Reading in Reception - feeling frustrated

(93 Posts)

I don't want to push my DS and I think on the whole so far I've been quite relaxed about how much learning is going on, I can see the massive progress he's made in so many ways since leaving preschool and he really has blossomed, socially, his speech is better, he is very happy and enjoying school, is enthusiastic about the various projects he's learning about, etc etc. A few wobbles here and there but generally, all is good.

But... some days he appears to read whatever book he is given perfectly and others its as though he has never read a book or even a word before in his life. I think he relies on the pictures too much and then guesses, wrongly, without looking at the words at all - e.g thinking a lid was a plate, so 'reading' the word plate when it isn't even there. He is bringing home awful books, repeating the same few it seems, he says they get to choose from a certain box. I borrow lots from the library, and encourage him to read from our own books too of course but just feeling a bit lost in helping to guide his learning here.

He is an autumn birthday so do I have high expectations? He is bringing home pink books but I have no idea what that really means. He got so fixated on a picture of a beetle he just couldn't see that the word was bug. I am gentle and say, yes, it's a picture of a beetle but let's read the word too, b-u-g, can you blend the sounds? Beetle he says. I say there's no 'ee' or 'T' can he try again? No he says. Loves it when he can actually read things particularly if it follows an interest but outside of these moments he will say he never needs to learn to read, will just grow up and stay at home etc so finding it hard to get him to see why learning is a good thing.

Sorry for length. Any advice?

KindleMum Thu 28-Mar-13 16:48:42

My DS does this - very bright, can read easily but cannot read picture books as he just stops reading and guesses the words. I blame the emphasis teachers put on using the pictures.

I simply cover up the pictures as we read and then he reads swiftly and perfectly. He will read dense paragraphs of picture-less texts 10 times more quickly than bloomin' Biff, Chip and Kipper! Covering up the pictures completely is the only way he can read picture books.

Tonight he has read the end of term parent newsletter to me instead of Biff, Chip and Kipper. I don't care.

Cover up the pictures. It's easy.

mrz Thu 28-Mar-13 17:16:50

But teachers should not be teaching children to use pictures or guessing from initial letters or any of the "Searchlight" strategies

maizieD Thu 28-Mar-13 18:27:09

Frightening, isn't it mrz angry

KindleMum Thu 28-Mar-13 18:34:30

many are, mrz. And they defend it when you query them. So presumably it's allowed as an acceptable teaching strategy?

mrz Thu 28-Mar-13 18:41:49

"Are the teachers who want the children to guess the words based on the pictures following any kind of system (and are they prepared to tell you what the system is called?)"

It's called Look & Say hmm

learnandsay Thu 28-Mar-13 18:58:41

Well, I learned to read with look and say and I wasn't taught to look at the pictures. You can look at the pictures all you want but it has nothing to do with reading.

Periwinkle007 Thu 28-Mar-13 19:04:44

I thought look and say was the same as whole word recognition where you just learn the word and then look at it and say it rather than phonics and break it down phonetically.

I don't think pictures are part of look and say.

learnandsay Thu 28-Mar-13 19:14:34

Right at the beginning you get things like a picture of a cat and cat written underneath it and the same with a dog so you learn to recognise the words cat and dog. But it works just as well if you have the words and no picture it's just not as pretty.

mrz Thu 28-Mar-13 19:20:06

"The "whole language" or "look and say" method teaches that children should memorize or "guess" at words in context by using initial letter or picture clues."
http://www.nrrf.org/essay_Illiteracy.html

"If you don't use a picture with the word the child will probably make a wild guess as to what it says trying to remember what sound you made previously. *This is not a good method if you don't include pictures.*"

Periwinkle007 Thu 28-Mar-13 19:35:06

sorry yes saying that pictures aren't really a part of it was wrong.

when introducing new words pictures can help but the pictures in the early ORT books tend to be too busy to be useful IMO.

the old Peter and Jane ones

Peter - picture of a boy
Jane - picture of a girl
Peter and Jane - picture of the boy and girl
Peter likes the dog - picture of boy and dog

and so on. there aren't many ways a child could confuse them.

With many of the words though in look and say you still have to tell them what the word is and then it is just how many times they can manage to get that word in a sentence.

My children use both which seems to work for them. They both loved/love Peter and Jane and luckily don't seem to suffer any confusion from doing both. The elder one struggles with phonics as she has some sort of visual processing disorder but she has managed extremely well with whole words and knows all her phonics, she just struggles to see all the letters in the right order so it can cause her problems.

mrz Thu 28-Mar-13 19:42:54

How does she manage to see the letters in the right order to recognise a whole word Periwinkle or would she be the type of child who struggled with the phonics check because they read strom as storm?

simpson Thu 28-Mar-13 19:47:43

I also used to be mean and cover up the pictures when DD was first learning to read.

I think the pictures are there to help with the comprehension (ie looking at expressions on people's faces to see how they feel etc) rather than the actual reading which should be on decoding only.

Periwinkle007 Thu 28-Mar-13 19:52:00

she is only in reception so I don't think she will have done the phonics check yet and yes she quite probably would read strom as storm because she would want it to make sense.

we don't really understand what she sees as we have only discovered there is a problem in the last few weeks. She can control her eyes for a certain amount of time and then kind of flops. when she breaks down a word such as redecorate which was in a book she brought home a week or so ago she got re cor ate. so I said she had missed a bit and she looked at it again, re cor ate. so I asked what about the de and she said 'what de' she couldn't see it. it is odd. with the whole word she just seems to be able to manage. of course once we had established it was redecorate she now knows that one. very odd and we don't understand it.

she can read level 10 books absolutely perfectly and like a much older child for about 3 or 4 pages and then just suddenly starts mixing all the words up and saying where instead of when, that kind of thing. If it is on a coloured background she can read it absolutely fine so we are picking up some coloured glasses next week following a colorimeter test a few days ago so we will just have to see if they help.

mrz Thu 28-Mar-13 20:01:36

What is the school doing about her reading problems Perriwinkle?

Periwinkle007 Thu 28-Mar-13 20:12:53

erm nothing at the moment. well not strictly true - I don't think they had a clue there was a problem.

Her teacher is great but to be fair to her my daughter started school in september reading level 7 at home so they started her straight on level 5 books in october which is fair enough, let them check she could manage them comfortably not just had a mother and preschool claiming she could read. she did a lot of books at that level across different reading schemes etc and then went up, did loads of level 6 across schemes and so on reading them all word perfectly but needing to work on expression which again is fair enough so we did a lot on that. Then level 7 (whilst having gone up to 8/9/10 at home judging by levelled non scheme books and usborne ones etc) and then we started to hit problems. the non fiction ones were fine, the biff and co ones were always a bit of an ordeal and we started to get problems skipping full stops and sometimes mixing up words. They obviously thought she had just reached a plateau, again fair enough and kind of left her to it. I didn't realise she wasn't reading too well with these books at school because her reading record is full of glowing reports. At home I was starting to notice a difference between books written with smaller print black on white and those with bigger print or on colour. she also has issues with the white board so I spoke to her teacher and they suggested an opticians with a vision therapy section so we took her there and have paid for the colour test (on first reading of the stuff in that she skipped words and lines all over the place - on second reading with her chosen colour she only skipped one word and then went and corrected herself and missed 1 line compared to 5 the first time) and the glasses.

I sent in a letter after this appointment explaining what we had found as a result of the appointment and asking them for advice next term. So we will have to see what happens really. I think they will support her if they can but I am not sure they have much experience of the problem she is having and as we aren't completely sure what the problem is it is hard to know.

I do think though that if I hadn't picked up on it by chance they wouldn't have noticed until probably part of the way into year 1 as they would just think she was between jumps in development. They moved her up to level 8 this week after I spoke to her teacher and explained that she seems to get very tired/stressed eyes so can do very well for a short amount of time so perhaps they listened to her earlier in the day or nearer the window so natural light or just luck. not sure.

I don't know what I can expect them to do to be honest. luckily she seems to be a bright child and she does seem to be managing albeit with discomfort.

mrz Thu 28-Mar-13 20:19:03

I would imagine it would have been picked up in the Y1 Phonics screening check but should be picked up earlier if her reading accuracy is so erratic. I hope you are able to find a solution to her difficulties.

Periwinkle007 Thu 28-Mar-13 20:22:47

thank you. She did a phonics thing of some sort the other day with alien words she said but I wasn't sure what that was. the newsletter said something about them having done a phonics test now they had finished teaching them 40whatever it is phonic sounds and that next term they will regroup them based on the results. She thinks she got them all right and quite possibly did if they were all basic ones or the font was big enough. who knows. mind at least her teacher now knows there is a problem.

mrz Thu 28-Mar-13 20:45:01

"many are, mrz. And they defend it when you query them. So presumably it's allowed as an acceptable teaching strategy? "

Not under current government guidelines

simpson Thu 28-Mar-13 21:03:17

Periwinkle - I hope you do get things sorted out. Does your DD read a lot to herself? I have found that DD does not pause at full stops etc when she has read a lot to herself. Obviously there is something else going on too with your DD but maybe there is an element of her reading to herself causing some problems too (or not helping the issues she already has iyswim).

learnandsay Thu 28-Mar-13 22:24:08

I think there's a big difference between reading a sentence and reading illustrated common nouns. If you have a picture of a bicycle with the word bicycle written underneath it then it makes perfect sense. But if you have a picture of several circus animals and it also has a monkey eating a banana with then the lion came in written underneath it you can study the picture for months and still not know what it says.

learnandsay Thu 28-Mar-13 22:33:36

Learning to recognise common nouns isn't the same thing as learning to read. You can have a picture of a tree, a goat and a shoe but you can't have a picture of and, or, doing, while or exact. But you still have to read them.

simpson Thu 28-Mar-13 22:46:52

Not convinced that a child in reception would know what a noun is....

learnandsay Thu 28-Mar-13 22:55:34

They don't need to. The pictures aren't necessary; they just look nice. People who use flash cards often don't have pictures. Someone who can recognise hundreds of common nouns still can't read. If you put connecting words between the nouns he wouldn't be able to read them, so he can't read, he can just recognise written nouns. That's not reading.

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 06:18:05

learnandsay regardless of your belief the use of picture clues (in the illustrations) to work out words in a text is a recognised part of the look & say method

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 06:59:26

Children in reception will be taught about proper & concrete nouns in very general terms simpson.

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