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to wonder why school discourages pre-school reading

(55 Posts)
katiestar Wed 22-Jul-09 12:21:54

I started teaching my 3 eldest DCs to read as soon as they were at a stage to be able to do it.
Recently I went to a literacy evenoing at the school where a literacy expert spoke and she told us not to teach children to read but to leave it to the experts and just to 'enjoy the fruits of the school's labours' by enjoying listening to our DCs read to us.(I found this immensely annoying because I believe it is all the tedious practising of Biff and Chip crap which is actually what taeches them -not what they do at school )
The infants teacher achoed this and said don't try and teach them at home before they start school.
Well actually I believe that the sooner a child can read the better- reading expands the mind , gives huge amounts of pleasure and is a life skill and am hearing my DC4 aged 4 to raed every day (which she is happy to do).
Why are the school saying this ?Also libraries don't provide any books for real beginner readers either .Why is this ?

famishedass Wed 22-Jul-09 12:26:41

I'm guessing that parents teach their children in a different way to the teachers and that they subsequently get more confused when the teachers try to teach them by their methods and the children have learnt different methods at home.

To be honest though, I think it makes an easier life for the teacher wink.

Years ago, it was quite common for mothers to sit and teach their child to read before school. Strange how things change.

franklymydear Wed 22-Jul-09 12:29:30

Some believe that "teaching a child to read" does not involve merely reading to them and letting them lead the way if there interest and development stage makes them ask questions like "what does that say?" "what sound does that make?"

oh no some parents sit their pre-schoolers down and force them to learn. I know of one nursery aged child whose mother did this for an hour a day and was cross if he tried to get up.

I assume this is what was meant.

I disagree that reading early gives any life advantage but its nice if your children want to and once they have the emotional cpacity to read a range of books certainly does expand the mind. But these books do not happen at 3

FAQtothefuture Wed 22-Jul-09 12:30:54

Well I suppose there's nothing wrong with teaching them to read before school.

Personally never saw the rush - they don't start reading (in deed even school!) until much later in most of the rest of the world and they manage to learn to read and write with no problems.

thedolly Wed 22-Jul-09 12:37:12

You could use the same method that the school will be using to save confusion - they could have said that I guess.

MoonchildNo6 Wed 22-Jul-09 12:44:15

I'm with you on this katiestar, my DS1 showed lots of interest in reading pre school and so we encouraged it. He loves reading and is good at it so I don't see why the school should say don't do it.

Our school said they didn't expect them to be able to read but the minimum they expected was for them to be able to identify their own name written down which I think is fair enough.

dilemma456 Wed 22-Jul-09 12:45:24

Message withdrawn

MovingOutOfBlighty Wed 22-Jul-09 12:49:20

I think if your dc shows interest then they are not saying discourage it.
I think they are saying be careful of pushing it.

My dd struggled though with reception as I adopted 'let her learn at her own pace' vibe. She is the youngest in her class (only just having her 5th bday party next week - another kid in her class has invited her to his 6th soon!!!) and had a very tricky first 2 terms.
Things I wish I had taught her before she went:
- The alphabet said phonetically, and recognise her letters,both small and capital.
-Recognising numbers up to 20.
-to enjoy books and spot letters she knows and maybe some simple words like dog and cat.

but not much more. My friend is a literacy teacher and her dd is going to be in reception next year. (she is only 6 weeks older than my dd) She can read fluently, write really well etc. But I do worry as that is pretty much all they do in reception and she may end up bored.

katiestar Wed 22-Jul-09 13:43:27

Frankly my dear - I didn't say reading early gives a life advantage , I said that reading is a life skill.Personally I think its good for children to associate reading with recreation and usefulness rather than being a 'school thing'

MoonchildNo6 Wed 22-Jul-09 14:44:58

Agree again katiestar

somewhathorrified Wed 22-Jul-09 15:04:06

There are 2 different methods for teaching kids to read (phoenetic and another one..can't remember the name!) they don't want parents teaching reading because of confusion...however different kids respond to different methods and the schools only teach one method (keeps changing as to which one).

Basically teach your kid what you want, especially as the so-called experts are allowing so many kids now to leave school illiterate!

StrikeUpTheBand Wed 22-Jul-09 15:20:57

My DS is 2.6 and for a long time now has been very interested in numbers and letters. He is pretty secure on all of his letters and the sounds they each make. He can sing his alphabet and also recognises numbers up to 30, shapes, colours, etc. We haven't coached him, just noticed that he was particularly good at pattern recognition type things (shape sorters and jigsaws etc) at around 15 months and moved on naturally to number jigsaws, and so on. He also has an electronic phonics game which my mum bought for him (which seems to have been designed by someone who has no idea about phonics by the way!).

The thing is, I am a primary school teacher and teach reception, and I know from experience that more able children are often left to coast in schools because of all the pressures on meeting certain standards (making the teacher concentrate on those less likely to make enough progress). So now I'm sort of worried and not sure what to do with him between now and school age. I am sure that if he carries on at this rate he'll be reading before school easily - so will this mean he'll be just left to coast? Will he be bored?
But at the same time he is the one who is always asking questions, always asking me what words say, always wanting to sing counting songs etc. I appreciate that it'll probably even out in the first few years of school, but I don't want him to find his first year of school dull and repetitive.

hester Wed 22-Jul-09 15:35:58

My dd is 3 and knows her letters (phonetically) but no reading yet. We enjoy reading together but I am not pushing it.

I too have heard the advice not to teach them to read before school. I can see the potential for confusion between teaching methods, and the risk that your child gets neglected if they are in a class full of children just learning their letters. But then there are schools - maybe not many - where many or most children do start being able to read. This happened to my godson, who was instantly behind the others, got rather neglected, and has taken the best part of two years to catch up, two years in which he has learned to get kudos from being the class clown and getting a reputation as disruptive.

I suppose you can only try to hit the happy balance of going with the child's interest but not pushing it.

BlackLetterDay Wed 22-Jul-09 15:38:53

If children have an interest in letters and words etc I can't see the point of holding them back. I wouldn't be doing anything formal with them though.

Dd knew letters before nursery but learned the whole phonetic thing thing there and also used to sit with the older ones through choice whilst they were doing literacy. She basically taught herself to read, and was always asking what things said. I think she is more of a sight reader, although can use phonetics.

Although she was reading fluently before reception she hasn't been bored at all this past year. I think her social skills have improved no end and she has really come out of her shell. Reception is about settling in and making friends as well as work (all I can get out of her at the end of the day is that she played on the see-saw)

StrikeUpTheBand Wed 22-Jul-09 15:51:05

Actually the last couple of posts have made me feel better smile. I also know of reception children in my class who are very able but also motivated to learn more through their child initiated play. I also know of some children who are clever and can do the work standing on their head but also spend a lot of time playing with cars or in the sand!

fattybumbum Wed 22-Jul-09 17:29:35

I'm an English teacher and my son is 3.5. He can read fluently but I haven't pushed him at all. He LOVES reading and reads everything in sight all the time. Why would I hold him back? We are all bookworms in our house.I have made a point of using the same phonics system as the school he will be attending though he definitely uses sight reading rather than phonics.

At the same time his writing is virtually non-existent. He can write his name but is very reluctant to do it. I haven't pushed it at all as I think pushy parenting does more harm than good.

I am now concerned, however, that the reading thing is going to cause problems for him at school. The school he'll be attending is in a deprived area. Loads of kids are English as a second language so the chance of there being many like him is unlikely.I hadn't been worried about it until we went to his future school and I mentioned that he has a reading age of 7. The teacher looked at me, ignored my comment and then went on talking. If DS was a 'good' boy who would sit through all the phonics lessons again without misbehaving, I wouldn't worry.
Unfortunately, once he knows something, he is done with it and on to the next thing. He is also very hyper, demanding and can be difficult.

I have horrible visions of the rest of the class doing their phonics work whilst my son ends up on the class naughty spot or whatever they use nowadays as there is no way he'll accept sitting through activities which are not stimulating enough. So, from that perspective, I can see his being a fluent reader not being such a bonus at all! I'll just have to wait and see how he gets on. I d

I do think that this would be ultimately be a failure on the school's part, however, I am very sure that the best time for a child to learn to read is when they show a desire to do so.

forehead Wed 22-Jul-09 17:44:45

I taught my dd aged 5 to read before she started school, despite the fact that i was discouraged to teach her by the reception teacher. The reason i taught her is because i did not want her to enter year 1 as a non reader as i was worried that she would not be able to access the curriculum. I did however ensure that i adopted the methods used by the school. I have just received her report and she has achieved score 9 in reading. I am glad i ignored the advice of the reception teacher.

Trying4Baby1 Wed 22-Jul-09 18:52:57

I know an ex-teacher and she said that those children who could read a little didn't learn as quickly as they weren't as motivated as those who had no reading skills. However my mum never taught me to read before starting school and I remember feeling bad that I couldn't read what other children my age could. I think if your child has an interest then what's the harm. It's better to teach them than to deter them incase they lose interest!!

mumeeee Wed 22-Jul-09 23:26:11

If a child wants to learn before they go to school than go a head and teach them. But don't force them if they don't want to. Ther are lots of pre-reading activities that teach the children about the world of wrds without siitng them down and formally teaching them.

Ninive Wed 22-Jul-09 23:34:14

I learned to read when I was 4 (children start school at 6 here, 7 when I was a child). I really enjoyed reading and writing and looked forward to school. However, it didn't take me long before I understood that I actually didn't have to do anything to keep up and that I would never be presented with a challenge. I am a quiet person and didn't make any fuss, but I would have been a real pita if I had taken my boredom out physically. As it is, I still zone out the instant a lecturer says something I have heard before (and I am 29blush). I sometimes wonder if I hadn't been such a lazy person if I had been encouraged to work from first grade on (I actually got told off for doing too much - had to wait for the othershmm).

I really do not know what to do in the case of my own children. On one hand, I love reading with a passion and would wish them to experience the same. And I wouldn't want to hold them back. On the other, the system is set up to teach everyone the same things at the same time, and you will inevitably suffer in some way if you are faster/slower - unless you have brilliant teachers, of course.

lockets Wed 22-Jul-09 23:36:43

Message withdrawn

mrsjammi Wed 22-Jul-09 23:40:25

Message withdrawn

clemette Wed 22-Jul-09 23:58:19

I think there is an issue with method confusion. DD (4) reads with us (she starts reception in January) but she can get a bit confused because DH isn't used to phonics. He breaks down the words into each letter sound whereas I will break it down into phonemes. At pre-school they use Letterland but at her school they will use Oxford Reading Scheme (and have frowned on LL) so I have tried to find library books that use both to help her feel comfortable with both.

I suppose a parallel could be drawn with teaching maths later on - the method I would use to explain long division is not the same as they would use at school. It would be better for my DC if I conformed with what was happening at school.

Ramble, ramble but perhaps the school finds it challenging to teach children who all come with a range of different techniques. Wouldn't stop me encouraging DD though - she is desperate to read as her two best friends are entering year 1 in September and she really wants to be a "big girl"!

katiestar Thu 23-Jul-09 10:29:02

But surely you need to use more than one technique to read.word,Recognition, context and phonics.

MoonchildNo6 Thu 23-Jul-09 10:40:35

Lockets, i thought they didn't start the G&T register until they were through year 1? My DS1 has just finished reception and was on level four of the Biff and Chip books at nursery. School started him at the beginning again but soon realised he could read (even though I told them!) and for the last two terms they send books home daily pretty much. He has achieved 9 on the foundation stage for reading but no-one has labelled him I think they just assume they all start out differently and then if they stay miles ahead that's when they look at the G&T? Probably wrong but that's what I understood.

In terms of method, people must use phonics as that's what the schools teach but a lot of the early words or non phonic words you have to just sight read - thats what we do as adults isn't it??

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