Gifted / Able 4 year old, not sufficiently challenged in reception(19 Posts)
I am wondering if any other parents can offer me some advice for my 4 year old DS, he started reception in September, at which time he had a reading age of 8 years and a similar ability with numbers. He is the youngest of 4, and a very sweet little boy. Our older children are all academically fairly able, although one is ASD and another has Dyslexia which make learning a little more tricky for them. He has not been pushed,hothoused or force fed knowledge, but has been talked to, read to and had his questions answered whenever possible (which is not all the time) I just want to make sure he is sufficiently challenged to keep him interested, and am hoping someone has some good practice/experience they can pass on to me, many thanks
I have no knowledge at all in this area, but I wanted to say your boy sounds lovely, as do you. Good luck!!
What are you asking?
Discuss with his class teacher and the senco.
It's not that an unusual occurrence and is easily manageable within the context of a primary. In an infant school it is slightly more difficult, but they will have had precedents.
Do you have a formal report from the Ed psych that carried out the testing? Have they given a list of recommendations? Often the Ed psych report carries more weight than you just telling them how bright the child is, so use the professionals that have given the 'x years ahead' diagnosis as far as possible. (Or was this just from the reading tests in school?)
A reading age of 8 years in yr r is fairly normal tbh - they will be more than used to dealing and will just access books from the free reading list (but usually they want the kids to finish the reading scheme stuff first so that they can be sure they haven't missed anything).
Dd2 was between and 2 and 7 years ahead across the board. Dd1 and ds2 also a few years ahead, like your ds. In all three schools it was managed appropriately, but the kids had to churn through the scheme. Except dd2, where they assessed her separately and realised it would be ridiculous. (She wasn't hothoused either lol. She has cp and we didn't know she could read, as she couldn't speak at the time... So when she finally became verbal, she was already reading novels... Weird kid)
As my son had a fairly significant speech delay and we have a family history of ASD, he had additional support at preschool, so started Reception with an IEP and specific recommendations for his integration as although his speech caught up, speech and soc comms were never on a par with Maths and Reading,and we were most concerned that he was settled an happy and school were aware of his weaknesses and strengths and prepared to support him. School administered reading test (3 in fact) and tested his sight words and sound recognitions and he maxed out on these. I guess my niggley worry is that he comes home and talks about the phonics games they play, and the numeracy games...and I am thinking this child knew what a dodecahedron was before starting school, he knows what angles are, he corrects adults spelling....are these games serving any purpose other than that he is participating with his peers...? BTW the school are excellent, friendly, and I firmly believe they want to the best they can for him, that said, he is one of 22 and his education/happiness will never be as important to them as it is to me
Can you recommend any books? am finding it tricky to find stuff at the right reading level that is appropriate for him emotionally and socially. many many thanks
Beatrix potter? Winnie the Pooh? Molly Brett books? Some of the Enid Blyton books are appropriate for that age too.
I was reading Winnie the pooh at 3. Ahhhh I loved it. Look for the older style books like Blyton. We found that when getting books for DS, also an advanced reader - the topics were just too 'old' for him.
Lots of the older ladybird books (not the 'learn to read' ones, but the vast selection of history, information and story books that they produced for children who had finished the reading scheme) would be appropriate too. There are fairy tales, non-fiction, adventure stories etc. Look in second hand bookshops, libraries and charity shops for those. There's a second hand bookshop near me that has a whole bookcase full of them for £1 each!!!
Thanks for this we have a ridiculous number of books already as DS is the youngest of 4 and I have spent 20 years buying books (hundreds second hand) but must admit I think the old ladybird books (of which we have a few) are an excellent thought. Lots of books with enough of the right level of vocab, don't explain what the words mean well enough, or the content is too scary or complex for him to understand.I do explain as best I can. but as he reads to himself a great deal, I am not always able to do this. He does read lots of the DK factual books, children's encyclopaedia's and Atlas's. I loved Enid Blyton as a kid, so am going to have a hunt around on Amazon to see if i can pick up some of those cheap. Any other suggestions very welcome
Wind in the willows, Alice in wonderland, Indian in the cupboard, box of delights, borrowers, narnia, robin hood... Do read them beforehand to 'vet' the content!
good idea...its been so long since i read some of these I am betting I have forgotten the details
I have to say that the original Alice is awful! Wizard of oz us good though.
No he won't be learning much in whole class phonics/numeracy lessons at the moment. That won't be a large proportion of the week so probably okay to just count that as time learning socialisation/cooperation, as long as he's having fun and not frustrated with it.
Do the school do anything in smaller groups where they can differentiate for him? Do they give him reading books at an appropriate level? Stuff like that? I think I'd be concerned if there was no differentiated teaching going on at all. It seems to bode well that they've done these assessments at the start of reception as they'll want to show progress from that starting position.
In reception there will also be lots of free play time with opportunities to do reading/writing/mathematical activities at their own level. I think a lack of differentiation becomes more of an issue in year 1 when most of the activities are teacher led.
Sorry waffling on. The short answer - have a chat with the teacher and find out.
I vet DSs books and there was a fan one I was really enjoying when he was about 7. I decided to finish it - just as well! it ended up that the lovely society was based on euthenasia, with full descriptions eek!
You mention hot housing or being force fed knowledge.....do any parents really do this? Surely kids will only learn what they're ready to learn?
I too worry about differentiation, but have been comforted by quite a few threads on MN where teachers have explained how they differentiate for children of all different levels. So I don't think you have too much to worry about....chatting with the teacher will probably put your mind at rest. I think one of the problems (from the little I know about education in the UK) seems to be that 'expected' levels are just too low, so it's very easy for many children to be a few years ahead. We are way behind baby other countries in most core subjects.
not waffling catkind , I very much appreciate hearing others thoughts, I am very careful what I say to others as it can sound so smug to be worrying about this kind of thing, and some people become very competitive about their child's achievements compared to yours...its just not a situation i want to get into, but it means I have a limited number of people to bounce thoughts off, and too much isolated thinking on a subject rarely produces a balanced rational consensus (for me anyway! )I was pleased to get his assessment in early as this shows a willingness on the schools part to be accountable for the progress he makes, or doesn't and strengthens my belief they aim to do their very best. He is bringing home his choice or reading material, and they are allowing him to pursue aspects of the work he finds interesting...parents evening next week and hope to find out more then. thanks again
I think it's fine tbh. Ds1 is in reception and has been reading chapter books a while blah blah. In class he just joins in with whatever is the lessons for the day. He is given books for his level for homework, and he is given maths according to his level also. Otherwise I just see school as a place to socilise really at this age. The majority of the day is art/ music/ sport anyway, and we teach him anything extra he wants to know at home
Emstheword, my oldest boy went to one of the top Grammar Schools in the UK, entry based on 11+ exams results, he was a very bright lad, but if truth be told more than a bit lazy, he sailed in on exam, and coasted for five years (they regularly kicked his butt, and he achieved pretty good results...and then went off and did his own non academic thing at the first opportunity...horse and water and all that) but some lads at his school were coached within and inch of their lives, scraped in, and spent five years feeling sub par to the others...when really they were bright and able kids....so in answer to your question, I don't think that many parents are that pushy, but they are out there, no doubt about it.
Ah yes melibean I've heard this happens for 11+....but earlier is a bit scary isn't it?!
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