Reading in Reception - feeling frustrated

(93 Posts)

I don't want to push my DS and I think on the whole so far I've been quite relaxed about how much learning is going on, I can see the massive progress he's made in so many ways since leaving preschool and he really has blossomed, socially, his speech is better, he is very happy and enjoying school, is enthusiastic about the various projects he's learning about, etc etc. A few wobbles here and there but generally, all is good.

But... some days he appears to read whatever book he is given perfectly and others its as though he has never read a book or even a word before in his life. I think he relies on the pictures too much and then guesses, wrongly, without looking at the words at all - e.g thinking a lid was a plate, so 'reading' the word plate when it isn't even there. He is bringing home awful books, repeating the same few it seems, he says they get to choose from a certain box. I borrow lots from the library, and encourage him to read from our own books too of course but just feeling a bit lost in helping to guide his learning here.

He is an autumn birthday so do I have high expectations? He is bringing home pink books but I have no idea what that really means. He got so fixated on a picture of a beetle he just couldn't see that the word was bug. I am gentle and say, yes, it's a picture of a beetle but let's read the word too, b-u-g, can you blend the sounds? Beetle he says. I say there's no 'ee' or 'T' can he try again? No he says. Loves it when he can actually read things particularly if it follows an interest but outside of these moments he will say he never needs to learn to read, will just grow up and stay at home etc so finding it hard to get him to see why learning is a good thing.

Sorry for length. Any advice?

maizieD Mon 25-Mar-13 16:55:40

I may be completely wrong but my guess is that he has been taught more than one strategy for 'reading' unfamiliar words and that 'look at the picture and guess what the word might be' is the one he has learned most thoroughly.

Text without any pictures or with pictures which don't give any 'clues' would test my theory!

How good is his phonic knowledge?

Elibean Mon 25-Mar-13 17:03:56

Also, children that age (possibly particularly boys?) can be very literal. I remember dd's best friend (who is a boy) doing something similar, and if he'd decided a bug was a beetle he just did not want to accept that the book said 'bug' smile

The same boy also got furious when sounds 'broke rules', iyswim - words that didn't follow phonic rules he'd learned totally confused him.

A year later, he is a perfectly good reader (on Orange Level half way through Y1) in spite of being a summer born, and all that is forgotten.

Honestly, I would keep encouraging and choosing good phonics-linked books from the library, but not worry too much. HTH.

Thank you for the reassurance smile

I think his phonics knowledge is good, he is mostly quick at sounding out words and correctly sounds 'ee' instead of 'e,e' for example, and ch sh etc, and whenever a word breaks a rule, so to speak, e.g. Lead not having a 'ee' I tend to just say, in this word 'ea' makes the sound 'ee' which he seems to be okay with on the whole.

I do think it throws him when the picture doesn't quite match - he bought home s-a-t-p the other day (and I can't help think, fgs this isn't a bloody book it's some really basic words and that's all! But try to catch myself and just smile and chat about it with him as really am not pushy) and one word was sand. The pointer was close to 'dad' and he was searching for what this could be - dad, man, t shirt. So I say, no DS never mind the picture, what sounds are in this word? And he says... 'Dad'!

But I will keep the faith.

learnandsay Mon 25-Mar-13 19:58:21

Write simple words with large letters on plain paper with a black marker pen and ask him to read those.

firawla Tue 26-Mar-13 14:49:46

mine does this guessing thing too. as mentioned reading words without pictures on the page means that they can't do it! if that seems "boring" the to child you can write your own quick stories or sentences on paper, for him tailored to his interests or make them funny etc to motivate him? then get him to read those as well as the school books, also things like reading eggs or starfall on the computer might motivate him to try harder and not guess, that seems to work for mine too

Ferguson Tue 26-Mar-13 17:53:34

Hi - exTA (male) here :

This is part of a reply I posted recently to another parent, and it may possibly be of some use in your case :


There used to be a kit of cards and letter blocks called "Soundworks", but I tried to look it up and it seems to have ceased.

The theory was that, for some kids, it is easier to SPELL words than READ them, which is a later stage.

It started with three-letter words, with a vowel in the middle - "a" glued onto a board.

The child then looked at the individual letter blocks, and was asked to make the word "c a t". Then ask, how do we change "c a t" into "h a t". which letter do we need to change? Then change "hat" into "ham" (with an emphasis on the "mmmm" sound).

The order sounds were learnt in was similar to today's phonics teaching : s m p t (can't remember them all off hand, but you can look that up on-line.)

This approach was used with our SEN Yr2 children who had been unable to make progress with more conventional methods of learning to read. It is rather time-consuming, and ideally needs resources to be made, but it does work very well.


So, if you can find or make suitable letters, and a card with "a" glued in the middle, he may enjoy building the words himself. Use letters that are occurring in words in the books he is bringing home, and go on to make cards for the other vowels if it seems to work with "a".

RedHelenB Wed 27-Mar-13 09:24:41

If he can sound out & blend his words try not to worry. It will come & you might experience a sudden jump!

Sommink Wed 27-Mar-13 22:03:14

My dd is in reception. We were told not to worry if the children are using the visual clues in the books as that is what they are there for. The idea being the children can make a "guess" at the word and get positive feedback and also if some of the linking letters and words are starting to make sense having the visual clues will give them the opportunity to link more easily.

RiversideMum Wed 27-Mar-13 22:34:53

OMG !!!!! Worry indeed if your child is being taught to use visual clues.

Pozzled Thu 28-Mar-13 07:44:13

Yes, I disagree with sommink. I would never encourage my DD to use the pictures to 'guess' the words, because it really is just guessing, and can cause problems later on.

OP, I think you should try doing more reading without pictures. I started writing a 'secret message' every day for my reception DD- I just wrote it on a whiteboard after she went to bed. Simple things like 'Today we will see Gran'. She enjoyed 'cracking the code' to read it, and of course there were no pictures to guess from. To start with it's hard to use only words that they know or can decode,but you get used to it!

If you find your DS can't manage a whole sentence, or doesn't want to try, start with single words when you're with him e.g say 'What's in the...' and show him the word 'box'. Make it a game - if you have an actual box with a small treat inside, he'll be motivated. Or 'Can you find the...' 'black cat' and he has to find it in a picture.

bubblesinthebath Thu 28-Mar-13 11:04:47

My daughter had the picture books which she had to discuss the story from and now when I am trying to show her the letter sounds for the words in her new book she will not even acknowledge them she would rather guess what is on the picture, not good really if she decides a giant is a monster or a wand is a stick. I just keep pointing out letters and their sounds on random things like notices, street signs, front of buses etc and that seems to be working.

Waspie Thu 28-Mar-13 11:20:57

I could have written your posts OP. My winter born son is in reception and we've been suffering the pink band books all year.

I got so fed up with him guessing words based on the pictures that I took to covering the pictures with a sheet of paper, thus forcing him to read the actual words. Once he'd read the words on the page I would remove the paper and we'd talk about the picture too. I expressed my frustration at his guessing words to his teacher but she said that this is what they are encouraged to do in class. So I then felt that by covering the pictures I was undermining his learning, so I stopped.

Fortunately, he doesn't do the guessing very much anymore (thank goodness!) so perhaps it is just used as a starter to help reading?

The thing that has helped DS' reading most, IMO, is reading more taxing books at home. I joined reading chest and requested band 3 books. DS can read these but they are more testing than the books he is bringing back from school. He can read up to band 4 in the Read at Home, Floppy Phonics and Songbirds books. As a result he has moved to the green band recently.

I'm also loathe to push him too far because I really want him to love reading for the sake of it, and also because he has glue-ear and his hearing (at times) is very impaired.

Bribery has also helped smile DS will be getting a lego set he wants during the holiday as he has read 2 books with me or DP every evening since January. I realise that a lot of people don't agree with this approach, but I want to acknowledge that I'm proud of the effort he's making.

Waspie Thu 28-Mar-13 11:24:18

sorry, that's rather jumbled. To clarify - DS is now on band 2 (green) at school, having recently been moved up from pink band.

learnandsay Thu 28-Mar-13 11:29:46

Are the teachers who want the children to guess the words based on the pictures following any kind of system (and are they prepared to tell you what the system is called?) Or is it a make it up as you go along system of teaching children to read?

Waspie Thu 28-Mar-13 11:47:18

learnandsay - my son's school hasn't said what system they are following, if they are following one at all! I'm a novice at this and didn't think to ask. DS brings home ORT books; mainly Biff & Chip et al but some non-fiction too. These are changed by the school three times a week.

Apparently they learn 4 new letters and sounds each week in reception (according to their website).

learnandsay Thu 28-Mar-13 13:02:40

If someone said to me that they were using the pictures to teach my daughter to read I'd ask them to explain to me what they meant. I can understand using all sorts of ideas like learning the words as wholes, learning the shapes of the words, learning to spell the words, learning to sound out syllables or phonemes, but learning to read by looking at the pictures is an idea I just don't get. Someone upthread says her daughter wants to call a wand a stick and a bear a monster (or somesuch) using that method of "reading" it's going to take a lifetime to read a single page! I know people (adults and children) are supposed to get some idea of what the message reads from its context and the picture in a story is part of the context but it's not the whole context. I think it's possibly a good idea to look at the picture and say how lovely it is. But that's probably about it.

Periwinkle007 Thu 28-Mar-13 13:15:48

I used to cover up the pictures for my daughter.
I am cruel but it helped immensely

bubblesinthebath Thu 28-Mar-13 13:25:50

That was me learnandsay The giant was a monster, I kid you not she wasn't having it that the giant was indeed a giant! My Ds was taught the same way and I do remember having to redirect his attention (using my finger) to the words on the page otherwise he would spend all off his time looking at the picture then the reading itself just went wrong all jumbled, missed out sentences etc when I mentioned this to the teacher at the time I just got a roll of the eyes as if to say that's how he is supposed to learn SILLY! This obviously didn't work for my Ds and I believe it isn't going to work for my Dd either.

Thanks for all the responses, I'm finding this really useful to read. I'm going to spend some time with him over the hols looking at words without pictures, and actually I think bribery is a great idea, and he has his heart set on a particular Lego set, it's hard as I keep having to remind him his birthday is a way off. But how do you implement it, Waspie? What if he read two books but moaned about it, or read them in a grumpy voice, etc etc..did you say two books a night for the entire term? I think a big reward could help but I don't want it to become something else to battle over (lots of grumpiness at the moment).

I will make some cards up too as Ferguson suggested. He likes spelling out some of the words he knows so might appeal to him, get him thinking more in a way he enjoys.

This morning he read four books word perfect, without being asked, unheard of! So also thinking of trying to find time in the mornings to read instead of after school. Tough one, that!

learnandsay Thu 28-Mar-13 14:03:28

bubbles, if a teacher was rolling her eyes, (or actually saying that this picture admiring was actually learning to read) I'd think she was pulling my chain. And whether I knew anything about teaching children to read or not I'd have a go at teaching my own child. Let's face it, I couldn't do a worse job than that!

learnandsay Thu 28-Mar-13 14:10:25

The more I think about it the more I think that not even the stupidest person in the world could think that a child could learn to read by looking at the pictures. But what might make some sense is if the teacher is thinking that since the child isn't learning to read very well it's better if he plays with his book and looks at the pictures than it is if he starts to hate books. (That's not learning to read. It's a cop out. But it does make sense.)

Pozzled Thu 28-Mar-13 15:32:37

As far as the rewards go, how about a star or sticker on a chart every time he reads a book without fussing or complaining? You could then give a small reward after every 5 or 10 stars, with the larger one after 50, or however many you think. If he does have a bad day, he won't get his star but he won't have to start all over again either.

givemeaclue Thu 28-Mar-13 16:37:54

Pink is the first level. He if really isn't keen just do one book a day, do it first thing after breakfast when he is most awake

maizieD Thu 28-Mar-13 16:39:36

The more I think about it the more I think that not even the stupidest person in the world could think that a child could learn to read by looking at the pictures.

LOL learnandsay!

Sadly, a great many Early Years teachers believe that looking at the pictures is integral to learning to read because that is what they were trained to believe and it was an integral part of the National Literacy Strategy guidance on the teaching of reading from 1998 until 2007. There are even Education academics who believe it and who would defend the strategy to the death.

Fortunately, many parents are bright enough to realise that guessing from pictures is not reading and are able to take subversive measures!

KindleMum Thu 28-Mar-13 16:48:42

My DS does this - very bright, can read easily but cannot read picture books as he just stops reading and guesses the words. I blame the emphasis teachers put on using the pictures.

I simply cover up the pictures as we read and then he reads swiftly and perfectly. He will read dense paragraphs of picture-less texts 10 times more quickly than bloomin' Biff, Chip and Kipper! Covering up the pictures completely is the only way he can read picture books.

Tonight he has read the end of term parent newsletter to me instead of Biff, Chip and Kipper. I don't care.

Cover up the pictures. It's easy.

mrz Thu 28-Mar-13 17:16:50

But teachers should not be teaching children to use pictures or guessing from initial letters or any of the "Searchlight" strategies

maizieD Thu 28-Mar-13 18:27:09

Frightening, isn't it mrz angry

KindleMum Thu 28-Mar-13 18:34:30

many are, mrz. And they defend it when you query them. So presumably it's allowed as an acceptable teaching strategy?

mrz Thu 28-Mar-13 18:41:49

"Are the teachers who want the children to guess the words based on the pictures following any kind of system (and are they prepared to tell you what the system is called?)"

It's called Look & Say hmm

learnandsay Thu 28-Mar-13 18:58:41

Well, I learned to read with look and say and I wasn't taught to look at the pictures. You can look at the pictures all you want but it has nothing to do with reading.

Periwinkle007 Thu 28-Mar-13 19:04:44

I thought look and say was the same as whole word recognition where you just learn the word and then look at it and say it rather than phonics and break it down phonetically.

I don't think pictures are part of look and say.

learnandsay Thu 28-Mar-13 19:14:34

Right at the beginning you get things like a picture of a cat and cat written underneath it and the same with a dog so you learn to recognise the words cat and dog. But it works just as well if you have the words and no picture it's just not as pretty.

mrz Thu 28-Mar-13 19:20:06

"The "whole language" or "look and say" method teaches that children should memorize or "guess" at words in context by using initial letter or picture clues."

"If you don't use a picture with the word the child will probably make a wild guess as to what it says trying to remember what sound you made previously. *This is not a good method if you don't include pictures.*"

Periwinkle007 Thu 28-Mar-13 19:35:06

sorry yes saying that pictures aren't really a part of it was wrong.

when introducing new words pictures can help but the pictures in the early ORT books tend to be too busy to be useful IMO.

the old Peter and Jane ones

Peter - picture of a boy
Jane - picture of a girl
Peter and Jane - picture of the boy and girl
Peter likes the dog - picture of boy and dog

and so on. there aren't many ways a child could confuse them.

With many of the words though in look and say you still have to tell them what the word is and then it is just how many times they can manage to get that word in a sentence.

My children use both which seems to work for them. They both loved/love Peter and Jane and luckily don't seem to suffer any confusion from doing both. The elder one struggles with phonics as she has some sort of visual processing disorder but she has managed extremely well with whole words and knows all her phonics, she just struggles to see all the letters in the right order so it can cause her problems.

mrz Thu 28-Mar-13 19:42:54

How does she manage to see the letters in the right order to recognise a whole word Periwinkle or would she be the type of child who struggled with the phonics check because they read strom as storm?

simpson Thu 28-Mar-13 19:47:43

I also used to be mean and cover up the pictures when DD was first learning to read.

I think the pictures are there to help with the comprehension (ie looking at expressions on people's faces to see how they feel etc) rather than the actual reading which should be on decoding only.

Periwinkle007 Thu 28-Mar-13 19:52:00

she is only in reception so I don't think she will have done the phonics check yet and yes she quite probably would read strom as storm because she would want it to make sense.

we don't really understand what she sees as we have only discovered there is a problem in the last few weeks. She can control her eyes for a certain amount of time and then kind of flops. when she breaks down a word such as redecorate which was in a book she brought home a week or so ago she got re cor ate. so I said she had missed a bit and she looked at it again, re cor ate. so I asked what about the de and she said 'what de' she couldn't see it. it is odd. with the whole word she just seems to be able to manage. of course once we had established it was redecorate she now knows that one. very odd and we don't understand it.

she can read level 10 books absolutely perfectly and like a much older child for about 3 or 4 pages and then just suddenly starts mixing all the words up and saying where instead of when, that kind of thing. If it is on a coloured background she can read it absolutely fine so we are picking up some coloured glasses next week following a colorimeter test a few days ago so we will just have to see if they help.

mrz Thu 28-Mar-13 20:01:36

What is the school doing about her reading problems Perriwinkle?

Periwinkle007 Thu 28-Mar-13 20:12:53

erm nothing at the moment. well not strictly true - I don't think they had a clue there was a problem.

Her teacher is great but to be fair to her my daughter started school in september reading level 7 at home so they started her straight on level 5 books in october which is fair enough, let them check she could manage them comfortably not just had a mother and preschool claiming she could read. she did a lot of books at that level across different reading schemes etc and then went up, did loads of level 6 across schemes and so on reading them all word perfectly but needing to work on expression which again is fair enough so we did a lot on that. Then level 7 (whilst having gone up to 8/9/10 at home judging by levelled non scheme books and usborne ones etc) and then we started to hit problems. the non fiction ones were fine, the biff and co ones were always a bit of an ordeal and we started to get problems skipping full stops and sometimes mixing up words. They obviously thought she had just reached a plateau, again fair enough and kind of left her to it. I didn't realise she wasn't reading too well with these books at school because her reading record is full of glowing reports. At home I was starting to notice a difference between books written with smaller print black on white and those with bigger print or on colour. she also has issues with the white board so I spoke to her teacher and they suggested an opticians with a vision therapy section so we took her there and have paid for the colour test (on first reading of the stuff in that she skipped words and lines all over the place - on second reading with her chosen colour she only skipped one word and then went and corrected herself and missed 1 line compared to 5 the first time) and the glasses.

I sent in a letter after this appointment explaining what we had found as a result of the appointment and asking them for advice next term. So we will have to see what happens really. I think they will support her if they can but I am not sure they have much experience of the problem she is having and as we aren't completely sure what the problem is it is hard to know.

I do think though that if I hadn't picked up on it by chance they wouldn't have noticed until probably part of the way into year 1 as they would just think she was between jumps in development. They moved her up to level 8 this week after I spoke to her teacher and explained that she seems to get very tired/stressed eyes so can do very well for a short amount of time so perhaps they listened to her earlier in the day or nearer the window so natural light or just luck. not sure.

I don't know what I can expect them to do to be honest. luckily she seems to be a bright child and she does seem to be managing albeit with discomfort.

mrz Thu 28-Mar-13 20:19:03

I would imagine it would have been picked up in the Y1 Phonics screening check but should be picked up earlier if her reading accuracy is so erratic. I hope you are able to find a solution to her difficulties.

Periwinkle007 Thu 28-Mar-13 20:22:47

thank you. She did a phonics thing of some sort the other day with alien words she said but I wasn't sure what that was. the newsletter said something about them having done a phonics test now they had finished teaching them 40whatever it is phonic sounds and that next term they will regroup them based on the results. She thinks she got them all right and quite possibly did if they were all basic ones or the font was big enough. who knows. mind at least her teacher now knows there is a problem.

mrz Thu 28-Mar-13 20:45:01

"many are, mrz. And they defend it when you query them. So presumably it's allowed as an acceptable teaching strategy? "

Not under current government guidelines

simpson Thu 28-Mar-13 21:03:17

Periwinkle - I hope you do get things sorted out. Does your DD read a lot to herself? I have found that DD does not pause at full stops etc when she has read a lot to herself. Obviously there is something else going on too with your DD but maybe there is an element of her reading to herself causing some problems too (or not helping the issues she already has iyswim).

learnandsay Thu 28-Mar-13 22:24:08

I think there's a big difference between reading a sentence and reading illustrated common nouns. If you have a picture of a bicycle with the word bicycle written underneath it then it makes perfect sense. But if you have a picture of several circus animals and it also has a monkey eating a banana with then the lion came in written underneath it you can study the picture for months and still not know what it says.

learnandsay Thu 28-Mar-13 22:33:36

Learning to recognise common nouns isn't the same thing as learning to read. You can have a picture of a tree, a goat and a shoe but you can't have a picture of and, or, doing, while or exact. But you still have to read them.

simpson Thu 28-Mar-13 22:46:52

Not convinced that a child in reception would know what a noun is....

learnandsay Thu 28-Mar-13 22:55:34

They don't need to. The pictures aren't necessary; they just look nice. People who use flash cards often don't have pictures. Someone who can recognise hundreds of common nouns still can't read. If you put connecting words between the nouns he wouldn't be able to read them, so he can't read, he can just recognise written nouns. That's not reading.

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 06:18:05

learnandsay regardless of your belief the use of picture clues (in the illustrations) to work out words in a text is a recognised part of the look & say method

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 06:59:26

Children in reception will be taught about proper & concrete nouns in very general terms simpson.

Waspie Fri 29-Mar-13 16:04:47

My son's teacher is a brand new, first year of teaching reception teacher and she is using the picture assistance/take a random guess method. Quite honestly, I'm now worried about what methods to teach reading they are using with my son and I think I'll make an appointment to find out more.

In the meantime, I will go back to covering the pictures if DS appears to be guessing instead of reading.

I agree about mornings being a better time to read than evenings. We try to read his school book with him after breakfast if we have time. he is certainly more alert and receptive.

The bribery has worked ladyintheradiator - at least so far smile. My son may gripe a little about reading if he's doing something that he feels is far more important but he actually enjoys it once he starts. If he reads a more difficult book he can get a little disillusioned, but I give plenty of encouragement and praise his effort. We have a star chart for reading books too.

I also have a lot of phonics apps on the tablet, which he loves playing and thinks of as a game rather than reading, which helps.

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 16:15:47

Lots of teachers claim/believe they are teaching phonics when in fact they are using mixed methods. Universities need to get their acts together and not leave something as important as reading to chance.

learnandsay Fri 29-Mar-13 18:45:48

Making any attempt to "read" a book by looking at the pictures is only guessing. It's true that some whole word advocates do also advocate guessing instead of reading but it's not the only way of teaching whole word reading. I wasn't taught to guess words. I was taught to recognise them. Different whole word enthusiasts have different strategies (some are more extreme than others.)

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 18:57:25

Regardless of what strategies "enthusiasts" employ learnandsay using picture clues is part of the look and say method alongside learning whole words by sight, guessing the word from what might fit the sentence. That is why look and say reading schemes like ORT include words like helicopter and concrete in their first readers, children don't need to read the words because they can guess from the pictures. It's the accepted method that has been around for a century.

simpson Fri 29-Mar-13 19:13:02

Yes I remember DS having the word pancake in a pink level ORT book. hmm

DD has not had one Biff et al book from school <<faints>>

learnandsay Fri 29-Mar-13 19:18:06

Not all techniques are mandatory. I'm not sure what picture clues you're referring to, or whether or not you're referring to basal readers. But whole word readers have less reason than other types of readers to need specially adapted books. They can read real books and real books have real illustrations in them not ones designed to help struggling readers guess what the accompanying text might say.

There may be a reason why this guessing is so unfamiliar to me because I had no trouble learning to read. If I'd been struggling I'm sure my teachers would have deployed any number of fanciful methods. The idea of whole word reading is to recognise the words and read them. If you can do that easily then you don't need a lot of other techniques.

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 19:30:51

Regardless of what you do lookandsay the method has been around since the 1830s and includes the use of picture clues to guess words the child hasn't learnt by sight ... and yes children taught by the look and say method were taught to use the illustrations to guess what unknown words might be in all types of books including those you call real books.

learnandsay Fri 29-Mar-13 20:16:58

You seem to be saying two things. One thing seems to be that basal readers for look and say tuition have picture clues in their illustrations and the other thing that you appear to be saying is guessing what the text might be saying in a real book was done using real illustrations. Well, fine. People can guess all they want. If they can't read then they still can't read.

When we came to unfamiliar words we were simply told what they were. We also read books multiple times so we became familiar with them and were able to read them easily. (I don't know what happened to struggling readers though.)

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 20:22:11

No learnandsay I used ORT books as an example but the method isn't restricted to reading scheme books.

When we came to unfamiliar words we were simply told what they were. unfortunately the human brain has a finite capacity for remembering whole words.

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 20:30:06

Let's go back to your original question as we seem to be going around in circles

"Are the teachers who want the children to guess the words based on the pictures following any kind of system (and are they prepared to tell you what the system is called?)"

It's called Look & Say

learnandsay Fri 29-Mar-13 20:31:08

The ability to pronounce unfamiliar words isn't helpful either.

learnandsay Fri 29-Mar-13 20:33:12

Not necessarily it isn't, no. It could be called the make it up as you go along reading system. As I've said several times, I was taught with look and say and I wasn't taught to guess the text by looking at pictures. It makes no sense unless it's just a single noun.

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 20:36:19

Just because you don't recognise a whole word in print doesn't mean that you wouldn't understand it if you heard it spoken

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 20:38:27

Only in your world learnandsay in the real world it has been called look and say for over a century.

learnandsay Fri 29-Mar-13 20:43:42

What are you talking about? Look and say reading isn't about looking at pictures and imagining what any accompanying text might say. The text could say anything!

That's no more look and say than having donkey rides on Blackpool Beach is, and people have been doing that for a century or more too.

simpson Fri 29-Mar-13 21:00:52

I guess mrz is saying that looking at the pictures is part of look and say but not the only part.

The main part would be seeing the word repeated again and again throughout the book.

learnandsay Fri 29-Mar-13 21:07:15

Of course it depends on the book. If the book is a real book then the repetition won't be any more unusual than you would expect to see in any text. If the book has been written especially to teach L&S readers then it's entirely possible that the pictures have been doctored too.

Teachers aren't bound to all methods in L&S. Beyond nouns I've never seen this picture method used and I can't see how it would work.

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 21:08:50

I suggest you study reading instruction in depth learnandsay rather than relying on your own interpretation

learnandsay Fri 29-Mar-13 21:11:14

That's untrue, I can see how it would work for contrived sentences with matching illustrations. But for real books it's just silly pants.

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 21:14:35

It doesn't matter what you can see learnandsay it doesn't change the facts

learnandsay Fri 29-Mar-13 21:16:20

If you can show me a text book that can teach someone to read the paragraph

And then they went back to the orchard and James divided the fruit into three parts. Peter ate two bananas and a pear and Paul ate two sardines. I didn't eat anything because I was too tired.

from a picture of a man eating an orange then I'll study it.

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 21:24:15

The point is the learn and say method failed to teach children to read ...

and you won't learn about methods of reading instruction in picture books ...

learnandsay Fri 29-Mar-13 21:35:20

No, it failed to teach some children to read. And I suspect that there will always be some children who fail to read. With better methods maybe fewer. But look and say was never about pictures and still isn't.

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 21:40:13

It was and still is whether you accept it or not

learnandsay Fri 29-Mar-13 21:41:24

What, says you? No it isn't. No it wasn't.

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 21:45:36

The look and say method had/has a number of strategies for reading text

learning words by sight (Human memory however, is finite - according to the research, the average limit on memory is about 2,000 words.

using picture clues to guess words not recognised by sight
using initial letter clues to guess not recognised by sight
using context to guess words not recognised by sight

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 21:49:41

yes learnandsay I bow to your superior knowledge based on you once being a pupil in a primary school.

learnandsay Fri 29-Mar-13 21:59:05

There are other strategies too, and no strategy is mandatory. Some only make sense in limited circumstances. The main intention of the L&S system is to recognise printed words. If some loons want to study illustrations then that's their problem.

ClayDavis Fri 29-Mar-13 22:07:38

You're right in that it wasn't mandatory. After all the NLS and the 'searchlights' strategy in it were never statutory. But if Ofsted came knocking and you weren't using it you needed a bloody good reason why not.

mrz Sat 30-Mar-13 06:57:49

Of course the main purpose of the L & S method was to teach children to recognise whole words by sight but unlike you the inventors of the system realised that children would encounter words in texts that weren't in their sight memory so they needed a strategy to "read" such words (in "real books" ) so children were taught to use the illustrations to "work out" (guess) what the words might be. Yes it was "loony" No they weren't reading accurately (but in L&S it didn't matter if the child said "house" when the word was "home" because it didn't change the meaning too much ... crazy!)

Clay we are talking about a method from the 1920s not the NLS searchlights (1999) which as you say was never statutory and which we never adopted in any of the schools where I have taught or in the school my own children attended.

sazale Sat 30-Mar-13 09:44:09

My ds 6 in year 1 is still in phase 2 of letters and sounds and still on red level books which he struggles to read although is improving slowly. School finally got the specialist teacher in to assess him and she advised to use the picture method! She's asked me to make our own book with a photo of dad and dad written under it, mum with a picture etc. She said that as he's of high average academic ability (has had testing by her and clinical psych) that he will pick it up eventually and needs nothing more than in class differentiation. She said to use picture clues etc. She also confirmed that when he can manage to read he doesn't understand what he's read as it takes so much effort to sound out the words and blend, which I'd noticed as when I read to him his comprehension is great.

My ds has a phonological speech disorder and selective mutism/social anxiety. I pay for an independent speech therapist to work with him once every 3 weeks and give me activities to do with him. She did phonological testing which shows that he has phonological processing difficulties.

On further talking with the specialist teacher I discovered that she hadn't checked his phonics as I pay for an independent speech therapist to work with him! I explained that it's me that works with him! I'm not happy with what I've been told especially sine his reading and writing difficulties are compounding his anxiety.

So is the look and say method for children who are struggling due to phonological processing difficulties?

mrz Sat 30-Mar-13 09:55:19

No the Look & Say method handicaps/ fails those children who find learning to read most difficult.
It works for those children who would learn to read regardless in spite of method of reading instruction.

sazale Sat 30-Mar-13 10:54:34

That's what I feared so I'm right in thinking the "specialist" advice is pretty rubbish?

His academic verbal IQ is high average and non verbal is average yet he is on p levels.

learnandsay Sat 30-Mar-13 12:33:34

Of course a mother might post on mumsnet asking for a non phonics reading system because her kids couldn't learn to read using phonics but made great strides using look & say

like this mum here:

mrz Sat 30-Mar-13 12:51:42

because obviously learnandsay knows more than all the current research data put together hmm

KindleMum Sat 30-Mar-13 12:55:52

So is Biff, Chip and Kipper a phonics system?
Is Peter and Jane look and say?

mrz Sat 30-Mar-13 12:59:38
mrz Sat 30-Mar-13 13:01:01

Biff, Chip and Kipper are Look & Say books although ORT have produced new phonics books with the same characters

Peter & Jane are Look & Say

simpson Sat 30-Mar-13 13:50:06

The newer ORT seem pretty phonetic (from what I have seen) the problem occurs when schools don't get rid of their older ORT books when they get the newer phonetic ones and use a mixture of both hmm

mrz Sat 30-Mar-13 15:04:49

OUP are still producing the Look and Say version of the ORT Biff, Chip et al books alongside the phonic versions so don't be confused by new and old books.

simpson Sat 30-Mar-13 15:23:10

Eek, I thought the older ones weren't being being printed. But that has reminded me of a book (new) that someone gave DD when she first started nursery.

A pink level ORT called The Trampoline hmm

Mummyoftheyear Sat 30-Mar-13 22:55:39

Sounds like you can tell which letter strings your little one is confusing/ hesitating over. Write them in bold on separate pieces of A4. Play the 'run to' game as you shout the sound and have them run to and from the sounds you say. Crucially, swap roles and pretend to make mistakes- encouraging your LO to correct you! In this way, you're teaching recognition as well as reading of those particularly troublesome / 'not yet secure' blends, etc.

mrz Mon 01-Apr-13 14:13:47

" Sight reading (the key behaviour exhibited by "optilexics") is taught in schools
Schools routinely teach children in their first years of schooling, including children with poor phonemic awareness, to memorise frequently-used words, and to tackle unfamiliar words by looking at the first letter, looking at the picture and guessing from context."

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now