Teaching my 3-year old to read.(43 Posts)
My 3.5 year old son starts big school in August. He will be one of the youngest in the class. My elder son was the oldest and breezed through his first year. From what I have seen of his international school the teacher does not have the time to help them learn to read and the teachers assistants are admin, so do not help either. Many of my older sons class went into learning support within weeks.
I have been encouraging my younger son to do lots of colouring with a crayon, cutting, sticking and his motor skills have improved loads. He can write his name, it's very short. I want to teach him to read, but not sure how to do it. We have been listening to phonics CD's, playing games and colouring letters etc. and reading lots of books, but I'm not sure how I can jump from this to getting him to read. For example my older child learn't to read at 4 and a half and went straight to Peter and Jane books 1a and 1b. My youngest is a long way off that.
I know he's very young, but believe me, the school say he doesn't need to know these things, but the reality is if they don't they are left behind. I've seen it with my own eyes.
Anyone have any tips on how to progress along to reading?
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Try the free materials here with your son
I taught my daughter to read from two onwards. Have a look at Sesame St Getting ready to read
DS is Aug birthday. He couldn't read at all when started school. The school had asked the preschool not to try to teach them so I took a view that they had a plan and I would go with it. He wasn't the best reader by far at end of yr R (seemed to spend most of his time outdoors poking in mud with the TA) but by yr2 was on top table.
Reading other posts with interest as I am teaching my DD who is the same age to read. The first thing I did was teach all the letter sounds (I am using synthetic phonics which is different to how I learnt at school but makes it easier for them to go on to read whole words).
After she knew all her letters we tried blending 3 letter words like cat, dog, and 2 letter words like in, on, at. We just practice a couple at a time and not even every day, if she's not interested I don't push it. We've got some Jolly Phonics activity books at the moment just for fun, they are mainly teaching writing and consolidating letters.
I think the next stage is books but I'm not sure when she'll be ready to move on to them, I guess I'll just see how it goes.
I taught my daughter to read, and I didn't bother with books as such for quite a while, maybe six months or more after blending/recognising (more recognising than blending) three letter words. I just wrote down what I wanted her to read and she read it.
The best things that you can teach him are.....
Put his coat on
Ask in good time to go to the toilet
Practice fork/knife or unpacking his lunch from the lunchbox that you plan to use
Who to tell in the event of rough behaviour in the playground
This will free the teaching staff up to teach him reading, which they will do efficiently and thoroughly.
Highlander, I think the OP has a problem with the way this particular school teacher reading, or rather fails to teach it.
I also found it easy to teach my 3 year old to read. You just teach them the phonic sounds of the letters, and then sound them out to make a word - so ke-ah-te is clearly CAT. I used to speak to my DC like this a bit too, so sounding out the letters phonically to make words. She very soon started reading very basic books (a few words per page) on her own, and progressed very quickly, mainly on her own, so reading quite difficult stuff by age 4.
At school they only listened to them reading for 5 minutes a week each!
Dromedary - they may only listen to them for 5 mins each but they will do phonics work every day in small groups or as a whole class, as well as separate literacy time!! They're only little...
PiedWagtail - I don't regret teaching her. All children are different, and my DC2 is bright and quick on the uptake. She was completely ready for learning to read, really enjoyed it, and was reading little books to herself almost straight away. When my DC1 started school I decided to leave it all to the school, and that really didn't work out - she learned almost nothing, and by the end of Reception was already falling behind, could only read a few words, and thought that she was thick. I had to teach her to read over the summer hols and it made all the difference for her when she went back to school in Year 1 - shot up to the top group in the class, became much more confident. Parental input makes a big difference, especially if the teacher happens to be poor.
Having tried to teach both my children to read before they started school I now strongly believe that a child will start to read when they are ready and not a moment before. My ds1 picked it up straight away. I taught Ds2 to recognise all the letters and sounds and to blend into simple words and he took all this on board but still didn't really read until well into year 1. He is now doing very well at school.
I'm sure the activities you are doing with your ds will stand him in good stead but you really shouldn't worry if he doesn't completely 'get' reading for a while yet. I think the worst thing you could do is to make him feel like he isn't good at reading.
Ooh, highlander,...bit patronising? Not all teachers may be thorough and efficient,...and sadly some could be neither.
I would have thought that support at home is essential at any age and any encouragement in reading would make the teachers job easier. After all performance of the school is (rightly or wrongly!) showcased by SATS results...which do not yet, to my knowledge, give credit for continence, tidiness and table manners!
SevenPalms, I think there is some great advice for you in this thread and whatever you do will help.
Why are you sending your child to a school you appear to have such little confidence in?
I think highlander is far from patronising. If more YR children had these basic skills most of the TA's (and some of the teacher's) time would be freed up for learning. And in YR the bulk of that learning should be through play.
My very late Aug born DS could not read when he started school. What he could do was enjoy a book, follow a story, tell a story, know how to hold a book, turn pages etc.
He is now Y5 - top table literacy and reading. He loves to read for pleasure and can read for purpose.
By the way children need to trust what their teachers are teaching in order to learn effectively. Be careful that you are not communicating the message that his future teacher doesn't know what they're doing.
I think the general merits/demerits of teaching your own children to read before they start school are different from the OP's point. She doesn't appear to have access to proper reading teaching and so would appear to have little choice.
I'd be happy to start a separate thread debating the other point.
I'm no expert of course but here's what happened with my DS who is also very young in his year.
We're quite a 'booky' family so we read to the DC very frequently. Prior to starting school, DS was making up detailed stories / scenarios (he had an imaginary country called 'Eas' for example and had very detailed 'knowledge' about it). His general knowledge was also quite good we thought. So we were surprised when he was incredibly reluctant to read when he started school.
But DS had an incredibly sensible reception class teacher who stayed with the class into Y1 as well. DH and I started to get a bit concerned when at the end of reception and in early Y1, DS was in one of the lower phonics groups. His teacher's message to us was very consistent:
(1) His vocabulary is very good
(2) His understanding is very good
(3) His general knowledge / memory is very good
(4) He doesn't want to read yet
And she was absolutely right. It took until Christmas-ish in Y1. All of a sudden he went from total disinterest to reading really quite fluently. This all happened over the course of about three weeks. It was like he suddenly saw the point of not relying on other people to read to him and that was the end of that.
So I guess I'm agreeing with Highlander. There are other things to think about and 3 is very young. After my experience with DS, I'm all for being relaxed about this sort of thing.
Now the next challenge is to convince DS that an 'a' doesn't look like a 'g'. Or that eating green food doesn't harm you in any way...
My DD is 3.5 and is reading a range of two and three letter words, she wants to read like her older cousins, I didn't have to push her.
Suggestions/things we did/do:
We have some foam bath letters that I used with her to help her learn her initial phonemes (sounds - the ones at the beginning of the word). We played a game where X was a superhero (like X in Alphablocks - great tv program for learning phonics) and had to rescue the letters who would cry out in their phoneme for help. She was X so had to know the phoneme to be able to rescue them.
Rhyming songs are great, singing and games are a great way to teach phonics so nursery rhymes and making up silly rhymes are good.
I also tell her stories and get her to give me key details like names and say what she thinks will happen next. Comprehension is a big part of reading so when you read stories ask questions who, where, what, why, when, how and get him to predict what might happen next or make up a different ending together. You can do this with toys when you play with them too.
Finding objects/animals etc that start with a certain letter and making a collage of pictures/drawing.
Drawing letters in sand while saying the phoneme.
We have the Jolly Phonics stories book which she enjoys.
We use a magnetic whiteboard and magnetic letters to practice sounding out and blending sounds in the words from the Jolly Phonics book. Then she writes the words on the whiteboard (she has taught herself how to write some of the letters).
I hear Oxford Reading Tree Songbirds by Julia Donaldson are good, I will be getting those for her down the line and also Usbourne First Reading Series are meant to have more interesting stories.
Jolly Phonics songs in order you will need this to help you.
Phonics songs and under ABC's check out games, we used to listen to the song and she would play the game to reinforce the learning.
Phonics videos using puppet to teach for all sounds including diagraphs (two letter phonemes).
Alphablocks games on CBeebies are great.
Also my daughter's new favourite Reading Eggs, it requires a subscription, but you can do a free trial for 14 days and when I did that I got offered a reduction on the 12 month subscription.
I also have the book Reading Reflex which I find useful.
If your child is ready to learn you will know. My cousins went to Steiner School, they didn't teach reading until they were 7 years old, they can read perfectly well now. I have met home schooling families where the child has mostly taught themselves to read. There is not one way, just the way that works best for your child (although phonics is generally accepted as the method to follow).
I wouldn't bother at this age.
I speak as someone who was totally illiterate till - gasp - five or so. As were my daughters and partner. We all read rather well now. I have a couple of English degrees and write for a living, so clearly my belated start (in MN world) didn't do me a lot of harm.
In the case of my DC1 it became apparent that the teacher, who was totally newly qualified, didn't in fact know what she was doing. She left at the end of the year, having made it clear to both me and the Year1 teacher (and my DC) that my DC was thick and not up to learning to read even the basic list of words that all R children are supposed to learn.
I half agree with the view that children become ready to read at different times, and there is no point in forcing a child who is not ready. Having said that, I worked my reluctant DC1 hard in the holiday after YR to teach her to read to an average level for her year group. She didn't like it, but it was what she needed to push her to the level where she then took off with reading and had the skills and confidence she needed to shoot up to the top group in the class. That did so much for her emotionally. If a child is stuck at not being able to read much, with a teacher who has classed them as t
thick and expects little from them, in a low abiltiy group, it is surely
time to take parental action. I became much more proactive after
that. One to one with your child on any topic makes a lot of
I think the problem with August born dc is that if of average ability (as on average they obviously will be) they will naturally tend to be a bit below average in their class due to being younger. This will even itself out over time but only if the child doesn't suffer a drop in confidence in the meanwhile. So countries like Germany that start school later don't see the gap in attainment based on birth month on leaving school that we do in the UK.
I think the solution is to give August born dc a bit of a helping hand at home to make sure they don't lag behind. However you need to wait until they are ready to learn. In England reception is mainly about learning through play. Year 1 gets a bit more formal. So I gave my August born DD extra help with reading at the end of Reception over the summer holidays. We basically read the whole of the Songbird series. At this point she was nearly 5 and so able to sit still(er) and pay me some attention. She knew her sounds and could blend. A year before this would have been futile. For her at least 3.5 would have been too young.
In terms of actually learning to read. I would say teach the sounds and some of the digraphs. Then see if they can blend simple words like cat, dog etc. Once they can try a phonics based reading scheme like songbirds or floppys phonics rather than peter and jane. If at any point they either cant do it or dont want to then just wait. Just keep practising sounds and come back to it later. Oh and keep reading interesting stories gradually moving from picture to chapter books. This will help their vocab and comprehension and make them actually want to read which is half the battle.
DS2 now 3 years 9 months has been learning to read for about 5-6 months. They do have to be ready though and want to do it for themselves. I am not a teacher but there are probably a lot of pre-reading developmental skills that need to be acquired around being able to spot patterns and see the difference between things that are slightly different. Before reading came letter recognition (as in sounds rather than letter names.) I used Jolly Phonics for this. After a few months of that and with him having already picked up by himself some simple/common words I got a "reading book" for him. For him to read I have ORT read at home and Songbirds. He loves reading and wants to pick up a book all the time and read to me. We often spot words when we are out and about eg push/ pull signs and when I read at bedtime I follow the words I reading with my finger. He often reads the title of the bedtime book or sometimes shouts out when he spots a wordhe knows.
I don't think you can make them do it before they are ready any more than you can hold them back when they want to and you know your dc best.
I don't know the set up of international schools but children reading before school at UK school entry age is not average/ normal so they must be in a position to teach reading. DS1 was the only one in his class that could read before school started.
I think be guided by your DC as you know best :-)
Stitch; are you me?!
Our DTS are reading some simple words (dog, can, on, at, the, then, are etc) and recognise all the letters. They do phonics at preschool so it seemed a logical extension to get the Jolly Phonics book and CD. They LOVE the Jolly Songs CD and have learned the letters with no effort at all. They want to read - are always asking me what things say and trying to work it out. They sound out the words on Alphablocks (if I pause it for a few seconds). I just do bits they want to and keep it really light - but they just seem to be 'doing it'.
I think all DCs are different, too. And I think reading often comes in fits and starts. I don't remember learning to read - and my mum says she never taught me, just read to me a lot. I think for some children it goes in almost by diffusion. - Reading to them loads when they are little helps as it seems to 'prime' them to 'get it.
SOrry, should have said DTs are 3 and a half.
Highlander made the most sensible response
Can I just clarify?
- This is an international school.
- They don't teach children to read.
- As a result, many children are identified as being 'in need of learning support', rather than receiving the reading lessons that they need.
Are all of the above genuinely true? It would seem unusual for any school not to teach reading to such a degree that you can be certain that your child won't be taught?
And is it 'learning support' that children who can't read on entry are sent to, or is is just reading lessons?
You seem very sure that your child won't learn to read in school, which does make me wonder wbhy you want to send him there.....
Have a look at this book from Amazon.uk Reading Lesson: Teach Your Child to Read in 20 Easy Lessons. Seem to have a very good review.
I would advise against Teach Your Child to Read in 20 Easy Lessons from a teacher's point of view.
I agree with all of starsatnight's points. I did teach my summer born DC to read at home - they had a lot to cope with socially and emotionally so I thought that having one area of school where they felt secure would be an advantage.
I used foam bath letters, the Ladybird Phonics books (not fully decodable, they were a scheme to introduce the phonemes, but, crucially, they were quite a good read for a three year old to listen to) and, later, picking out decodable words in pictures, speech bubbles and titles in our bedtime stories. I just dropped thirty seconds of phonics teaching into every story I read (I read a lot of stories). Not all three year olds would have responded to this, it would have washed over some who weren't yet ready, but mine picked it up just fine (DH and I also early readers).
StarsatNight, you are very right, it does seem a UK specific issue bc school starts so early. I grew up in Germany and if anything, people want their children to be spring / summer born so they're not almost 7 when they start school. I only know of people who want to start their children younger :-). I never noticed any difference in achievement either - there may have been small trends but nothing as drastic as here.
As you say, one solution is extra support for summer born or below average children. The other issue seems to be one of awareness - I don't know why as it's so well documented and so often discussed, but still it seems in the reality of schools age is not properly taken into account and it can have lasting effects on self-confidence etc.
Traditionally in England summer born children had only 1 term in reception whereas their older class mates had 3, so is it any wonder many were "behind" in comparison ... I find it odd that it is always attributed to their age and not to the fact that when they start school their peers are already 2/3rds of the way through the EYFS curriculum.
Fun and games with phonics, pointing to text as you follow a story so those familiar word shapes can start to be recognised, and above all enjoying reading and knowing the alphabet are pretty key skills.
That said, there is SO much more to reading than simply sounding out the words. I teach many KS1 children who are capable of 'reading' the words but have no comprehension of what it all means, and are unable to have any meaningful discussion about predicting the story, explaining the characters feelings or motivation, or relate what they are reading to anything it heir own experience ( great example - a year 5 girl I spoke to the other day was reading one of the Harry Potter books. When I asked her why she was reading it again [she read it when she was 6] she told me that when she read it she was 'too young' and she didn't really understand it so wanted to read it now she was older and could appreciate it more!]. In many ways, the least important thing in reading is being able to sound out the phonics!
And the advanced readers have another problem of finding suitable material to read - the poor children who at 8 and 9 years old bored by many books suitable for their age group, only having access to teenage or adult fiction with frequently inappropriate material for their level of emotional maturity make me sad.
I have always consider your advice as fantastic when ever I seen one and know you are the kind of teacher I would like my daughter to be in your class.
Can you please explain more on why you would advise against Teach Your Child to Read in 20 Easy Lessons from a teacher's point of view as I have read many good comment. Many thanks. (my DS is also AUGUST child)
Like many of these things it has been produced for the US market which uses different methods to those used by schools in England so confusing for the child
What about Dancing Bear book?
I like the Dancing Bears books but not sure I would use them with 3 year olds.
I nearly spent most night with my DS1 in year 2 teaching him to read / reading with him for him to catch up. He is now in year 3 and is where he should be, but purely the hardwork from both my DS and myself.
I've used Bear Necessities with children in the summer term of reception but never with pre school pupils.
buy a subscription to reading eggs, you can get free trials to give it a go.
It's an online reading game basically, but it's brilliant.
It's suitable from age 3 and really helped my daughter with phonics and reading, she loves it - her school have a subscription for all the children to use at home.
Many thanks mrz I will use it with my DS when she start reception.
If your son is interested in reading and you think he is ready I could highly recommend www.readingeggs.co.uk . Unfortunately, it isn't free (can't remember how much it costs per year, but it isn't that much) but you can trial it for two weeks for free. When my friend's son started big school the teacher recommended him to do this as her little boy had been in a nursery where they had mainly been providing childcare and hadn't done phonics etc. You would need do reading eggs with your son as he wouldn't be able to use the mouse effective at such a young age though (?).
I did it with my daughter and she loved it and still does. She is five now and can read so she has progressed with reading eggs too. When it starts getting too difficult for her and she isn't ready to go further, we just repeat the lessons.
Also if you are looking for a structured programme with instructions for the parent I could highly recommend Oxford Read Write Inc. Your son would probably only be ready for the level1 flash cards (which I am currently doing with my nearly 3 year old son). They are great as they tell you exactly what to do and it's amazing how much better the kids remember letters when they are pictures attached (there is a letter on one side and a picture 'around' the letter on the other side, so first you show both sides and when they remember them better you just show the letter side). Again this programme grows with your child (after the first set of flash cards there are sets 2 and 3 which start combining letters such as 'ay', 'ee' 'er'). And once your child is ready there are sets of books to read with them. Of course again these aren't free but if you can't afford to buy all of them, you can buy one thing at the time (you would only need set 1 flash cards at this stage). They can be ordered online.
There are also other wonderful books and flashcards sets to buy. I just found it easier to stick to one as a non-native English speaker I really welcome instructions which come with different materials.
My DS (2.5 gasp) picked up all his sounds from a BBC phonics DVD we were given and he just randomly loved. He used to watch it a couple of times a day (because he asked to
by shoving it in my face/ in the dvd player ) whilst having a quiet few minutes on the sofa. TB entirely H he learned them all between 18 and 20 months.
He's been busy doing other things in the interim but recently has shown interest again so now I am playing the odd game to help him 'hear' the sounds in words, pick out initial sounds and blend (i.e. I say f r o g and he says frog). He recently shocked me at a toddler group by making his name out of plastic letters.
As far as I'm concerned collecting leaves in the woods and feeding the ducks would be perfect, but if they insist on learning 'geeky' stuff I don't think you can really do anything about it!!
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