The trauma of trying to 'blend' words with my 5yo d/s(62 Posts)
My son started school in September (also turned 5!) and he is beginning to learn to read. He can recognise letters and knows the sounds however when I comes to blending 'd-o-g' 'dog' the nightmare begins. He really struggles and starts to get upset and throws tantrums as soon as I mention practicing some of the words the school sent home! I spoke to his teach who agreed he would not blend (rather than can't?) and said the teaching assistant will be doing some extra work with the children who are struggling! Has anyone else had an issue with this part of reading? His school uses the read write inc programme. It's getting to a point I dread getting it out as the huff that follows doesn't seem worth it!
very early days, and he is tired after school and doesn't want to do any more.
My dd is just 5, about 3 weeks ago she couldn't blend, would say d-o-g and then say any word beginning with d, or say it using last letter, in this case god!
Suddenly last week, I noticed she has started to do it.
Don't push it. Any reading at home at this point should be fun and build confidence, so praise him for what he can do, and be relaxed about the next step. He is hardly 'struggling' they are just beginning. Try not to worry.
It's not that hard.
The way I did it was to show my daughter the sound oo and ee
with oo we would touch our nose and with ee we would push our belly buttons.
Then I wrote
on large pieces of paper and spread them on the living room floor and I would call out a pseudo word and my daughter would run and pick it up. After that we introduced other letters and sounds. It was a while ago now, but I think my daughter got the "game" on the first day.
learnandsay I think you need to take step back and realise not every child finds learning to read as easy as your DC does. Telling someone 'it's not that hard' is very patronising.
OP Alphablocks on Cbeebies website is fab for helping to blend. Letting your DC 'play' on the computer and putting Alphablocks on for them to play with is a sneaky way of getting them blending
DS also in reception didn't seem to get it either but recently something clicked and he's improved massively at blending words and can eventually read most 3 letter words (with some lapses in concentration!)
I wouldn't force it, just do 5-10 mins each day and if he's not enjoying it let him do something else. My DS really likes alphablocks on cbeebies and we are using the Julia Donaldson Oxford reading series which he enjoys.
Oh, right. Sorry. I thought it wasn't that hard. If you know your letter sounds and you know oo and ee doesn't poo, pee, moo, mee follow?
I'm not trying to upset people.
But not all children GET that straight away! I'm talking as a parent of two children who did 'get' reading straight away but have seen first hand children who don't just click with it and need that bit more help
I don't want to get in the way of the schools techniques which is why I've just gone along with the word cards and the characters they use for each letter so I don't confuse him. Sometimes it seems like it on the tip of his tongue and I think that is why he seems frustrated by it. He seems to enjoy it more when it's a game/fun ie in the shops or in the car I will say 3 letters and ask him what I'm saying however as soon as its a serious environment he closes up! Hopefully he will catch onto it in his own time
I've just seen "Robot speak" mentioned on another thread (thanks ReallyTired!) as a fun game to play - don't introduce it as blending to your DS although it should help him get used to running sounds together, and will help the blending to "click" for him.
In the middle of a sentence you pick a simple word like "milk" or "car" or "keys" or something, and say each sound, like a robot. so "We need to buy some m-i-l-k" or "Where did I park the c-ar?" (ar is a phoeneme rather than a-r because you don't say ah-r) "Can you remember where to put the k-ey-s?"
Make sure you're not doing muh, ruh, cuh etc but just exactly as you would say the word itself, but with added pauses between sounds.
I did silly words like p-oo and w-ee and had a little giggle with my son at the start. We just used to chat in the car rather than make a big thing out of 'practicing' words. My ds1 is the type that if you try to sit him down and teach him something he just lashes out and refuses, but if you make it a bit silly and a game he's more inclined to have a go and he learns without realising he is doing so. Knowing his letters and sounds is a pretty good start for your son though, I would say, I am sure it will click soon.
Might get flamed for this...
DS very reluctant to read in reception.
Taught him to blend at home, worked because he thought it was hilarious:
poo (nice use of digraph!)
...and wait for it...shit he was virtually crying with laughter.
He is now in y2 and is a very good reader. And does not swear!
Yes, am sure he will, and what you are doing in the car/shops etc is the way to go, just keep going and soon enough he will find it easier and be happy to do the school stuff.
Laudy - we started phonetically sounding out everyday words (school calls it sound talking) so we would ask things like 'have you seen the c-a-t?' or 'where are your sh-oo-s?' don't worry about spelling but more about the sounds the letters make - mmm instead of muh, fffff instead of fuh etc.
"Oh, right. Sorry. I thought it wasn't that hard. If you know your letter sounds and you know oo and ee doesn't poo, pee, moo, mee follow?"
Not really no, it does not! If learning to read was so straight forward all children who stated in reception would being fluent by Xmas.
I would leave him well alone for now, the do enough at school, and it is all new to him, if you push it now and he is not ready you could really put him off. And what is 'getting it staright away' anyway? After a week, month, year? It is not a race. It does not mean your child is thick/has a problem if they are not top of the class immediately. NEWSFLASH top of the class does not exist anymore.
All three of mine we later than some, in their class and hey guess what? They can all now read!!!
If you have an iPad or iPhone, Hairy Letters is good for spelling and blending.
I'm with PPPop, although to be honest my method was a bit more formal. But then my daughter doesn't lash out when I try to teach her something. But a game it certainly was. I also know some phonicsy people don't agree with adding letters in front. But to me it works like an old fashioned joke. What do you get if you put a "tee" in front of "old" my daughter says told. But that's using the letter name not it's sound. I don't know. Maybe I should duck out of introductory conversations from now on because my daughter has not really had any problems with the whole thing of reading. Maybe I don't know what it's like to deal with a genuine problem.
Laudy, from my experience (DD now 5.7 in yr 1), there will be a lightbulb moment when blending starts to make sense.
Up until Xmas last year DD could sound out letters but not make head nor tail of them. She could say c- a - t over and over again and then look at me and say 'dog?' ( for example!) Then a couple of weeks into the spring term she somehow knew those letters put together made cat. Nothing had changed in how she was reading books, things just started to make sense.
I won't say that she's flying with her reading but I'm really impressed with what she can do now.
Dont forget MN is full of parents of children who seem to be able to read beyond their years. If your ds was in my dds school he would be in the same position as the vast majority of the class at this stage of the year
You can try it in everyday speech ie "Can you pass me the j a m" or "Would you like to go to the p ar k?"
I would take it nice and slow tbh as he is only young....
I was just about to ask about the iPad apps! I think i just need to take a step back and let the school work their magic. However when they send word cards home and fill his book in saying he can ONLY (their word not mine) do 4 words it's a bit disheartening!!
I feel your pain (my own reception DS), but also think just take it easy. Do as much as he feels comfortable with & no more.
We get "huh ae t!.... said?"
Where I grew up I was told children normally didn't click with reading until at least 6yo. The English system & MN expectations bewilder me.
Hairy Letters is a good app. And Save the Pencil.
I know that it is very early days yet and that he may well just 'click' with blending but I, personally, don't like 'robot talk' very much (but then, I do work with much older children, some of whom have found reading very difficult). I think it sometimes impedes blending rather than helps it.
If blending doesn't click you could try the complete opposite of the stacatto (sp?)'robot' voice. Hold onto the sounds and 'slide' from one to the next. Another way is to blend 'progressively' by sounding out the word, then blending the first two sounds, getting that bit secure, then adding the next sound, and so on. Also, it may help to 'whisper' the consonant sounds (which, strictly speaking, aren't 'sounds' at all) and just voice the vowel sound. This really helps to minmise the intrusive /uh/ which, however hard you try to eliminate it, sometimes gets attached to the consonants and distorts the word.
'my daughter doesn't lash out when I try to teach her something'...again with the patronising!
Try not to worry too much. Every child works to a different 'schedule' when it comes to learning to read, despite what the government thinks. For many boys (but not all, obviously!) it 'clicks' later than for lots of girls. It is still early for him, the main thing is that he doesn't feel stressed by it. Often children need to hear a lot of blending before they can self blend. It sounds like he knows that there is something he should be 'getting' and is frustrated that he isn't!
Keep at it with simple CVC words, and doing it in an active context is good - pretending to be robots and having him guess the word while you do the action 'I am going to look u-p' (speaking in robot voice and looking up) Going to the park and giving instructions 'Can you h-o-p?' 'Let's r-u-n' and so on makes it more fun. Make sure he gets to give you instructions too, to give him a chance to sound things out. A limited selection of fridge letters are good too - you can spell out 3 letter words, spacing the letters out, and then he can push them together and you can say the word, etc. He will get there.
Wait a minute, nunbum. I thought your first point was fair enough. But now you're starting an argument! The fact that my daughter doesn't lash out when I try to teach her something is simply a description of my daughter. She's very good and patient. (Don't read into a sentence something that isn't there.)
It's not a bloody problem, learnandsay, it's completely NORMAL for a child early on in Reception to not yet have grasped blending.
I would also say take it easy, just make it as fun as you can (the robot speak game can be a lot of fun) and be patient. It really is a developmental thing and pushing it may just lead to you and him getting upset. He will get there in the end and if he can spot the sounds in the words at all he is doing just fine at this stage. The best thing is just to make sounds explicit in words as a conversational thing. If he can spot the starting sound of words, try to get him spotting the end sound or the middle one or whatever. Maybe get him to spot an object in the room that ends with T or something? Choose a sound where there are lots of choices for him to get it right easily so he will feel encouraged. And don't stress about it. Really, this is completely normal for a child at this stage of their school career.
I'm not starting an argument. Your comment indicates that anyone who's child doesn't take to reading easily is lashing out. Like I said, both of my children took to reading easily, but I wouldn't assume anyone who's child hasn't taken to reading so easily has a child who is lashing out but just has a child who's taking a while longer to 'get' it
No I'm not. I was talking about PPPop's post where she said her child lashes out and made blending a game.
Folk getting into a barny over how to blend (only on MN).
I'm teaching Reception this year having taught nursery for the last three. I firmly believe that children access letters and sounds, blending, reading when they are developmentally ready. Not all children learn at the same rate and why should they? It sounds as if the school are pushing blending possibly too hard. He will get there. In my class I have some children about to start reading scheme books and some still going over the first set of letters to consolidate their learning. I don't see anything wrong with this. I have a group of boys totally disinterested but over time they will get there.
I think the suggestion of robot voice for sound talk is good- by making a game of sounding out words it will help your ds hear how letters blend together. We played a game today with an object hidden in a bag and I sounded out what it was, e.g c-u-p and they had to guess.
Please don't feel that at this point in Reception your ds must be blending. He just isn't ready. Our school has 4 reception classes and there are children in each who aren't ready so he is perfectly normal and will start blending when he is ready.
I think the whole point everyone is trying to make is to make it fun and not formal so the child does not realise they are learning iyswim...
DS (now yr3 really struggled with blending - he got his first reading book in feb when he was in reception and it did not click until Easter time and once he clicked....he was off!!)
And sorry to clarify, by saying he isn't developmentally ready doesn't mean I think he is developmentally behind. I also have children in my class who don't 'get' blending yet but can hold a full on in depth conversation about how something works and already work out subtractions mentally but just aren't ready for blending.
And some of those kids will be the ones already zooming round on bikes and swimming well. Not to say you some aren't doing both but child development goes in spurts at all things. It's interesting they don't send the kids struggling with pushing the pedals round home with a bike and pedals to push .
Right, but for the ones who can't swim we can supply a brochure of our new heated swimming pool which all school families can access for a modest fee.
Tgger I like your thinking <ponders sending bikes home over reading scheme books on Friday>
And make sure you send a good patronising note home about what to do with them .
My DD did a year long reading programme before starting school in September and it was about 9 months into it that she "got" blending though she knew a lot of letter sounds by then.
One of the games we played was making up words with flashcards. E.g. with the word mat, the m and the t will be at 2 ends of the table and the a in the middle. I'd get her to say the sounds for each letter slowly at first, then I'd start bringing the m and the t closer to the a in the centre and the closer they got, the faster she had to say the sounds. Sometimes she said the right word; other times, she'd say a word that did not even sound alike.
We also had picture & word cards, where we would look at the picture and sound out the letters that make the word. We did word search with these too like find the word mat, then I would sound it out or get her to say the sounds she heard in the word.
There are lots of ideas/aids on youtube.
As frustruated as I felt we kept at learning the sounds and working on blending them at least about three times a week. I don't know exactly how she figured it out but it just seemed to click one day and she's never looked back.
I'm sure if you persevere and make it as interesting as possible and with the right support from school too he'll soon be up to speed.
Sing the sounds, works a treat.
we taught ours wee, poo, fart, bum, pants etc .. and then started to make up silly sentences using the words.
I thought I'd just say that both my DDs (DD1 now Y5/ DD2 now Y3) took a while to be able to sound out words and certainly neither was making a lot of progress before Christmas in Class R.
DD1 in particular was very slow to 'get it' but also turned 5 shortly after starting school.
We found alphablocks incredibly helpful - the cartoon format and cheerful tunes which are very catchy really helped introduce these concepts for DD2 (not out in time for DD1). BBC Alphablocks here: www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/alphablocks/.
Now the other thing to remember is that elsewhere in the world children do not start primary school until the year they are turning 6 and are not expected to properly commence learning to read (to blend sounds) until the year they are turning 7.
I know it can be really hard to not be concerned or aware that other children seem to be picking it up no problem - but you really do need to treat this like any other milestone your child has had to date. Your DS will get there in his own good time. Right now he needs your support and it's essential you are positive about the pleasure and importance of reading, not necessarily that he gets on with it right now. It's very important that you are outwardly relaxed about his reading and show confidence that he'll get there in the end.
We found with DD1 (phonetics system just introduced and not as well taught as with DD2 a few years later with a different teacher) that slow and steady got us there. Be prepared for a frustrated child and a child who is fully aware they are in 'bottom group' or 'not doing very well'. Just keep reassuring him that you know he'll get there in the end. It's a marathon - not a 100m dash.
We also found advice and resources on Oxford Owl very helpful for DD2 (sadly not discovered or possibly out there for DD1). Link here: www.oxfordowl.co.uk/Reading/.
I agree with Purpleprickles. I teach reception and I find that blending for reading takes some time for some children to aquire, but that what tends to happen is that one day they "get it".
In my class at the moment, less than a third are blending confidently enough to have a reading book. I'd expect most of the class to be reading by the end of the Spring term. Those that know few letter/sound correspondences by Christmas, or who are not reading by Easter, I'd say will need "extra support". So, not knowing your child or the cohort, it surprises me that the teacher is using a word like "struggling" and saying that he "won't" rather than "can't" blend only 10 weeks into the term.
Learning to read is not a race (despite what you may pick up from MN) and there is no evidence that children who read fluently in reception are necessarily going to be high achievers through life. Let's face it, most countries in the world don't bother teaching reading at this age anyway.
I think it's really important when teaching reading to go at the child's pace otherwise he or she will decide reading is too hard before they even get started. Your DS seems to be illustrating this point. Reading is such a wonderful gift that we don't want any child to be thinking they can't do it. TBH, I'd focus at home on what your child CAN do rather than what he can't do. So if he knows letter/sound correspondences, and you want to do work at home then concentrate on those. Even better, bake some cakes or go on a lovely walk.
Your post was a little patronising, learnandsay. Maybe have another read of it and see how it could come across? <pats learnandsay on the head>
Marking my place.
Ds1 just started year 1 and turned 5 in August.
I was told at parents evening that he's below average in everything.
Just leaving for work but back later to read and rant about the down sides of pushing phonics. Imo.
Remember it well. Aug born DS. Around this time in Recep he just didn't get it. I didn't push it, just carried on sharing books (and slipping in a little bit of phonics). A few weeks later, he just got it. He was ready.
Not looked back. Now Y5 - prolific reader.
Hang in there and do not stress too much. Just give it a bit more time. If still worried talk to teacher.
I would follow maizieD's advice. You'll also find it easier to practise blending activities if you use three-sound words (CVC) that begin with a continuant, a sound you can hang on to. For example, you can hang on to /f/, /l/, /m/, /n/, /r/, /s/ /w/ and /v/, relatively easily. This enables the child to hear the word and to blend the sounds in the word. So, if you write the word 'mat' on a whiteboard or piece of paper, go 'mmmmmmmaaaaaaat', tracking your finger under each sound as you stretch it out. Your child should be able to hear the word 'mat'. After your son has read the word, ask him to write it, saying each sound separately now as he does and then reading the word back sound by sound, followed by the whole word. If he needs help forming the letters, help him by providing a model. Use a light coloured pen or marker and let him go over what you've done with a darker colour. Add dots to show where to start and arrows to shoe orientation if necessary.
My dd couldn't blend at all in reception. I did lots of games and tried to make it fun but it meant nothing to her. One day in the summer holidays between yr r and yr 1 she got it and went back to school at the start of yr 1 able to read cvc words and starting to have a go at harder ones.
For her, it was just a case of waiting until it clicked. She's in yr 2 now and a good reader who loves stories.
My ds1 is 5 (august) and is now in year 1.
We've just had his parents evening where the teacher told me that ds1 is below average in everything.
She wants to work on his reading first.
I thought ds1 was doing quite well. I knew he wasn't going to be top of the class but thought he was doing well. He reads ok, does a lot of sounding out and gets some words wrong, but makes a good effort. he writes independently, and his spelling is getting there.
I think his school are expecting a little too much, from what I can gather from parents from other schools.
His teacher sent home some flash cards, we, me, she, be and said she will add 1 or 2 more as he gets these right consistently and this is the extent of the strategy to bring him up to where he should be.
So, looks like it['s down to me then.
He really enjoys the starfall website where he can start to bbuild cvc words by adding the first letter. There are lots of games etc on there, also cbeebies alphablocks (like others have said).
We also watch phonics songs etc on youtube, loads of nice bits on there.
We play matching games with flashcards and I pretend to get words wrong so he can help me.
I've also started on working on his audio skills by sounding out words that he has to tell me, like, b-igh-k, c-a-sh etc etc.
A rhyming game where I point to a part of my body and say a rhyming word and thenn he says the body part, like, I point to my nose and say 'rose', he says 'nose' and once he gets the hang of it we'll switch the order and I'll say body part and he can say a rhyming word.
I'm also thinking of knocking off phonics with reading at home.
I'm going to do a mix of phonics and full language reading by modelling reading. So he brings a book home from school, it's the same book for a week, so days 1 and 2, he can read as he pleases (sounding out all words), nights 3 and 4 I'm going to model reading and have him repeat after me and then read again on his own and on night 5, see where he is with reading independently.
the reason for this is that he is currently reading a book about rockets. he's sounding out words like can, tup, lid, all words I think he knows and then he looked at the word rocket, said 'rocket' and then said 'oh' and went back to sound it all out (r-o-ck-e-t) and then said 'get'......so I think he's getting caught up and lost in the phonics so def want to start working without it.
Why is it we teach them that d-o-g says dog but that the just says the?
We've just done the reading modelling and it went really well.
moon, that sounds like a confidence issue rather than a lack of technique. The poor boy has probably been made to sound out so much that he does it out of force of habit. Are there any books that he loves so much that he's learned them by heart? Tracing over the words with his finger as he "recites/reads" could be the beginning of a new habit one of reading without sounding out. If he learns both habits he can switch between the two as required.
What Purple said earlier in the thread. I think it is a development thing, and it clicks, just like walking or crawling. If they're not ready, then reading books for fun is good, but no point stressing.
My eldest is a super bright boy - he's in year 4 now, and is top of top groups for literacy etc. But, back in Reception, he simply could not grasp the idea of blending. He knew his letters and sounds, but couldn't blend at all.
It clicked literally in place one afternoon. He came home, picked up his school reading book, and read it - sounded the words out, and just read them. After a term, he had moved through about six ORT levels.
Just relax, and wait for it to fall into place.
It might sound obvious but children apparently don't 'get' blending until they realise the sounds they have learnt represent the sounds in words. All the tips mentioned here help achieve that - I'd go with the sliding tip as it comes from experts that have taught more struggling blenders than I've written mumsnet posts! My ds also liked Alphablocks though.
The point I am making is just to clarify what it is you are trying to achieve when you demonstrate blending- it can seem odd that they cant hear what seems obvious to us as skilled readers - that the sounds they have learnt represent the sounds in words - that is what needs to 'click'.
Learnandsay I don't think it's confidence at all. I kind of thought I'd highlighted in my post that it's confusion and the fact he gets lost in phonics.
I have a plan in mind to support him and am quite happy with what I will do.
SilveryMoon can he hear the word when you say the sounds (blend aurally) rather than looking at the letters or would he still struggle with blending?
He can hear the word when it is blended out loud. We play games where I say 'c-a-t' and he says 'cat'
he gets all of that right, if we look at flash cards and matching stuff he can tell me straight out what it says but in a book, bloody phonics sounding out, even though I think he knows the word
Has anyone ever told him he doesn't need to sound out the words if he can read them in his head? Silly as it sounds to adults some children wait for permission.
I have told him a number of times that if he knows what the word says he can just say it. Her does it for small words like is, in, on etc. he says those words straight out. But not wordsthat are any longer.
He also gets on and no confused, says d's as b's and b's and d's when reading, on instead of no and today I watched him looking at the word 'tap' and saying 'p-a-t. No, t or p or is it t' etc. I have raised it with his teacher but she says it's nothing to be concerned about.............................
I think it is just practice as DD ( also reception) used to read "was" as "saw" for ages.....
It took her a while for b and d to click, she always got them the wrong way round but we are through that now
I also agree with mrz in telling your DC that he does not have to sound out the words if he knows it. I can always tell when DD has done guided reading at school as she comes home sounding out the word c a t despite being on this stage over a year ago because the other kids do it...
He also gets on and no confused, says d's as b's and b's and d's when reading, on instead of no and today I watched him looking at the word 'tap' and saying 'p-a-t. No, t or p or is it t' etc. I have raised it with his teacher but she says it's nothing to be concerned about................
Where do some teachers get their ideas from
Of course it is something to be concerned about. Everytime he gets something wrong like that he is reinforcing the wrong learning and making it more and more difficult to correct it.
Reading words from right to left is easy to deal with. Just get a piece of card and cover the word, reveal it grapheme by grapheme, thus making sure that he decodes it from L to R every time. Don't stress about him sounding out every word, let him do it for a while as that will reinforce the development of automatic L to R eye tracking. I'm sorry but I suspect that word 'reversals' like the ones you describe are often a product of insistence on reading words 'on sight' too early and not allowing for enough sounding out and blending to develop automaticity and correct tracking.
Letter reversals need lots of practice of writing the letter correctly while saying its 'sound'. Don't let him start to write both his b's & d's from the top of the ascender. He'll get to the bottom and not remember which way to go next! 'd' starts with the 'round', 'b' starts with the ascender. Letters are always written in a L to R direction (when correctly formed)
When reading 'd' and 'b': 'd' starts with mouth open (the 'round' bit) so when he sees 'round' first he opens his mouth to say the sound. 'b' starts with a straight line, like a closed mouth (I know, sideways on..). When he sees a straight line first he closes his mouth to say the sound. This works with 'p' and 'q' too.
I've been doing some cued articulation with both my ds's. You basically use your hand by your face to mimic what the mouth does and where the tounge shouldbe.
I'm sure it will all fall into place soon
We're finding this fantastic: readingeggs.co.uk/beta/about/overview
I'm sure he will be fine, he's only 5 like someone up thread said formal education doesn't start in some countries until the age of 6/7. I had the same concerns with my 5 yr old DS, heard a lot about bear necessaries gave it a go, it really helped him and now a few months into yr 1 he is blending and is confidentially working his way through his reading books. I think it was a combination of using the bear necessaries book and it 'clicking' for him.
Although I agree with what a lot of people have said about being ready, I would also like to say that after school he is tired.
My dd is apparently storming ahead with reading at school. I have no idea as suggesting reading after school gets such a negative response. She has had enough. We are doing very little at home at the moment. I try and do it a couple of times over the weekend and sneak it in when I can, but if I try and sit down with her to do her sounds she just says no!
I know teaching reading relies on parents reading with their kids, but at this level they realy are so tired after a day at school, that it is unrealistic to expect much from them in terms of blending, phonics and focussing.
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