Six year old struggling with reading - tutor or can I help him myself?

(49 Posts)
TheRealYellowWiggle Wed 02-Apr-14 21:12:06

I'm probably over-reacting from parent's night this week but ds1 seems to be in the bottom group for literacy, and doesn't know all the necessary sounds etc yet. His teacher seemed very negative to me also. Recent books have included level 3 ORT ones, he is in his second year of primary school (Scotland).
I'm not trying to hothouse him, but would like to get his reading up to a level were it was easier for him to access the curriculum (and maybe move out of the bottom set!)
So, is an expensive tutor the answer? We would struggle to afford this but would if best for him, though I worry about choosing one etc.
Or is there anything I could do myself? Despite being a teacher I have no idea about phonics and feel pretty useless trying to help him.
I feel we have not been supporting him enough really and want to fix this. sad
Any advice gratefully received thanks

MrsPnut Wed 02-Apr-14 21:17:00

What does he read at home? I get my dd to read anything and everything - going shopping, she has to find a particular brand of milk or the tomato pasta sauce.

I also get dd to read signs where ever we go and encourage her to read magazines that interest her. School reading scheme books are bloody boring and I wouldn't blame kids for not being interested.

TheRealYellowWiggle Wed 02-Apr-14 21:23:22

Thanks for the reply, I hadn't thought of those things. He loves books, has been read to since he was a baby (trying to justify myself here!) likes looking at books about football, the body, solar system, but he's not reading them iyswim. Likes me to read chapter books to him. I think he thinks it's something I do for him! rather than something he does for himself!
I feel he's making slow progress and maybe this is just his level but I really didn't like the impression I got from his teacher that they are doing everything they can - she barely seemed to know him. (Not being rude about teachers - loved his P.1 one).

mrz Wed 02-Apr-14 21:28:10

If you have an ipad https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/id769196201?mt=8&affId=1736887 is excellent for teaching the basics of the phonics code for reading and writing. The first units are free and would give you an idea how to teach more advanced sound/spelling correspondences

simpson Wed 02-Apr-14 21:32:47

Check out the Oxford owl website, it has loads of free ebooks.

My local library has phonics based books (phonics corner ones) which are fab too.

Mummypatch Wed 02-Apr-14 21:33:35

When my DS (now 8) was a similar age, I bought a set of phonics books and worked with him over the holidays. He took it as a challenge and made great progress. I also found that making a game of reading, you read one page, I'll read two etc. , encouraged him. Also, unlike my older DD, he has little interest in fiction - once we found what fascinated him (sport & history) it was much easier.

Notcontent Wed 02-Apr-14 21:37:52

I would like to make two points:
- firstly, some children are just not ready to read when they start school. My very intelligent (in my opinion!!!!) dd didn't start to "get" reading until the second half of year 1. Now in year 3 she is an excellent reader.

- secondly, at this stage you definitely don't need a tutor. Just do a bit of extra reading with him every day. Doing it every day, including weekends and holidays, will make a huge difference.

BornFreeButinChains Wed 02-Apr-14 21:42:54

www.amazon.co.uk/Fergus-Crane-Far-Flung-Adventures-Stewart/dp/0440866545/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396471170&sr=8-1&keywords=fergus+crane

Would anything like this interest him?

I also wonder does he have the right brain to take on phonics?

I had a glimpse of my DD's and I have to say I could not grasp it, its not the way my brain works, although DD got it.

It it confusing for them to be taught in different ways?

Can you get a book that he will really want to read?

Before xmas, I had a suddenly good reader but very reluctant to pick up any books in her room, until FC bought Ottoline and they sucked her in, from glancing at the pages and she was literally away.

mrz Wed 02-Apr-14 21:49:35

Perhaps if you had been taught phonics systematically your brain would grasp it more easily rather than attempting to intuit - the same applies to children

BaconAndAvocado Wed 02-Apr-14 22:28:06

I second what notcontent said.

DS1 really struggled learning to read, despite lots of intervention at home.

Now 16 yo he is a straight A student hopefully heading off to Uni in a couple of years.

It is difficult but try not to worry, or make a huge issue of it. He will read when he's ready. smile

proudmama72 Wed 02-Apr-14 22:40:29

I'm also with notcontent.
Read to him as well and that will stimulate a love of books without looking at them as work. One thing I did with my youngest, but she was at least 5 and half, is make our own sight word cards using index cards. and then we decorated them and used them to practice. there is a basic 25 to get started. This will build his confidence if he knows some high frequency words.

Mrswellyboot Wed 02-Apr-14 22:43:52

Sorry I haven't time to write a long post here but I would try some games with him

Amazon do nice early literacy games and also you could buy magnetic fishing rod games for him to do matching initial letters etc.

TheRealYellowWiggle Wed 02-Apr-14 22:59:45

Brilliant ideas thank you smile I guess I have been looking for a quick fix in a way, when there is no substitute for just spending time reading with him. I do have guilt that we read for about half an hour at bedtime each night before his now one-year-old brother came along..
Those ereaders look excellent, and he'll love anything on a tablet of course!
Will go through all the suggestions tomorrow thoroughly, thank you again.
(Funny that my knee-jerk reaction is to get a tutor to 'fix' things when I always roll my eyes at the secondary students who get tutors... Serves me right for being judgy!)

TheRealYellowWiggle Sat 05-Apr-14 00:05:14

Just to say, the last three nights we've read a book (he chooses) from the Oxford ereader website, nd I've just downloaded the phonics ap mentioned below. Have two weeks off school now, so that should be 14 stories read before he returns to school...
Feeling a lot more optimistic now, thanks thanks

3boys3dogshelp Sat 05-Apr-14 00:15:42

I agree not to get a tutor as it might make it more of a big deal for him than it needs to be. My son reads far better in the morning before school than if we try to do it later as he still gets really tired after school. He still loves being read to at night so I read chapter books then and 'his' books during the day when we have 5 mins (literally 5 mins and stop before he getsbored). I have a 5 year old, 4 year old and a 6 month old so I know how hard it is.
Do you have any baby books he could read to his brother to help get his confidence up? Repetitive ones with not many words.

Feenie Sat 05-Apr-14 00:15:48

Have a look at Reading Chest too - tick the phonics books and the uhh are delivered in a big important envelope with your dc's name on - December loved this in Y1.

Feenie Sat 05-Apr-14 00:17:02

Fgs, kindle has a life of its own, I swear - they are and ds!

Jumping on here to say thanks for the link to Oxford Owl website. Had never heard of it before. Have a struggling 7 year old who loves being read to but will do anything to avoid having to have a go himself. Am planning to let him access ebooks via tablet.
I noticed that there is audio description available. Do you think this would be a help or a hindrance? Was thinking off he could read along with the audio it might encourage him?
Any thoughts?

columngollum Sat 05-Apr-14 00:22:38

Have a go at Ladybird Peter & Jane books. They taught a generation to read. Not this generation. But a different one.

Feenie Sat 05-Apr-14 00:27:38

They taught 80% of a generation to read and are sexist, repetitive drivel.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Sat 05-Apr-14 00:31:23

You turn off the volume on the oxford owl website.

I quite like the teach your monster to read games that are free too.

Thanks all. Will turn the volume off and maybe concentrate on factual stuff in the first instance as he's really interested in nature, history etc.
Have tried non fiction books but after a promising start he always finds Lego nearby to play with. hmm He loves having time on the tablet so ebooks might be what's required.
Will have a look at teach your monster to read too.

MinimalistMommi Sat 05-Apr-14 10:29:26

I taught both of my daughters to read with the Jelly and Bean range of books, they are simply brilliant.
www.jellyandbean.co.uk

CecilyP Sat 05-Apr-14 10:36:05

It sounds as if the teacher caught you off guard in what she said. Would you be able to make another appointment for a talk specifically about reading in order to find out what the actual difficulties are and what you can do to help address them. 'Doesn't know all the necessary sounds' is quite vague - it doesn't tell you whether he can't remember the basic ones or if it is the less common ones that he hasn't covered yet. Also being in the bottom group doesn't mean much either - could be a very quick cohort, or he could be young in year.

You don't sound remotely pushy - just worried. I am sure you would be able to help him yourself if you had some guidance on how to go about it. I also don't think you really need to worry that his lack of reading ability will affect his access to the curriculum, most of which will be delivered verbally at this stage.

Ferguson Sat 05-Apr-14 19:52:04

If you look in MN book reviews, 'Children's educational books and courses' there is a review of the Oxford Phonics Spelling Dictionary. This has a lot of explanation of phonics, and would support reading and spelling right through primary and into secondary school.

It would be a book he could access himself, and might well find interesting, but adult support could explain the more advanced features of the book. It helps to take most of the 'mystery' out of phonics, and he could also use it to compile his own little dictionary of words he finds difficult, or that he could use in his own writing.

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