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phonics help...where to go next?


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I'm in need of some advice and ideas for my 6.5 yo son. He's currently doing MCP Phonics Plaid, level B and only has about 4 weeks left of it.


I'm rather new to WTM methods and am leaning more and more towards implementing it. I need some advice as to where I should be heading with my son.


We started in early kinder doing Seton's phonics program. He did fine, it's mostly like MCP. We also did Bob books. But mostly he just taught himself to read. I simply have no idea how but he was late 4 and early 5 yo when I realized he could read, quite fluently. I really have no clue how he learned!


So we continued on in MCP, he breezed through everything. Only now, at the end of level B am I having to actually teach him things, like doubling a consonant to add "ed" at the end. Like jog to jogged.


The thing is he really has no understanding of phonics rules at all. He just reads, and can usually figure out what things mean and when he doesn't know, he asks and will remember the word next time. We are doing some homophones in spelling and he just knows the difference between lone and loan, male and mail, etc. I have no idea how he knows, he just does.


So we are coming up on the end of MCP B and I'm just wondering what I should do next. Just continue with MCP, go back to OPGTR and teach him the phonics rules, or just realize he doesn't really need the phonics rules if he's a good reader...?


I'd just like some direction, I don't want to bother with teaching him things that are meaningless to him, but I don't want him to struggle later either. We have been doing Seton's spelling books, but I'm unhappy with it because it's just a list of words and daily copy practice. We've blown through many lessons because he just knows it already and I feel it's a waste of time to have him "practice" or write lists of words he can spell just fine already. It's just not really teaching him any techniques to help with spelling.


I have thought, after looking over WTM that perhaps he just needs a better spelling program, like MCP spelling workout? Then just continue with MCP phonics for more practice?


Any thoughts? Anyone have a kid like this? What should my goals be for him? Is learning phonics just a path to becoming a good reader? If so what happens if he's already a good reader, are phonics meaningless? And how does it all tie into spelling?

Edited by Cranberry
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It's great that your son is an intuitive reader. As for your question about phonics, I think that learning phonics can definitely improve spelling, especially if your son learned how to read from a whole-language mindset. I know several people who learned to read through sight words and are atrocious spellers. It's not always the case, though, as I taught myself to read very young and have never had trouble spelling.


If his spelling needs some work then I would work on spelling rules. All About Spelling is the program I am most familiar with and it would probably work very well for you, as you can focus on the rules your son doesn't yet know, and you just practice words that follow that rule. It's a little spendy but since you have two younger children, I think you would get your money's worth.

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thank you both for your insight.


I have been re-reading the WTM, and suddenly realized that there's no phonics recommended after OPGTR! :confused:


I guess I'm still confused about the purpose of phonics. Is it a necessary skill in and of itself or is it merely one path to becoming a good reader? If someone is a good reader without it, and seems to be also a good natural speller, is it necessary to go back and teach the phonics rules?

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I don't know the "official" answer but if your child is a fluent reader and a natural speller, then I think your phonics work is done ;) It's easy to look up "rules" if your child gets stuck, but if he's come this far then I would think you are OK! Enjoy the extra time you can spend on something more productive or more fun!

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