Ol is learning to read, not Peter and Jane, but some mostly amusing books about silly aliens, and right on Americans. He's loving it. Today's children learn to read, or at least have the first bash with a Phonics system. Lovely M also happends to be Phonics Champion of the World, and Believes in it.
This phonics system appears at first as normal words, i.e. Ol had the word car in his book yesterday. We spelt it out together; k a r. car. All fine so I thought. But no, apparently ar is a phoneme or something so it is now spelt; k aaaarrrr. And I am teaching the wrong thing. I hate being told am wrong so got immensely cross about this last night, and in fact will always be wrong as don't know what is right in this system so feel even more frustrated by that.
By the end of a good few hours we had 'agreed' I will read how I actually read, which is by spelling out words and if I'm honest I think remembering lots of words on sight. And, if I don't know how to say a word asking someone rather than phone-eming it out.
And you know what Ol is getting there with his reading, he's starting to understand it is a cool thing, and spelling words out works. He is also very competitive with a couple of girls in his class, and does not like that they are on a higher level book to him. (Wonder where that spirit came from?)
But, I do have to say in defence of today's phonics that it is not as bad as the ITA system I failed to learn to read with in the 1970's. I just never ever understood the made up letters (the 70's version of phone-ems), which were like ou, or oo or even madder completely made up ones. So yes, I am bitter and twisted about phonics, and was delighted when visiting Ol's school for the first time that the head showed me a special class for children who weren't getting the phonics system.
And you know what, I can read and write without knowing a thing about phonics (no M its not buried in my subconscious!), but will of course moan and moan then support the current way of thinking. How the hell will I cope when it comes to five men dig a hole, get a bus at 2omph and the capacity questions though? Or worse I seem to remember a crucial GCSE one about how many different sides on 50p's and 20p's and what they were called. Course in the middle of my exam I could only think it's money, and gosh, I could buy some more sweeties with it.