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Part 4 – Helpful hints

More helpful hints are provided, such as dictating words with alternative spellings, short-vowel rule linked to spelling ‘ck’ words, developing the habit of reading every day etc.

Part 4: Helpful hints

 

Here are some helpful hints for Step 4.

 

  • Hint 1: It is worth reminding ourselves again that good readers are good at blending words that they have not read before. Therefore it is vital that all children are given plenty of blending practice, so they can all become good at this skill. The faster the children can blend words, the easier it is for them to read books. At this stage, some children are so fast at blending silently in their heads that the person listening to them read is unaware that some of the words have not been seen or read before. That is just what is wanted. The children also become skilled at reading words that do not give a precise pronunciation. Remember: most words can be accurately blended. Some words need only a little adjustment, as was shown in Step 3, but a few words, like woman, vinegar, water, opposite and adventure need more adjustment.

 

  • Hint 2: Words that use the new alternative spellings have been provided for dictation and can be downloaded in the usual way by scrolling down to the bottom of the screen in Step 4 or by going to the Resources section on the home page. It is a good idea to tell the children the alternative spelling that is being used in the dictation: you might say, for example, “Today we are going to write words with the ‹i_e› spelling of the /ie/ sound”, and then dictate some of these words [demonstration]. This encourages accurate spelling.

 

  • Hint 3: Now that the children are familiar with the short and long vowels, it is a convenient time to start using helpful hints which are linked to these vowels that will help to improve the children’s spelling. The first is about when to use ‹ck›: If you have a short word with a short vowel, followed by a /k/ sound, then it is nearly always written with a ‹ck› as in black, neck, tick, lock and truck. If it is not a short vowel, then the /k/ sound is written with a ‹k› as in soak, leeks, shark and fork. The real advantage of this understanding is not for reading, which is straightforward, but for spelling. And it is worth providing this guidance, because it works nearly all the time. (An exception is the word trek, so the children have to specifically learn this unusual spelling.) I think it is better to teach how the vowels usually work, and learn the few exceptions, than not to teach them at all. However, not everyone agrees with this. There are pros and cons about both ways. As there is no research evidence one way or the other, it means that it is again a matter of personal preference. For teachers, it makes sense to follow the advice provided in the synthetic-phonics programme that is being used in the school where they are teaching. More guidance about the vowels and how they help with spelling is available on the home page, in the section Phonic knowledge, under the heading Vowels – how they work.

 

  • Hint 4: Sometimes, when a child has read a book, encourage him or her to talk about the book. This not only gives pleasure but also provides the opportunity to check occasionally on comprehension. It is important to know if the child is understanding what the story or information is about. If it is beyond their comprehension, then choose a book that has simpler language and uses vocabulary that is largely known by the child. Take care not to overdo the discussion and questioning; some children just want to enjoy books and being constantly questioned about their understanding can put them off reading.

 

  • Hint 5: It is very important to encourage those children who are progressing well to read a great deal at home and at school. Most of these children can read a book, or ten pages of a longer book, every day. It is worth encouraging them to do this. When the book is finished it is important to change it straight away. This develops the good habit of reading every day and keeps the children enthusiastic, as well as developing fluency in their reading. Once the children are confident about reading the Green Level of Jolly Phonics Readers, you usually find that they can read anything. It is when parents are amazed and say that their child is reading the TV guide, their dad’s paper or the instructions about an app. Basically, the code is cracked and these children can read anything they want to, so long as it is within their understanding. And that is just what we want.

 

In conclusion: the aim in Step 4 is for every child to:

 

  • learn the six new alternative spellings, and revise the previous 42
    letter sounds,
  • blend words that use the six new alternative letter spellings, and the previous letter sounds,
  • write words from dictation that use the six new alternative  letter
    sounds, and the previous letter sounds,
  • learn to read and spell the 20 new tricky words,
  • read sentences that use the new alternative letter sounds and tricky words,
  • write sentences from dictation that use the new tricky words,
  • continue to read and enjoy more decodable books,
  • write independently, if that is the preferred option,
  • and be given support if there are any problems with these skills.

 

And that concludes the teaching in Step 4.

  • Step 4 - Letter Sounds

    The letter sounds taught in Step 4 are provided. They can be used as flash cards to help the children remember the sounds linked to the letters.

  • Step 4 - Letter Sounds - print letters

    The letter sounds taught in Step 4 are provided. They can be used as flash cards to help the children remember the sounds linked to the letters.

  • Step 4 - Word Bank

    The words from the Word Bank can be printed on coloured card, cut up and used for blending practice. As each new letter sound is taught then more words become available for blending.

  • Step 4 - Word bank - printed letters

    The words from the Word Bank can be printed on colored card, cut up and used for blending practice. As each new letter sound is taught then more words become available for blending.

  • Step 4 - Sentences

    These sentences only use the letter sounds taught in Steps 1- 4 and the tricky words 1 - 40. At this stage they are particularly useful for the children who need extra practice reading sentences that use the letter sounds and tricky words taught in Step 4.

  • Step 4 - Sentences - print letters

    These sentences only use the letter sounds taught in Steps 1- 4 and the tricky words 1 - 40. At this stage they are particularly useful for the children who need extra practice reading sentences that use the letter sounds and tricky words taught in Step 4.

  • Step 4 - Tricky Words - reading - b&w

    Tricky Words are frequently used words that either use alternative spellings that have not been taught yet or they are irregular. They can be blended but give the wrong pronunciation. The children have to remember the correct pronunciation and learn the unusual letter-sound correspondences.

  • Step 4 - Tricky Words - reading - colour

    Tricky Words are frequently used words that either use alternative spellings that have not been taught yet or they are irregular. They can be blended but give the wrong pronunciation. The children have to remember the correct pronunciation and learn the unusual letter-sound correspondences.

  • Step 4 - Tricky Words - reading - b&w - print letters

    Tricky Words are frequently used words that either use alternative spellings that have not been taught yet or they are irregular. They can be blended but give the wrong pronunciation. The children have to remember the correct pronunciation and learn the unusual letter-sound correspondences.

  • Step 4 - Tricky Words - reading - color - print letters

    Tricky Words are frequently used words that either use alternative spellings that have not been taught yet or they are irregular. They can be blended but give the wrong pronunciation. The children have to remember the correct pronunciation and learn the unusual letter-sound correspondences.

  • Step 4- Tricky Words - writing - b&w

    Tricky Words are frequently used words that either use alternative spellings that have not been taught yet or they are irregular. The children have to learn the awkward part for spelling. These sheets allow the children to practise writing the tricky words, using the Look, Cover, Write & Check method.

  • Step 4 - Tricky Words - writing - colour

    Tricky Words are frequently used words that either use alternative spellings that have not been taught yet or they are irregular. The children have to learn the awkward part for spelling. These sheets allow the children to practise writing the tricky words, using the Look, Cover, Write & Check method.

  • Step 4 - Tricky Words - writing - b&w - print letters

    Tricky Words are frequently used words that either use alternative spellings that have not been taught yet or they are irregular. The children have to learn the awkward part for spelling. These sheets allow the children to practise writing the tricky words, using the Look, Cover, Write & Check method.

  • Step 4 - Tricky Words - writing - color - print letters

    Tricky Words are frequently used words that either use alternative spellings that have not been taught yet or they are irregular. The children have to learn the awkward part for spelling. These sheets allow the children to practise writing the tricky words, using the Look, Cover, Write & Check method.

  • Step 4 - Dictation Sentences

    These sentences have been carefully selected for dictation. They use the tricky words 1 - 40 and the first 42 letter sounds. They provide writing practice, as well as providing spelling practice of the tricky words taught in Step 4.

  • Step 4 - Dictation Words

    These words have been carefully selected and use the alternative spellings taught in Step 4.