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Part 4 – Helpful hints

There are a few helpful hints, such as the <ew> having two sounds and the doubling rules linked to suffixes. In the conclusion the aims are revisited and suggestions provided for the next stage.

 

Part 4: Helpful Hints

 

Here are some helpful hints for Step 5.

 

  • Hint 1: When ‹y› is not at the beginning of a word, it is usually acting as a vowel, and it is then taking the place of the letter ‹i›.  As explained before, shy ‹i› does not like to go on the end of English words so toughy ‹y› takes its place and instead of happi, we write happy. Interestingly, if the word is made longer and happy becomes happily, then the ‹i› comes back because it is no longer at the end of the word. This understanding helps the children with their spelling. When ‹y› takes the place of ‹i›, it also takes on the sounds that are linked to that letter, which are /i/, /ie/ and, nowadays, even /ee/ [demonstration]. We know that this /ee/ can be – and still is – pronounced more like an /i/ in some areas. What seems to have happened over the years is that the pronunciation has changed from /i/ to /ee/, but not the spelling. When trying to work out a new word which has a ‹y› that is not at the beginning of the word, the only thing the children have to think about is trying the vowels /i/, /ie/ and /ee/. The sound that makes sense is likely to be correct [demonstration].

 

  • Hint 2: Remind the children, when teaching the ‹ew› with a /ue/ sound, that it sometimes has an /oo/ sound, as in chew, threw and screw [demonstration].

 

  • Hint 3: Regularly point out soft ‹c› and soft ‹g› words. Remind the children that it is the vowels ‹e›, ‹i›, and ‹y› that change the /k/ to /s/ and the /g/ to /j/. It is also worth pointing out that sometimes the vowel is there to change the sound but is not pronounced, as in fence, balance, pounce, choice and lounge. Interestingly, the ‹u› in words like guy, guitar, guilty, guest, guide, guess and guinea pig has been put there to stop the /g/ having a /ij/ sound.

 

  • Hint 4: There is a doubling rule that is useful for spelling, and it is linked to the short vowels. It could be taught at this stage or later, depending on the progress the children have made. Basically the rule is pretty reliable when a word has a suffix added to it, such as ‹ing›, ‹ed›, ‹y›, ‹er›, ‹est›. The children are already familiar with the magic ‹e› and how the influence of the second vowel goes over one consonant [demonstration]. Now they need to be taught that it nearly always cannot get over two consonants. It helps the children to think of the consonants as a wall [demonstration].

The real value of this understanding comes when the children are spelling words that need these suffixes, as in swim/swimming, slip/slipped, fun/funny, thin/thinner and hot/hottest. This really helps the children when spelling words like these.

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.

 

In conclusion: the aim in Step 5 is for every child to:

 

  • learn 16 new alternative spellings, as well as revising the previous ones,
  • read and write words that use the new alternative spellings, and previous letter sounds,
  • read and spell 20  new tricky words,
  • read sentences that use the new letter sounds and tricky words (not needed for the fluent and confident readers who can cope well with the Blue Jolly Phonics Readers),
  • read more decodable books, with free choice being offered to children who are confident and fluent readers,
  • write independently, with dictation being used where necessary,
  • be encouraged to read for pleasure at school and at home, with regular visits to the library,
  • and be given extra help if struggling to read and write confidently.

 

At the end of Step 5, it will become clear that the children who are confident and fluent at reading decodable books are also able to read any books that are suitable for their age and understanding. The alphabetic code has been mastered sufficiently well for working out new words. Only occasionally will there be an odd word that causes problems, such as a word like meringue, which should say /m-er-i-ng-g-ue/ or choir, which should say /ch-oi-er/ or /k-oi-er/. But these words are so unusual. It just needs an adult to give the correct pronunciation and that is usually enough, especially if these words are in their vocabulary.

 

From now on, the free readers just need to be encouraged to read as much as possible. It is a matter of finding books that are particularly popular and interesting for them. The emphasis will shift from how to read new words to developing comprehension, as well as reading for pleasure and information. Any children not at this stage should continue being given support with their decoding and encoding skills. Ideas for supporting these children have been provided in the section Help with reading and writing problems on the home page. In Step 6 the concentration will be on spelling.

 

And that concludes the teaching in Step 5.

 

 

  • Step 5 - Sentences

    These sentences only use the letter sounds taught in Steps 1- 5 and the tricky words 1 - 60. 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 5.

  • Step 5 - Sentences - printed letters

    These sentences only use the letter sounds taught in Steps 1- 5 and the tricky words 1 - 60. 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 5.

  • Step 5 - Letter Sounds

    The letter sounds taught in Step 5 are provided. They can be used as flash cards to help the children remember the sounds linked to the letters.

  • Step 5 - Letter Sounds - print letters

    The letter sounds taught in Step 5 are provided. They can be used as flash cards to help the children remember the sounds linked to the letters.

  • Step 5 - 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 5 - Word Bank - print 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 5 - 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 5 - 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 5 -TW_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 5 -TW_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 5 - 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 5 - 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 5 - 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 5 - 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 5 - Sentences

    These sentences only use the letter sounds taught in Steps 1- 5 and the tricky words 1 - 60. 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 5.

  • Step 5 - Sentences - printed letters

    These sentences only use the letter sounds taught in Steps 1- 5 and the tricky words 1 - 60. 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 5.