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Toe by Toe reading programme

(20 Posts)
CAGF76 Mon 13-Oct-14 14:43:30

I'm writing in response to a couple of threads a few years ago discussing the Toe by Toe reading programme. In one I noticed that IndigoBell had mentioned recommending or not recommending Toe by Toe according to the age of a child.

My twin daughters are in Y1 and the school wants each child to start doing Toe by Toe every day, in addition to ten mins homework.

Given that the ten mins homework often ends up taking 20–25 mins for each child, I'm concerned that Toe by Toe might end up taking this long too and so, with homework as well, would be too much for five year olds.

I also noticed than a number of people mentioned that Toe by Toe is quite dry and might be more suitable to older kids.

With apologies for discussing this again, does anyone have any opinion about the suitability of Toe by Toe for 5/6 year olds? I have a feeling that mine might get bored very quickly.

It is good and effective but it is dry. I did it with DS1 at Y1 age and he moved on to doing it in school from Y2. DS2 is doing it in school (now Y3) but I felt the Sound Foundations stuff was more accessible for younger children.

Bear Necessities is the entry level or you could go straight to Dancing Bears depending on how your DD are getting on.

If you have to do Toe by Toe then I would do it with a strict time limit and a reward chart to keep them motivated. It will help their phonics.

toomuchicecream Thu 16-Oct-14 21:18:53

I agree - Bear Necessities/Dancing Bears is ideal for year 1 children. Has the school said why they want your daughters to do Toe by Toe?

It's possible that they just don't know about the sound foundations products. I get the impression they are a very small company who don't have a lot to spend on marketing or promotion. I found out about them on line (this and another forum). The first time I phoned them, the person who answered apologised about it taking a couple of minutes for her to get a pen to take down my details, but she was in the greenhouse!

For the past year I've used Bear Necessities very effectively with year 1 pupils from the start of the year. One boy, who for an unavoidable set of reasons, had been to 3 different schools in Reception, did it for a term. It filled in the gaps in his phonics and got him to the stage where he was able to join in with the normal phonics lessons. His reading's really taken off and his spelling is now excellent. It also worked very well for two children who had August birthdays (and one of them had been absent a lot in reception) - they just needed a bit more structured support for extra reinforcement alongside the daily phonics lessons. They both did it for the whole of year 1 and one of them is continuing this year. What I'm trying to say is that there are whole lot of reasons why a child might need extra phonic support, and my experience has been that putting in structured support early on had enabled the children to catch up with their peers in a comparatively short space of time.

nousernamesleft Thu 16-Oct-14 21:32:20

Ok, I used toe by toe with my ds when I started home edding him, in p2 (equivalent to y1). It's very dry, but we did 10 minutes a day, and completed it in a year, he's now a very confident reader (p4 now).
My ds did get a little bored part way through, but we'd look back on things he'd struggled with last month, for instance, and that gave him a boost to carry on.

ReallyTired Fri 17-Oct-14 09:24:33

Toe by Toe is designed for adults or older teens who cannot read. A teenager does not appreciate jolly phonics or other reading schemes aimed at five year olds. I cannot understand why the school is using something so dry with children who have barely left reception.

My daughter really enjoyed

Jolly phonics also do a CD of songs to help learn letter sounds.

It is perfectly normal for children to be non readers at the start of year 1. I feel that toe by toe is a little bit premature. Maybe you should consider Toe by Toe if they were secondary school age.

2rebecca Mon 20-Oct-14 13:55:50

I'd disagree that it's designed for much older pupils. My son did it age 8 and it made a huge difference to him and was just 5-10 minutes a day but he was on it for over a year. We did it at home and school.
Year 1 seems very early though, I think for toe by toe to be effective they have to have been exposed to a lot of reading and writing to grasp what they are doing.

ReallyTired Mon 20-Oct-14 14:02:43

I think the simplest thing is to see the sample pages.

Toe by Toe gets down to business and there are no colourful illustrations or pictures. Most primary school children would find toe by toe very bland. The Toe by Toe approach is extremely repetitive, which some children might hate.

Having said that Toe by Toe suceeds because there are no pretty pictures to distract the child and the repetitive nature forces the child to learn.

It is one of those things like marmite.

Corestrategy Thu 23-Oct-14 13:43:28

I agree with the Marmite analogy. My kids hated it and threw the book across the room. Y1 seems very young for it. I'd be just reading easy and appropriate books for now just for practise. You don't want to put them off reading by making them do something really dull.

CecilyP Sat 25-Oct-14 16:26:25

I think Toe by Toe is very unsuitable for 5 year olds. It is a remedial scheme and 5 year olds are only just beginning, so not really in need of remediation. It is very dull and repetitive, and there is nothing intrinsically rewarding about it as there would be in reading an easy reading book.

One of its few advantages is that it is not age specific, so there is nothing childish about it that would be off-putting for older struggling readers. On the other hand, there is masses of suitable material for 5 year olds beginning to learn to read.

The one thing that you won't have to worry about is it taking more than 10 minutes - well 10 minutes per child - as you just finish after the 10 minutes and start again where you left off the next day.

ReallyTired Sat 25-Oct-14 20:33:39

I feel it needs to be remembered that Toe by Toe was designed to teach adult prisoners how to read. Adults need totally different material to five year olds. I cannot understand why the school wants to use toe by toe with primary school children when there is a range of more suitable material.

i suggest you invest in the Jolly phonics teachers manual. Your children would find it far more enjoyable as its written for their age group.

ReallyTired Sat 25-Oct-14 20:37:00

This link shows how amazing toe by toe is for the RIGHT age group.

If the OP twins get to 60 years old unable to read then it will be time to get out toe by toe!

CecilyP Sun 26-Oct-14 11:11:34

I don't think it was actually designed to teach adult prisoners; it was designed to teach older struggling/dyslexic children, but was taken up by the Shannon Trust for use in prisons. Its advantage there is that is a single resourse that can be used by the mentor with limited training. As the mentors are also prisoners, they can't just browse the local bookshops and libraries for other materials. On the other hand primary school teachers have no such disadvantages! They have training; they can access suitable materials most of which will already be available in there own school!

JustASimpleSpongeCake Sun 26-Oct-14 11:15:27

Toe-by-Toe has transformed the reading abilities of some of the students I've worked on it with - but they're KS3/4 PRU referral kids, not primary aged readers. I wouldn't dream of using it with younger children - it'd be so boring!

CecilyP Sun 26-Oct-14 11:19:04

I also think that the learner has to be totally on board with it - to accept that it is boring and no fun, but that it is doing them good. Without their own motivation, I don't see how it could work.

JustASimpleSpongeCake Sun 26-Oct-14 11:28:58

Exactly Cecily - my students were frustrated by their lack of ability - they wanted to get better, and knew this was the best, and quickest, way.

mrz Fri 31-Oct-14 11:44:03

As a Senco, Y1teacher and a parent I wouldn't recommend Toe by Toe for young children. A much better programme (IMHO) is Bear Necessities from the Promethean Trust

mrz Fri 31-Oct-14 11:45:20

ShellyF Fri 31-Oct-14 11:46:49

Agree with mrz.We then follow on with Dancing Bears.

mrz Fri 31-Oct-14 11:47:40

I'd also recommend if you have access to an iPad

StudyExamMentor Sat 15-Nov-14 22:57:57

Use Step by Step as a Phonics programme for those learning to read at any age. Mona McNee devised this scheme in the 1970's for her Down Syndrome son and her programme developed from there. She later received an M.B.E for her services to literacy. It might be "old school" but it works. I taught 16 year old boys to read and write within 30 teaching hours
Look for free materials on the web

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