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how do they learn to read?

(45 Posts)
misdee Tue 12-Jul-05 13:02:35

dd3 has been bringing books home from school to read. she started on ORT(no words), then onto spirals(??) which had 2-4 word sentances and focused on one or two key words each book (A, and, my, I etc). suddenly she has lept to books with longer sentaces, and she is struggling. i am getting frustrated as she will read a word on one p-age and then see it on the next page and forget it. but once she has read the book (with my help) once or twice she can practically reciet it word for word. its very puzzling. it also reminds me of my little brother who had books memorized at an early age, but he turned out to be dyslexic. is this normal?

NomDePlume Tue 12-Jul-05 13:03:34

dd3 ?! WOW, she's an early bird

Pixiefish Tue 12-Jul-05 13:04:26

wow misdee

misdee Tue 12-Jul-05 13:04:27

dd1 sorry. dd3 is just a 'watcher' at the reading thing.

misdee Tue 12-Jul-05 13:04:48

PMSL and also ing

Pixiefish Tue 12-Jul-05 13:07:08

they do learn from memorising shapes. We don't actually read the whole word when we read we pick out the main bits and then make the rest up- sometimes getting it wrong.
She'll learn to read by spelling the individual letters but she will then begin to recognise word shapes. Perhaps yorkiegirl could explain/help you more- she's early years primary i'm sure- i'm secondary for my sins

misdee Tue 12-Jul-05 13:08:02

but when she reads the book again ,she wont look at the words, she will just reciete it off.

ScummyMummy Tue 12-Jul-05 13:08:40

I think there's a huge debate among educationalists over this, misdee.

cazzybabs Tue 12-Jul-05 13:09:05

I think (if I remember rightly) ORT is sight based - she learns by remembering the shape of the word. She may also know phomemes - does your school use a phonic scheme - like jolly phonics - here they break down words based on the sounds in them cat - is cuh a t - do you see??? Some words in english can't be done phonetically like the etc. So flashcards for non-phonetic words, breaking down phonetic words and practise practise practise.

cazzybabs Tue 12-Jul-05 13:10:01

try different books or making your own "flash cards"

Aero Tue 12-Jul-05 13:10:30

That's what dd does too misdee. She uses the pictures for guidance, and reads from memory. I think it all goes in though and eventually they remember the shape of the word and if pushed, can sound out the letters and try to put them together to make sense.

aloha Tue 12-Jul-05 13:14:04

i thought this style of teaching reading had been abandoned as it has been proved to be ineffective. What your daughter needs, by the sound of it, is a good basic knowledge of phonetics - c -a-t spells cat - when you understand phonetics you can read any word in English.
I think it is bizarre expecting children to memorise every word - there are thousands of them!
I have taught ds some phonetics and it does make a huge difference.

aloha Tue 12-Jul-05 13:14:29

I used Jolly Phonics btw.
Study after study has shown that phonics works.

misdee Tue 12-Jul-05 13:15:28

she has jolly phonitcs books and sounds books etc. and we practise, but some days it doesnt seem to go in. wil ltry not to get too stressed. i remember not being able to read easily till i was about 9years old, and suddenly it clicked and books fascinated me. i am just hoping it dioesnt happen this way for dd1.

dinosaur Tue 12-Jul-05 13:15:33

DS1's school uses something called synthetic phonics, which is double Dutch to me but seems to have done the trick with him!

Pixiefish Tue 12-Jul-05 13:15:59

she will memorise them. when she sees the word ina new book she'll know what it is. that's why these book schemes build up the sentences- eg- she may have a book with the following pages-
this is jack
this is jack's house
this is jack's cat- the cat lives with jack
this is jack's dog- the dos lives with jack

Obviously with correct caps etc

misdee Tue 12-Jul-05 13:16:13

bring back the 'colour books' the cat sat on the mat and all that!

misdee Tue 12-Jul-05 13:17:23

the thing is Pixie fish, she doesnt . each book isnstarting over for her. she seems to forget words in the book before and cant recongise it in a new book.

Littlefish Tue 12-Jul-05 13:29:09

Hi Misdee

I'm a reception teacher and absolutely love the whole process of teaching reading. Children need to learn many different strategies when starting to read.

Phonics: Like Cazzy babs said. Jolly phonics is a really good system and encourages lots of "sounding out" to breakdown and then build up words. (in case you've been watching the news, it is a "Synthetic Phonics System".

Sight words (sometimes called Look and Say). Children build up a sight vocabulary over time. There is a list of 45 commonly used words which is taught as a basis in Reception classes. Children learn to recognise the shape of words - "look" is often a first word because of the oo looking like a pair of eyes. "was" and "saw" are very commonly confused words because the shape is exactly the same. However, a child can only hold a certain number of words as sight vocabulary when learning to read, so they need to have other strategies as well.

First letter and picture clue: If a child recognises the first letter of a word, they can then use the picture to help them make a reasonable guess as to what it could be.

Context: If a child can read some other words in the sentence, they may be able to work out the next word by it's first letter and the context.

Rhyming: If your dd can read "cat", then she will learn that she can also read hat, bat, rat etc. because there is part of the word that is the same.

After a few sessions on a new book, it's not unusual that your dd can recite the book. Try writing a few of the individual words on flashcards, or write a whole sentence, cut the words up, and work with her to make the sentence again. It's always a good idea to include the full stop after the final word to give her a framework to start with. That way, she can always get the first word by its capital letter, and the last word by its full stop.

You could also make two sets of simple flashcards of words like cat, hat, rat, sat, mat, pat, bat etc. and play snap or pelmanism (pairs). Encourage your child to sound out each word to see if they match.

To help with sounding out, you could use magnetic letters, or foam bath letters. It's always good to get your dd to move the letters around herself to try and make new words. You could make the "at" and then give her a range of different letters to put on the front to make new words. Perhaps she could "win" a counter for each one she manages to make.

You can buy Jolly Phonics support material from most book shops. Do you know what phonics system your dd uses at school?

Hope this helps - sorry it's so long!

Pixiefish Tue 12-Jul-05 13:30:26

it will fall into place for her misdee. if you're concerned though then i'd have a chat with her teacher and see what she thinks. as i said i'm not primary trained and can only give a viewpoint from secondary

Littlefish Tue 12-Jul-05 13:36:19

Sorry, just seen that your dd does Jolly phonics at school. I will have a think about some online game sites which have reading games.

BBC has a good one called "words and pictures" - I'll have a look and try and post a link. I know it has games for both CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant words) and sight vocab.

Here it is

spykid Tue 12-Jul-05 13:37:25

Was going to add my twopence worthy, as I am an early years teacher, but littlefish ahas just about summed it up!
The combined method of phonic building an sight reading sort of gel together after a while.

BROWNY Tue 12-Jul-05 13:42:25

Hi Littlefish, I've been following this thread with interest and hope you can suggest some way of helping my ds who was six last Sunday.

His school report states that sometimes he knows his letters and simple words, but other days he appears to have forgotten them. I know this is right because when he reads to me at home and I help him, he knows the word on one page but after turning just two or three pages he's forgotton it again .

He still writes his letters from the bottom up (he's left-handed) and sometimes backwards, eg. d or b etc.

Can you suggest ways of helping him, he gets very upset and says, "why can't I read?".

Hope you can help

Littlefish Tue 12-Jul-05 14:09:11

Hi Browny

Sorry to hear your ds is getting upset about his reading.

First, the letters d, b, p and q are very, very easily confused. Essentially they are all "ball and stick" letters, and it takes some children just a bit longer to try and remember where the "stick" goes on the "ball".

You could try drawing him a little reference card with the word "bed" on it. Try and imagine (and then draw) a horizontal line on top of the "ball" part of b, on top of the e and on top of the "ball" part of d. Then, draw a little person asleep on it! Show your ds that if the b and the d are in the wrong places, the person cannot go to sleep. If you use this card as reference whenever your child is writing (we have them in the classroom for some children), it may help him remember as he will have a visual clue. Sorry, my description is not very good!!! CAT me if you don't understand and I'll try again!

With simple words, you could try some visual clues like drawing a pair of eyeballs in the word "look" for example, which acts as a prompt.

I think the main thing is not to get stressed about it. I can't remember the exact statisitics, but it takes some enormous number of times for a child to remember a word by sight consistently. I would suggest you try and play as many reading games as possible, maybe even giving the reading books a break for a week or so.

Your ds needs to feel a sense of success again as his self-esteem about reading sounds low. Snap, pelmanism and games like that will help with quick fire recall, and they are easy to set up so that your ds always wins. I always find that a "I bet you I can read more words than you", followed by you making sure that HE wins the game works wonders, especially if you then do the old "Hey, that's not fair - you're so much cleverer than me! Can we try again so I can win this time" re-inforces self-esteem and gives you an immediate chance to practise again.

Have you got the words he doesn't always remember stuck up around your house? On the bannisters is a good place, as you can have a go at reading them on the way up and down every time.

As with the idea about cutting up sentences I left in an earlier message, as your ds is a bit older, silly sentences might appeal to him e.g. I like to put mud in my food. Tell him the sentence you want him to make, muddle up the words and then use an egg timer to make a race element. Perhaps you could pretend to race him, with him winning of course!

I've got to go and get my dd up - she's starting to wake up! I'll have a think and be back later.

Let me know if you think I'm on the right lines, or whether these ideas are too young for your ds.

SoupDragon Tue 12-Jul-05 14:23:16

DS1 (6) has been taught by a phonic method and he went from reading virtually nothing at the start of Y1 to reading Flat Stanley by himself 6 months in. He's now moved on to Narnia. I've heard this from a lot of parents of older children at the school - that when it clicks, it all falls into place very quickly.

As an aside, I had to have a little chuckle at "when you understand phonetics you can read any word in English." Not strictly true - there are loads of English words that don't read phonically although I damned if I can remember them off hand. I've come across loads helping DS1 with his reading and have been unable to explain why they're not how he's just read them phonically.

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