Teaching children who do not speak 'British English' to read and spell.

I spent my early childhood in Jamaica and no-one could understand a word I said when we returned to the UK, as I spoke Jamaican Patois. That's me in the middle showing off my tan, and then on the left - not pulling off the 'hat look' (I still can't)

It's probably one of the reasons why I have always made such a big deal of 'accents' and understanding that the materials supplies for print to speech phonics programs (that's most of them) presume the learners understand 'British English'. I have lived all over the world. Ironically, my now very British voice on student videos breaks a lot of this down. Children hear me blend the intended phonemes even though they will still (of course) translate it into their accent. You will often hear Aussie kids say æ n t (phonetic symbols show the phonemes) and then translate to eə n t - or a Kiwi child say ʧ ɪ p s and then translate to ʧ ʌ p s

So I'm glad researchers are looking into what practitioners such as myself have been compensating for when teaching phonics. for years - and why I developed my own program, and made it speech to print, talking to the kids every day about the spoken code and the spelling code. They are OFTEN DIFFERENT. Its why I use phonetic symbols for kids- the same reason those teaching English as a Second Language use regular phonetic symbols; there has to be a universally recognised spelling code (think of the phonemes and phonetic symbols mapped with the graphemes - the IPA translation) It's why I uploaded this almost 10 years ago:-) 'The Story of the King's Code)

HOW to teach children who all speak very differently is something we all need to do - but remember that the written code wasn't created to account for how everyone speaks. It's a universal code, and the way I teach it is effective for all learners because I presume all speak differently, from day 1, and account for this. If you know of any researchers ask them to come and watch me, and study the kids.

Regarding understanding this and catering for language differences at the phonics instructional level we can teach ALL children to read and spell in English, if we approach the teaching of the alphabetic principle differently; ensuring that children understand the 'spelling code' often doesn't include THEIR 'sounds'. The tips here in this article are also helpful.

Let me add one useful tip before I sign off. Stop saying 'sound it out' and instead ask the children to use Duck hands, lines and numbers' using THEIR sounds, and then add the Speech Sound Monsters (so we know what they are hearing) and then check with the IPA. We call this 'The Monster Routine' and the children use it within the Orange Level with words using just 6 phonemes, and continue on to use it regularly within The Speedy Six Spelling Activities and when exploring unfamiliar words, to store in long term memory. You'll be amazed at how quickly kids AND adults latch on to this new concept relating to the spelling code. Article - Teaching Reading to African-American Children When Home and School Language Differ By Julie A. Washington, Mark S. Seidenberg

Miss Emma About me, if you are interested!

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