on 28 February 2014
I have always been a bit sceptical about phonics. Did you know that not everyone agrees that this is the best method of teaching reading ? There are, according to research, two ways to read. One is phonics, and the 2nd way is called whole word reading. My child was a late starter. In the fact we just read the 1 book a week we were given by the school in reception. She had no interest in books, but did however enjoy memorising words written in an excel sheet. There are people that say that a child can only remember so many words, but I never believed that. Despite Garry Kasparov's loss to Deep Blue in 1997, the human mind can still outsmart the worlds best computers at chess. The reason for this is humans have a super human skill called pattern recognition. It beats the pure calculation power of a computer that can examine 2 million positions per second. Now imagine how many patterns a human can remember to beat a super computer :) The so called experts opinion that they can only remember 300 words a year seamed stupid to me. My child just seems to remember a word forever once I have told her it. I think all children do. So I questioned myself. If she remembers a word once I have told her, why not skip phonics?
They were my feelings until these books took me by surprise. I had ignored the Fri reading phonics book and not bothered to go over them at home. They said she was not in the top phonics class because she was shy, and I guess I thought "screw you! We don't need phonics." She was on turquoise band at 5.3 months which included many ORT stage 9 books and it was a two fingers up to set one phonic group. Or so I thought. I didn't care until she brought 'Andrew' set 7 home and I thought wow. I had never even opened them before. I thought this book is a little too hard for her. In fact it was too hard for me. After studying it, I realised that I myself had never broken down a word to decode it before. I had never noticed the parts of a word before. It turns out, the book wasn't too hard for her, as each book concentrates on the same sounds. What seems like a hard word is decodable. Well this has changed me. No longer do I get the excel spread sheets to learn all the words. Now we are going back. I realise that it doesn't matter what level you are on. If you really want to get up the levels, buy all the books and write out all the hard words to memorize them in an excel sheet. Believe me, if your child like memorising 10 words a day, she will be on white band before you know it. But then try changing the letters to upper case :) She will be back on band blue. I am still a fan of pattern recognition, but if you really want to teach your child to read, get these books and learn how to decode words also. After these last books I feel my mission is done. My parents gave me the gift of reading famous five books at age 7, yet I will never know whether my experience would have been better if I had known phonics. After these books I know I will be close with my daughter to setting her free in that magical world. Only now she will be properly equipped. I am buying all the sets 1-7 , as I think these are valuable no matter what age.
on 8 February 2012
These are great supporting reading material to consolidate RWI phonics. The grey books are the final set of books in the programme and I would recommend for 7+. The books consist of phonic recap,vocabulary and questions. A great way to teach your children to read. The key is to make sure your children use their phonics to tackle the unfamiliar words. Happy reading.