my aunt & uncle were both public school educators...year after year the parents became more positive and even though they still have reservations, they are supportive. It takes time...

Eileen
04-28-2011, 01:45 PM
This is such an interesting discussion! I had never given much thought to phonics vs. sight reading, and always assumed that what works is a combination of the two. My older daughter asked me to teach her to read when she was 3 so that she could read to her baby sister. She was a very early talker with a large vocabulary and very clear pronunciation, and seemed to have learned her letters and their corresponding sounds with almost no input from me. I used BOB books to show her the basic idea of how to put the sounds together into words, and she was reading picture books fluently within 6 months. Now at age 8, she's reading on a high school level and loves reading more than just about anything else. So basically, I feel like I did very little in the way of teaching her to read. My younger daughter is 4 and very bright, but not really ready yet, so I'm sort of waiting for her to let me know. I don't know if I'll end up needing to "teach" her reading, or if she'll just pick it up a bit later than her sister.