Is this how children learn to read these days?

(485 Posts)
Bananaketchup Sat 08-Feb-14 20:10:40

Am genuinely asking. DD is in reception. She started late at the school and has only been in full-time since xmas, so they don't really know her too well. She loves being read to, she can sound out words when she's in the mood, but is also one for the easy life. She reads once a week 1-1 with a TA at school, and brings the book home afterwards until it's swapped a week later. The books are of the 'this is a house, this is a garden' level. In her reading record it will say 'DD read the book and enjoyed it'. But when she reads it at home she rattles off the sentence on each page and has clearly just memorised it, and isn't actually reading. If I mix the page order up, she can't read it. If I hide the picture, she can't read it. She will make wild guesses without even trying to sound out the word e.g. she will guess 'the' for 'house', just pure guesses. This weekend she got in a strop because I wouldn't let her see the picture (as she was just guessing from this and not reading the words at all). She then said 'but Mrs X (The TA she reads with) says look at the picture, then read it'. So my question is (if you've got this far without dying of boredom), is this how children are taught to read - to look at the picture to know what the words say? Because DD isn't paying any attention to the words, just gabbling off what's in the picture, and I can't really see how this is teaching her to read. I am minded to speak to school, but don't want to be 'that' mum if this is genuinely a method children learn to read by, which I'm unaware of. Can anyone advise please?

MuddlingMackem Wed 26-Feb-14 21:27:22

FWIW I would say I'm a visual learner. I remember stuff much better if I've read it than if I've heard it. DS is the same. I failed miserably to learn any Italian from cassettes, but an old 'Teach Yourself' book had much better results. smile

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Wed 26-Feb-14 21:33:50

I think there's a big difference in teaching vocabulary and teaching someone how to read words though. And between teaching MFL to students that can already read in one language and teaching children who have never read before.

I can 'read' (or bark at print, depending on which way you wish to look at it) words quite fluently in several languages. Most of the phonics skills I learnt when learning to read are transferable it's just the case of learning the specific code for that language. No pictures are needed to read the words on the page.

I might use pictures in the very early stages for learning vocabulary but never for learning how to read a word. At most, I might have the picture, written word and spoken word together so I associate them with each other but I would be looking at the letters and associating them with the sounds in the spoken word rather than with the picture.

MuddlingMackem Wed 26-Feb-14 22:15:14

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Wed 26-Feb-14 21:33:50

>>>> I think there's a big difference in teaching vocabulary and teaching someone how to read words though. And between teaching MFL to students that can already read in one language and teaching children who have never read before. <<<<<

Agreed.

(What I said above, obviously I could already read. grin I just needed to see the words written down, I couldn't learn them if I just heard them spoken.)

maizieD Wed 26-Feb-14 23:12:46

Don't think we've convinced anyone about 'learning styles' mrz wink

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Wed 26-Feb-14 23:55:05

I had figured you could read grin. And I don;t think there are many pictures to help you in the 'Teach Yourself' books.

I'm actually quite similar when it comes to learning languages. I need to see the words written down when I hear them in order to memorise them. At least in the initial stages. But I'm concious of the fact that I am reading the words in the same way that I would tackle an unfamiliar word in English. Albeit using a different 'Alphabetic Code'.

maizieD Thu 27-Feb-14 00:08:48

I suspect that prefering to read new foreign words rather than learn them by listening to them has more to do with it being more difficult to remember a sound sequence (particularly when the 'sounds' are put togther in an unfamiliar, foreign, sequence) than it has to do with a (non existent) 'learning style'. Having the word written down gives a prompt for the sound sequence and, if you've learned the new 'code', a reminder of what the sounds should be.

I think that most people would find it easier to learn a new language by a combination of hearing snd seing it. Unless they are accomplished mimics.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Thu 27-Feb-14 00:33:50

Wasn't really thinking about learning styles. I know 'learning styles' as such are rubbish. Could never really get my head round them when doing my teacher training.

It's more just a personal preference I think. I wonder how much it has to do with how I was taught to read. I seem to have been taught with a much more phonics based approach than most MNers. Not as comprehensive as newer schemes but I've never been taught any other approach to a new word than to sound it out. So I naturally apply what I've learnt to other languages. I might be completely screwed if I tried to learn something like Kanji in Japanese or some of the Chinese languages where words are represented using pictorial symbols rather than sounds being represented by symbols.

Spaghettinetti Fri 28-Feb-14 11:08:45

When I initially posted, I didn't think if have to explain myself quite so fully or that certain individuals would argue their points quite so vehemently - actually to the point of personal attack in my mind. When I mentioned 'visual learners' I didn't say that I subscribe to the belief that we all have a distinct learning type and that people 'assigned' that learning type only learn in that way. It is however, preferable for some learners to link images with text and vocabulary. My own learning preferences involve seeing information graphically or from actively participating in activities, rather than just reading about stuff. I can process information that I read, but I prefer to see it in other formats and retain it better this way; I'm sure I'm not alone in this.

I should also point out that the languages I teach are not in the Latin script, so my students have to learn about new writing systems before they are able to effectively develop their vocabularies and successfully read and replicate words in their speech and writing. I teach new words and phrases with images so that they have a graphical link between the new words/phrases as they are written and how they are said. This image later acts as a stimulus for recall. I will do a number of activities with my students using such images including asking students to write the words associated with the images, which demonstrates both their reading and writing skills. This does work in language learning and vocabulary development.

I agree that phonics is by and large the best way to teach reading, but I don't think there is anything wrong in looking for contextual clues from images. As other posters have already mentioned, these books are mainly intended to hammer home key words. Personally, I hate them...I also hate Biff and Chip style books, but appreciate that they play a role in helping children to learn to read.

maizieD Fri 28-Feb-14 11:21:43

I should also point out that the languages I teach are not in the Latin script, so my students have to learn about new writing systems before they are able to effectively develop their vocabularies and successfully read and replicate words in their speech and writing. I teach new words and phrases with images so that they have a graphical link between the new words/phrases as they are written and how they are said. This image later acts as a stimulus for recall.

I actually agree with you that in the situation you describe here images are very useful. This is not a 'learning styles' issue.

Apologies if I misinterpreted your original post.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Fri 28-Feb-14 11:26:05

I don't see the personal attack.

I'm not sure the non-Latin script makes much difference. I have friend learning a MFL in a non-Latin script (the first MFL she's learnt) and she has learnt to read in that language very easily by using the same skills she learnt in English - learning the sounds symbol correspondences and then blending them together to read words. I don't think she's ever learnt to read words using flashcards. And she might be what you would call a 'visual' learner if there was such a thing.

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