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To think that reading scheme books have no place in a nursery

(51 Posts)
ReallyTired Fri 04-Apr-14 18:14:14

I feel that a school nursery should be about enriching language, learning through play, physical development, knowledge of the world, learning to seperate from Mum and above all social skills and fun.

Biff and Chip should have no place in a school nursery. (Unless there is a real three year old lumbered with either of those names!) Three year olds should have high quality real books to share with their carer.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Fri 04-Apr-14 18:18:42

YADNBU. High quality real books and a language rich environment is exactly what they need. With staff modelling good speaking and listening skills. Particularly if they are not getting that from home.

SaveTheMockingBird Fri 04-Apr-14 18:21:53

Well my dcs nursery do all the things you mentioned but they also send home a reading book once a week with no pressure at all to read. They have excellent picture books too so I don't see the problem. my dd loves the reading books as it happens as she can then " read " like her older brother.

Cringechilli Fri 04-Apr-14 18:31:58

Plenty of people have virtually begged for their nursery to send home/have scheme books. Suits some children and not others.

Biff and Chip books do have nice stories in them and they are real books. Both my dc loved them.

Surely your dc is not being forced to read them?

TheHamster Fri 04-Apr-14 18:33:51

My DC loved/love Biff and Chip/the Magic Key (althoigh I hate them) if it matters confused

bobot Fri 04-Apr-14 19:26:51

YABU - if children are ready and enjoy them then why not? The whole problem is that we separate "play" and "learning" - if the approach is right, children don't see it as any different in my experience. And I'm usually the one saying "let the children play".

Fleta Fri 04-Apr-14 19:35:26


What should happen is that books are there for the children that want them, but they're not a compulsory part of the day in that setting.

My daughter could read at 2.5 years - she was desperate for her first reading book when she started school at 3

AnitaBlake Fri 04-Apr-14 19:37:16

I don't see a problem with it. My three year old can write her own name and we play word and number games, she's desperate to learn to read, but doesn't have the attention span to actually master it properly. She loves Biff and Chip, we've got a few lying around from her older sister.

Different children have different needs, interests and abilities. To me, nursery should stimulate and inspire them all, this means having a wide range of options available to them. All play teaches them something, and all learning should be through play, but there's no harm in teaching at the same time! Singing the alphabet song, or playing a counting game isn't going to traumatise them lol.

We have a huge range of books at home for the DC to play with and read, or be read to them, and I'd be most upset if nursery wasn't at least introducing them to even more books!

ReallyTired Fri 04-Apr-14 19:58:33

Do you not think its excessive schoolification to expect nursery parents to get their chidlren to practice reading every night. I feel at the age of three development of language is most important. A really bright nursery child will pick up reading without being taught. Attempting to teach a child who isn't ready will put the child off reading.

Thankfully dd is in reception, but I was aghast that the letter that I recieved stating that the school expected children to practice their reading every night was addressed to both nursery and reception parents.

We have a huge range of books at home for the DC to play with and read, or be read to them, and I'd be most upset if nursery wasn't at least introducing them to even more books!"

There is a difference between introducing chidlren to books and introducing reading schemes. Nursery is not formal school. My daughter was sent home with a real book every week in nursery. We read it to her and she got a lot out of the experience. Dd learnt to write her letters and was taught 42 letter sounds in nursery. At every step of the way she experienced sucess.

However not every child in nursery is ready for this. I feel that sending every child home with a reading scheme book will set up many children for failure at three years old.

tznett Fri 04-Apr-14 20:37:16

YABU. It's just one of a variety of resources for children who learn in different ways and at their own pace.

parakeet Fri 04-Apr-14 21:38:53

YABU. All children were different. It sounds like you want to stop all children having access to these Biff and Chip books because your own children aren't ready for them by this age.

Pipbin Fri 04-Apr-14 21:44:39

In your first post you said that there were Biff and Chip books in the nursery. Great, it allows the children a chance to see the characters and become familiar with them before starting to read in reception. Also, some nursery children are ready to start to read and withholding this from them is unfair.
But then you have gone on to say that nursery children are going to be taking a reading book home and are being expected to read nightly. This is not right. Children in nursery should be on phase one of letters and sounds which is about making and listening to sounds.

RubyrooUK Fri 04-Apr-14 22:04:05

I think it's all in the application.

I believe in learning through play (I am not a childcare professional - I just think that is a good way to learn). So I don't think pre-schoolars need reading schemes.

Having said that, my three year old saw a copy of BC & K at a friend's house and loved Floppy the Dog. He adores books and has taught himself all his letters and simple words. He can sit with books working out words for hours. It is fun for him. So he asked for the BC & K books because they are simple enough for him to read words in. His favourite books that we read also - The Troll, The Gruffalo, Captain Flinn - are still beyond him.

(He goes to full time nursery by the way - it's very homely and doesn't have reading schemes, just general kids' books.)

So are BC & K bad for him? No, for him fun is learning new words and getting a buzz from deciphering words himself.

That doesn't mean another child wouldn't hate sitting down practicing letters and words endlessly. It wouldn't be fun for everyone. My younger DS loves vehicles and balls and not really books much at all, so he might be totally different and need a different approach.That's why it's all in the application for me.

RubyrooUK Fri 04-Apr-14 22:05:00

Pre-schoolers, obviously, not pre-schoolars. blush

WooWooOwl Fri 04-Apr-14 22:14:08

YABU, pre schools should absolutely have these types of books available. It's how they are used that matters, they can be used badly or they can be used well, but there is no good reason why they shouldn't be there.

arethereanyleftatall Fri 04-Apr-14 22:26:58

Yabu, some 3 year olds want to learn to read.
Yanbu when you say 3 year olds shouldn't beexpected to learn to read.
I think the books should be there, children can take or leave them.

ReallyTired Fri 04-Apr-14 22:32:51

"YABU. All children were different. It sounds like you want to stop all children having access to these Biff and Chip books because your own children aren't ready for them by this age."

I am sceptical that there is any real benefit in teaching a three year old how to bark at print. I believe there are more important things for a small child to learn like social skills. A bright child picks up the art of barking at print really quickly at four or five years.

My daughter is doing really well in reading inspite of a total lack of Biff and Chip in nursery. Infact she has effortlessly caught up with the two children who suppposely could read proper books on starting reception. She has fanastic reading comprehension thanks to the amazing foundation that her nursery teacher gave her.

DD's nursery experience consisted of a wide range of stories and decent children's literature. They sang songs, had lots of role play, small world play, dressing up, painting, mark making and a whole host of amazing outdoor experiences. We have had a new headteacher and the old nursery teacher has left. The new head seems to be putting pressure on the early years to achieve more academically instead of looking at the whole child.

Many countries do not inflict reading schemes on their three year olds and they have far better Pisa results than we do. In fact most countries with higher Pisa results than us start formal education later. I seriously doult that Singaphore or Finnish three year olds are less ready for books than British three year olds.

I think that its nice to have something new in reception. I also feel that reading scheme books should not be introduced until the child knows at least one way of writing all 42 letter sounds and can blend.

parakeet Fri 04-Apr-14 22:47:15

Oh, the old "barking at print" insult, I always enjoy hearing that come out.

How can you say there is no benefit? How about the benefit of giving a bright-three-year-old the pleasure of reading? For those that do find pleasure in it, of course.

Jengnr Fri 04-Apr-14 22:49:57

What does 'barking at print' even mean?

bobot Fri 04-Apr-14 22:51:22

But ReallyTired, children are different. My oldest learnt to read without a single reading scheme book. He's never touched phonics (Home Educated til this week). My second child adores reading schemes. We've had them in the house and she asks to read them with me pretty much daily. She actually asks "teach me another sound so I can read more words" - she's enjoying it and it's never, ever been forced on her, it is definitely not at the expense of play and social skills. She'll be the oldest in the year but not due to start reception til September.

ReallyTired Fri 04-Apr-14 23:13:03

'barking at print'

It is when you get a child reading book with total lack of expression (ie. dull monotone voice) and they have no understanding what the story is about. (Ie. you ask them what a particular word means they are stuck, or they can't predict what happens next or they can't answer simple questions correctly.) They can decode the words, but fail to relate the story to their life's experiences.

Children need good language skills and knowledge of the world to make sense of books. A good early years enviroment a wide range of opportunities to explore and learn through play. Children develop physically and mentally a good nursery, even if they don't learn to read and write. Many countries don't teach reading until seven yet their children do better than ours.

Why can't nursery children enjoy some of the fanastic literature Britain is famous for? Surely books by the likes of Michael Rosen, Julia Donaldson or older books like "The Tiger Came to Tea" or some of the offerings from Bookstart are better for nursery children? Why the hurry sickness of starting a three year old off on a reading scheme with very limited vocabulary?

Teaching a three year old to read must be very slow. Both my children picked up reading really quickly and easily at the age of four. I suspect that the majority of three year olds are not ready to learn to read. Plenty of four year olds aren't ready to learn to read. In countries where children start school later than the UK, most children are free readers by christmas. In the UK lots of children take 3 years to learn to read, even if they start in reception. I suspect that if they start in nursery then they would take four years.

MrsDandBaby Fri 04-Apr-14 23:35:12

There are lots of 4 yrs olds at nursery/ preschool too.

My daughter is a may baby, so was 3.4 when she started. The September babies will have turned four eight months before her and could easily have been ready for an introduction to reading by the end of preschool - why not have the books there if they're interested (dd school has big focus on child led learning and learning through play)

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 04-Apr-14 23:40:25

Encouraging young children to read sounds like a great idea but I don't know what Biff and Chip is (no children yet).

bobot Fri 04-Apr-14 23:55:51

YANBU to think that a reading scheme should never be instead of those lovely books you mention :-)

YA definitely not BU to think that no child should be forced to learn to read (at any age, imo) especially at this age.

My dd will be pretty much 5 when she leaves nursery, that's a big difference from a 3 year old, and she's loving the reading scheme, which I asked for because she'd loved it at home. I'd never want her to be forced if she didn't like it or wasn't ready, there's no better way to kill a child's love of reading.

Pipbin Fri 04-Apr-14 23:58:23

Please don't trot out the 'in Norway they don't start school until they are 15 but they all graduate with a degree in astrophysics'. It proves nothing. English is a very complicated language to learn to read and write. In English there are 45 sounds and 90 ways to write them. In most other European languages there are about 40 sounds with only one way to write each sound.
Just try teaching someone the ough sound. Take the word chough for example, it's a bird, how would you pronounce that?

I agree that children should be being read 'proper' story books in nursery but those and reading books are not mutually exclusive.

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