Foniks take two

So back when starting to teach the eldest to read I wrote Foniks

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve not exactly had an improved relationship with this system since then.

Just before the older two finished at the germ factory we had a parents evening and letters home about how they’d been teaching phonics wrong and were going to be changing how they were doing it. I sat there going “huh?” mostly because how you can teach the wrong sound is a bit of a mystery really. But anyway, they embarked on a new set of sounds and a particular order of teaching the letters in. This too baffles me, because at the end of the first year at school they don’t seem to have a complete alphabet to work with. Yes, you read that right.

So we now have two sets of sounds, the old one, which is largely how the letter sounds at the start of a word, and the new one, which is often more a “middle of the word” option. I throw in the letter names as well, because frankly that’s more helpful when distinguishing between c and k for instance whilst trying to write a word out.


Fuddle’s Keeper wants to be able to read. This is fundamentally different to wanting to learn to read, but I am trying to persevere with the argument that if you want to be able to do something you have to put the time in to learning how to do it!

She came home from the primary germ factory’s nursery this week with the accolade of knowing the first letter of her name. We were underwhelmed, and explained she can write her whole name, and tell me an animal or fruit that starts with each letter in it.

So we’re back to starting to build up simple words using letter flashcards. But this time I know how the system falls apart and can try to avoid a repeat…

I know we have very bright children, and this is actually quite hard to deal with a lot of the time. The first hurdle is convincing whoever you’re dealing with that they can do what they can do. Most of the time you get marked as either an exaggerating parent or one who’s pushed them to do things. We’ve tried to follow their lead, but the eldest was completing 24 piece jigsaw puzzles competently at 18 months, telling the time at three years and reading by four. Fuddle’s Keeper had a clear vocabulary of 60 words at 16 months. I wrote them all down because the germ factory questioned it when we said she had about 50 and shocked myself too. By the time her two year health visitor check came round and they wanted a three word sentence she was speaking in paragraphs. Constantly. Kamikaze can shape-sort the alphabet and is transposing the letters in her head. We’ve got a wooden inset puzzle with the letters and she’ll sort them all out to the right hole but not worry about getting them the right way round and into the hole. Not because she can’t but because thats close enough as far a she’s concerned!

But yesterday she shocked us all. At nearly 20 months she sat down and wrote part of her name, telling us the phonics as she did so…

I guess foniks, in all their wonder, will be with us for a while…

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