ICRWY Non-Code Level Readers from the Member Bookshelf
Although ICRWY children learn high-frequency graphemes systematically and use the Coding Poster and Code Level texts to practice blending those graphemes more easily each day (utilising spaced repetition) so that less working memory is used to read these words within sentences (and focus on comprehension) the reality is that children want to choose books that likely do not only contain words with those target graphemes. I have therefore started Code Mapping® and Monster Mapping® books children ask me to map so that they can read it on their own. 'I Can Read Without You'.
For many years phonics advocates have argued against repetitive and predictable text, and yet I have found that they can be highly valuable, as long as the child knows to map the words.
You'll see here that Liv can read the text fairly easily, and just uses Duck Hands to segment the words, and checks the Speech Sound Monsters when she comes to an unfamiliar word eg chicken.
Her eyes are following the text - she is not using the pictures to guess. She uses phonetic symbols for kids (Speech Sound Monsters) when needed.
Jayce is able to understand that the /a/ grapheme in the word Peppa is NOT a representation (Sound Pic) for the /æ/ because he can see the Speech Sound Monster.
When reading 'Code Level' texts the /a/ grapheme WILL represent the /æ/
Rory was guessing from the pictures and so Mummy hid them. I had supported her within the ICRWY pilot, and so she understands the learning to read and spell learning journey and what to watch out for to avoid difficulties.
There is nothing wrong with guessing from pictures if the word is then mapped. Exposure to words that the child consciously maps is how they move towards orthographic mapping. Not paying attention to the mapping, and guessing at or memorising whole words, means that it takes the child longer to get there - as does only giving them decodable texts and a limited number of graphemes, as it will take them far too long to actually read with comprehension. As seen in UK data, phonics testing (which only checks about 100 high-frequency graphemes at the end of two years of instruction and misses the mark for phonemic awareness checks) does not correlate with reading comprehension, other than the obvious fact that having good phonics skills is more likely to help children with their reading skills - I'm not aware of anyone who doesn't support phonics instruction. However, research consistently shows that phonics ability does not influence scores on tests of comprehension. This is consistent with results showing high scores on phonics screening tests do not result in better reading several years later. I propose that quality phonics instruction (that offers differentiation and meets the needs of and challenges each child) combined with the types of activities I give to children (that are NOT recommended by those supporting synthetic phonics) will narrow the gap between phonics test results and reading test results. I would prefer to have early phonemic awareness testing, that children are taught phonics skills in ways that enable 85+% of children to pass the UK phonics screener at the end of the reception year and that all but the children with severe cognitive impairments are OUT of the 'learning to read' phase before they start Grade 2. They are reading to learn within 2 years of instruction, and then read more and more - and we (as parents and educators) continue to foster a love of reading, and the skills to read 'deeply' a wide range of materials.
The ultimate goal of reading is comprehension: for the reader to reconstruct the mental world of the writer. As skilled readers, this usually feels pretty effortless and comprehension flows naturally as we read along. This sense of ease is misleading, however, as it belies the complexity of what we do as we read, even when a text is simple and straightforward. A whole range of cognitive and linguistic operations are at play, from identifying individual words to making inferences about situations that are not fully described in the text (Castles, Rastle, & Nation, 2018). This complexity means that finding a simple answer to questions like “how does reading comprehension develop” and “why does it sometimes fail” quickly becomes a seemingly impossible task. It is something I spend my life exploring as an action researcher. Yes, learning phonics is essential - but some children do not need explicit instruction and yet within UK classrooms they will have to sit through phonics lessons regardless. Within SSP (Speech Sound Pics Approach) classrooms children learn the basics at their pace. It is unique, and the 'less teaching, more learning' philosophy is not something everyone understands or embraces. I hope one day that changes, as learners are more engaged, intrinsically motivated, and the improved literacy outcomes speak for themselves.
Teachers are excited by this approach too!
But much of what I do does not align with the message many powerful and influential players are trying hard to sell to consumers. Some of what you will see challenges elements of those messages, and may highlight the elephant(s) in the room regarding SoR.
Keep following ICRWY kids, and try it yourself!
See how quickly your child or class can say 'I Can Read Without You!'
I'll also be sharing my 'I Can Spell Without You' techniques and strategies. If you join the Orthographic Mapping group you will see that I talk about older students (who didn't go through the SSP linguistic phonics program) and share tips for analysing spelling errors.
You will need the Spelling Clouds