The trauma of trying to 'blend' words with my 5yo d/s

(62 Posts)
laudymissclaudy Tue 13-Nov-12 22:14:18

My son started school in September (also turned 5!) and he is beginning to learn to read. He can recognise letters and knows the sounds however when I comes to blending 'd-o-g' 'dog' the nightmare begins. He really struggles and starts to get upset and throws tantrums as soon as I mention practicing some of the words the school sent home! I spoke to his teach who agreed he would not blend (rather than can't?) and said the teaching assistant will be doing some extra work with the children who are struggling! Has anyone else had an issue with this part of reading? His school uses the read write inc programme. It's getting to a point I dread getting it out as the huff that follows doesn't seem worth it!

steppemum Tue 13-Nov-12 22:20:07

very early days, and he is tired after school and doesn't want to do any more.

My dd is just 5, about 3 weeks ago she couldn't blend, would say d-o-g and then say any word beginning with d, or say it using last letter, in this case god!

Suddenly last week, I noticed she has started to do it.

Don't push it. Any reading at home at this point should be fun and build confidence, so praise him for what he can do, and be relaxed about the next step. He is hardly 'struggling' they are just beginning. Try not to worry.

learnandsay Tue 13-Nov-12 22:22:11

It's not that hard.

The way I did it was to show my daughter the sound oo and ee

with oo we would touch our nose and with ee we would push our belly buttons.

Then I wrote
poo
pee
moo
mee
loo
lee

on large pieces of paper and spread them on the living room floor and I would call out a pseudo word and my daughter would run and pick it up. After that we introduced other letters and sounds. It was a while ago now, but I think my daughter got the "game" on the first day.

numbum Tue 13-Nov-12 22:26:45

learnandsay I think you need to take step back and realise not every child finds learning to read as easy as your DC does. Telling someone 'it's not that hard' is very patronising.

OP Alphablocks on Cbeebies website is fab for helping to blend. Letting your DC 'play' on the computer and putting Alphablocks on for them to play with is a sneaky way of getting them blending

SilverSixpence Tue 13-Nov-12 22:28:00

DS also in reception didn't seem to get it either but recently something clicked and he's improved massively at blending words and can eventually read most 3 letter words (with some lapses in concentration!)

I wouldn't force it, just do 5-10 mins each day and if he's not enjoying it let him do something else. My DS really likes alphablocks on cbeebies and we are using the Julia Donaldson Oxford reading series which he enjoys.

learnandsay Tue 13-Nov-12 22:29:04

Oh, right. Sorry. I thought it wasn't that hard. If you know your letter sounds and you know oo and ee doesn't poo, pee, moo, mee follow?

I'm not trying to upset people.

numbum Tue 13-Nov-12 22:30:58

But not all children GET that straight away! I'm talking as a parent of two children who did 'get' reading straight away but have seen first hand children who don't just click with it and need that bit more help

laudymissclaudy Tue 13-Nov-12 22:31:45

I don't want to get in the way of the schools techniques which is why I've just gone along with the word cards and the characters they use for each letter so I don't confuse him. Sometimes it seems like it on the tip of his tongue and I think that is why he seems frustrated by it. He seems to enjoy it more when it's a game/fun ie in the shops or in the car I will say 3 letters and ask him what I'm saying however as soon as its a serious environment he closes up! Hopefully he will catch onto it in his own time

BertieBotts Tue 13-Nov-12 22:33:01

I've just seen "Robot speak" mentioned on another thread (thanks ReallyTired!) as a fun game to play - don't introduce it as blending to your DS although it should help him get used to running sounds together, and will help the blending to "click" for him.

In the middle of a sentence you pick a simple word like "milk" or "car" or "keys" or something, and say each sound, like a robot. so "We need to buy some m-i-l-k" or "Where did I park the c-ar?" (ar is a phoeneme rather than a-r because you don't say ah-r) "Can you remember where to put the k-ey-s?"

Make sure you're not doing muh, ruh, cuh etc but just exactly as you would say the word itself, but with added pauses between sounds.

PPPop Tue 13-Nov-12 22:33:18

I did silly words like p-oo and w-ee and had a little giggle with my son at the start. We just used to chat in the car rather than make a big thing out of 'practicing' words. My ds1 is the type that if you try to sit him down and teach him something he just lashes out and refuses, but if you make it a bit silly and a game he's more inclined to have a go and he learns without realising he is doing so. Knowing his letters and sounds is a pretty good start for your son though, I would say, I am sure it will click soon.

kige Tue 13-Nov-12 22:36:20

Might get flamed for this...

DS very reluctant to read in reception.

Taught him to blend at home, worked because he thought it was hilarious:

bum
poo (nice use of digraph!)
wee
...and wait for it...shit blush he was virtually crying with laughter.

He is now in y2 and is a very good reader. And does not swear!

Tgger Tue 13-Nov-12 22:37:20

Yes, am sure he will, and what you are doing in the car/shops etc is the way to go, just keep going and soon enough he will find it easier and be happy to do the school stuff.

Laudy - we started phonetically sounding out everyday words (school calls it sound talking) so we would ask things like 'have you seen the c-a-t?' or 'where are your sh-oo-s?' don't worry about spelling but more about the sounds the letters make - mmm instead of muh, fffff instead of fuh etc.

carocaro Tue 13-Nov-12 22:39:09

"Oh, right. Sorry. I thought it wasn't that hard. If you know your letter sounds and you know oo and ee doesn't poo, pee, moo, mee follow?"

Not really no, it does not! If learning to read was so straight forward all children who stated in reception would being fluent by Xmas.

I would leave him well alone for now, the do enough at school, and it is all new to him, if you push it now and he is not ready you could really put him off. And what is 'getting it staright away' anyway? After a week, month, year? It is not a race. It does not mean your child is thick/has a problem if they are not top of the class immediately. NEWSFLASH top of the class does not exist anymore.

All three of mine we later than some, in their class and hey guess what? They can all now read!!!

Glittertwins Tue 13-Nov-12 22:39:20

If you have an iPad or iPhone, Hairy Letters is good for spelling and blending.

learnandsay Tue 13-Nov-12 22:41:10

I'm with PPPop, although to be honest my method was a bit more formal. But then my daughter doesn't lash out when I try to teach her something. But a game it certainly was. I also know some phonicsy people don't agree with adding letters in front. But to me it works like an old fashioned joke. What do you get if you put a "tee" in front of "old" my daughter says told. But that's using the letter name not it's sound. I don't know. Maybe I should duck out of introductory conversations from now on because my daughter has not really had any problems with the whole thing of reading. Maybe I don't know what it's like to deal with a genuine problem.

mintyneb Tue 13-Nov-12 22:42:09

Laudy, from my experience (DD now 5.7 in yr 1), there will be a lightbulb moment when blending starts to make sense.

Up until Xmas last year DD could sound out letters but not make head nor tail of them. She could say c- a - t over and over again and then look at me and say 'dog?' ( for example!) Then a couple of weeks into the spring term she somehow knew those letters put together made cat. Nothing had changed in how she was reading books, things just started to make sense.

I won't say that she's flying with her reading but I'm really impressed with what she can do now.

Dont forget MN is full of parents of children who seem to be able to read beyond their years. If your ds was in my dds school he would be in the same position as the vast majority of the class at this stage of the year

simpson Tue 13-Nov-12 22:42:13

You can try it in everyday speech ie "Can you pass me the j a m" or "Would you like to go to the p ar k?"

I would take it nice and slow tbh as he is only young....

laudymissclaudy Tue 13-Nov-12 22:44:13

I was just about to ask about the iPad apps! I think i just need to take a step back and let the school work their magic. However when they send word cards home and fill his book in saying he can ONLY (their word not mine) do 4 words it's a bit disheartening!!

lljkk Tue 13-Nov-12 22:44:38

I feel your pain (my own reception DS), but also think just take it easy. Do as much as he feels comfortable with & no more.

We get "huh ae t!.... said?"

Where I grew up I was told children normally didn't click with reading until at least 6yo. The English system & MN expectations bewilder me.

carocaro Tue 13-Nov-12 22:47:09

Hairy Letters is a good app. And Save the Pencil.

maizieD Tue 13-Nov-12 22:48:35

I know that it is very early days yet and that he may well just 'click' with blending but I, personally, don't like 'robot talk' very much (but then, I do work with much older children, some of whom have found reading very difficult). I think it sometimes impedes blending rather than helps it.

If blending doesn't click you could try the complete opposite of the stacatto (sp?)'robot' voice. Hold onto the sounds and 'slide' from one to the next. Another way is to blend 'progressively' by sounding out the word, then blending the first two sounds, getting that bit secure, then adding the next sound, and so on. Also, it may help to 'whisper' the consonant sounds (which, strictly speaking, aren't 'sounds' at all) and just voice the vowel sound. This really helps to minmise the intrusive /uh/ which, however hard you try to eliminate it, sometimes gets attached to the consonants and distorts the word.

numbum Tue 13-Nov-12 22:49:13

'my daughter doesn't lash out when I try to teach her something'...again with the patronising!

dabdab Tue 13-Nov-12 22:50:18

Try not to worry too much. Every child works to a different 'schedule' when it comes to learning to read, despite what the government thinks. For many boys (but not all, obviously!) it 'clicks' later than for lots of girls. It is still early for him, the main thing is that he doesn't feel stressed by it. Often children need to hear a lot of blending before they can self blend. It sounds like he knows that there is something he should be 'getting' and is frustrated that he isn't!
Keep at it with simple CVC words, and doing it in an active context is good - pretending to be robots and having him guess the word while you do the action 'I am going to look u-p' (speaking in robot voice and looking up) Going to the park and giving instructions 'Can you h-o-p?' 'Let's r-u-n' and so on makes it more fun. Make sure he gets to give you instructions too, to give him a chance to sound things out. A limited selection of fridge letters are good too - you can spell out 3 letter words, spacing the letters out, and then he can push them together and you can say the word, etc. He will get there.

learnandsay Tue 13-Nov-12 22:52:51

Wait a minute, nunbum. I thought your first point was fair enough. But now you're starting an argument! The fact that my daughter doesn't lash out when I try to teach her something is simply a description of my daughter. She's very good and patient. (Don't read into a sentence something that isn't there.)

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