Friday 10 April 2020

Teaching phonics

In these stay-at-home times
Which affect the whole nation,
Many thousands are struggling
With home education.

How we all learnt to read
Is a mystery because,
The skill isn't taught
In the way it once was.

These days, there are phonics.
They form words when they're linked.
Sometimes they're quite subtle
And far from distinct.

Different sounds are produced
If you join up two "o"s.
"Food" and "good" do not rhyme.
Why is this? No one knows.

Digraphs and trigraphs
Most clearly abound.
These are two or three letters
That make just one sound.

It's not always easy
To get these things right,
Like the "i" "g" and "h"
In the middle of "night".

"Cr", "cl" and "br"
Are some sounds that one "blends".
Whereas "ch", "sh" and "th"
Are all deemed "special friends".

Silent letters appear in
A difficult word.
They creep in unbidden.
Are seen, but not heard.

A "k" starts off "knee".
"B" ends the word "dumb",
And it's got into "debt".
There is no rule of thumb.

Thrown into the mix,
(And where things can get sticky),
Some words don't conform,
And such words are called "tricky".

They crop up quite often:
Require recognition.
Children don't like them -
They're viewed with suspicion.

Take "we" for example,
It drives us all dotty,
(Unless it means "small",
Or what's done in a potty.)

Our language lacks logic.
It's complex. It's daft.
And mastery needs
Concentration and graft.

A small girl aged four
Longs to don pretty dresses...
To abandon the phonemes...
And play at princesses.

Thus Granny, at times,
Has her bouts of frustration.
(Though she's found chocolate buttons
A great motivation.)