To think that reception children should be given reading books in september

(108 Posts)
ReallyTired Thu 05-Sep-13 18:21:23

Most reception children cannot read and do not know any strageries for decoding new words. My daughter has been given a reading book which is a lovely book, but way beyond her ablity at the moment. I feel strongly that I do not want her to randomly guessing at words.

Sharing books is important at the age of four. Surely its better to share a high quality story book than an Oxford Reading Tree book. I would prefer to help my daughter learn her letter sounds and how to blend before being set loose on the school reading scheme. I feel that children should learn phonics initally before attempting to learn any other strageries for reading. I like synthetic phonics because it starts off very simply and complicated words are introduced later when the child has developed confidence.

My son did Jolly phonics in reception and he loved it. Good phonics teaching is not boring. He got his first reading book after christmas and enjoyed the buzz of sucess. I feel angry that my daughter's teacher is not using the same method.

ReallyTired Thu 05-Sep-13 18:27:48

Sorry my title is that reception children should NOT be given reading books in September at the start of the academic year.

Or at least a child should only be given a book if they can actually read!

It's perfectly ok to just ignore the words for now and get your dd to jyst describe what is happening in the pictures.

Awomansworth Thu 05-Sep-13 18:33:18

YABU - learning to read isn't just bout decoding the words, it's very important to talk about what's going on in the pictures to build a picture of the plot.

barebranches Thu 05-Sep-13 18:37:43

Im a rec teacher and think you are right... but most parents want a scheme book straight away... dont know why.

barebranches Thu 05-Sep-13 18:38:31

should add a nice story book from school library to share is so much better.

noblegiraffe Thu 05-Sep-13 18:40:47

We've been given a story book.

SweetBabyJebus Thu 05-Sep-13 18:43:52

It's not about making your child read, it's about fostering a desire to read. They give out books precisely so you can read them together. Then as the child learns, she starts to read herself. Thought that was pretty much standard reception practice.

Debs75 Thu 05-Sep-13 18:47:01

We haven't been given a school reading book yet and DD will be five in 2 weeks. SHe can't read but can recognise some words and wants to do more. She is itching to start reading and writing and loves looking through books with us. She also wants to do some 'homework' with us be it practising letters to looking through a storybook. She did think the first day was boring as they didn't do any 'work' and just played.
Incidentally the nursery children get a book bag with a picture book to share with their parents so why don't reception children?

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Thu 05-Sep-13 18:50:07

Yanbu. My DD's school gives normal picture for parents to read together. It was brilliant; a new picture book every night! I think the early reading scheme books came home after Oct half term by which time they had some phonic knowledge. I this is a much better system.

NiceTabard Thu 05-Sep-13 18:55:30

DD1 got ORT books in recep from quite small but the first ones didn't have any words in them, they were just pictures and the instructions were to get the children to talk about what the pictures are.

Have they skipped out the first level/s for some reason? I remember we had ORT biff and chip or whoever it was with no words for a definite while.

wigglesrock Thu 05-Sep-13 19:05:56

Mine always got picture books or books with very few words. They did picture walks with them, we had to look at the pictures and guess what would happen next/ at the end. I don't think dd2 (just gone into P2 age 5) got a reading book as such until well into P1, I think after Christmas.

arethereanyleftatall Thu 05-Sep-13 19:13:18

Yabu. My dd who has just started reception can read. As can at least 5 of her class. They did phonics last year in preschool. I expect the teacher ijust sorting out who can do what at this stage. Do you think my SF should be held back till others catch up? .

DD has just started in reception this week and has brought home a lilac level book (I think biff and chip) with no words. We just have to get her to tell us the story and then we have ago. Quite good I think - I know she cannot read at all yet (4.4 yrs)

I think the next level just has a few words in. I think your teacher might have missed out this level maybe?

Sirzy Thu 05-Sep-13 19:15:31

I think to start with picture books are much better to get children talking about books and what is happening rather than just focusing on the words. Picture books are great for encoraging story telling

Bloob Thu 05-Sep-13 19:17:56

Don't know. I think it's ridiculous if she can't read to give her a book with words and expect her to read it.

On the other hand, my dd can read. Pretty well I'd say given she's only been 4 for a month! But they don't give reading books til Xmas. So how do I continue to challenge and encourage her? I was hoping the school would be able to guide me a bit, as well as working with dd.

I think it's a difficult balancing act for the teacher.

ReallyTired Thu 05-Sep-13 20:18:17

I think that high quality children's books have better pictures than the Oxford Reading Tree and certainly better language. Surely a book by one of the best authors in the world is far more likely to foster a love of reading than Biff and kip.

Bloob A good teacher will differentiate. If a child can read then its silly to hold them back. However the majority of reception children cannot read and don't have the ablity to teach themselves.

I believe that making sure that a child experiences sucess in the early stages of learning to read is vital.

Euphemia Thu 05-Sep-13 20:30:56

I am a P1 teacher and I've given my class the wordless Kipper stories home over the past two weeks, with instructions to parents to have their child tell them what is happening on each page, to tell them the story.

We have a small collection of Songbirds books in school, and they will be issued once we have covered the phonemes used in those books, so that the children can decode the words.

No child will be put on to the ORT stage books until we have covered a lot more phonics and the required "tricky" words.

I'll be sending story books from the school library home until then, as I think a lot of children don't get read to very often. sad

Slow and steady at the moment!

lizzzyyliveson Thu 05-Sep-13 20:34:54

Maybe your child goes to the school I did some supply in last year. The Yr R children had to 'read' their ORT book independently for 20 mins each morning - the same book every day until they could 'read' the whole book without a mistake. During this time the class teacher and TA would 'hear' each child read eg coach them to memorise the book. Strangely enough, the school has identified reading as a weakness. Hmm.

NiceTabard Thu 05-Sep-13 20:39:42

Maybe you need to ask why they have skipped the early ORT stage/s which are just picture books?

Certainly they do exist and it's the starting point on that program so it seems very odd.

SpiceAddict Thu 05-Sep-13 20:40:13

Are you sure that she is meant to read it? When Ds was at pre-school nursery we were given a book every week to share together. Is it such a big deal if you read it to her until she learns to read it for herself?
I don't get your problem

NiceTabard Thu 05-Sep-13 21:03:43

YY both DDs got reading books from pre-school, for us to read to them.

Our school does ORT and DD1 is reading just fine (DD2 just started school this week) and maybe you need to give it a chance, sounds like you are used to a different reading program.

KitCat26 Thu 05-Sep-13 21:15:04

I agree op. DD1 had her first day today, she was 4 in August.

Today she brought home a leaflet for parents explaining phonics and games to make learning letters and their sounds fun. To me that is perfect 'homework' and builds on what she has learned, and the way they were taught, at preschool.

I remember having to read those bloody Billy Blue Hat and Roger Red Hat books in primary school, they were very nearly enough to put me off reading for life!

Sparklymommy Thu 05-Sep-13 21:38:12

Our school also do the books with no words to begin with. Believe me they progress quite quickly and ds2 who is just starting year 1 was reading properly by Christmas last year!

ClayDavis Thu 05-Sep-13 22:21:29

YANBU. Many schemes do have wordless books, but it's just a reason to fleece more money out of schools than a necessary stage of reading. All the skills developed using wordless books and many more can be developed better using good quality children's books shared with a parent. Books for children to read can be sent home once the children have learnt a few sounds and can blend them. This will be at different points for every child in the class.

Just out of interest, what scheme are they using? Is it an old style look and say or one of the newer decodeable schemes?

BoozyBear Thu 05-Sep-13 22:34:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ReallyTired Thu 05-Sep-13 22:39:35

This is the book my daughter has been sent home with.

Its a really nice book, with lots of suggestions on how to improve comprehesion and letter sounds to practice. My only complaint is that it is too hard for dd. I would like to have the book again in about six weeks time.

Dancergirl Thu 05-Sep-13 22:45:45

Oh for goodness sake why do people get so het up about the 'school' reading book?!

You know it should be only a drop in the ocean of all the other books they're looking at/reading/having read to them over the course of a week?

OP, spend 10 mins on the book with your dd. If you think it's too hard write a note to that effect in her reading record. Carry on reading to her a wide variety of books as I'm sure you have been doing. You're way over-thinking this.

NiceTabard Thu 05-Sep-13 22:46:42

That's a level 2 book though.

Here is link to ORT here so you can see more.
If you click on the level 1 links they are just pictures no words.

I would be asking the school why they have skipped the beginning stage/s of the series?

DD1 started school at 4yr 2 months and they did ORT but with the picture books to start and did loads of phonics at school and it all worked out fine and she has just gone into year 2 and is reading well.

I would not have been happy with them giving her "reading books" straight off.

I don't understand why if they are using a program like ORT they are skipping out the early stages confused I think you should have a chat with them.

DropYourSword Thu 05-Sep-13 22:50:52

I distinctly remember bringing home my first reading book from school. My pride turned to horror pretty quickly! I was so so disappointed to discover it was just full of pictures and had 'Look' on every page. I wanted a reading book and felt really insulted that this was really just a picture book!! So I guess it's different for each person.

PatriciaHolm Thu 05-Sep-13 22:54:17

Problem is, if kids don't get a book ASAP many parents are up in arms saying where are the books! At this stage teachers have no idea of the relative levels children are at, that will take a few weeks, until then they will all get the same thing.

ClayDavis Thu 05-Sep-13 22:54:46

In that case OP, it's not a completely lost cause. I'd be tempted to stick a note in with it saying it was too difficult and she can't blend yet and asking if it would be OK just to share some stories with her each night until she knows the sounds in the book and can blend.

thegreylady Thu 05-Sep-13 23:13:28

My dgs started Reception on Tuesday. He brought home a book ( I am Sam) on Wednesday and he read it to me straight away. He began by sounding out the letters eg S-a-m Sam but only the first time he saw each word. I think there were only 10 words at most but he was very very proud.
You can't generalise YABU.

FredFredGeorge Fri 06-Sep-13 00:00:13

It's a book, read it, or don't, it doesn't really matter. It's obvious your DD can't read it herself, other kids might, other kids might enjoy giving it ago, other kids might enjoy looking at the pictures and making up their own stories, other kids might enjoy acting it out with their parents.

There are a million books, learning to read or a love of books comes from all of them, not one and not any particular day, and what needs to come first is a love of stories in any case - which is where you really need to be involved.

YABU to be so bothered and involved by the book. Read a different one, go to the library, make up your own stories, but moaning to a teacher about 5 minutes of your DD's education. Bonkers.

ReallyTired Fri 06-Sep-13 09:39:54

Prehaps my biggest concern is whether my daughter is going to have high quality phonics teaching. The particular book is designed to link in with high quality phonics teaching and the authors expect the child to practice their phonics knowledge. The book is not designed to be high quality literature, it is designed to practice blending. However a child cannot practice blending if they have no phonics knowledge.

I feel the that the waxing lyrical approach that a child will learn to read if they "love books" is naive. I want my daughter to have a solid grounding in synthetic phonics with no other teaching methods to start with. (Just like the government wants schools to do!) My son's reception teacher used jolly phonics and his class did not have any books until Christmas. I feel it was much better.

My son had a sounds book which he practiced with every night at this stage. The parents were quite happy with this as they knew what was expected of them.

It looks like I will be teaching my daughter to read as I feel I cannot trust the school.

Thepowerof3 Fri 06-Sep-13 09:42:21

I agree too, my DD was 4 late August and she has 2 books, she was also given 1 in nursery

Mrsdoasyouwouldbedoneby Fri 06-Sep-13 09:53:47

Schools do hand out books ours were mainly story books to share. BUT. The point here is that we are a week into the first term. So the baseline assessments will not have been completed yet. Give the school till half term at least to get a measure of what level book the children need! That's really for the parents of children who can read...

That said... My yr 5 son (who when assessed before reads above his age), had a long chapter book (magician's nephew) before the holidays and didn't finish it, but as we were only started at the school about 4 weeks before the end of term I wasn't terribly bothered. He struggled a bit because the language is archaic and while he can read reasonably fluently his comprehension is not at the same level. Anyway. He came home with an ORT level 7 yesterday (banded pale blue)... To say I was shocked is an understatement. I made him work on the comprehension and do voices etc to help his expression but really he could have read it with one eye closed. His yr 3 sister also read it without any difficulty (not a surprise. It was very very easy to read). Am hoping it was just an error of communication to my son (who has mild ASD)... But if he comes home with a smile reader today I will speak to his teacher!

So you are not being unreasonable, but maybe a bit too quick off the mark, don't expect proper order to reign just yet.

Debs75 Fri 06-Sep-13 09:59:59

"It looks like I will be teaching my daughter to read as I feel I cannot trust the school"
Surely OP that is what is expected of parents. I taught DD1 the basics and alongside school we taught her together. I will do the same with DD2 and DD3. One-to-one teaching is better for most children but our children are at a school with 30 pupils in a class so one-to-one isn't feasible. Parents need to build on what is taught in school and tailor it to their childs individual needs.

Oh and if you don't trust the school on reading what are you going to do with maths and science?

Mrsdoasyouwouldbedoneby Fri 06-Sep-13 10:05:08

Also sythetic phonics is not the be all and end all. That is a bit unreasonable. My friend's son with verbal dyspraxia was unable to learn to read this way and it has stalled his reading. My daughter is terrible at sounding out because she quickly (in her head) moved to whole word recognition. Blending is important in the early stages, but recognising units comes quickly after as we don't want our children attempting to sound out (individual sounds) long words! My daughter passed the phonics test and could read the random words they give, but as I said. She uses whole word strategies.
It is foolhardy to think any one method works for all children. 'Phonics' was good for my son but no one told him to 'stop' sounding out. So he carried on doing it for ages after he could actually read the words... But less so for several of their class mates who either had hearing problems or other speech issues. I would much rather children be given a tool box for decoding words and get to the stage where you can make 'sense' of pretty much any jumble of letters.

noblegiraffe Fri 06-Sep-13 10:10:56

You sound a bit hysterical, OP. How long has your DD actually been at school to be writing them off with regards to teaching your DD to read? It's one book. My DS was given a book just so that he had something to put in his book bag, I'm certainly not worried about the contents of it yet, more concerned that he know where the toilets are and has a good time.

Dancergirl Fri 06-Sep-13 10:26:05

Agreed noblegiraffe

Was this your first choice school OP? If you're getting so wound up by one reading book in the first week of reception, you're in for a rough ride.

Important things about reception - that dc settle in well, make friends, manage to dress themselves, use the toilet, eat their lunch, follow school rules. MUCH more important than a flaming book.

YANBU ReallyTired.

I suspect you're more concerned than many parents would be as you've had experience of really good phonics teaching and now expect no less than that for every child. I agree that it's much too early to be sending scheme books home with children who can't read yet. Also agree with those who say sending home books designed for reading to the child would be much better.

Our DCs' school also does Jolly Phonics but they started off with pre-reading tasks. They had only started this scheme when my son started reception, which meant that they missed the preparation work in nursery so they didn't get any scheme books until after Christmas. However, because my DD started three years later the programme was also in place for the nursery class so she did a lot of the pre-reading stuff in that class so as her reception class were a bit further on than DS's they were given books after October half term.

FWIW, when my DS started the only phonics books the school had were a set of the ORT Songbirds and a handful of Jelly and Bean, but by the time my DD was in reception the school had invested in some fantastic Dandelion phonics books, so I too now have very high expectations of phonics teaching as I've seen what is possible.

Debs75 Fri 06-Sep-13 09:59:59

>>>> "It looks like I will be teaching my daughter to read as I feel I cannot trust the school"
Surely OP that is what is expected of parents. <<<<

Er, only if you're home edding. Surely the school is supposed to teach them and the parents should be supporting the school, and supporting the children in what the school is teaching. hmm

WowOoo Fri 06-Sep-13 11:10:14

I've been reading slowly and sounding out the words and letting ds2 follow the words. I've also repeated the sentence at normal ish speed after.

We've looked at the pictures closely too and had a laugh.

He could recognise and sound out a few easy CVC words after this. But I doubt he'll recall them by next week.

So, I disagree with you on this ReallyTired.

ReallyTired Fri 06-Sep-13 11:40:10

"Was this your first choice school OP? If you're getting so wound up by one reading book in the first week of reception, you're in for a rough ride."

Well, my children's school is in special measures. I have the choice of school in special measures or school two miles away that is also in special measures. I have opted for sh!t school on doorstep and I am praying the superhead who has been brought in will turn things around.

My daughter is not a precious first born. My son had excellent phonics teaching in reception and I don't understand why my daughter is not getting the same.

>>>> "It looks like I will be teaching my daughter to read as I feel I cannot trust the school"
Surely OP that is what is expected of parents. <<<<

What if parents can't read themselves. Without the help of the reception teacher my son had in reception most of wouldn't had had a clue where to start with teaching a child to read.

Parents support the teacher and a good teacher gives guidence in what to do. Seven years ago my son's teacher ran a session on how to help your child with their reading and made a little leaflet that she gave to the parents. I feel that the new reception teacher should be doing something similar.

SATs results at my children's school are terribe and there has been a huge turnover of children. Only half of my son's reception class stayed until year 6 and the majority of children could read. The children in the parallel reception class who did not have the high quality phonics teaching struggled more with reading. I believe that the lack of high quality phonics teaching across the school is why the school is failing.

PatriciaHolm Fri 06-Sep-13 12:24:09

Your child has been at school what, two, three days? Give them time! Even my children's fabulous, supportive school hasn't sent out the letters about parent's sessions for learning about reading, maths, this year's lessons yet. It's way too early to be writing the school off, though you clearly have a big problem with it even before your DD started.

SheRaHasTheAnswer Fri 06-Sep-13 12:28:55

Op I've sent you a PM, I designed a product that might help your daughter and I'd be delighted to send you a pack.

SHarri13 Fri 06-Sep-13 12:43:22

When my son first started we got normal non scheme books to read at home, i.e me reading him listening and helping. Then after a month it was OLT wordless books plus a book to share and then they adjusted that to their reading level after Christmas.

arethereanyleftatall Fri 06-Sep-13 12:56:40

Fgs this thread is ridiculous. Its 2 or 3 days in to the school year. The teacher doesn't magically know which stage each child is at.
There will bepossibly about 20% of children who have already done phonics and are on the next stage.
The rest will probably start phonics in a week or so.
The teacher is just sorting them out.
Chill out.

ReallyTired Fri 06-Sep-13 13:00:36

"It's way too early to be writing the school off, though you clearly have a big problem with it even before your DD started."

I know the school as my son was there was seven years. My son has started secondary and it has really brought home to me quite how crap the standard of teaching was at his primary school was.

Clearly there are big problems otherwise it would not have been taken over by the local authority and a new head and deputy installed. School choice is myth when there are not enough places for every child who needs one.

It is better to give a child a particular type of book when they are ready. The particular book in question is really phonics based book. I would like her to have the book when she is READY for it otherwise she will get nothing out of it. If I read through it then she will learn it off by heart and not be able to use the book for decoding practice later on.

noblegiraffe Fri 06-Sep-13 13:05:14

Don't read it with her then. Problem solved. But I'd be surprised if she could memorise it and recall it weeks later after one read through.

PatriciaHolm Fri 06-Sep-13 13:10:56

Then don't read it with her (though she isn't going to learn it off by heart with one reading surely)

All I'm saying is that it is way too early in the term to have decided this teacher is crap and you are going to have to do it all yourself. The teacher needs time to figure out which stage all the children are at. Some will be able to read the book, some won't. It may well be the case that your DD has chosen the book herself, as the teacher hasn't assessed all their levels yet. Just give them more than a couple of days!

Akray Fri 06-Sep-13 13:13:13

I don't understand what the problem is?!

My DC all got books home in Primary 1 (we are in Scotland) ~ some were better at reading than others but I would sit and read the book with them and discuss the story.

Anything that gets them sitting down with a book and getting involved in a story must be better than no book at all. Some words cannot be 'sounded' out and have to be memorised, but the more they read or are read to, the more they will remember and subsequently, the more confident they will become to try reading on their own smile


JerseySpud Fri 06-Sep-13 13:41:30

YABU. my dd was given books in reception that i read to her getting her to point out words she knew and discussing the pctures.

WowOoo Fri 06-Sep-13 13:45:38

ReallyTired - why don't you ask if they have a meeting or leaflet like the one your son had?

It may be announced soon anyway.

cornflakegirl Fri 06-Sep-13 14:11:43

I would agree - don't read the book with her if it's too hard. But this isn't just about ReallyTired's DD - it's a school in special measures that doesn't seem to be making a good start with teaching reception children to read. ReallyTired's DD may be okay, but what about all the other children whose parents might not be so clued up?

I think it's worth a gentle mention to the class teacher, and maybe taking further depending on the response.

AnotherStitchInTime Fri 06-Sep-13 14:16:48


I think at this stage in the term the teacher will not have assessed your child yet so they may not give a book which is tailored to their phonic knowledge. I would also wait for them to send you some information about how to support your child learning phonics at home, but if in the next few weeks you have not heard anything then have a meeting with the teacher to ask them.

That being said to send them home with a book that is part of the phonics scheme but way above their level is IMO a bit thoughtless. A picture only or good story book would have been much better as at least then your child will not be demotivated and daunted by a book they cannot access phonetically and they will be motivated to read that book when it is given at the correct time in the phonics teaching sequence for their ability.

Debs75 Fri 06-Sep-13 15:12:29

I do stand by that parents should take the time to read with their kids and help them along the way therefore teaching them to read. It shouldn't matter if they are home ed or special measures or private. The parent should be helping with the reading. Yes some parents are illiterate and have no idea and they need help as well.
I did mean it as more of a supporting role. Realistically you could sit with your child and do 10 minutes of reading every night and this could be way more then they get at school.

Plus is phonics teaching really the be all and end all? I was never taught phonics and I read very well. I didn't teach DD1 phonics, school had introduced it by then, and she reads very well as well. Maybe children read well because it is something they do as a family and it is an enjoyable process to learn

cory Fri 06-Sep-13 15:30:28

It sounds a bit as if you believe your dd will be turned off reading forever if she is given one book a week with pictures that fall short of the standards of the world's greatest illustrators.

I would find that unlikely given that:

a) as dancegirl puts it, this book should only be one in the ocean of the books she shares with you throughout the week

b) your dd may not even share your views as to what makes for an interesting picture

But one thing that may well put her off is if she picks up on your anxiety concerning her reading.

Why not use this book as you would use a picture book you had got from the library- look at the pictures and talk about the story they tell?

And as arethereanyleft points out, we are only at the very start of term. It is far too early to decide that your dd is going to have a rotten experience of this school. Even if your ds did, they are not the same people, are they? It would be a pity if her experience was less positive than it might have been because she picked up on your negative feelings about the school.

cornflakegirl Fri 06-Sep-13 17:28:51

Debs - parents don't have to be illiterate to have no idea about and/or no interest in helping their child learn to read. Plenty of children in our school start Reception with no idea which way to turn the pages when reading a book. I agree with your last sentence, but unfortunately the reverse of it is also true, unless the school can intervene effectively.

ReallyTired may well have the skills to be able to use the book her daughter's reading book in a different way, or have other appropriate books at home to use instead. Other children may not be so lucky.

cornflakegirl Fri 06-Sep-13 17:30:27

And wouldn't it be a pity if her dd's experience of school was less positive than it might have been because ReallyTired didn't bother to speak up right at the start, when there was still plenty of time to improve things?

merrymouse Fri 06-Sep-13 18:38:02

Presumably they will be having some kind of parent's evening this week or next where they explain what happens in the reception year?

Maybe they don't have a good library of general books and just want to get children into the swing of taking a book home every week.

If information is not forthcoming, you certainly have a right to understand how they will be teaching reading, because apart from anything else they will be relying on you and other parents (literate or not) to be part of the process.

bababababoom Fri 06-Sep-13 21:11:05

YABU - they'll be working on the letters and blending so that she begins to read these simple words.

At the other end of the scale, my son could read fluently before he started reception, but was given the first level reading books along with all the others - one of the many reasons I now home educate. There were other things he needed help with, and again, they pitched everything to the average.

bababababoom Fri 06-Sep-13 21:12:31

Also, how are they going to learn to read if not by practising? Alongside being read to of course.

HeGrewWhiskersOnHisChin Fri 06-Sep-13 21:22:16

OP I love you!

You are the parent that teachers in my school dream about.

It is absolutely ridiculous that children are given reading books that they cannot decode before they have even began any phonics learning.

It's something that I want to implement in Reception in my school, but other staff are worried about the backlash from the Biff and Chip obsessed parents!

Euphemia Fri 06-Sep-13 22:30:00

bababababoom The description of the book the OP's daughter has been given says:

"Level 2 practises single letter sounds like 'f' and two letters that make one sound such as 'ff' and combining those sounds to read simple one and two syllable words. These sounds are introduced at Level 2: s a t p i n m d g o c k ck e u r h b f ff l ll ss j x y z zz."

There's no way she's ready to decode words containing all of those phonemes. Even if the school followed Jolly Phonics's recommended teaching of six phonemes per week (hmm) that's five weeks' work right there!

If the school's intention was that parents should read the books to the children and discuss them with them, that should have been made explicit.

Littleen Fri 06-Sep-13 22:43:45

Some children learn to read early and by themselves with little help. Providing children with books when perhaps the parents don't care about such things, is very important. It may help your child learn to read or encourage it, or she could just enjoy the pictures (I assume there are pictures in them?) or read them with an adult or child who does know how to read. I don't see why you would not want this.

ClayDavis Fri 06-Sep-13 23:43:02

But there is no point in that Littleen. You'd be much better off sending home quality texts with rich written language if it is to share with an adult and not for the child to read.

I'm not really buying into the baseline assessment nonsense either. If you haven't worked out the level that a child is reading at then don't send a book home for them to read. Send books home for them to share. There really is no benefit in sending home a book that is too easy or too hard for a child to read.

OP - have you spoken to the teacher about the book yet and asked her to give you guidance on how she expects you and your DD to be using it?

Is she expecting your DD to read it for herself, or is she simply expecting you to do the reading while you and your DD explore the pictures and have a think about how a story works. She might be surprised at the concerns you have.

Kaekae Sat 07-Sep-13 10:11:22

My child got a book in nursery, and my DD is just about to start at a nursey and will also be able to choose a book from their library to bring home. I am very happy with this as my children love books and will find this enjoyable. There is no pressure for them to attempt to read it but just to be able to handle a book, hold it the right way flick the pages, talk about the story etc. my children already know this however, there will be lots of children who have never even seen a book before.

Kaekae has said what I wanted to say but I failed miserably.

Littleen Sat 07-Sep-13 10:54:46

claydavis If you read what I wrote, I also state that some children may want to read the book themselves. It completely depends on each childs ability how they use a book. I just don't see the harm in being given a book. There will be much worse things happening to them at school than "omg" having a book...

frogspoon Sat 07-Sep-13 11:15:38


Read the story to her with your finger under the words so she can see how the letter combinations link to the word sounds you make. Any time a word/ phrase comes up that there is a picture of in the book, also point to the picture so she can link the word with the object. Also talk about the story.

She will enjoy the story and develop a love of books and reading, and it will help her to build the skills she will need to learn to read independently.

I taught myself to read aged 2 and "learning" phonics when I was in year 1 and already reading proper books was pretty useless. I picked up the skill because my parents read to me every day using this technique.

RiversideMum Sat 07-Sep-13 12:34:14

I don't send "school reading books" home with children until they can read simple words themselves. We encourage parents to share our lovely story books with their children. I just think there's a lot more to be gained from sharing something like "The Gruffalo" rather than Biff & Chip.

Ra88 Sat 07-Sep-13 12:45:01

yabu! my dd has just started reception and this week alone she is on her 4th book . it is so that as a patent you can sit down and read with your child, listen to their own ideas and give the teachers an idea of what they enjoy and their imagination. out of all the things starting school brings, this was one of the main things as a parent I was looking forward to

ReallyTired Sat 07-Sep-13 13:26:21

"Some children learn to read early and by themselves with little help."

"Read the story to her with your finger under the words so she can see how the letter combinations link to the word sounds you make. Any time a word/ phrase comes up that there is a picture of in the book, also point to the picture so she can link the word with the object. Also talk about the story."

Generally these children where this works come from families where there are lots of books and the parents are interested in reading. Teaching children with direct instruction with synthetic phonics works better for children who aren't surrounded by books. Infact there is evidence that inital teaching by pure synthetic phonics helps all children whether rich or poor.

I seriously doult that reading Biff and Kip will develop a love of reading. I believe that there are better books for developing imagination.

I do think reading some of the wonderful story books with (and to) your young children should be more encouraged by schools, and not just all the focus on the reading scheme and phonics.
I would have continued reading more lovely stories with my children with a little more encouragement I feel.
In school as well I don't think enough emphasis is given to reading quality stories during a regular story time.

giraffeseatpineapples Sat 07-Sep-13 15:20:00

Mention it to the teacher on monday she might be happy to send her home with sharing picture books for a while. (the system you prefer is used at my dcs school). I was really frustrated when my son stayed on the same level for ages in year 1 but didnt say anything to the teacher at first - just moaned to other mums. Eventually I arranged to meet with the teacher and it turned out there had been some miscommunication and the ta was sending him home with the wrong books (a couple of levels difference). He progressed quickly after this. In my experience if you talk to the teacher they usually will come up with a solution or at least an explanation for their method.

perfectstorm Sat 07-Sep-13 15:58:14

DS' school get the kids to choose a book to take home to be read to as a bedtime story in this term. I think that's a sensible idea. He's actually already reading a bit because he's an autumn born, but I don't want it to turn into a chore so early on - at the moment, he reads to us at his request every few days (plus sounding out words he encounters in day to day life), and we read to him every day. I'm pretty anti formal literacy teaching at this age. I think they should get most of it through play and natural curiosity. They have a good couple of decades of formal education ahead of them, let them play as long as possible.

perfectstorm Sat 07-Sep-13 16:03:01

I should add that the books aren't reading scheme ones. They're genuine kids' books. The aim is to get the parents engaged and the kids pro-active in selecting reading material, I imagine. Which is great .I am currently stuck with one on diggers, though... so maybe Biff & Chip wouldn't be so bad after all!

frogspoon Sat 07-Sep-13 11:15:38

>>>> I taught myself to read aged 2 and "learning" phonics when I was in year 1 and already reading proper books was pretty useless. I picked up the skill because my parents read to me every day using this technique. <<<<

You picked up this skill because you were lucky and were just made that way. So was I (although I was 4, not 2), but even though I did exactly this with my kids, as my mam did with me, my kids both needed to be taught phonics in order to be able to read. And I was sitting reading DS three or four books a night - which he was choosing! - from he was about 6 months old.

simpson Sat 07-Sep-13 22:41:51

OP I totally agree with you.

However there are probably parents who want school reading books ASAP.

DD has just started yr1 and the school put a notice up to say that no school reading books are going out till next week as I guess they got fed up of being asked (not by me).

grants1000 Sun 08-Sep-13 00:23:02

ORT books get boring as shit after a while, they need to be given as part of a range of books. Biff, Kipper & Chip can sod off. As soon as my DS got other relevant books to read he became a much better reader grin

cerealqueen Sun 08-Sep-13 00:40:39

YABU - my yet to start school DD likes to look at a variety of story books just to make up her own stories, as well as read them with me. She sees words, and hears them, and it all helps, surely?

Dancergirl Sun 08-Sep-13 09:57:56

Generally these children where this works come from families where there are lots of books and the parents are interested in reading

OP, it's sounds like you are this type of family, so what on earth are you worried about??

It sounds to me like you weren't happy with the school from the outset and are finding something to moan about to prove your point. I know the school wasnt your first choice but I suggest that you either accept the schools failings or look for another school otherwise you're going to find the coming years very tough.

Feminine Sun 08-Sep-13 10:04:09

And so the bragging appears! wink

slightly disguised but still there.

Dededum Sun 08-Sep-13 11:25:50

Two boys - DS1 (12) got it in yr 2 and quickly proceeded to Harry Potter, Ds2 more interested in football but at 10 has just asked to go to bookshop and is now getting stuck into a 500 page teen book.
I did all the reading to them when they were young and we have a house full of books. They get it when they get it, as long as not dyslexic.

Chill, ideally they need to get it before secondary school, but think there is room for wide variation before then.

My dd has mild dyslexia and was a late reader, now at 14 she's an avid and very good reader. Reading took off much better once she discovered (and was confident enough for) real books like Pippi Longstocking, then Lemony Snicket series.
We both made slow progress through the Oxford reading tree !
- though had also shared some lovely children's stories when she was younger smile

perfectstorm Sun 08-Sep-13 14:04:01

You know, I went to a shite school. We weren't taught phonics at all. I couldn't read until I was 6 or 7 or so and I came from a really literate home. It has had absolutely no impact on my lifelong literacy.

I do think it's easy to get caught up in anxiety about how very young kids are taught/learn, but in a lot of the world they don't formally teach at all at this age. It doesn't mean they are behind - in fact if taught effectively, the opposite. And an interesting book called Nurture Shock found the research overall indicates there is precisely zero correlation between early achievement, and eventual outcome. And given there is a fifth of their lives between the oldest and youngest, and the teaching has to suit all, they will have to try to pitch teaching/learning accordingly. My son couldn't speak a single word at 16 months, while friends with similarly aged kids were chattering away in sentences, but you'd never know it now. They all learn at such different rates. That's fine.

I suppose what I'm saying is, this is only Reception. If they're bored and/or genuinely unhappy, then there's a problem. Otherwise, let them get on with it, obviously offering support from home. Most of their learning at this age should be through play, anyway. Apart from anything else, they'll pick up on your attitude... and that really will affect their own attitude to education. The most helpful thing I think we can do is try to be positive about the school and their learning unless/until something drastic happens to prevent that.

Snatchoo Sun 08-Sep-13 14:07:31

We've not been given a book, but my children are in a SALT school so it's more verbal that others.

I'm not worried, they'll get there! We do lots of reading at home, DTS2 is already starting to recognise his name and letters in his name.


perfectstorm Sun 08-Sep-13 14:37:04

What does SALT stand for?

MrsBungle Sun 08-Sep-13 15:34:25

SALT is a speech and language therapist.

I don't know where I stand on this. My DD started school last Thursday and came home with a songbird ORT book (Dig Dig Dig) on Friday. She only turned 4 in June.

My DD has enjoyed looking at it over the weekend and was able to sound out the words, then we looked at the questions at the back of the book. She really enjoyed it and I don't think it was too much for her at all.

But, I am not a teacher and this is my first child - I have no idea what is 'right' or not.

MrsBungle Sun 08-Sep-13 15:34:55

Oh sorry - salt as in a salt school - no idea what that is!

hullmum31 Mon 09-Sep-13 09:11:55

I am a teacher myself, though not foundation stage. Totally agree with the points OP has made, but sometimes we as teachers can't do right for doing wrong. The teacher will not know the ability of the individual child yet. This leaves 2 options - send reading books out (which even those children who cannot read can still get something from) and risk upsetting/confusing parents like OP, or not sending them out and upsetting/confusing those parents who expect reading books to be sent out from day 1. Though maybe the teacher should have issued some guidance on how to use the book with your child depending on their ability. I really wouldn't get stressed about it, just use the book as you see fit and hopefully there'll be a parent-teacher meeting early this term for you to discuss this further with the teacher. And yes the phonics books and ORT etc are boring but it's very difficult to write books using just the selected letters from each phase of the letters and sounds programme that is used in schools, so we should all be offering our children other books to share with us alongside the school reading book to ensure they are reading for pleasure.

strokey Mon 09-Sep-13 10:22:45

My husband is Scandinavian, they don't learn to read until aged 7.

I haven't done any reading homework with my children until I see they are ready. They send the books home with a reading diary and I send them back unread.

The books are awful and could put them off reading for life IMO. I read real books to them.

School say Im not supporting their education etc but my 8 year old missed reception and didn't start to read until year 2 but is a fluent reader now.

I don't like the one size fits all attitude to learning. All children are different and parents know their children best.

Meerkat8 Mon 09-Sep-13 10:43:19

Hmm not sure. I don't think you are really being unreasonable if you feel there may be an expectation on the child to start reading when they haven't even been taught the basic sounds. Sort of seems to be setting them up to fail. Also seems to be encouraging a "whole word recognition" type of learning instead of the phonics they are encouraging at the moment.

I agree that fostering a love of reading at this age is what is most important and that working through a reading scheme in which you have to succeed at one book before going to the next, before you have been taught some sounds would be completely inappropriate.

On the other hand my sister bought us stages 1-6 of Julia Donaldson ORT series when DD was at pre-school. DD loved them and chose them as stories for us to read every night in no particular order. As she got older and interested we started doing some of the exercises at the back, and she was reading (mostly using phonics) before school (but she is one of the oldest in the year). I'm sure the fact that all the words were so simple helped and that she wouldn't have learned to read with more complicated books. The Julia Donaldson stories are much more interesting than "the dog is on the log" stories though!

I suppose it depends how the reading books are presented and there needs to be more communication from the school about what you are supposed to be doing with them. Like other posters I think the lifeskills are far more important at this age and would actually much rather children didn't start formal teaching until 6 or 7. If DD had started reception at just over 4 I don't think she would even have been ready for phonics and I wouldn't have wanted to pressurise her.

camelindasand Mon 09-Sep-13 12:29:54

I get torn between the scandi model and not wanting my children to stand out.

strokey Mon 09-Sep-13 12:43:34

Just wanted to add that in my experience the age you learn to read has little to do with intelligence.

I could read when I started reception, and still remember cringing when my mother boasted about how gifted I was. It only lasted a year or so though, I ended up about mid range. Particularly slow at maths. I was the only girl in my year not to go to university (private school)

Jux Mon 09-Sep-13 16:01:21

DD was bored put of her mind inmreception as they gave all the children bloody Biff and Kip, even though she'd had most of them at nursery. We just read books she enoyed at home in stead, Dr Seuss in particular was really helpful in keeping her love of reading alive. She'd have turned her back on it otherwise.

McRedHead Mon 09-Sep-13 20:35:39

Just to add for a point of interest. Not all children are able to decode easily. They are not suited to synthetic phonics and learn through looking at the shapes of the words and making meaning with pictures etc. The top-down model.

ReallyTired, you sound as though you are interested in your daughters education and are likely to have books in the house and visit the library. You daughter will succeed and be a 'reader' in no time at all. It is difficult to have another child to compare with, especially if he succeeded through another method.

Fostering a love/shared interest is really difficult. Especially in homes where there are little books/newspapers/text of any kind. It is the children in those homes I feel for.

Debs75 Mon 09-Sep-13 21:43:30

So DD2 got her reading book today. I say reading but it was more of a story book to share with me and dp. Perfect for her as we read a lot anyway but I like that it had a comment book which will get us all used to talking about the story more so we can put a comment in.
SHe was very excited to get the book with it's book bag and has already asked to have the book read twice before bed

JUX DD loves Dr Seuss, he is a brilliant writer and makes his books really come alive. I don't know why they aren't in more schools. I had never heard of him until I met Dp at 19

ReallyTired Mon 09-Sep-13 22:20:58

"Just to add for a point of interest. Not all children are able to decode easily. They are not suited to synthetic phonics and learn through looking at the shapes of the words and making meaning with pictures etc. The top-down model. "

Pure synthetic phonics works for a higher percentage of children than any other method of teaching reading. Many children get utterly confused when multiple methods of teaching reading are thrown at them at once. Primary school is seven years and there is plenty of time for introducing other reading strageries later.

Prehaps a proficent reader does use a range of methods to decode words, but it could be argued that a proficent mathematican has a good knowledge of calculus. In maths children start of with the basics and I feel that it makes sense for children to start simply with reading as well.

"Fostering a love/shared interest is really difficult. Especially in homes where there are little books/newspapers/text of any kind. It is the children in those homes I feel for."

I agree with you that sharing books is important. Many parents make the mistake of stopping the bed time story as soon as their child can bark at print.

My son loves reading and he was taught by pure synethic phonics. I know plenty of children in book rich homes who do not love reading. I believe that pressure to read something too difficult and failure can put children off reading for life.

McRedHead Mon 09-Sep-13 23:24:57

Rereading some posts I missed earlier, there have been a lot of valid points raised. I think one issue to remember is that the teacher in question is not going out of their way to provide a 'bad' education. I think if you have concerns then take them to the teacher or the new management so they can justify - or not- their teaching methods. Stay positive.

merrymouse Tue 10-Sep-13 07:00:49

I think that some children struggle with phonics, some pick up phonics naturally, and children develop the skills needed to learn phonics at different rates.

However, having difficulty learning phonics techniques (hearing the order of sounds in a word, identifying the sounds you can hear, remembering some spelling rules), is often a sign of a wider learning difficulty that needs to be addressed. I don't think you have to panic because your child doesn't have these skills at 4, and I don't think schools are always best able to sort out these problems given class sizes and all the demands on the teacher's time.

However, for many (most?) children, reading (and writing) doesn't 'just sort itself out' if they have a significant difficulty with phonics.

LisaTaylor2 Mon 28-Oct-13 16:36:37

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OwlCat Fri 01-Nov-13 10:25:21

I think that it's impossible to generalise. My summer-born reception DC was started on the pink level, so had words. She had done and got on well with phonics at nursery but I wouldn't have described her as 'a reader' before starting school. She has subsequently progressed through the levels and is now on blue, which she reads and comprehends well - we discuss the stories after reading at home. This isn't a boast, I'll well aware that progress can slow and more advanced readers are often 'overtaken' later on but just to illustrate that a one-fits-all approach isn't the answer.

FortyDoorsToNowhere Fri 01-Nov-13 10:31:01

Dd is in reception and has not bought a book home yet.

She brings the phonics sheets home, next step is a word box then the reading book.

My guess is by around Easter she should get a book based on her progress so far.

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