Articles on: Literacy

Can you clarify how to sound out (and colour code) these words?

I am thrilled to hear that this is being debated. I worry when schools are not asking these questions, because this usually means they are not doing enough of the auditory segmentation and blending. In terms of the words supplied:

falling is made up of the phonemes f-all-i-ng and so the colour coding would be as follows f/all/i/ng

jumped is made up of the sounds j-u-m-p-t and so the colour coding would be as follows j/u/m/p/ed

needed is made up of the phonemes n-ee-d-e-d and so the colour coding would be as follows n/ee/d/e/d Keep in mind that suffix -ed can be founded /t/, /d/ and /e-d/ and each will relate to different colour coding.

Another FAQ: Is st one sound? e.g. st-r-ee-t?
The easiest way to resolve this is to look inside the Phonic Sight Word Sequence and determine where the words originated from. Under the Phonic concept the sounding out strategy is always listed. Often teachers see the phonic concept then apply their own interpretation of the sounding out strategy.

SSP or structured Synthetic Phonics is based upon phonemes or individual sounds. Word families (at/an/in words or st/cl/sm words are Traditional Phonics rather than SSP). Combining two consonants as fr-tr etc is not SSP. But in saying that in reading we do seek chunking and automaticity but in spelling.

Lastly if students are in stage 1 or 2 there is only phonemic or individual sound spelling. From stage 3 larger sound units begin to be applied as SSP is still applied but students also begin to progress beyond SSP. From stage 3 you will see int he Phonic Sight Word Sequence manual sounding out in sylklables, by onset and rime and with a focus on prefixes and suffixes.

My advice is to reflect first on the sounds/phonemes within the words, then to reflect on the relationship between the sounds and the phonics (hence the colour coding). If you focus on the sounds first, you will probably find your way.

Your older staff however (and myself included) would have been taught with traditional phonics and hence likely phonics first and with less of an emphasis on the phonemes. Your younger staff would have been the product of whole language, which likely did not systematically focus on either the phonics or the sound structure.

I am thrilled to hear that your staff are debating the sound structure in words. Over time they will become more comfortable with this approach to phonics.

For a link to the Phonic Sight Word Sequence:

Kind regards, Diana Rigg

Updated on: 28/05/2019

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