Saturday, 14 December 2013

Saturday

Yesterday morning I expressed the hope that the children would be less tired during the day.  I really should have known better.  Mind you, it didn't help that all the adults wuith them were also worn out.  However, we survived and it is now the weekend.

It was a dull, damp, soggy sort of day.  We have building work going on and everything was so muddy.  All a child had to do was trip and fall and not only were they a little bruised, they were also covered with wet, claylike mud.  Playtimes were a bit of a disaster and we became experts at judging who needed to change into PE kit and who didn't.

Despite the tiredness we did manage to get some work done.  Problems and resolutions for a story writing session next week, some Christmas maths problems to solve and, in the afternoon, instructions to follow to make a hand and foot reindeer.  They, with the colour sequencing paperchains, the Christmas tree with their own home made decorations and the early Christmas cards. make the bay look quite festive and jolly.

I am an enthusiastic follower of Michael Rosen's blog.  I don't always agree completely with what he says but he talks a lot of sense.  This link leads you to an entry where he comments on the notes of a PowerPoint presentation on phonics, given to teachers.  Parts of the presentation horrified me.  The thought of removing from my book tray such wonderful stories as 'Peace at Last', 'The Gruffalo' and so on fills me with utter horror.  The idea of not permitting my littlies to use any other strategy for reading other than phonics is an utterly disgraceful one.

I am prepared to bet a fairly substantial amount of money that in a few years' time, after a change of government and the inevitable rubbishing of what the previous government put in place, it will all tip head over heels and there will be yet another 'answer' to the 'problem' of teaching children to read.

And in the meanwhile, most sensible, experienced teachers will quietly go their own way, applying the knowledge and experience of years to give their children the best possible experience of reading they can manage, teaching them not only to bark at the words but to apply understanding and interpretation skills and to use common sense to unfamiliar words, just as we adults do.  Phonics is important, for sure, but not the be-all and end-all of the reading experience.  It might be different if our language was completely phonetically regular and consistent and if the 'rules' were all simple, straightforward and without exception, but it isn't!

End of rant!


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