By John Bald

This publication presents an advent to instructing examining and spelling utilizing phonics, deals sensible examples and actions, and features a CD-ROM with reproducibles and INSET fabrics.

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QXD 29/6/07 1:25 pm Page 20 USING PHONICS TO TEACH READING AND SPELLING the book. Whenever he got stuck, I would explain the phonic pattern and any variation behind the word, and would then teach it by moving to another word with the same pattern. ) Where necessary, I would put more words on slips of paper and have Peter select them, but we needed to do this less often, and his recognition speed improved rapidly. The following week, he had changed his book and was making rapid, confident progress.

The development of ‘written speech’ followed a different pattern from speech itself; it was difficult in the initial stages, particularly writing, which children in his view could not easily see the point of, but led to the mastery of more complex structures and of what he called ‘deliberate structure of the web of meaning’. Writing, said Vygotsky, requires deliberate analytical action on the part of the child. In speaking, he is hardly conscious of the sounds he pronounces, and quite unconscious of the mental operations he performs.

We then started on the first page of the book, and I explained the patterns in the irregular words as we went along. Peter understood the explanations, but found it hard to remember the words once we moved on. Professor Sue Buckley’s Portsmouth scheme involves first matching, then selecting, then naming, pictures and words. The matching stage is essential for most children with Down’s Syndrome, but other learners rarely need it. The selecting stage, in which children hand the teacher a card or a slip of paper with a word the teacher asks for, is a very useful half-way house in helping children to learn and remember words, as the child has only to link the sounds with the letters as he hears them, rather than reproduce the sounds for himself.

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