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Primary literacy ...split digraphs

(65 Posts)
Nandalot Thu 23-Jun-16 12:52:48

AIBU to be concerned that my DG, just turned five, has come come home and is proudly talking about 'split digraphs'? (Not wholly correctly as it happens.) I just feel that too much emphasis is being placed on the technicalities of language at too young an age. She loves writing and enjoys spending time writing pages and pages. She might occasionally ask for a spelling but often she goes for the phonetic spelling. I rarely correct her as I don't want to blunt her enthusiasm. Her twin brother is more interested in his cars than writing. Though he does like writing signs for his car park. I really wonder how much he is getting from learning about split digraphs or if he is being turned off by the emphasis on technicalities.
I have no complaints about the primary school they attend, rather the curriculum they are forced to follow.

Elegran Thu 23-Jun-16 12:56:45

If she is proud to know it, then it is not too early for her (helping her to get it right could be useful - but when we first learn anything we don't always get it quite right)

Elegran Thu 23-Jun-16 12:57:16

Sorry, he not she.

Luckygirl Thu 23-Jun-16 13:04:45

FFS! - what nonsense. I am sure that her whole future life does not hinge on knowing these obscure facts.

Elegran Thu 23-Jun-16 13:11:45

School is full of obscure facts. Who knows which of them will come in useful? If she enjoys using words and writing, perhaps that is just the kind of bit of knowledge she finds exciting - which will make her more interested in learning other bits of knowledge. Her brother may not find it interesting or useful. They are different - vive la difference!

Luckygirl Thu 23-Jun-16 13:57:50

The nonsense of course is that those children who do not know A from B are also required to know these obscure facts and are simply rendered completely confused to no purpose whatsoever for wither them or the bright sparks. Some of these obscure grammatical items have apparently been made up by the DofE. Sigh.

Luckygirl Thu 23-Jun-16 13:58:15


Joelsnan Thu 23-Jun-16 14:10:30

What is a split digraph?
I have managed to retirement without this knowledge and considered to be reasonably literate.

Anya Thu 23-Jun-16 14:15:21

Take a word like plane. The letter A is pronounced as its name in the alphabet, rather than the soft a in plan, because of the letter E at the end of the word.

That is a split digraph as opposed to spelling the word PLAIN.

Waveney Thu 23-Jun-16 14:41:14

Those of us who taught in the seventies ( and used 'Words and Pictures') would have called a split diagraph 'magic e 'and later it became 'modifying e' . My granddaughter refers to a split diagraph confidently but I think that would have been the case whatever it was called!

Elegran Thu 23-Jun-16 14:48:01

Going back even further "The e at the end made the other vowel say its name" instead of its sound. Knowing how the final e works is a part of learning to read fluently. Reading hop or hope, dim or dime, makes sense of what is printed.

It doesn't matter what the rule is called, though why it has to be changed every few years is beyond me. Makes it a "new approach" I suppose. The innovators love that.

annemac101 Thu 23-Jun-16 14:54:53

Yes Elegran that's what I was taught at school. I've never heard of split digraph. A bit too technical I think.

Lillie Thu 23-Jun-16 15:18:15

It is important to know that the magic "e" changes the sound of the vowel, just like the accent does in French. Simple.
But as for the posh name, I dislike it. It sounds too complicated! I'm guessing those children who enjoy language will retain it, whereas others will file it in the back of their brains along with stressed syllables and such like. grin

Jalima Thu 23-Jun-16 16:14:52

I have never heard of that term (although I do know what one is I realise) hmm


Jalima Thu 23-Jun-16 16:15:16

sorry, teacher of English

mrshat Thu 23-Jun-16 17:11:04

Jalima grin !

TriciaF Thu 23-Jun-16 18:02:29

split digraph - I had to think twice about that, and I spent years teaching children to read. Mostly remedial.
In my experience children learn to read either quickly and without problems. Or if they have a problem they struggle and need ways of making reading a pleasure and fun. Rather than technical terminology.
The bigger problem comes with spelling.
And yes we said "the e at the end makes the previous vowel say its name. "
No help though if parents teach their children to say the ABC
(with names of letters.)

Deedaa Thu 23-Jun-16 20:41:17

DD has been going to meetings at the school to explain how they are teaching maths and english. She brought home sample tests for year 2 and year 6. Not impressed - some of the grammar would have been beyond me at Grammar School and I can't imagine how terminally boring it must be to learn at primary school.

I am continually harping on about spelling and punctuation, but but most of this stuff is way over the top. Let's concentrate on stopping them saying "Was you" and "Would of"

Jalima Thu 23-Jun-16 20:53:24

So: what do they call it when people in the South call a bath (short 'a') a 'barth' (long a)?
Does that have a technical term too?
or is it that Londoners just don't speak proper like us from north of the Wash?

Elegran Thu 23-Jun-16 21:00:35

Got it in one, Jalima.

annodomini Thu 23-Jun-16 21:29:47

I asked my two youngest GSs to tell me about split digraphs but they were unable to help. However, the 10-year-old was able to explain 'fronted adverbials' to my satisfaction.

annsixty Thu 23-Jun-16 21:32:16

If asked I would have thought it was a medical condition.

harrigran Thu 23-Jun-16 23:26:11

Thank goodness DC were taught the old fashioned way, I would have been bald by now. Never heard the likes, are they inventing things just for the sake of change ?

dramatictessa Fri 24-Jun-16 00:01:49

Yes, harrigran they are hmm

grandMattie Fri 24-Jun-16 10:37:11

We can't have it both ways. If children are going to be taught proper grammar as the children of other countries are, instead of letting them learn by osmosis, it is better to give them the pro-pert terminology than just the vague rule.
As for learning to read and write, children are taught by the method that is flavour of the month rather than letting the teacher use whatever one suits her/her pupils at the time.