DD reception just can't seem to memorize letters?

(39 Posts)
MrsMushroom Tue 05-Feb-13 17:27:07

She turns 5 in March and her teacher has told me that she's not remembering any letters so isn't beggining to blend. She told me to work at home with helping her remember them.

Today I began with A B and C and she just cant remember which is which!

She might get it all right...then 5 mins later, she's back to just guessing wrongly. She IS interested and seems to like working on the letters...I,m keeping it light and fun but I feel really worried now!

I did a lot of showing her each letter on a card then drawing them on the window etc but she just cant remember. The teacher says she'll give me a something-card (forgotten what its called) which is what dyslexic pupils use but she's using it in this case to help DD learn the letters...but I cant help but think now that maybe the teacher thinks she's dyslexic. She is also the SENCO....is it possible to tell if a child is dyslexic at the age of 4? Or is it just her age? She's bright in other ways...remembers songs and all kinds...very articulate and sociable.

fuzzpig Tue 05-Feb-13 17:34:13

What helps my DCs is making something as tactile as possible, rather than just looking at the letters.

Magnetic/wooden letters, making them out of play dough, drawing them in a tray of shaving foam/sand/glitter etc. I even made them out of wooden train track once, and a skipping rope so DD could walk along the letters!

Is she doing jolly phonics? The jolly songs cd is really good as having a song for each letter sound can really help. The more ways your DD can experience the letter, the better, if that makes sense.

fuzzpig Tue 05-Feb-13 17:35:20

(I have no idea about dyslexia btw, although I'd have thought it a bit early to be worrying about it - but no experience of this.)

MrsMushroom Tue 05-Feb-13 17:41:22

The teacher told me she's the ONLY one in the class who is not learning any letters yet and I thought I don't believe you! In a class of 30 you're telling me that DD is the only one! Is it poissible that she's just not ready? Or more likely there's a problem?

I tried to do 3 letters this evening. Maybe I need to concentrate on them one at a time?

mrz Tue 05-Feb-13 17:47:01

Is she being taught A B C ?
Do you mean letter names or sounds?

MrsMushroom Tue 05-Feb-13 17:53:57

Mrz like when I point to a C for eg and say what's that? She can't remember it's a CUH....she just guesses. If I point to a b same thing...the ONLY ones she remembers reliably is S and O and I think it must be because they're pretty distinctive.

taketheribbon Tue 05-Feb-13 18:00:18

Ah, so she knows an 'S' (I always think of an 's' as looking like a wriggly snake, and funnily enough, the sound 's' is the start of the word snake), and she knows an 'o' (maybe because that's the shape your mouth makes when it makes the sound?).... so she is recognising some letters.

Does the school do any kind of body movement/signing with each letter? Maybe your dd needs that kind of thing to make the connection? If the school doesn't then perhaps you could try and help her that way? Try the more distinctive letters, like 'i' (because it has a dot on the top) etc etc.

Good luck - I think your dd just needs a different connection and then she'll start recognising them and matching them to the sounds.

MrsMushroom Tue 05-Feb-13 18:02:20

Yes take they do the movements and I can never blinking remember them! The teacher says she'll get me a sheet on them this week.

It's making me feel bad for DD as the teacher says she's feeling it a bit...the fact that some of her mates can begin to blend and she can't.

learnandsay Tue 05-Feb-13 18:03:11

You could try singing them

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffeZXPtTGC4

mrz Tue 05-Feb-13 18:05:47

Jolly Phonics Actions

Group 1

s Weave hand in an s shape, like a snake, and say ssssss.

a Wiggle fingers above elbow as if ants crawling on you and say a, a, a.

t Turn head from side to side as if watching tennis and say t, t, t.

i Pretend to be a mouse by wriggling fingers at end of noise and squeak i, i, i.

p Pretend to puff out candles and say p, p, p.

n Make a noise, as if you are a plane – hold arms out and say nnnnnn.

Group 2

c k Raise hands and snap fingers as if playing castanets and say ck, ck, ck.

e Pretend to tap an egg on the side of a pan and crack it into the pan, saying eh, eh, eh.

h Hold hand in front of mouth panting as if you are shaking out of breath and say h, h, h

r Pretend to be a puppy holding a piece of rag, shaking head from side to side, and say rrrrrr.

m Rub tummy as if seeing tasty food and say mmmmmm.

d Beat hands up and down as if playing a drum and say d, d, d.

Group 3

g Spiral hand down, as if water going down the drain, and say g, g, g.

o Pretend to turn light switch on and off and say o, o, o, o.

u Pretend to be putting up an umbrella and say u, u, u.

l Pretend to lick a lollipop and say l, l, l, l, l, l.

f Let hands gently come together as if toy fish deflating, and say f, f, f, f, f, f.

b Pretend to hit a ball with a bat and say b, b, b.

Group 4

ai Cup hand over ear and say ai, ai, ai

j Pretend to wobble on a plate and say j, j, j.

oa Bring hand over mouth as if you have done something wrong and say oh!

ie Stand to attention and salute, saying ie ie.

ee or Put hands on head as if ears on a donkey and say eeyore, eeyore.

Group 5

z Put arms out at sides and pretend to be a bee, saying zzzzzz.

w Blow on to open hand, as if you are the wind, and say wh, wh, wh.

ng Imagine you are a weightlifter, and pretend to lift a heavy weight above your head, saying ng…

v Pretend to be holding the steering wheel of a van and say vvvvvv.

oo OO Move head back and forth as if it is the cuckoo in a cuckoo clock, saying u, oo; u, oo (Little and long oo)

Group 6

y Pretend to be eating a yoghurt and say y, y, y.

x Pretend to take an x-ray of someone with an x-ray gun and say ks, ks, ks.

ch Move arms at sides as if you are a train and say ch, ch, ch.

sh Place index finger of lips and say sh sh sh.

th th Pretend to be naughty clowns and stick out tongue a little for the th, and further for the th sounds (this and thumb).

Group 7

qu Make a duck´s beak with your hands and say qu, qu, qu.

ou Pretend your finger is a needle and prick thumb saying ou, ou, ou.

oi Cup hands around mouth and shout to another boat saying oi! Ship ahoy!

ue Point to people around you and say you, you, you.

er Roll hands over each other like a mixer and say er er er.

ar Open mouth wide and say ah.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqaP19rUwz4

MrsMushroom Tue 05-Feb-13 18:05:48

Thanks Learnandsay but having looked at the link, I don't think it's going to help DD as the pictures include the capital as well as the lower case and it might confuse her. She needs to see only lower case at the moment.

MrsMushroom Tue 05-Feb-13 18:06:29

Mrzthank you! grin

MrsMushroom Tue 05-Feb-13 18:10:09

So should I be worried that she's struggling or is it normal for some?

mrz Tue 05-Feb-13 18:12:49

I would expect most children to know more than 2 sounds by this point in the year

MrsMushroom Tue 05-Feb-13 18:13:42

So what do you think the problem is?

mrz Tue 05-Feb-13 18:14:44

She needs to know both capital and lower case letters

B & b are both spellings of the sound "b"
A & a are both spellings of the sound "a"

MrsMushroom Tue 05-Feb-13 18:16:25

Well I know but she can't even tell me what f looks like and the teacher told me to stick to lower case...what I'm asking is why you think there might be a problem? What sort of problem?

mrz Tue 05-Feb-13 18:19:50

I would normally ask parents to check eye sight and hearing first then go back to basics focusing on the first 6 sounds (if the school use Jolly Phonics - s,a,t,i,p,n) recognising the letters, saying the sound and reading and spelling simple words (sat, at, it, in, an. pan, pat , tap, sit, tin, tan) 10 mins a day

There are other programmes but I would stick with what the school uses initially.

allchildrenreading Tue 05-Feb-13 18:23:10

Mrs Mushroom -
My colleagues and I have helped struggling children to overcome this difficult first hurdle with very, very carefully structured little stories starting with only five sounds . For the first 3 books no other sounds are introduced and little animal characters help in all sorts of ways. The last child I saw who was in a similar situation to your dd was the one child who didn't recognise his name by the end of Reception, his mother was told. By the start of Year 1 he was terrified and by the end of September he was on the way to becoming a school refuser. I introduced him to the 'Sam' books - www.piperbooks.co.uk - and within an hour he was able todecode/ read (not guess!) the first little books and read the first one to his Mum and then to his grandma. He was then given extra help at school and has never looked back, in spite of severe dyslexia on both sides of the family. Have a look at the website if you've time- the books are used with all main Synthetic Phonics programmes so the same processes of blending and segmenting words is taking place.
I was instrumental in bringing these books to the UK - and have had wonderful feedback particularly with children who initially struggle to get on the first rung of the ladder.
Good luck .

MrsMushroom Tue 05-Feb-13 18:25:34

Thank you allchildren I will look at the site now...can I ask which 5 sounds would the little stories include?

Haberdashery Tue 05-Feb-13 21:09:19

MrsMushroom, would doing it as a game make it fun? I played loads of games with DD and other children that I know or knew when they were learning letters. You could make a pile of snap cards with s a t p i n (or any other small number of letters/sounds, but lots of each one) and just work on seeing that one s is the same as another s, with lots of praise whenever she gets it right or is really making a good effort/concentrating. You need lots of each one so there will be lots of matches. Then move on to saying the sound when you pick up the pair of cards if she can see that s and s are the same or p and p or whatever. Obviously let her win if you possibly can.

You could make BIG letters (in fact, you could draw outlines and she could help colour in etc) and put them all round the room on chairs, back of sofa, table etc and make her run/jump/climb to each letter when you call out the sound. She won't know them to start with so you can describe them (eg s, the curly letter that looks like a snake, or p, there is a round part and a long stalk). Treats/rewards/stickers as required.

Dominoes with letters (which you make out of card) would also be quite good fun.

You could also do magnetic letters on the fridge and get her to race herself at bringing you the correct letter (you might need a few sets to have plenty of letters of each type - or make them with her on card and stick them somewhere out of your sight with blu-tac so she can work out which one to bring herself - you can give her clues about the shape of the letters if you want to/she needs it).

WiganKebab Tue 05-Feb-13 21:44:41

Google 'teaching my monster to read' - a great online aid to help with the initial stages of recognizing letters. My DD (4) loves it!

allchildrenreading Wed 06-Feb-13 16:22:13

WiganKebab - that looks fun - thanks.

Mrs Mushroom -
The first five sounds have been chosen for a number of reasons - not least because they are sounds that blend very easily - No 'plosive' sounds like 'p' 't' for instance. They are:
/s/ /a/ /m/ /ie/ /ee/
'S''s' 'a' 'm' 'I' 'ee'

Very, very gradually more letter/sound correspondences are introduced. No high-frequency word learning, no 'tricky' words

This allows 'real' stories to be constructed - lots of expressiveness, amusing incidents, and interaction between the animals. And although there is heaps of repetition (which lots of children require, regardless of whether they are very bright or not), the instruction is always via the decoding route. The books are used very successfully with all the main synthetic phonics programmes including Jolly Phonics, Read-Write Inc, PhonicsInternational, L & S and Sound Reading System.

It's hard to explain but sometimes when a child is 'stuck' learning abstract sound-letter correspondences, learning to read via very carefully constructed stories can be very motivational and boost confidence tremendously.

It will be good to hear how your dd progresses.

MrsMushroom Wed 06-Feb-13 16:35:31

Thank you everyone...the problem is allchildren that DD cannot even recognise an S or an a at the moment to she's not going to be able to read anything at all.

MrsMushroom Wed 06-Feb-13 16:37:25

I would like to add though that we did seem to have some progress last night and she did appear to retain some letters....I wonder now if the problem is that she simply hasn't quite associated the shape with the sound...so I say look DD...this is an S....see the S....and do the sign for S....a moment later she's nonplussed when I ask her to point to the S....she HEARS the sound...she sees the shape..knows it looks like a squiggle or a snake....but she doesn't associate them together.

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