Older students struggling with reading and spelling - Reading Whisperer ideas


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The Reading Whisperer shares some ideas for primary school teachers and learning support staff regarding older students who are struggling with reading and spelling.

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Older students struggling with reading and spelling - Reading Whisperer ideas

  1. 1. Suggestions for olderstudents strugglingwith reading andspelling.
  2. 2. Although we show children the most commonly used sound pics, to represent the speech sounds, children need to know that this is often only one of them.For example that ‘f’ is just the first speech sound pic we are learning, for the speech sound ‘ffff’. For most speech sounds there are more than one sound pic so it’s important that children understand this, and are exposed to them all from Prep. Jolly Phonics RWI
  3. 3. Many children aren’t exposed to the whole code, and ‘phonics’ only taken so far within P-2. Many teachers in year 3 and up don’t include phonemic awareness and phonics activities within their planning, for a number of reasons (eg a National Curriculum they have to follow that doesn’t include space for this!) however this means children have to learn words by memory rather than working them out. They are unable to really participate in the wider curriculum as they still haven’t mastered the alphabetic code. Spelling lists don’t help children learn how to spell words, other than by memory- often only short term.Many children don’t ‘see’ words as being made up of speech sound pics.Their understanding of sound pics is also limited.For example children might know that ‘s’ represents the ‘sss’ speech sound,but be unaware that ‘c’ can represent it also (and that there are another 6 or7!) They don’t have a system for working out new words- either decoding orencoding – so it becomes a choice of memorising or guessing. Both of whichcan lead to feelings of helplessness. They can’t develop the parts in theirbrain needed, to actually figure it all out !
  4. 4. Within SSP we teach these sound picsexplicitly, in this systematic order,however children alsodiscover the other variations.The clouds really help with this!Children could have their ownSpeech Sound Pics album, to recordtheir discoveries.Stick a cloud on each page, and startlistening for that sound, and findingout which sound pics are used
  5. 5. After learning the sound pics in order they work out all sound pics not yet discovered.That’s the WHOLE of the English code! All can be seen visually using the Speech SoundClouds and the Speech Sound Pics within them. Children can learn the 150 or so sound pics,and know how to read and spell over 95% of the English language. Children workingsmarter, not harder 
  6. 6. Incase you aren’t sure of them all, pleasedownload all of the Speech Sound Clouds There is a cloud for every speech sound in the English language, each showing every speech sound pic. It helps show children HOW the code works!
  7. 7. Involve the children and allow them to discover the code in meaningful ways.There is a place for explicit phonics teaching, andalso a place for facilitating understanding, and bringing the code to life !
  8. 8. Older children need to SEE the code andhow it represents our spoken language as well !
  9. 9. Children need to see that ‘spelling’ can be fun, meaningful and so much EASIER to master !
  10. 10. Older students need to see the skills andconcepts that will be learning, and howtheir learning will progress- leading to achange in their brain!
  11. 11. Notes to those working with struggling older studentsI would suggest starting a folder with older kids, that they get out whenthey do extra work with you- and also to do at home. They need to knowthat because we are teaching reading and spelling differently, theyhaven’t had certain teaching before, so were going to get them caught up- and the quicker they learn it all the quicker they will become confident!
  12. 12. What I would do with them is teach them to listen to a word, identify the speechsounds, write the lines, and then work out the sound pics.This is possibly the best way to re-train their brains to start understanding theway the code works. The butterfly shows how the word was counted andshows how they would work out the last sound (by finding the cloud) - they tryones, to see which looks right. If none do, then you write the word, and thenthey compare- and then write it themselves a few times.The train shows how to count speech sounds- youll prob need to stop andthink a lot too!!
  13. 13. They can discover sound pics on every day objects
  14. 14. Also start with a word, and use the SSP Spelling Approach, using the clouds to try different sound pics
  15. 15. Use readers that enable them to practice these skills• Eg Talisman, which are from the same authors as Dandelion Readers but are more age appropriate
  16. 16. The Reading Whisperer™ urges schoolsto STOP USING PM READERSThey not only make the reading process more difficult for themajority of children, but can severely hinder decodingpractice for the very children who need it most.If you have them, don’t let children use them as readers untilthey are at the blue level, or they will start thinking thatreading = memorising or guessing.Use them for spelling practice – you read the words, the childfigures out the sound pics (which are usually above theircurrent level)Readers are books the children can actually read, whichmeans that they can decode around 85% of the words. By thetime children reach the SSP Blue Level they will be able toread ‘real’ books anyway.
  17. 17. These skills must be taught if missed in Prep and Year 1
  18. 18. We want to assess children’s knowledge and ideas, not just what they can put on paper.• Consider therefore using technology that allows children to do this for subjects such as science etc- and even within English, when the focus is on creativity. Don’t keep children back, with low grades, because they haven’t been taught to read and spell with confidence.