End of reception year and still can't read(92 Posts)
Just wanted to know how common it was really, and how worried I should be. Am wondering if DS could be dyslexic, or would it be too early to tell?
He was a very late talker which seemed to impact on his ability to learn phonics - can't hear the sounds or make some of them.He entered reception still having additional needs with his speech and language (didn't start talking til about 3 and a half. He is much better now but some speech sounds are a bit unclear).
Things looked good mid way through the year as he seemed to make some progress. He was moved out of the special needs group for reading and started to bring home reading books.
But his progress seems to have stopped and is possibly moving backwards. Reading with him recently and you wouldn't have thought he'd ever seen a word/had a phonics lesson in his life.
I think my worry is that you can show him a word on one page, turn the page and show him the same word and he's forgotten it again. He does have a terrible memory - can't remember days of the week etc. He also struggles with writing, certain aspects of dressing etc
We read every night - not just boring books, things like the beano which he loves etc Have tried loads of things to get him reading too, like iPad apps, different reading schemes, Cat in the Hat etc
Thanks if you've read this far! Any words of advice or comfort gratefully received!
Have you spoken with his teacher. If not you need to do immediately.
Phone up now and book an appointment.
Late talkers in my experience often lack a bit of confidence to say the words out loud. You are doing the right things and he obviously is interested in the beano and that. It can just take time.
But you need to speak to his teacher and speech therapist.
Thanks so much for the reply. I'm sure that's true, that he's worried he can't say some of the sounds out loud. The word 'the' in particular was tricky for him to learn as he could't say it (although he can now)
I spoke to his teacher at the end of last term at parent's evening. We were both quite positive as he really did seem to be making some progress. He seemed to 'get' phonics. But I think he's OK when he's doing 'pure' phonics, but any book that has too many tricky words in it confuses him so much that he doesn't try to sound anything out phonetically.
How old is he? Progress is often not linear. So you see some improvement, then maybe none or even a backwards step before the next leap.
What time of day do you read? Is he sufficiently alert and engaged? Can he hear the phonic sounds now, say them and blend them? Perhaps you need to go back to the basics, could you/school have rushed him through to a point he is not able to cope with?
I would chat to his teacher if you are concerned.
I would speak to the teacher - you want to be reassured or given some pointers for over the summer. I don't know how common it is but I would expect there is at least 1 child in every class of 30 by the end of reception who is similar and in many schools probably more than that. There may well be a problem with memory or it could be confidence or it could be that it is the end of a long year and he is tired or just not very interested at the moment. Learning to read is difficult for a lot of children.
My eldest DS wasn't reading well by Y2 despite being read to daily and having a house full of books. School were just beginning to think about investigating further when something clicked and he went from a year behind his chronological age to nine months ahead in the space of three months. His spelling has always been erratic but he wasn't struggling in school so we didn't stress about it. He is now finishing his MSc and on track for a distinction. He finally did a test at this uni and is, in fact, dyslexic enough to be given extra time in exams.
I think you are doing lots of really good, encouraging things and should keep an eye on progress but not worry at this stage, or let him know you are concerned at all. My boys all progressed in fits and starts with phases when nothing seemed to be happening, the main thing is not to make learning seem a tedious chore or let it develop into a cause of strife.
What sort of books is he being given to read? Are they good phonics based ones? If not, then I completely understand his reluctance to try! Could you read the tricky words for him for now to take the pressure off, or model how to sound them out?
By the way "still can't read" is perhaps a little negative although I know what you mean. Actually most children cannot read in the sense of being fluent readers by the end of YR. Fluent reading comes anywhere between YR and Y2 (of course the odd one or two children will come to school reading but this is not very common).
Not in Brighton - but DD1 did leave Year R barely able to read - maybe recognised 'I', 'the', 'a', 'an' and 'and' in stories. We found that there was a lot of memorising stories and pretending to read as well.
No dyslexia (DH is dyslexic and M-I-L now retired, but was dyslexic therapist for County Council & did check DD1) but DD1 has very minor lisp and was shy to read out loud.
This awkwardness has been a problem all the way through (now late Y5) but she is doing much better.
Talk to your school about reading/ phonics support but also talk to school about whether they have an accelerated reading support group for KS2. DD1 joined this in Y4 and the improvement was phenomenal.
It can be a long hard struggle (we've become religious about daily after bath reading time with DD1, often resulting in DD2 giving up the ghost and falling asleep before she can read to us) - but each step forward is a huge achievement and we've always tried to be incredibly positive (outwardly at least) to her about her getting there one day.
I can sincerely say she's doing o.k. now - it just was a long, but not unpleasurable, slog.
Thanks for all the advice! Glad to hear about your son, Nemanemo. Very reassuring and just what I wanted to hear!
Think that you're right, it may be that the school (and me!) have tried to rush him too far ahead and we may need to go back to basics a bit with blending.
I have the Ladybird Phonics app and he can cope OK with that, but the moment he reads a book with too many tricky words he won't try - or just guesses wildly.
I will make an appointment to see his teacher though as I think if I'm being honest it's not just the lack of reading that worries me. His working memory is practically non-existent. No idea what day of the week it is even after being told several times. He can't write his name, hold a pen or use cutlery very well, still struggles with some aspects of dressing etc
Bless him! I'm making him sound terrible. But on the bright side he's really creative, well behaved, very caring, great socially and is extremely happy!
OP - I'm sure you are concerned but I don't think it is that unusual. Of the reception class that I hear read, there are 2 or 3 children who are at the stage you describe your son being at.
I know that those children do get additional support in school, and one is having SALT outside school.
I would definitely talk to the teacher about what you could work on over the summer, and about what plans there are in place for September to help him make progress.
Have a look at Reading Chest to see about getting hold of some good phonics based books for him to have a go at.
Definitely speak to the teacher, the summer holidays usually result in a backwards slip - and by the sound of it you don't want your son to start yr1 in worse shape than he is now.
With memory thing, using a visual chart can help, long rectangle with each step is a picture square in a line (get dressed, teeth, socks & shoes etc) the ones I've seen use velcro to put each activity on.
With recogmising tricky words, we bribed our youngest - he got 1p for each tricky word he saw in the books we read to him... then it was capped @10p per book. Really motivated him to look for tricky words in books, signs etc.
Not at all unusual. Don't stress, talk to the school, but the biggest thing we were told is just to keep reading to them. Definitely don't pressurise them or they'll pick up on your concern. My DS didn't read until yr2. He is dyslexic, but his non-dyslexic friend was similar. DS is now (rather weirdly!) the best reader in his class.
Ooh, like the bribery idea a lot! Am going to try that one, thanks Jenny.
Apart from seeing his teacher, with him I think I'm just going to try to chill out and read books he enjoys for a bit. Last night we read his school books together and I think I was getting too frustrated (when he couldn't recognise words from one page to the next) with him to be of any real support. Don't want to put him off for life.
one thing we did was put stickers around the house or simple words on everyday objects (nursery encouraged this too) so a chair might have 'chair' sellotaped to it, which kind of reinforced everyday use of letters and sounds.
DS is in the same boat. Am trying not to stress about it (am a former primary school teacher so it's not for lack of trying at home) but it's hard. His school is very calm about it and insists that he'll get there in Year 1. The school is still very much "old school" play-based (most primaries I've read about here on MN have long since steered away from this model) and are happy to allow children to progess at their own pace.
We were told to keep reading to him, instill the joy of reading most of all and let things happen as they may.
Do you have an ipad as there are lots of fun phonics apps that might catch his interest and build his confidence?
What school books does he get??
If they are the old fashioned Biff et al then they are not phonetic.
You can try the Oxford owl website for free ebooks. Also the songbirds books are good.
Emma - we have phonics apps coming out of our ears. He will do them to please me, but not out of choice for his own pleasure.
School books seem to be a mish mash of different schemes. For example, today he's brought home two Rocket books but other times it's a different style of book. The two he's brought home today are red, but he has had other colours at different times.
^ but the moment he reads a book with too many tricky words he won't try - or just guesses wildly.^
Kind of gives you a clue, doesn't it?
There is absolutely no need at this stage for him to be reading words which are beyond his phonic capabilities. Forget about 'tricky words' and concentrate on securing his letter/sound correspondence knowledge and using it to decode and blend words which contain all the correspondences that he knows.
Don't worrry if he has to sound out and blend words many times before they go into long term memory and he is able to read them 'by sight'. Children vary a great deal in the number of repetitions they need; he will 'get it' in the end. It sounds as though he does have some processing problems which will slow him down a bit with this, but, as he isn't going to be able to learn to recognise words 'on sight' any other way just keep on practising.
You might find the BRI books helpful. They move very slowly, with lots of repetition and really consolidate skills.
Be very careful with phonic apps many are based on US methods which don't match how reading is taught in the UK and could confuse him more than help.
Maybe have his hearing checked? My dd had glue ear which affected her reading.
Another thing to think about is that kids vary so much at this age and it is not necessarily the good readers now who will definitely be the best readers in 5 years time x
Thanks all for the great advice. Yes, hearing all fine as he had frequent checks because of his speech difficulties.
MaizeD - Those Piper books look great (and not that expensive). Think the repetition would help and it would be great to find some pure phonics books he found easy to build his confidence back up a bit.
Firstly, your son will be fine because you are 'on it.'
My eldest was a late talker and was exactly you describe at the end of reception. We were relaxed until the start of year 2 - as he needed to grow and just enjoy school. In year 2 we knuckled down and got him a tutor. We also made him read every night for 10 minutes slowly increasing to 20 over the year. He absolutely hated this but we were insistent. This did the trick. By year 3 we had no more worries. He left primary with fantastic reading skills.
I have friends who at the time were aghast at the tutor but low and behold their children got to year 5 and they were really struggling, not just with reading but with self esteem.
Also, a tutor will help figure out if their is anything underlying his struggles.
Also check out your local library.
My library has reading corner books "Run Rat Run" was the first ever book she read (you can also find it on amazon). It had in it "Rat ran....Dog ran....Pig ran....Rat ran in a big red hut" type thing.
4/5 is still very little. In some countries children don't start school until they are 7.
My dd just didn't get reading in reception. She wasn't ready. Now in year 2 she has caught up with children who were far ahead of her and is an excellent reader.
My DS1 could read 27 words at the end of Yr R. They were supposed to have at least 45. He was bottom of the class.
A year later he was near the top of the class because we worked on learning the key words. I think partly he was just slow to get going and wasn't ready and partly we hadn't been focussing on the right way of doing things for him. He always loved being read to as well and probably didn't see the point of doing it himself if I could do it so much better.
Don't worry too much yet. It is something to keep an eye on but it won't necessarily become a problem. Speak to the teacher and see if there is anything they can suggest that will help him too.
My DS couldn't read until Christmas of yr2 (is a May birthday), couldn't recognise the words from one age to the next. I was starting to worry (even though I taught the same age range at the time). Suddenly he got it and made good progress from then on. He is finishing yr 3 as a fluent reader, about 2 years ahead of his chronological age.
Most schools will not assess for dyslexia until 7 years old so that this sort of rapid development can occur naturally. It isn't an unusual thing to happen. Keep going with what you are doing- it is far more likely to fall into place than not!
My Ds is finishing reception and cannot read at all, doesn't recognise any words at all despite being read to every night, not that i know of anyway, he might read them at school.
Tbh it's not even remotely bothering me. I didn't learn to read until i was at least 7. I can remember trying to read ivor the engine and it just suddenly clicked, i can remember going downstairs and telling mum that i can read now. I'm still an avid reader that will stay up reading a gripping book until my eyes burn
OK, I've just signed up to the Reading chest and chosen the reading schemes that said they were phonics based (as opposed to ORT) and have gone back to pink level to increase his confidence.
My DS1 could read 27 words at the end of Yr R. They were supposed to have at least 45. no they aren't! I do wish schools would stop telling parents incorrect information - the 45 reception HFW were replaced in 2007
Mrz - that poster's son is old enough that the 45 words would have been correct at the time.
Actually Mrz it was 2005 that I am talking about but it was the principle and reassurance I was giving the OP - that the failure to meet the target at that time at the end of Yr R (and significantly fail as the numbers show) doesn't mean a child has failed as a reader forever. The school target was actually 100 key words but I didn't want to freak anybody as I know some schools aim lower. If you want up to date, when he did his CAT test at 11 he had a reading age of somebody 4.5 yrs older. The use of the word 'were' gives a clue to the fact it is in the past as well - I didn't say 45 words is the target.
Thank you Ali. You are right, he was only little.
I agree a chat with the teacher is a good idea. But try not to worry as he is still very little and his speech issue could be an explanation of his slower than average progress.
I think I would get loads of interesting books from the library (not reading scheme, something like Horrid Henry perhaps or picture books aimed at older children) and read to him everyday. That will hopefully build up his love of books and he may then start to want to read them for himself.
BigBoobiedBertha the RA of 4.5 is probably down to the school teaching the 45 HFW ...bad practice even in 2005
Yes still teeny weeny, my eldest DS is just about to leave Y6 and could not read at the end of reception or that well at the end of Y1. Now in Y6 KABOOOOOM!!!!!!!!!!! totally great and reading and writing. He blossomed like a swan in Y2 and Y5, he's always loved school and we are lucky that school are spot on with their help, support and guidance.
Ignore what they are 'supposed to be doing/done' all children cannot and shoud not but are shoved down the same route and it does not suit all. 'failure to reach the target' seriously wtf?!? Those words should never be uttered to a child or parent, schools set up kids to fail with words like that!
I'd be carefull with pushing it at home, short fun bursts is all you need, or you could put him right off.
Mrz - what is ra and what are you talking about?
What I'm on about is the stupidity of setting targets of 45 or 100 words ... when they could be reading every word they meet if taught how to tackle them effectively ...
My DS changed school after half term pretty much where your son is (change due to moving house). I was slightly concerned but his old teacher had just kept saying he was "fine" and at "expected levels". Sometimes he would seem like he knew the sounds - more often he seemed like he did not. He frequently refused to read. I rarely heard him sound out of blend anything.
His new teacher was concerned and did say he was behind his new peers - but probably as his old school was of the "old" type with mainly play focus. He is alse very young.
Before he started the new school I said it would be exciting as this is where he would learn to read and wouldn't that be fab - I in essence got in his head that the new school would be more learning, more exciting things to discover.
I also asked the teacher how to support him. She suggested the Jolly Phonics CD (we now play it daily). I also splashed out £7 or so and got the Jolly Phonics wall freize. 4 weeks on and I can confidently say he is now reading.
He knows his sounds (a few d/b slip ups) he can sound out pretty much perfectly, and his blending his great. He wants to read his school book, He wants to read 2. And then again at breakfast. His confidence and enthusiasm are like a different child.
So what has worked? Who knows? He is ready? He thinks this is what school is about as well as playing? The Jolly Phonics stuff at home? Different school? Different teacher?
Who knows - but firstly I think don't worry - as someone above said - you care, he will get there. But secondly - have a chat with his teacher. Get an action plan from them about what you can do to help him. Have they got resources you can use?. Or could they recommend something. Working with them will benefit everyone so you do not confuse him.
Good luck. Feeling for you. But you are there behind him. He will be fine.
I wouldn't be too worried, ime kids read when they are ready to a bit like walking and talking.
My dd wasn't reading by the end of reception and I wasn't concerned at all (although tbh I don't really agree with children starting school at 4/5yo I think they should be 6/7yo)
She is now getting to the end of year 2 and reading confidently, something clicked this year and she loves her books.
I think the most important thing at your sons age is that he likes and enjoys looking through books. I wouldn't make a big issue out of the reading as it will just make you frustrated and your ds.
There is something called working memory, google it, he sounds like he could be low in it. Has he had an eye test?
Otherwise, OP's DS doesn't sound that different from DS and I am pretty sure DS is no worse than slightly below avg compared to most his peers. I am failing to understand what OP meant.
DS can reliably remember simple phonics (say s or p) but mostly forgets more complicated phonemes(?) (ay or ee). He can blend to sound out single syllable words, but not 2+ syllable. He can read keywords in his keyword books but 50:50 if he recognises them elsewhere. How much worse is your son than that, BrightonM?
Still don't get your point or where you get the a RA of 4.5 from.
Of course children should be taught to read. Isn't that the point of going to school? Why are you so hung up on targets? I mentioned it only because it illustrated how much he was struggling and that he was not keeping up with his peers. It was a quantifiable measure which I personally find more useful than a pointless 'He couldn't read much' which begs the question compared to who or what? Why derail the thread with a 'discussion' about targets and how useful they are? Why not give the OP the benefit of you experience and help her help her DS instead of banging on about ancient history?
Who is derailing me or could it be you? I made a single comment then a further 2 posts (this being the second) to answer your questions ...
Hi. This reminds me of my son. We've had quite a time figuring him out and still not really managed. He is just finishing Y2. His memory is actually great but he could not read by the time he left Reception as they were heavily phonics based and he couldn't blend (although he knew all letters of alphabet by the first term). He still could not tell you the days of the week NOW though he would remember if you told him what day it is today. He also can't tell the time yet. With writing, he could only write his name and nothing else (blending is required to write as well).
We found the floppy phonics books really good and we did them at home a bit in the holidays between Reception and Y1. He came on leaps and bounds in Y1 and is currently 'average' (nationally) at the end of Y2, although at the bottom end of his particular class. He's always been described as 'young' despite being a Nov birthday and I think he may have some developmental delays. I am hoping they will iron out by the time he's in secondary.
I think he may have some signs of dyslexia, but has not been assessed for this - writing backwards. He is almost certainly dyspraxic as he did very badly in an OT assessment for his fine and gross motor skills. We do loads of drawing, trampoling, cycling (it's great he can cycle as he has poor balance) and all these have helped but he's obviously still delayed in these areas.
The thing which rang bells for me with your ds was on hearing. My ds has auditory processing problems which makes following instructions really hard, and blending very, very difficult for him. Look into sensory processing and see if any of it rings bells. You could ask the school and doctors to begin referrals to Occupational Therapy and anyone who could look at developmental delay. It's worth getting on the case now because it does take a while. Good luck! Above all, keep up his self esteem in other areas and don't push too hard or too fast!
Oh, I would also add when I read your post that some of the 'taking a step backwards' could be tiredness. My ds is certainly in this position at the moment and started writing some letters backwards again which he had cracked in the second term of Y2. I think children who do have some processing problems do get more tired as their poor brains are just working overtime trying to figure it all out. And if his motor skills aren't great, that is another hard work. Other kids have to make a lot less effort so they do get less tired.
my son is end of reception and can't 'read' either.
it's not that unusual.
it is sad to see them bottom of the class and I know he doesn't like that himself. But he is making progress and that is the important thing.
By all means speak with the teacher about this but also try not to stress about it just yet either..
My cousin was a late talker and certainly dosnt suffer from any lack of confidence, she passed 2 gcse's a year early and is now a respected fashion designer.
Keep going with the great things you are already doing. I'm sure you will see some positive things soon
DD2 is in reception and is on 'red' books, she can't read in any functional way, forgets words from one page to the next but we are plodding along, trying to keep it fun. DD1 was at the same level and at 7 is a complete bookworm, has to have her book confiscated to achieve anything in the morning. I am surprised to see that posters consider it so uncommon, but very happy that I didn't know with DD1.
Thanks all so much again - although now I'm veering wildly between thinking I need to chill out about the whole thing or really get on the case with the reading schemes!
Lljjkk - sounds pretty much exactly the same! I'd say a simple word he could sound out, but anything more complicated just throws him. He does know a few keywords and will surprise me sometimes, but will seem to know them sometime and forget them the next.
Merry Marigold - thanks for the tip but I googled both auditory and sensory processing and they didn't ring any bells. But I do think maybe an OT might be able to help us.
Anyway, I've now made an appointment to see his teacher on Monday so I'll go in with my list of concerns and see what she thinks. Like I said, it's not really just the lack of reading that's worrying me. There's also the poor memory and motor skills.
BrightonMama - My DS has working memory issues and is dyspraxic so he sounds a bit like your DS. As I have said he was definitely bottom of the class in Yr R despite apparently being bright. He never got to grips with phonics at all and probably can't sound out anything but the most simple words even now and he is 12. He has a reading age of 15+ so it hasn't held him back. Strangely his spelling matches his reading ability which I don't understand at all! My theory, and it is only a theory, is that his poor working memory is not a problem because he can use his very good semantic memory (his memory for facts and words) to remember the words, rather than work them out by sounding. I'm afraid it was plan old fashioned rote learning of key words and sight reading that worked for him. Once he had those he was away.
I think you are wise to see the teacher for ideas but also to chill out and just keep sharing books with your DS with no pressure for him to read. Things can improve very quickly when they finally click and you find a way of getting passed the working memory issues ime, whether that be via sight reading, phonics and a mixture of the two.
Just as a matter of interest, those of you with DC with working memory problems, how do your DC cope with maths or numeracy? It is probably too soon to say for those who are still in Yr R but DS has found it difficult to deal with the processes in maths as they can draw heavily on working memory. He is OK at it now but his mental maths is still weak.
How did he rote learn with working memory issues?
You do understand that there are different types of memory?
My 8 year old nephew really struggled with reading. He was a late-ish talker, had speech therapy and also had gromits.
What really helped him leap forward was a one-to-one reading scheme at the school. My sister works in education, lots of books at home and lots of effort made, but it just wasn't clicking until the one-to-one help.
This happened when he was about 6, and he is now one of the best in his class at reading, and really loves it.
He is quite a daydreamer who isn't great at following instructions, he tends to go off task, does that sound like your DS?
BigBoobiedB, my son's dyslexic and has poor working memory, but he's v.good at maths, including mental maths, thanks to a great teacher this who's helped him relax about recall, so she's encouraged strategies targeted to suit him.
Quick example, but instead of expecting him to have all the times tables with instant recall instead she's given him narrower targets, so first off she made him enjoy the fact that he knew his 11 times table - obviously that's easy but it still gave him confidence. Then she made sure he could instantly recall all the squares. Logic being that if he knows 6x6, 7x7, 8x8, etc he can then use them as touchstones to jolt his memory. So if the question's what's 8x7, he'd freeze, but the squares give him the touchstone, as he's been taught to go to what he definitely knows, so he knows instantly 7x7, so then that means he knows he just needs another 7 up from there. Just hearing 49 in his head might jolt the answer as the next 7 up, but if that fails he can just count up using his fingers if he needs to.
Not being expected to have instant recall of all the tables, just a few select ones took the stress away. Rather than feel a failure as the other kids could do it instantly, now he's interesting because his brain works differently. Celebrating that in class and acknowledging it has helped not just him but other kids who were struggling. Net result though is a relaxed kid who likes maths again.
Hope that makes sense!
Very late summer born DS couldn't really read at end of Reception. He did love books though. Blending sounds did not click till the middle of Y1.
Scroll forward to Y5 and he is working way above national expectations.
They are children, not robots. Progress is not linear. It takes some children longer than others.
Speak to his teacher if you are worried - ask specific questions and see what they suggest for things that you can do in the holidays to help boost his confidence.
Thread title makes me cringe to be honest. Eye catching though I suppose.
Has he been screened for dyslexia? (I think that doesn't usually happen until a bit later). I ask because I believe that looking at a word and then a few seconds later not being able to remember it is a sign of one type of dyslexia (what used to be called word-blindness a long time ago).
I think forgetting words is very common at this age. Year 3 seems to when school really steps up a gear if child is still struggling. Many children are late bloomers. Personally, if you are still worried in year 2 get a private salt assessment, if school won do it.
I'm interested in your thoughts on sight words MaizieD - that you need to be able to sound out and blend the words to be able to read them on sight. Kevin Whedall's MultiLit programme (seemingly taking Australia and New Zealand by storm) which is advertised as being based on the very latest research has a 200 sight word element to it.
From the MultiLit website: 'The basic premise behind teaching a bank of high frequency sight words is to enable low-progress readers, who have previously had very little exposure to text, or indeed success in reading, to access text quickly. Knowledge of the most frequently occurring words in text allows poor readers to access a great deal of the text they encounter without having to resort to decoding skills that they might not have yet mastered.'
And not everyone agrees with Kevin Wheldall!
I have a number of issues with 'sight words'. The may appear to be a result of my 'opinion' but, as my job for the past few years has been remediating 'struggling readers' at KS3, where it is imperative that they develop and consolidate the necessary skills as quickly as possible to make up for lost time, I have read very widely on the topic of learning to read, (going back to good quantitative research wherever possible) to try to find the most effective strategies.
It seems to me that the emphasis on the need to learn 'sight words' was a strategy developed by proponents of 'look and say' teaching. As children taught by this method can only 'learn' a few words at a time the rationale for teaching 'sight words' was more or less the same as that quoted above from the Multi-Lit programme. The strength of Multi Lit is that it also teaches systematic phonics whereas 'look and say' eschewed all phonics, dismissing it as useless because of the perceived 'irregularity' of English.
The concern I have with 'sight words' in programmes like this is the method of teaching them. If they are taught by 'look and say' then it takes an extraordinary amount of time and effort to teach children a tiny percentage of words from the English lexicon - look at 200 against 250,000plus. I posted some information on another thread about study carried out by Prof. Morag Stuart on teaching children by Look & Say. This is her writing about the study:
Jackie Masterson, Maureen Dixon and I carried out a training experiment (Stuart,Masterson & Dixon, 2000) to see how easy it was for five-year-old beginning readers to store new words in sight vocabulary from repeated shared reading of the same texts. It turned out to be much harder than we expected! We tried to teach the children 16 new words, which were printed in red to make them identifiable as the words to be learned.
There was one of the red words on each page. After the children had seen and read each red word 36 times, no child was able to read all 16 of them, and the average number of words read correctly was five. We were quite shocked by this, because we had made a database of all the words from all the books the children were reading in school, and so we knew how many different words each child had been exposed to in their first term reading at school. This ranged from 39 to 277 different words, with a mean of 126.
Hardly any of these words occurred frequently in any individual childs pool of vocabulary: on average fewer than four words occurred more than 20 times yet 36 repetitions had not been enough to guarantee that children would remember a word.
When we tested childrens ability to read words theyd experienced more than 20 times in their school reading, on average they could read only one word correctly.
I haven't read the original study but I think one could assume that the subjects were a perfectly 'normal' class of 5y olds. Despite Mnetters' frequent assertions that their dc has only to see a word once and they always remember it, this kind of study, dealing with normal, run of the mill, children, really gives a more realistic picture of the difficulty of 'word learning' with Look & Say'. The most startling contrast with phonics teaching (i.e sounding out and blending words) is that most of those same 'normal, run of the mill, children' would need only two or three repetitions of sounding out and blending a word in order for them to be avle to recognise it instantly (on sight) thereafter. It's a much more efficient process for most children. What is more, Look & Say is slow, word by word, learning whereas, once a child knows, even a few, letter/sound correspondences hundreds of words are instantly available to them with no need to 'learn' anything beyond the correspondences and how to sound out and blend.
I don't know how Multi Lit goes about teaching these 'sight words' but if they're doing it by Look & Say then, in my opinion, on the strength of research such as Prof. Stuart's, they are wasting valuable learning time for minimal benefit.
I also would contend that trying to teach some words as 'Look & Say' is potentially confusing, particularly to children who have greater difficulty in acquiring reading skills, as they do not know how to approach an unfamiliar word. Is it a 'sight word' that they are supposed to already 'know' or should they try sounding out and blending it?
Look & Say also produces inaccurate reading as children do not look very closely at the word; they tend to notice the first letter & word shape and say somthing which might fit. They are also very prone to leaving the endings off words and reversing common words such as 'was/saw', 'of/for' because they don't have a secure 'L to R, all through the word' reading strategy.
I have to say that none of this last paragraph is backed by research evidence and I have had these 'objections' dismissed by Prof. Wheldall because they have no research evidence, but they are behaviours I have observed in many 'mixed methods' taught children over the years; behaviours which you tend not to find in purely phonics taught children.
I could say much more, but I've written rather a lot already!
Yes I do know there are different kinds of memory and I also know that semantic memory is part of the long term memory and relies on working memory
Thanks Smee that is really interesting. My DS was never good at mental maths. He doesn't have instant recall of the times tables even now, when he is in yr 8. It is a shame that nobody came up with a strategy that would have worked for him but he always bobbed along in class as average and so was never quite bad enough to give cause for real concern. He seems to have a good understanding of some quite complex maths now which you wouldn't expect him to get given his weakness at the basics but he is completely let down by not having the instant recall of the times tables, basic number bonds and all that. Everything has to be thought through and when you find working through steps hard because you have forgotten what happened in the first step by the time you get to the third it gets very confusing iyswim.
MaizieD - are you saying that you think phonics is the only way children learn to read then? I find it hard to believe that one size fits all but the research you quoted is interesting.
^ I find it hard to believe that one size fits all^
Thanks BrightonMama for looking at the Piperbooks site. One of my favourite quotes is 'Some children need an enormous amount of repetition and sometimes we as teachers cannot bear not to move on'. But when confusion sets in this can act as a huge block on confidence and learning The good thing about BRI is that the books go so slowly - lots of repetition, overlearning, attention to sound - and all instruction within stories which grab the attention of young ones in a way perhaps that worksheets don't do.
Lots of referrals from the Brighton area when living in Lewes - but had to move from the wonderful Downs!
Thanks all again for all your excellent advice and really helpful comments. I'm meeting with his teacher on Monday so will post again.
maizieD - did you mean to be so rude?
So BrightonMama my DS2 just finished R and can't really read either. He has various S&L issues as well as hearing impairment so it's not surprising that he's taking a little longer.
We've signed up to Reading Chest and he does Reading Eggs too, which he loves. He has made progress over the year and is advancing all the time; just not at the same rate as his peers. I'm really looking forward to summer and working with him on his reading and literacy more than I get the chance to at the moment (he's really, really tired when we get in from school and mornings are a bit frantic).
I am determined that he doesn't 'slump' over the summer. We'll make it fun too.
Do let us know how you got on. I'm all ears for suggestions/tips.
My son was being taught in reception with a mush mash of look and say and phonics with HFW chucked in. By the end of reception he was a nervous wreck at the thought of opening a book. Not what an English graduate wants for her child.
We moved him to a school absolutely dedicated to teaching reading through phonics. One year later his reading level is 2c (which is apparently slightly ahead of expectations). He loves reading and does so for pleasure. Unfamiliar words no longer provoke a melt down because he has the tools to tackle them.
It was a drastic solution as he was very very happy at his old school. But reading is so essential a skill we really didn't feel we had any choice.
Completely non-technical comment here.
I wouldn't worry. I was concerned that my DDs didn't learn to read as early as I had (before I started school), I couldn't see how they were going to learn at school with so much else going on.
But I think when they are ready, it just clicks and they make progress very quickly. (DH wasn't worried at all - he was 7 before he learnt to read!)
Unfortunately for some children it never clicks ... the literacy chat topic
#literacychat Topic 2 8-15 - 8.30 How do we help students in KS4 who struggle to read and write? Join us :-)
Wow, writing off a child in Yr R! I bet that is exactly what the OP needs to hear when trying to help her 5 yr old. Nice.
Just the opposite BigBoobiedBertha ...Perhaps you would rather I said "do nothing because every child learns to read and write eventually" or "it will click because it did for my child" (obviously with my fingers crossed because it isn't true) or would you rather that children were helped early so they don't get to 15 unable to read and write effectively
He sounds exactly like my daughter, who couldn't read at all at the end of reception and struggled in year one despite extra help from the teachers. She knew she was struggling, too - she would get very upset in class and be disruptive, basically as an avoidance tactic, and would simply refuse to try and read at home, though she loved being read to.
Then at the beginning of year two it suddenly all clicked and she went up five reading bands in half a term (from 5 to 10), and at the end of year two she is a free reader. I think the whole episode has had a huge impact on her self confidence though and she is notably reluctant to move on academically because the next stage will be too hard, she is "stupid" etc
My DD was also a lateish talker, especially compared to her siblings, and was diagnosed in year one with glue ear that was affecting her hearing - she could hear vowel sounds but not consonants, so couldn't do phonics at all, really. We'd had concerns she couldn't hear properly for years (dismissed by GP and health visitors) so I suspect she'd had glue ear on and off from when she was tiny and that it affected her speech. But presumably if your son has a speech delay his hearing has been checked?
BTW she is also very creative and imaginative and curious about the world, but still struggles with writing, maths, not great at sequencing, forgetful etc so I think she may be mildly dyslexic.
What I would rather Mrz is that you actually offered some help and concrete advice rather than spewing negativity everywhere.
You should know that some children take longer to get reading and may need some extra help or a different approach but all you can do is offer up the fact that there are failed teenagers out there who have been badly let down by their teachers and can't read. Either that or you are suggesting that the OP's DS has some severe SEN when there is no suggestion of that.
Shame on you.
What is negative about saying 'Don't sit back and expect it to 'click'?'
There are a great many children out there with no SEN who struggle to learn to read because their teaching is poor. It will never 'click' for them because they don't understand (because they haven't been taught) just how reading 'works'. And, the longer they are left in ignorance the further they are left behind. It's known as The Matthew Effect. The saddest thing is that, even if they do get some good teaching at a later age, they stand a good chance of never catching up with their peers. Which can have a profound effect on their life chances and their self image.
What is negative about saying 'Don't sit back and expect it to 'click'?'
OK MaizieD - why has Mrz not offered up suggestions about what the OP could be doing? It is negative to say that some children fail because of bad teachers without giving any advice at all, anywhere on this thread, on what to do to either mitigate the effect of a bad teacher or make sure the OP's DS gets a good one. In all likelihood, given that the OP's DS is only in Yr R and has been slightly delayed in his speech, he will eventually get there when he is developmentally ready. Most children do catch up and learn to read, especially with an interested parent who is committed to helping.
If the child had been in Yr 6 and still not reading, I could understand the voice of doom but not for a child in Yr R. Seriously if you can't see how that isn't negative, I worry for your judgement.
Most children do catch up BigBoobiedBertha but a significant number (about a quarter) don't and sitting back and waiting to see if it clicks by Y6 results in shattered self esteem and many children entering secondary school already disaffected.
My advice for what it's worth is not to worry but not to ignore it either. Speak to the school to find out what they are going to do and how you can help him at home. They are best placed to know where he is having difficulties.
Can he hear words when you say the sounds clearly?
Play aural blending games ... Simon says /s/ /i/ /t/ Simon says /h/ /o//p/ .../j/ /u/ /m/ /p/ etc If he can do it when you say the sounds see if he can hear the word when he says the sounds ... I find this is where some children struggle initially so needs lots of patience and practice.
Then move onto simple two and three sound words ...I use post it notes with a sound written on each note but you could use magnetic letter
Space the word out on the fridge and get him to physically move the sounds together as he says them. try blending the first two sounds then adding the final sound ...so /c/ /a/ ca /t/ cat so he builds in stages.
Check which sounds he recognises and can match to the written form.
and if you can't see telling someone that it will be all right when you don't know is irresponsible ...I've read too many threads started by parents who have been told just that only to discover that it isn't always true.
At last some advice from you.
If I had gone to my DS's teacher at the end of Yr R and the only thing they could think of to say is that some children never learn to read, i would have been talking to the head faster than you could say 'failed teacher'. I surprised you can't see why that is so negative. Thankfully you have fnally offered some advice. Lets hope the OP's DS might avoid being part of that 25% because his teachers do think to help first not give in to the possibility that he will never read before his school career has even got started
For the record my advice was don't worry, it will probably click, but talk to the teacher. That is what I did and DS is clearly fine now wrt reading because the teacher helped and didn't just quote statistics about all the children who do fail.
Have you had his eyes tested? Just a thought as ds is really long sighted and we had no idea. It was picked up at a routine test in school at 4. Luckily they hadn't started learning to read as he wouldn't have been able to!!
Also dd learnt to read using "read write inc phonics" books which were brilliant and we used those with ds too. Bought them on line as we emigrated to oz when dd was in reception and we wanted to keep up with how her uk school was teaching her. I can't recommend them enough, both dcs found these books fun and wanted to read them!
Yes I imagine you would go in all guns blazing
making a fool of yourself because you have chosen to focus on the minutiae rather than the whole.
If I had gone to my DS's teacher at the end of Yr R and the only thing they could think of to say is that some children never learn to read, i would have been talking to the head faster than you could say 'failed teacher'. I surprised you can't see why that is so negative.
The thing is, BBB, in this discussion mrz wasn't telling the OP that. She was telling you.
Yes, strange that Maisie. I am not sure why all her comments were focussed on me rather than answering the OP. You do realise that the OP can read the stuff you write, don't you? This is an open forum. Anyway, it is all very weird.
I am more than happy to make a fool of myself if some failing teacher wouldn't help me help my DS. I do take the bigger picture. I was actually quite laid back about DS and thankfully there was no need to worry about that - he went to a very good school who did their job and helped - nobody told he might never learn to read for a start. They made sure he had fun and enjoyed himself whilst he was doing it. Couldn't ask for more. Shame all teachers aren't as good.
Probably because you started your posts with my name and I replied BigBoobiedBertha
I would regard it to be a failure not to tell a parent that their child need support whereas you seem to think the teacher should let them believe it will click eventually
Oh get over yourself. Go back to your first post and see who started this - I named you because you had a pop at me. If you don't want to be pulled up on your PA behaviour don't do it. No doubt you won't be able to help yourself and will reply with mock horror and/or indignation that I have got it all wrong. Yeah, right.
I have no problem with the truth but you aren't giving the whole picture are you? 25% might fall through the net because if crappy teaching but 75% don't. What stops them falling through the net? That is what you should be contributing to this thread if you want to contribute. Nobody is forcing you by the way, not when you seem so bored by it all.
Besides there are different levels of responsibility for a teacher replying as opposed to another parent. It is your job to help if you are posting as a teacher but other parents can sympathise because we have been in the same boat. I think the OP has enough sense to know that talking on here changes nothing. She knows her DS and she knows he needs help. The question is what help?
So that's what all this is about ... I had a "pop" at you? I dared to disagree with something you said ...
well for the record 25% don't fall through the gap because of crappy teaching as you put it ... some fall through the gap because people say things like "don't worry he's only young" "it will click eventually" "he's very good at ... so there can't be a problem" and parents like ME listen to them!
and it isn't my job to do anything on MN I'm a parent and no different from any other poster on this site
I think mrz has been very responsible (not that that is her job here) and she is right to say what she said. My DS was like the OPs. His old teacher kept sayong he was fine. I was worried. He moved school ,his new teacher said he was not really fine. He had not got his sounds. He needed concentrated help at school and at home. We agreed a plan. We put it in action. He is now on track. It has now clicked.
For this thread to just read "don't worry it will just click" would be irresponsoble if people like mrz know that is not always the way. She cannot help on individual cases. That has to be a discussion between the parent and the child's teacher.
mrs thank you for your input. If I had not already spoken/addressed my DS's issues your posts would have given me the courage to question his old teacher more and go on my instincts he was being failed.
You didn't 'dare to disagree' though, did you'? I told the OP how things had happened to for DS - you weren't in a position to disagree because you don't know me, my DS or his experience. You weren't there and you don't know what happened, you just picked holes where there were none and seemingly took offence when challenged on it. I have no idea why.
Believe me I tried ignoring you but you just keep on going, don't you?
Tbh, BigBoobiedBertha, I think that it's you who 'keeps on going'. You've made your point several times over and I think you should back off now.
I agree with mrz and other posters that to say 'don't worry, it will just click' would be very irresponsible.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.