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To expect a 7 nearly 8 yr old to read fluently?

(35 Posts)
Lovecat Wed 19-Sep-07 08:56:10

Please don't all flame me, I have no frame of reference here, dd being only 2.7!

I'm in a play and have one scene with a little boy. Said little boy is being played by my 7 (8 in Nov) year old nephew, as he was the only child of the right age remotely interested in doing it!

We had our first rehearsal together last week and he told me that he hadn't realised the scene went on over 2 pages and had only learnt the first page of dialogue. I reassured him that at this stage of rehearsals it didn't matter and he could just read from the page.

Well, he couldn't do it. He stumbled over almost every word - and basically all he says is 'I want my dad', 'she's in hospital' 'where's my dad' and 'Dad!'

I don't think nerves played a part, as the director cleared the room so it was just the two of us, he was not distressed by his inability to read, and when he was given the line he said it brilliantly (he is a mega confident child!), but I was quite taken aback that he was struggling so much to read. He goes to a 'good' school, too. SIL (his mum) says that they are all like that in his class, it's just how they are - so is this normal?

As I said, I have no frame of reference, both DH and I were fluent readers from an early age so possibly my expectations are way too high? Just interested, really...

bozza Wed 19-Sep-07 08:59:27

Not really sure - DS is 6 (7 in Feb) and could read that sort of thing but a lot of the others in his class wouldn't be able to - but who knows in a year's time? Although I would have thought by a year's time that the majority would be able to.

HuwEdwards Wed 19-Sep-07 09:00:15

My 6 nearly 7 year old reads fairly well, but not sure I would say fluently - it's fairly stilted and monotone tbh.

It was a new situation for him, maybe it was a big deal - if he was saying he wanted his dad, then I think it's very possible he was very nervous.

bozza Wed 19-Sep-07 09:02:09

Huw I think they were the lines he was supposed to be reading not what he was actually saying. At least, that is how I understood it. So not that difficult but I do agree with you about the stilted reading. I have been working with DS on that recently, trying to get him to put some meaning into dialogue, particularly questions and exclamations.

SSSandy2 Wed 19-Sep-07 09:05:35

Would have expected him to be able to read those lines ok. Maybe it was reading standing up or his mind was on other things. Really don't know. However if his mum says that is how he reads, she must know.

lulumama Wed 19-Sep-07 09:09:03

DS is 8, just 8. He was struggling to read fluently and was getting confused with basic words, like 'who' , 'in', 'what'

turns out he is dyslexic and it ws picked up on the last school term, which is prime age, KS2, end of year 2.

if he is struggling there might be a very good reason

also, there is no way my DS could learn two pages of dialogue, which is part of his dyslexia.

Helennn Wed 19-Sep-07 09:10:33

My ds will be 8 in January, so similar to your nephew. My ds has improved a lot in reading over the last few months but he is not fluent yet, struggles over several words per page, but I think he is one of the weaker ones in the class. Think there is a big difference between boys and girls at this age but that most kids should be able to read a page by now, even if it is a bit slow and stilted, would be surprised if most of the class struggled like you say.

KristinaM Wed 19-Sep-07 09:12:47

my 7 1/2 year old could read that easily. and so could all her friends 9 although most of them are 8). but they have the advantage of being girls and they are in the top groups for reading.

maybe your nephew is at the bottom end of the normal range IYSWIM

SSSandy2 Wed 19-Sep-07 09:13:02

are his lines printed in large font?

KristinaM Wed 19-Sep-07 09:15:41

ah - my DD wil be 8 in january too and she is in year 4, so that might explain some of it

lulu - thats great they have picked up his dyslexia - you must be relieved. is he getting lots of extra help?

Helennn Wed 19-Sep-07 09:17:28

Kristina - my ds will be 8 in January and he is in year 3 - surely your daughter is a year ahead?

lulumama Wed 19-Sep-07 09:19:05

i am kristina, as i know now there is a reason for him struggling, getting lots and lots of help. school are really on the ball and doing all they can.

KristinaM Wed 19-Sep-07 09:19:37

no she is just the youngest girl in her year

Saturn74 Wed 19-Sep-07 09:22:18

Were there other people at the rehearsal other than you?
Maybe he was embarrassed to be asked to read out loud in front of people he didn't know very well?

Both my sons are dyslexic.

DS1 was a fluent reader at 5.
DS2 is 9, and still cannot read fluently.

DS1 has trouble memorising simple tasks and spelling fairly simple words.
DS2 could hear several pages of text a couple of times, and repeat it verbatim. He can also spell well.

Different people have different skills, and different levels of ability.

But I would cut him some slack, as I know lots of adults who would have been uncomfortable reading out loud in an unfamiliar environment - let alone some 7 year olds! smile

KristinaM Wed 19-Sep-07 09:22:22

thats great lulu. my friend used to be a secondary teacher, then her own DD had alot of troubel with reading even though she seemed very clever otherwise. turned out she had dyslexia and my friend became so knowlegeabel / intertsted she decided to do learning support in primray schools

KristinaM Wed 19-Sep-07 09:23:49

humphry - I dont think lovecat is annoyed at him, she is just wondering if there might be a problem

wordgirl Wed 19-Sep-07 09:24:52

She must be a year ahead. My ds will be 9 in February and is in Year 4. All year 4s are 8 when they start in September.

Lovecat Wed 19-Sep-07 09:34:40

Thanks for the responses.

Humphrey, not in the least bit annoyed with him, just very concerned (thanks KristinaM and Bozza for understanding what I was saying!). In my OP I said that it was just 3 of us, myself, my nephew and the director, who sat right at the back of the room so as not to freak him out any. He's been in loads of school/nursery plays and loves to get on stage - wish I was that nerveless!

He's a very bright child and is near the top of the class, so I suppose I was just surprised that his reading was so poor and thatit hadn't been picked up on - or rather, that it seemed to be acceptable so far as the school were concerned (and a bit dubious about their teaching methods - whole word recognition rather than phonics...).

cornsilk Wed 19-Sep-07 09:42:04

If he's very bright perhaps he does have a problem with his reading and had learnt how to hide it.

bozza Wed 19-Sep-07 09:45:53

That level of reading does sound below what you would expect for a bright child near the top of the class in year 3. But maybe he was tired or having an off day? I would be concerned in your position, but don't really think you have enough evidence to go off.

Saturn74 Wed 19-Sep-07 09:56:35

KristinaM - I didn't think that the OP was annoyed at him.
By cutting him some slack, I meant that perhaps she needed to take into consideration the fact that he may not be keen on reading out loud in public, and that may be the extent of the 'problem'.

Emprexia Wed 19-Sep-07 10:23:04

IMHO, he should have been able to manage that little bit at his age.. if mom is saying the whole class is like that i'd be a little concerned about the level of teaching at the school.

If its just him, it could be anyhing from a learning difficulty to mom not sitting enough and helping him learn at home.

expatinscotland Wed 19-Sep-07 10:26:00


How well do you know this child? Maybe he's really shy, has a learning disability, or just isn't a keen reader.

FFS, imagine getting miffed at an seven year old because you and your husband were fluent readers from an early age and he's not?

So what?

purpleduck Wed 19-Sep-07 10:29:52

ONLY learned the first page!!! Thats fantastic!!! Maybe the poor child felt so wrong footed, and embarassed that he "froze". I feel really bad for that poor little guy! My ds is the same age, and yes he is a fantastic reader, but that may change if he went into a situation totally unprepared, and got embarassed.
He may seem so big and grown up compared to yours, but he is still a child!!! (finger waggle emotion!!)
Please praise that child for what he did do asap!
(rant over)

AngharadGoldenhand Wed 19-Sep-07 10:31:59

Yes, I would be surprised by this level of reading.

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