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AIBU to think that children should be reading when they start school?

(313 Posts)
horribledinners Fri 30-Sep-11 14:46:39

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, I started having kids 20+ years ago, but I, and all my brothers and sisters were taught to read and write by my parents before we started primary school. I taught my two older kids to read and begin to learn to write letters in time for them starting primary education, and would be ashamed if ds3 couldn't recognise letters and be able to read by the time he starts school.

I completely understand that there have been many confusing 'experiments' in education since then, the abandonment of phonics was a tragedy in my opinion; but do parents really think its the schools job to teach kids to read and write and do they not even give an introduction to reading and writing anymore?

I would love to know if this is a generational thing. I know for certain its not a class thing as we were very poor growing up and my Mum would take us out to the bus-stop and make us read out the notices!

rubyrubyruby Fri 30-Sep-11 14:48:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chrchrch Fri 30-Sep-11 14:49:21

Not if you think yours should be.
Possibly a little if you think you are in any state to judge others'.

elegangle Fri 30-Sep-11 14:49:34


IndigoBell Fri 30-Sep-11 14:49:42


Kids start school at 4. And you expect them to already be able to read and write?

Totally mad.

If your child is able to learn to read at 3, you are very lucky. Not a good parent. Just purely lucky.

Most kids can't learn to read at 3.

cat64 Fri 30-Sep-11 14:49:58

Message withdrawn

GypsyMoth Fri 30-Sep-11 14:50:26

Crikey yab very u!!!!

How do you know you've taught them the way the school will teach others??? What are yours supposed to be doing whilst everybody else learns? Twiddle their thumbs?

justaboutstillhere Fri 30-Sep-11 14:50:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bintofbohemia Fri 30-Sep-11 14:50:49

YABU. Both my boys were days out of being three when they started school. DS1 could write his own name and recognise some letters but couldn't read. It's still very young.

I could read when I started school - it didn't do me any good, I just got held back until everyone else caught up.

rubyslippers Fri 30-Sep-11 14:51:02


For all the reasons the other posters have said

aldiwhore Fri 30-Sep-11 14:52:04

Both boys were on their way to letter/word recognition when they started school, but couldn't READ.

Perhaps it is a generational thing, could you navigate the CBEEBIES website at 4? wink

I did spend time drawing, forming letters, pointing out signs (both kids were excellent on roadsign knowlegde and could tell a Tesco from a Sainsbury's at around 2 - embarrassingly!) I read with my kids, and they could both write their names on entry to school.

My eldest is 8 and excellent at reading, spelling and writing. He could not 'read' properly at school entry level, though at the time I thought he could, we'd read the same books so many times he was reading 'from memory'.

rubyslippers Fri 30-Sep-11 14:52:16

I can't believe you would be ashamed that your pre school age child couldn't read before he started school

What a dreadful thing to pass on to your child

SouthernandCross Fri 30-Sep-11 14:52:20

My girls could recognise the odd letter when they started school and they had a stab at writing their names, but none could read. I read to them every day and we talked about letters and words if the subject came up . They were interested pre schoolers but not hugely so. All were taught to read at school and have gone on to be excellent readers in the top sets of their various classes.
The teachers much prefer it this way, I find.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 30-Sep-11 14:54:22

YANBU to think that they should be familiar with how books work, recognise a few letters and maybe be able to hold a pencil and copy a shape by the time they start school. YA also NBU to think parents can play a big part in teaching basic skills rather than leave it all to the teachers. I'm not sure I'd go as far as saying they should be reading and writing but I think it helps if they at least have the basic idea.

whackamole Fri 30-Sep-11 14:55:07

YABU. Although I read to my boys all the time (they are 2.8) and we look at flash cards and the like, I am not in the slightest bit bothered whether they can read or write when they go to school. That is what school is for, that is when they can start doing 'work'. Until then, I am happy to let them play and be children. In fact, if I had the choice I wouldn't send them to school at 4/5 I think it is too early.

And, for the record, my dad couldn't even speak English let alone read or write before he got to school, and he now earns a very easy 5 figure salary a year as a part-time electronics engineer. As far as I can remember I couldn't read or write before school either, I have gone on to get a BA.

motherinferior Fri 30-Sep-11 14:55:19

I was born 48 years ago, and started school in 1968 aged four and a half, totally illiterate.

Thirteen years later I got a scholarship to read English at Oxford. I now make a living putting words on the page. I read obsessively. I think my teachers did a pretty good job, really. And my children's teachers have done a similarly good job.

MrsBuntyCulDeSacWonder Fri 30-Sep-11 14:55:52

It's not a generational thing, I couldn't read before school. I'm 38.
While reading early may work and be great for some, attempting too early may not be good for others. Sorry about this naff saying, but I firmly go with the belief 'education is a journey not a race'.

YABU - my DS's are August birthdays so were just 4 when they started school. Some children are not cognitively ready to start reading that young. That doesn't mean you can't foster a love of books and stories with them but just that that the parent might have to be the one reading.

KaFayOLay Fri 30-Sep-11 14:56:25


3monkeys Fri 30-Sep-11 14:56:45

My son was 4 and 2 weeks when he started school full time. I taught him to open his lunch box and get himself dressed and undressed. I didn't teach him to read!

GypsyMoth Fri 30-Sep-11 14:56:47

What Do you think they should be able to read op? War and peace?

Goodynuff Fri 30-Sep-11 14:57:38

My DC are older, and they could both read and write when they started school.
The thing is, now that they are teenagers, their friends (who didn't learn to read or write before school) do just as well as them when it come to acedemics.
It gives them an advantage for the first two or three years, then it all evens out.
I think the important thing is not when they learn, but that they learn to do it well.

VirgoGrr Fri 30-Sep-11 14:58:24

Think you're going to get some knee-jerk aggro for this.

I could read before starting school because my parents took the trouble to teach me.

I don't think it's unreasonable for parents to have a go at introducing this before school and thats how I'm reading your question. Some will interpret your question as meaning that you expect all 4-5 year olds to be achieving this, which is a bit U.

SpanishPaella Fri 30-Sep-11 14:58:25

depends if the parent can be bothered to sit down and read to the child or not

my kids could all read fluently before they went to nursery because we used to read a lot at home

FairyQueenOfStrops Fri 30-Sep-11 14:58:56

DD teacher actually thanked me for not teaching DD to write before she started school (she was just 4) as that way they could teach her their way of doing it which was joined up from the word go. She found it a lot easier as hadn't even learnt to spell her whole name (9 letters long bless her) than her class mates who'd learnt to write each letter individually. The same goes with reading. DD was interested before she started school and could read/recognise a few standard words but i didn't know the reading scheme so didn't want to do too much. As a result she was one of the better readers even though we hadn't taught her beforehand as she was fresh to their way of learning.

YADBVU if you think i should feel ashamed for this shock

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