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Thread: Alphabet and sight words

  1. #1

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    Default Alphabet and sight words

    My DD1 started school this year. She is begin sent home with sight word homework which she either flat out refuses to do or will be unable to recognise them and end up getting upset. She does not recognise many letters and those she does know don't connect with a sound. Is it a bit much to be asking her to learn sight words when she doesn't have the basic phonics/letter recognition? When DS started school they the whole first term doing phonics but at her school they seem to have completely skipped it.

    We have been doing Reading Eggs at home and she loves it and is improving but is still a long way from having a firm grasp on letters and what they mean.



    Is this a normal way for schools to teach reading? Will the letters just fall into place later?

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Alphabet and sight words

    DD is in prep too, we haven't received sight words yet or readers, we read a book to her from school nightly, I assume in the coming weeks that we'll receive the site words and start reading levels.
    I agree it's no point if she doesn't regognise letter, have to spoken to school about it? Maybe compromise and work on just letters.

    ETA clear your inbox so I can PM you

  3. #3

    Default Re: Alphabet and sight words

    Pet rant of mine about how starting reading too early and pushing homework sets up a brain that fears learning. Schools are their own worst enemies these days thanks to government targets.

    I'd talk to the school and only do the activities she is getting benefit from. It is hard, I know, but your daughter will catch up. My son did when I decided to do our own thing. We still do, as school reading does not inspire him. He's not brilliant, but is where he should be according to the system.

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Alphabet and sight words

    DD has readers, which she can 'read' as long as it is memorised lol. So not really doing much but it is building her confidence in being able to read so we will keep it up. My inbox is filled with old messages I want to keep - you can message me on FB if you want. My name is J o d i e, profile is my three children and should have BBer friends (possibly Ginger) in common.

    CPPM, that is my concern - that if we push her to do something that she is not ready for she will become combative towards the homework. She is not of a 'keep trying' nature, if she cracks it with something then it will be hard work to get her going again.

    I go out to school to help with literacy once a week, I think I might have a chat to the teacher about starting at a lower level. She is really enjoying school and I don't want to break that by making it too hard for her.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Alphabet and sight words

    Article in the TES today by Daniel Willingham about reading that may interest you. From his book Raising Kids Who Read.

    Anyone who can get goats reading must have some strategies for young children too.

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Alphabet and sight words

    It's not something I would do - you can't expect them to learn sight words or build phonemic/graphemic awareness of words when they don't have their basic sounds yet. Later in the year definitely, but not after only a few weeks of being at school! Maybe you could try listening to some jolly phonics songs with her on youtube - they are pretty catchy and have little actions that go with it. And it would be an alternative way to help her learn - if she responds well to reading eggs, then she should do well with the Jolly phonics stuff. But don't push the homework. You'll both end up resenting it. I don't know what the teacher is hoping to achieve by doing it, but I bet you're not the only parent not happy with it.

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Alphabet and sight words

    I have written a note in her communication book for the teacher in response to the note she sent home about making sure A completes her homework. I wasn't having any success with it and I really want to keep her positive. She already tells me that school is hard. I will talk to the teacher next week and sort out something - maybe reading eggs could count as homework for her because she will happily sit for over an hour doing that with me.

    Trill, I have tried Jolly Phonics a few times over the last couple of years but the songs are too long and she has usually lost interest and wandered away by about E. I may give it another shot now that she is a bit more interested in letters though.

    Thanks for all the input. I really wanted to make sure that phonics before sight letters was more appropriate before mentioning it to the teacher

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Alphabet and sight words

    There's a great Kidspot article by dr job Coulson about why kids under 14 don't need homework, and there is a clip from an interview he did. Apparently he sent a letter home to his kids teachers every year at the start of the year about why his 3 kids wouldn't be doing homework and he only ever had one teacher disagree with him. Worth googling to check it out, and if you can't find it I can pm you the link.

    You may find when you discuss it with her teacher and explain her reasoning, she is more understanding than you realise,

    A lot of people think that homework is good for kids to at least learn time management etc, but it's not true. It an illusion that homework helps with that. The research shows that there are no benefits for homework until 14 and only moderate benefits for the rest of schooling. It's only adults who achieve outcomes from self study.

    A pet hate of mine too. It's so frustrating, I've found that homework rarely provides kids with anything more than stress.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Alphabet and sight words

    If teachers don't set homework, parents complain. The school is seen as a bad school, including by government inspectors. Just cos many teachers disagree with homework doesn't mean they don't have to set it as part of their job.

    And find a school without homework if you don't want your child to do it. Don't write to the school every year demanding special treatment. Just puts the teacher in an bad position when the paperwork is audited. Every frigging month.

    Rant over.

    But homework should be helpful, if set, and alternatives are great. With the jolly phonics songs, when Liebling did them (age 3 - homework isn't the only issuevI have with the system here), it was one song a week to slowly build up the sound awareness.

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Alphabet and sight words

    Quote Originally Posted by Ca Plane Pour Moi View Post
    If teachers don't set homework, parents complain. The school is seen as a bad school, including by government inspectors. Just cos many teachers disagree with homework doesn't mean they don't have to set it as part of their job.

    And find a school without homework if you don't want your child to do it. Don't write to the school every year demanding special treatment. Just puts the teacher in an bad position when the paperwork is audited. Every frigging month.

    Rant over.

    But homework should be helpful, if set, and alternatives are great. With the jolly phonics songs, when Liebling did them (age 3 - homework isn't the only issuevI have with the system here), it was one song a week to slowly build up the sound awareness.
    Homework can be set, but in Australia we're not checked up on by the department if we haven't set it. It's not compulsory anyway and most schools will take the view that if it's causing trouble at home, then there's not much point forcing it. Arte isn't asking for special treatment by saying she doesn't think her child should have it. I can guarantee that most kids don't hand it in anyway. Out of my 23 kids, I get maybe half of them bringing homework each week. I don't know how NZ works though.

    Arte, the jolly phonics focuses on one letter/sound per week. There is a specific order that they are learned in as well. Start off with the first one and then do that for a few days. It's not supposed to take long either - short lessons are what they would be doing at school, so maybe a few minutes at home would be enough.

  11. #11

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    Default Re: Alphabet and sight words

    I don't have any issues with her having homework. It seems to make her feel all big girl because her big brother has it too I just want it to be appropriate and useful to her rather than something she isn't ready to achieve yet.

    Trill, I will have another look around at Jolly phonics - the one we were looking at on youtube had all the song videos joined together in a huge playlist. If they are short and sweet then it might be a go for us

    I think she is doing pretty well considering she only started 4 weeks ago.

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