Worried about DS1's reading

(19 Posts)
Tailtwister Wed 19-Feb-14 11:27:13

DS1 is in his second term of P1 (Scotland) and started school with no reading ability. He seems to be progressing ok and the teacher's feedback is that he's reading well within his group (he's on yellow Biff, Chip and Kipper books). It seems they are allocated a group and work their way through the whole set of books before moving on (this takes a term from what I can see).

The only problem is that when we read at home he seems to make frequent mistakes. He will often read a word correctly on one page and seem to get stuck with the same word on the next, despite having just read it. He also will use words which fit ok in the sentence/picture, but just guesses rather than trying to read the actual word used.

I'm beginning to wonder if this is indicative of a problem or not. It's hard to get him to read outside of his school books and I'm sad to say both DH and I find it quite a frustrating experience although we are very careful not to show it.

The other problem is that his really close friends are in amuch higher groups than him (one was reading Secret Seven before she started P1) and he finds this annoying. His work in all other areas is on par with theirs (according to DS), but he seems to feel frustrated with his reading.

How can I help him?

cloutiedumpling Wed 19-Feb-14 11:58:07

DS did that last year and would try to memorise the text rather than read it. You can get lots of free e books on the oxford owl website. Alternatively, you can buy cheap books on the Bookpeople website. We bought some of the easy Biff, Chip and Kipper ones.

kw13 Wed 19-Feb-14 13:23:29

My DS was a little like this. It was also difficult to explain to him why reading was so important. Top trumps were a revelation! He had to be able to quickly read, recognize what the words said and meant, and how their relative meanings differed. So we started with Top Trumps Dinosaurs and moved on from there. Once he realized how much fun you could have with reading (ie how useful it was) it became much easier to then get him engaged with reading the school books. He will get there - there is a huge range of abilities when they are that young (my DS is 7.5 now and it's really only just starting to get to be more of a level playing field). So, I think that what I am suggesting is finding other ways to engage with reading - that might be easier and fun for all of you! Good luck.

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 19-Feb-14 13:53:48

at his age 'filling in' with a word which comes to mind probably isn't that uncommon. both mine have done it/one is doing it now. she CAN sound out the words perfectly well but it is much less effort to randomly name a word which might fit and hope it is the right one....

what can you do about it? well I would probably get some phonics reading books. my girls have liked Songbirds phonics. I would do those at home with him as they work through different sounds in each book (tells you on the back which ones - I expect the other phonics books for different schemes are the same, RWI and Dandelion are often mentioned on here as well). He will have to sound words out in them and will hopefully start to do less guessing. If the Biff, Chip and Kipper ones are the old ones then they are written very differently to the phonics books most schools now use. My 2 find the old ORT ones really easy to read, DD2 is on stage 6, can read the old ones very easily, could read stage 8 of the old ones but if given more phonetic books at that level she is slower. she can still read them but the sounding out of the longer words isn't yet quick enough for her to read them fluently. This would imply to me it is much easier to read the old books if you can memorise some words as the text is more predictable and easier to guess. Does that make sense?

If he couldn't read in the autumn when he started school and is now on yellow then he is doing fine, regardless of what other children are doing. I can imagine he is frustrated though if some of his friends are finding it easier. Just keep reminding him all the things he does well and better than most people and try the phonics books explaining to him that if he practices lots then he will soon progress even quicker.

mrz Wed 19-Feb-14 14:18:07

How is he taught to read in school ... from what you say it seems your son's approach to reading fits a child taught by Look & Say /mixed methods.

columngollum Wed 19-Feb-14 14:28:27

Can't speak for a MM child. But L&S children do actually read the words! (They can also spell them.)

Tailtwister Wed 19-Feb-14 14:39:50

Thanks for all the suggestions. We have some of the Songbirds books and we read every night, it's just such hard going!

How is he taught? Well I think they do use phonics. He was taught all of his letter sounds at the same time he was given reading books and some words which he was to recognise by sight (word tin). These words were ones he would see in his reading books (e.g Biff, Chip, Mum, Dad etc). They are working on two letter sounds from what I can work out, like oo, ee etc.

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 19-Feb-14 14:44:20

learning to read can be heavy going until they get the hang of it.

columngollum Wed 19-Feb-14 14:48:48

If they're teaching children to learn words like mum and dad by sight I can see why the child is getting confused.

WipsGlitter Wed 19-Feb-14 14:54:48

This sounds very much like my son. He got extra help with his reading until recently, but it just seems to have clicked now. In hindsight (he's in P2 now) I would have done a lot more of the sounding out and going over (and over) the sounds and the high frequency words. He did get very frustrated though, but now loves reading and gets a real sense of achievement from getting it right!

mrz Wed 19-Feb-14 14:58:53

" These words were ones he would see in his reading books (e.g Biff, Chip, Mum, Dad etc)." this is Look & Say Tailtwister. It very much sounds as if they are using mixed methods.

Tailtwister Wed 19-Feb-14 15:59:08

It very much sounds as if they are using mixed methods.

Does that present a problem mrz? It's so hard to know when I don't really have a clue about teaching methods. I got the impression that they were given a core set of words in their word tin to get them started with the reading books. We haven't had any new ones so far this term though.

The problem is that DS does pick things up very quickly and this is probably the first thing he's found challenging tbh. His teacher doesn't seem to think he's behind or even struggling, but I guess we're so used to him just getting things right away it's giving us (and him) the impression he's finding it harder than he should iyswim. They get spelling tests (just 3 letter words atm) which he's getting all right, so he doesn't seem to have a problem with letter recognition or blending.

What makes it even harder is that his little brother (3) seems to be picking it up by osmosis and is starting to take an interest and getting some words right too!

columngollum Wed 19-Feb-14 16:11:56

It's probably better to find out if they really are using mixed methods before we all start getting out knickers in a twist.

According to some teachers mixed methods are the spawn of the devil. (And who knows, maybe they're right.) But then, the English language is a mixture of god knows what and heaven knows what else, all jumbled up together and mixed with a big fat spoon. So, no one method works reliably 100% of the time (although some people with argue till they're blue in the face that their pet method is 100% reliable.)

So, in the end, it's all a question of judgement.

Tailtwister Thu 20-Feb-14 08:12:30

It's probably better to find out if they really are using mixed methods before we all start getting out knickers in a twist.

True. If they are though and it's not the best approach, there's not really anything I can do about it anyway though is there? My mum was a primary teacher and has given DS a subscription to Reading Chest for his birthday, so that might help. I did some reading with him yesterday and he was actually much better, so we shall see.

columngollum Thu 20-Feb-14 08:19:03

You can at least be aware if it genuinely is being used in the school.

Hypothetically, if the picture is of a harvest and the child is being asked to look at the picture to read the words home brew, then that is utterly ridiculous. I don't know if the world contains a single primary school teacher who needs the child to guess:

tractor
straw
hay
people
hedge
farm house
donkey
gate

in order to see that from a picture of a harvest the child can not correctly guess the words home brew.

If a single teacher needs such a demonstration maybe she should give up teaching.

mrz Thu 20-Feb-14 08:47:38

It's very easy to find out if your child is being taught mixed methods ... ask the child what they need to do when they meet a new word ... guess from the picture is a big indication it's mixed methods ... so is guess from the initial letter and/or think about what might make sense. All this combined with Look & Say books and key words from the reading scheme scream MM.

columngollum Thu 20-Feb-14 09:22:13

Analytic phonics begins with working out a word from its initial letter, so doing that might not mean mixing. Some schools do not have the correct scheme books to suit their teaching method regardless of which method they use.

So, the behaviour of the child might scream all kinds of methods. But that doesn't mean that those methods are actually being used. It might just mean that the school has a tight budget!

cloutiedumpling Thu 20-Feb-14 09:32:15

That's interesting mrz. I am in Scotland and have never asked the teachers directly if they are using mixed methods or not. My DSs though have done everything you have described!

mrz Thu 20-Feb-14 14:16:37

It's the combination of strategies that make it mixed methods cloutiedumpling - phonics(most likely analytic) whole word memorising picture cues, thinking of a word that would make sense (context).

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