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Should kids be able to read before they start school?

(39 Posts)
Beavie Wed 22-Jan-14 19:50:24

I am at college and learning about education in sociology, and one of the things that was mentioned was that kids that can read before they start school are statistically much more likely to get good gcse and a level results. This made me have a panic that I should be teaching dd2 to read, and pronto, as she starts school in September, otherwise the rest of her education will be dooooomed.

With dd1 I was really crap about doing her reading with her in reception, and tbh she wasn't in school a lot of the time as she is a July baby and didn't legally have to be there, and she was really struggling to cope with school full time. At the start of year 1 she was way behind so I found an online programme to teach her to read which wasn't cheap but was definitely worth it as within a few weeks she was one of the best readers in her class, and has been consistently ever since.

Dd2 is also a July baby and she can recognise a few of the letters, and can recite the alphabet but that's as far as it goes. Just really curious to know how many kids can actually read before they start school? Do schools have an expectation that kids should be able to read a bit before they start?

Suddengeekgirl Wed 22-Jan-14 19:55:03

No! shock

Ds is in reception as is G&T for reading in a school which has pretty high standards. He couldn't read before he started!

Relax! smile
If they can read its great (but unusual) but if not then don't worry - it's completely normal!

Pixiedust49 Wed 22-Jan-14 19:57:39

I'm a reception teacher and very few children can read when they start school. Can count them on one hand and have been teaching 20 years. I couldn't and I managed to get to university!
I really wouldn't worry.

Eebahgum Wed 22-Jan-14 19:57:50

No, schools don't expect children to read before they start. If parents could just concentrate on basic self care skills (toilet training etc) and social skills (sharing etc), teachers would happily teach reading, writing etc. I feel like these lines have been blurred in recent years.

BohemianGirl Wed 22-Jan-14 20:00:18

Please dont subscribe to the Summer Baby Thing as an excuse.

All my children were born in May. Of a three form entry primary school, set by birthday - the summer class totally wiped out the other two forms with respect to Grammar School places and SAT results.

Beavie Wed 22-Jan-14 20:01:45

Ok I will stop panicking! Thanks.

Beavie Wed 22-Jan-14 20:03:23

Bohemiangirl it may not make too much of a difference for bright 11 years olds but I think there is a massive difference in a child that has already turned 5 and a child that has just turned 4.

My DS is a summer born, he couldn't read a thing before starting school, just wasn't interested. He couldn't read much when he started year 1, reading with him was a challenge, he just didn't want to do it.

He's in year 3 now and he's in the top group for reading and writing. He can't stop reading, will read anything he can get his hands on.

So I wouldn't worry, just support them with their reading, etc at home.

It's not essential as all children develop at their own rate, but that doesn't mean it's a bad thing to have already learned to enjoy reading. If they see a book as a fun thing and not a chore that is a good beginning.

LittleMissGreen Wed 22-Jan-14 20:08:48

No. DS1 could - he fairly taught himself. Hyperlexic.with Aspergers. School didnt realise he could read until end of reception when he was reading Harry Potter.

DS2 couldn't. By October was reading with top yr1 group.

DS3 couldn't and knew less phonemes than DS2 (they were taught some in school nursery) he now reads with yr1 group.
So in my experience better to learn in school they know exactly where the child is up to!

SanityClause Wed 22-Jan-14 20:09:32

Whatever one class in one school did, summer born children are statistically more likely to be behind educationally (and also as far as sport and similar things are concerned).

Children who have learned to read before starting school are likely to be more intelligent in the first place which would explain the performance at GCSE etc. However, that is not to write your DC off. A September born child who can read a bit when they start school, isn't doing any better than a July born child who learns to read in the last term of reception.

Beavie Wed 22-Jan-14 20:10:34

Thanks iwould, that's great that your ds has caught up and done so well. I remember feeling wretched that dd1 couldn't read in year 1, it was making her feel really down and she convinced herself that she was stupid, which was really upsetting. Am going to make sure I make more of an effort with dd2 during reception.

catkind Wed 22-Jan-14 20:17:09

I would read this as
1) bright kids in supportive families that enjoy books and have books around are more likely to learn to read early,
2) bright kids in supportive families ditto ditto are more likely to do well at school.
Hence correlation, not causation!
And now I got distracted before posting there'll probably be 10 other posts saying the same thing...

mewkins Wed 22-Jan-14 20:18:40

I think the age of the child has more to do wuth it but everyone must level out in the end given the same opportunities. I would guess some of the oldest in a class would be able to read when they start school but some of the youngest won't. Some of the brightest of my classmates were summer born - by the end of primary they were striving ahead.

I wonder if the thing about doing well at gcses is more to do with their socio economic background? You could probably also say that those who are read to by their parents a re e more likely to succeed at gcse too.

pigleychez Wed 22-Jan-14 20:25:33

My summer born (july) DD1 went to school reading and by the end of reception was a free reader. Now half way through year 1 is already past where they expect by the end of that year. Reading is her thing!
Her reception teacher said is was quite unusual to be reading so well so early, definately not expected.

WorrySighWorrySigh Wed 22-Jan-14 20:29:51

Agree with mewkins regarding reading before school as potentially being an indicator of socio-economic factors.

Also, consider all those children in countries like the Netherlands who dont learn to read/write until age 7 or 8. I dont think they are held back by this.

JupiterGentlefly Wed 22-Jan-14 20:30:30

I have a 31/08 child, saved m,e £7000 on nursery fees that did!!
.. He's gorgeous and can read way above his expected range, far higher than some of his peers .. His maths is fab too!! If we can establish that he needs to be wearing shoes prior to leaving for school and that his teddy is not real then we will be well away. He is 8. Don't stress, they all get there in the end
smile

JupiterGentlefly Wed 22-Jan-14 20:31:49

BTW he didn't read at all prior to school

2beornot Wed 22-Jan-14 20:35:02

I don't think they should. After speaking to a primary teacher friend of mine, they are so specific with the way they teach I'm just worried I'll confuse her. Dd is 3 and can sound out the letters of the alphabet and spell her name. I haven't a hope in hell of being able to teach her 'the' or anything!!

I think give them an interest in learning and they'll be well on their way

bunnymother Wed 22-Jan-14 20:35:07

OP - what program did you use for your Dd1? Mine is in reception (summer born) isn't interested in reading - she just wants to play. I'd love to try a new approach with her.

Beavie Wed 22-Jan-14 21:01:27

Bunnymother, it was called easyread. At the time it was £500 but now I think it's £770 shock, though you can pay in weekly instalments. It was absolutely brilliant, they associate each phonic sound with a picture, e.g A has ants crawling over it, and it's a 10 minute lesson per day which are really good fun. My dd went from only being able to read her own name to literally being able to read pretty much anything within just a few weeks. They offer really good support and you can call the guy that devised the programme and speak to him directly, he is fab, and after every few lessons the learner gets a code word which you email to them and they get sent gifts in a spy theme, starting with things like invisible ink, and the last prize is radio controlled helicopter. Dd's reading age is now 5 years above her actual age, and it's given her loads of confidence. Not bad for a kid who was put in the SEN group in year 1 because she couldn't read!

Beavie Wed 22-Jan-14 21:02:22
endlesstidying Wed 22-Jan-14 21:18:33

No. DD could read before she started reception but she's year 3 now academically average and very happy with lots of friends. Honestly they all even out after a bit.

WitchWay Wed 22-Jan-14 21:24:14

No. They go to school too early in the UK as it is. If they're keen & want to learn letters & so on fine, but don't push it. (What are teachers for?)

MrsKoala Wed 22-Jan-14 21:26:38

I could read perfectly by 3, and because of this was very lazy at school, i spent the first 2 years looking out the window. Then when i had to start paying attention i didn't want to. I spent the rest of my academic life looking out of windows and massively underachieved. DH on the other hand is Dyslexic and couldn't read till at least 7. He got used to working hard and concentrating. He now has 2 masters and is working on his PHD.

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