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Biff and Kipper reading books - is she learning to read?

(21 Posts)
ritaskeeter Sun 28-May-06 20:09:10

DD is 5 and in reception and I thought she was doing really well on the Biff and Kipper books, ie, she brings one home, I read it with her a couple of nights and then she comes home with a new one.
However I now think she is completely memorising it (using the pictures) rather than reading the words. We borrowed some books from the Library and she didn't seem to be able to read even the simple word's, like It and In. Words she "learnt" many books ago.
Is this how these books are meant to teach them, or should I be worried she is not taking it in. I wrote out many of her key words on paper, but she wasn't interested in looking at them.
Anyone know anymore about how children of this age learn to read?

misdee Sun 28-May-06 20:10:06

dd1 did that in reception and half of year one. now she is sounding out new words.

nothercules Sun 28-May-06 20:13:30

the pictures are there to aid the reading. I used to have the same worry with ds but he was one of the best readers in his class and still is.

Tommy Sun 28-May-06 20:15:33

it is very likely that she is learning them. DS1 does it - I'm sure he knows all of them off by heart! is probably a good start - after all, we read a lot of words just by memorising them - you don't sound out each word when your read it but use a mixture of knowing the sounds and remembering words from before.
It is a step on the way to reading. As long as she is interested and enjoys it, she will get there!

nothercules Sun 28-May-06 20:17:26

I used to think my childminder was reading to him and then he was memorising it but she wasnt.

singersgirl Sun 28-May-06 20:25:22

Well, actually, there is a wide-ranging debate in the teaching industry about what is called variously whole-word or mixed methods reading instruction, the method upon which the Biff and Kipper books are based. Many people believe that books like these, which in the early stages rely on whole word recognition, are not the best way of teaching children to read.

A report into the teaching of reading, called the Rose Report, has recently been published and it calls for a shift to what is called synthetic phonics instruction. All synthetic phonics really means is teaching children all the sounds that the letters and groups of letters represent in written English, which may sound obvious, but is not the way reading is always taught currently. (A synthetic phonics expert will probably say I have oversimplified....)

This site about synthetic phonics gives loads of useful information on teaching reading, and there is a very helpful message board.

I know there are quite a few posters on here whose children have been taught with Jolly Phonics, one of the main synthetic phonics approaches, and they could tell you about their experiences. I taught my younger son with Jolly Phonics last year and really recommend it.

ritaskeeter Sun 28-May-06 20:27:20

Thank's, it's good to know this is a stage children go through whilst learning. She certanly is enthusiastic at the moment, so I will let her take it at her own pace. I would hate to put her off by pushing her into things she finds boring

LIZS Sun 28-May-06 20:29:19

The danger with ORT is that they learn whole word rather than to phonetically decode the words. ds foucssed so much in the whoel word that even now (at 8) he ahs to be prompted to sound words out rather than gloss over them. dd is also in reception and now is starting to refer back to her phonic knowledge more and decode the beginnings and ends of unfamiliar words before attempting it from context/picture, so it does come. She gets a mixture of books , mainly ORT and Rigby Star, and odd words in a tin. It is quite different trying to read words out of a familiar context but comes with practice and time.

ritaskeeter Sun 28-May-06 20:35:38

Hi Singersgirl,

Thanks for that, I will take some infomation from there and have a go over the half term. I had thought of phonics as a,b, c etc, but had overlooked the grouping together of letters.
Did you teach your son at the same time as his school were teaching him another method?
she can read the longer words (like Floppy and everyone) far easier than In and At, I supose they are easier to make out in a way, sothis should help her.

singersgirl Sun 28-May-06 20:42:38

Hi RS, I actually taught DS2 before he started school as he was asking to learn to read. Someone on here recommended Jolly Phonics, I bought the handbook, and found it was really successful (and on the way got quite interested in the whole reading debate). He is in Reception now.

My older son, now in Y3, was taught the Biff and Kipper way, and, though he is a good reader, as LIZS says of her son, he still tends to gloss over words he doesn't know, and his 'word attack' skills aren't great. DS2, on the other hand, starts at the beginning of a new word and builds it up.

I'm pretty sure there are other posters on here (certainly on the Synthetic Phonics site) who have supported their children with Jolly Phonics at home with Biff and Kipper at school.

AdelaideS Sun 28-May-06 21:21:32

Both of mine are learning with Biff and Kipper, DS is in Y2 and never sounds out words, he also glosses over. DD is in reception and sounds out beautifully, she's rapidly catching him up, so maybe it's a case of different methods for different kids? (Practically impossible, of course!)

Feistybird Sun 28-May-06 21:25:36

Biff and bloody kipper - I mean Biff, what kind of name is that??

God those book are dull.

sorry, not what this thread is about, but you know....

lionhearted Sun 28-May-06 21:48:52

Is there a reason for those particular names, do you think? That would account for why they are so daft. And, yes, those books are tedious.

LIZS Sun 28-May-06 21:54:06

Someone once provided the background , that they were once proper names like Elizabeth and Christopher that Kipper could n't pronounce. Also fairly neutral and inoffensive.

mumeeee Sun 28-May-06 22:17:05

A lot of children of this age learn to read by memorising words and using the picturesas clues. This gives them confidence. It is completly noemal for ayoung child to do this.
Some children as my dd3 just don't get phonetics and end up geting very frustrated if that is the only method used.

rosebea Sun 28-May-06 22:23:16

My dd1 does the same, she's 2 & 11 months and has always loved books (like me) she knows all of the words to her kipper books and her garden friends books. She follows the words with her little fingers. To begin with I thought she was super intellegent but then realised that she can fully recite them without the book too!!!!
Sneaky little buggers!

maverick Mon 29-May-06 13:11:59

The final Rose Report recommended that all children should be taught by synthetic phonics fast, first and exclusively. Ruth Kelly, education secretary at the time accepted the complete report and said that it should be implemented in all schools from September this year.

If your child's school is using a whole-word reading scheme such as Oxford Reading Tree they should be planning rapidly, now, how they will do the change over.

Schools that ignore or refuse to change may very well be in danger of legal action in a few years time by the parents of those children who haven't been taught to read in the first couple of years of school.

If your child is appearing to learn to read with ORT don't be complacent -they may be lucky and go on to be good readers and spellers (especially if they are girls) if they can work out the alphabet code for themselves, but a large percentage of children taught by whole-word methods or the dreadful 'mixture of methods' hit the memory barrier after 3-4 years (approx. 2,000 sight-words is the max. anyone can remember) and their reading goes downhill from then on. Then there are the 20-30% of children who will never learn to read with whole-word methods. For these children, synthetic phonics taught first, fast and exclusively will be the only way they will ever become good readers and writers.

Have a look at this

Issyfit Mon 29-May-06 13:58:12

I am very sceptical about the 'whole' word or 'mixed method' of learning to read, but DD1, having started on Jolly Phonics to learn the alphabet and a few blends ('ch', 'sh', 'th'), was swiftly moved on to ORT mixed in with a few other schemes. She is definitely 'sounding out' words, but I think that's partly to do with her own inclination towards order and rules and encouragement from her teachers and our nanny. Her class teacher has recently been teaching them about the 'Magic E' - not a banned substance but a way to describe how 'e' at the end of the word changes the preceding vowel from a short to a ong sound ('at' to 'ate'). When I read with her and she struggles with a word, the first clue I tend to give her is 'it's a tricky one' i.e. she needs to recall it or use a picture clue or 'you can sound it out'. So I'm beginning to think that ORT is helpful for some children in that it's fun, colourful and encouraging, provided it's supplemented by a lot of work on phonics. However, I can easily imagine that for some children the scheme would be a positive barrier to learning to read.

Mistymoo Mon 29-May-06 14:02:39

My ds is in Primary 1 (Scotland). He has Ginn reading books. He is reading very well. He has new words to learn in a tub so he has to know them with out the pictures. He also gets a "sounds" book home to help them with the sounds of letters, eg sh, ch, ck. I remember being at school and this was how I was taught to read.

ritaskeeter Tue 30-May-06 21:50:16

Thanks everyone for all the information, DD1 was taught using these books, but by a teacher with many, many years behind her, she has since retiried, and I belive she put much more emphasis on phonetics. DD2's teacher is very young (although lovely and very intune with the children) and seems to be doing it very much by the book.
Maverick, I haven't heard aout the school changing it's method, I wonder if it would just be for the new intake in recepton, or if the yaer one and two children will change too.
Anything that gets away from Biff and Kipper wll be welcome, I agree they really are dull. It's a wonder any child wants to read them.

DominiConnor Wed 31-May-06 21:46:17

DS1 took a while to get little, simalare words like in,it, and the,them separated properly.

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