Teachers, what is the average age at which children learn how to blend phonic sounds?

(37 Posts)
Teuchtermam Thu 27-Jun-13 15:48:01

I have a Dd who has recently turned 3. She has known the sounds letters make for quite a while now but doesn't understand blending at all. She will say c-o-t, cup or something else random.

However, you only need to show her a word once or twice for her to know what it says but that's not much good for figuring out new words. So my question is, is she too young to understand blending or should I make an effort to teach her? She is very interested and wants to learn.

Thanks in advance for replies

RobotBananas Fri 28-Jun-13 20:59:03

DS didn't get it til he was 5. A year later and he was free reading. There's a huge variation.

lastnightidreamt Fri 28-Jun-13 21:11:30

Phew!

No, I just don't understand how I can have tried everything with zero success! At least the teachers have managed to drag a bit of intelligence out of them grin

prettybird Fri 28-Jun-13 21:35:47

.....no, teachers are just there to help when the little tykes ones are ready! grin

LiegeAndLief Sat 29-Jun-13 23:00:57

lastnightidreamt, we read to my ds every day from very young. He loved it, and would keep bringing us books to read for literally hours. He could recite quite long picture books by heart when he was 2-3.

He didn't blend until about 4.5 and brought home his first ever reading scheme book in the first week of Y1.

He was a free reader by Easter of Y2.

This had taught me that every child learns at their own pace when they ar ready, and I'm going to be much more chilled out about dc2!

Teuchtermam Sun 30-Jun-13 11:20:51

Thanks for replies, everyone.

That's an interesting point about the real life average and the average on here.

I did wonder how many children started school reading as, from a quick look around this forum, you could easily assume that most 5 year olds are fluent readers having started school reading when in fact in real life, as people have said here, it is very unusual and not even one child per reception/p1 class is a pre-school reader.

prettybird Sun 30-Jun-13 12:58:37

Tuechtermam - we looked in to getting ds into Hutchie (before we realised that the school we wanted ds to go to was actually our catchment school and we weren't going to have to do a placing request after all). He "failed" the entrance "assessments" (which they claimed to be looking at potential rather than current capabilities hmm) - but we actually expected that when, at the 2nd assessment, we saw people cramming their kids and getting them to practice reading before going in. We looked at them like this shock as ds at the time (not long turned 4) knew the letter "MMMM" (first letter his name) and that was about it. We hadn't been pushing him to read as we thought that when he got to school would be plenty of time.

As it happens, I'm glad he didn't get in to Hutchie as I don't think that he would have got the support he got at his (state) primary school, nor the understanding that he just wasn't yet ready to read. And as he is now in the top sets for both English and Maths at secondary, ultimately it was their loss and our wallet's gain grin

Teuchtermam Sun 30-Jun-13 13:13:26

Exactly prettybird, I think forcing a child to read earlier than they are ready is like forcing a baby to walk before it's ready. Daft and can't be done. However, as Dd is showing a lot of interest, we are just trying to encourage her at her own pace. I do believe that sounding out is a developmental thing though, and will happen when she is ready - likely around 5ish.

Periwinkle007 Sun 30-Jun-13 13:34:46

very unusual for them to start school reading and I would expect that most who do are those who find it easy to learn whole words rather than blend to a high level. my daughter was reading when she started but she read by whole words and struggled with blending for a while (has visual processing problems), out of the children we know there was one who could read a bit and the others were still at phonics stage. by the end of reception some of the ones who couldn't read anything were up on book band 9/10 confidently, the one who could read a bit was on something like 6 and my daughter was starting on chapter books. Don't know about the others, they seemed spread out anywhere from levels 1-11 as far as I know. I think blending is definitely developmental. my youngest starts in september and she is quite good at blending short words but we haven't taught her things like ai or ae or any of those so she only knows the basic phonics and ch sh th etc. she may pick up a bit more by september, not sure but otherwise she won't be starting much different to the others in the class. she doesn't learn whole words so much although she has picked up quite a few.

Teuchtermam Sun 30-Jun-13 13:47:56

That's interesting Periwinkle, goes to show children learn differently even in the same family. Dd finds whole words come easily to her so we are continuing with answering her questions for the mean time and blending will come when she is ready. Ds may find blending easier when he is older.

Periwinkle007 Sun 30-Jun-13 14:06:35

yep my 2 are very different.

DD1 would spell out C A T and then just say c a t c a t and look at me blankly. so I would say the letters quicker to make cat and she would look surprised, read it and move on. she learned words on seeing them only once or twice so whilst I did my best to get her to decode them it didn't really work. she can now decode pretty well but when she meets long complex new words we do get problems, partly because she sees the letters in the wrong order (she has coloured glasses which help but don't solve the problem completely).

DD2 probably has absorbed all my constant repetition of sounding words out and seems to do it very easily. She has learned quite a few words by sight as well but her memory and brain are obviously very different to her sister's.

Periwinkle007 Sun 30-Jun-13 14:07:00

and of course they have both used exactly the same books and had exactly the same input.

Tiggles Sun 30-Jun-13 19:44:46

DS1 learnt to read by blending just before his 3rd birthday - he knew all his phonics before then e.g. ch, sh etc not just single letters. But he learnt to read so quickly he was really learning words by sight, and he pretty much lost his phonic blending skills. By 5 he was reading books like Harry Potter. His spelling is now dire, as he didn't get the solid phonics grounding in school, and he can't remember the phonics he learnt at 2. He does however how Aspergers (form of Autism) which may explain why he learnt to read so early - letters were always an obsession with him.

DS2 is (fortunately) an October birthday. He wasn't even interested in letters until about this time of year when he was in nursery. That would have been a problem I guess if he was a couple of months older as that would have been nearly at the end of his reception year. As soon as he became interested in letters, he also worked out how to blend them. So his nursery (attached to the school) started sending home reading books. By the first half term of reception he was doing reading and writing with year 1. He is now finishing year 1 and is reading with year 3.

DS3 (September birthday) was always vaguely interested in letters, he learnt some simple phonics when he was at nursery (early entitlement) not attached to school. But he couldn't blend them and couldn't hear the sounds in words. We played lots of eye spy and he gradually got to be able to distinguish the first sound in words. But it wasn't until later again that he could then blend them back together. Bizarrely he could then write words before he could technically read them. School nursery started giving him reading books around Easter time, and he can now happily read the first level of books, and is quickly picking up new phonemes like sh, ch etc, but at nowhere near the rate that DS1 and DS2 picked them up.

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