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Reading before school - what's normal?

(40 Posts)
jaype Wed 30-Apr-08 20:10:19

Hope this is the right board... my ds is just over 4, born early Feb. He's currently at a local primary school's nursery and has been learning letters, sounds and so on but my husband is trying to encourage him at home. However, it seems to take ages if at all for anything to 'stick' with him. Husband spent about 3 20 min sessions this evening trying to get him to spell out then form the word 'was' in a book. 5 mins later he asked to read the book with his dad but had totally forgotten it again. Husband is (internally, not in front of him) getting very impatient with him and wondering if he has learning difficulties! He's our first, so is this normal?

Hulababy Wed 30-Apr-08 20:14:42

He is only 4. There is absolutely no need to be pushing your DS in this way. He will learn t read in his own time. The majority of children cannot read when they start school.

Dd learnt to read at school, aged 4y5m. She is now one of top in his class, along side the one girl in the class who could read before starting.

Hulababy Wed 30-Apr-08 20:18:10

3 x 20 mins is a heck of a long time of forced learning for a preschooler IMO.

and yes, it is very normal.

And was is a very hard word to grasp!

If you do insist of doing something just do the phonics stuff and look at simple cvc words like cat, dog, that can be sounded out.

But I would just leave him alone regards it all. Just enjoy books with him and talk about the stories, the characters, what he liked and why, etc.

notnowbernard Wed 30-Apr-08 20:19:53

Don't push him to do things before he's ready... bet you didn't 'force' him to walk before he was capable, did you? smile

If you leave him to learn at a pace he is ready for (school, probably) he'll have more chance of being ready for and interested in learning

Force it and you'll just put him off, big time

Apparently kids (esp boys) aren't 'ready' for propre reading/writing etc until about 6

Just continue to enjoy looking at books with him, and reading to him. Keep his interest that way smile

LynetteScavo Wed 30-Apr-08 20:24:47

Is this normal? Yes.. Very normal!

IMO, if you teach them to read before they start school, they will be bored in reception.

The best way to make him a good reader when he starts school is to read to him lots now. And just have fun...he really is still very little. smile

purplebee Wed 30-Apr-08 21:04:50

It makes me so sad when parents try and 'force' a pre-schooler to read. He is only four years old! In scandinavia and the middle-east, they don't start school or learn to read and write until they are seven and they are all bilingual by ten!

LynetteScavo's advice is wonderful. YOU read to him lots and lots and make him love books, not be pressured by them. He will learn to read in a flash when he's ready.

iamdingdong Wed 30-Apr-08 21:09:53

my DTDs are 4.5 and love books but I have never tried to get them to read and will leave it until they start to learn at school - they will learn, they won't end up illiterate and being 4 is meant to be fun! They spend so long at school being drilled for test etc, it seems a shame to start it any sooner than necessary

nell12 Wed 30-Apr-08 21:10:32

I agree. Let him love books, that is all. If he recognises the letter his name begins with then great, but dont push it any more

Otherwise when he starts school you will be fighting an uphill battle to get him to read every night.

Pre-school and reception is about learning through play. So let him play!

If he wants to hold a book and retell a story in his own words (dd does this with The Hungry Caterpillar) then that is the best you and he could possibly be doing.

jaype Fri 02-May-08 10:20:50

Sorry - first post made it sound like we were really pushing him - we are not operating some sort of hothouse/child slave operation, honestly! he comes to us and asks us to help him read, which is why we are trying. I think dh just gets a bit frantic as he's the only one in his family who went to uni and isn't on dole / in prison so he's ultra-keen for his children to do well! I am off to have words, thanks fpr your kind advice.

Littlefish Fri 02-May-08 10:26:45

I agree with all the others that learning about reading at this age is to do with being read to, sharing stories, telling stories, using puppets etc.

Even though your ds is learning about letters at nursery, he may well not be developmentally ready to start blending sounds together.

I would honestly leave it completely alone - read lots to him and with him, tell him made up stories, act out stories and characters, and if you want to, start to talk about the sounds that are in words. That's not the written word, it's what you can hear. You do it while you're at the shops, in the car, while you're playing etc. but please don't do any "sessions" with him. He's much too young.

4 is a lovely age - full of curiosity and wonder. From your last post, I can understand why your dh is anxious, but your ds is completely normal.

singersgirl Fri 02-May-08 10:32:45

If he really wants you to teach him to read, do a little bit with him when he asks, but as soon as he shows signs of frustration or boredom, stop,and read the book to him. He may think he wants to read but not really be ready, or even understand that it might not be that quick - DS1 asked me to teach him to read at 3, but soon lost interest as he realised that there wasn't a simple 'key' that would unlock everything for him. DS2, who is quite different in his approach to life, asked me at the same age and was keen to learn methodically.

AgonyBeetle Fri 02-May-08 10:37:45

'Was' is not phonetically regular anyway, otherwise it would be spelt 'woz'.

It's one of the harder words for a child to get right, as they have to memorise it. Perfectly normal for children to read a word one minute and forget it the next -- their attention wanders anyway. 3 lots of 20 mins is too much for a child this age imo.

jaype Sat 03-May-08 12:52:57

singersgirl - I think you've got it - that's exactly what he's doing. It turns into 20 mins as he just wants to keep going - don' think he's realised the magic key to reading doesn't exist yet! He's a very stubborn boy normally so that probably doesn't help. Personally I think we do everything in a real rush in the Uk and the idea of trying to make boys sit still and learn at 5 is frightening. My Polish neighbour is going home in July because of this - they don't start school there till 6 or 7 either and she thinks we are all nuts!

Poko Fri 25-Jul-08 04:02:27

I am new to this messaging so not good on the language. Just wanted to ask if anyone knows a website or knows what a child who has attended reception year (at 4-5 years) should know. numbers until what / should they be able to write anything, read anything. I am living overseas and hoping to return to the UK shortly, unless attending private school children are not expected to read until 7 years and at 4years have just learnt 1- 20. any help would be welcome, don't want to be too far behind when we return

Poko Fri 25-Jul-08 13:40:23

My apologies, did say i was new to all this, managed to post my question on your thread. sorry.


flack Fri 01-Aug-08 19:25:14

Poko, the short answer to your question is that most children can barely read any letters before they start school in England. Numbers are easier, and many can read up to at least the number 10.

What your child should be able to do when they start school is
Go to toilet alone (including handling all aspects of 'big' jobs)
Feed self without adult help (dinner ladies will help open bananas and crisps)
Be able to follow simple instructions
Be able to sit quietly in a group and listen to adults, for at least 5 minutes at a time (mostly quiet, mostly still)
Get undressed and dressed (mostly, some adult help and direction may still be needed)

If they can do those physical self care things, they're probably as ready for school in England as any child.

hairycaterpillar Fri 01-Aug-08 19:36:24

I am a strong believer in pre-schoolers being exactly that and not being forced to learn to read or do sums etc. Yes teach them the basics in a fun way if they are interested and curious but I think to sit them down and drill it into them is way to pushy.

Smithagain Fri 01-Aug-08 21:07:45

When DD1 was in Reception, they only spent 10 minutes per day doing formal learning of letter sounds/early reading. And NO MORE THAN 5 minutes practise per night (teacher's instructions). She still learned to read by the end of the first term.

Just in case you need to help your DH get a sense of how much time is appropriate to spend.

stitch Fri 01-Aug-08 21:09:35

from what i know of how children learn how to read, this is not the way to do it.

cvc words are a much much later stage of learnign

gingemum Mon 04-Aug-08 14:35:01

I'm a primary school teacher. Whatever you do don't put your child off reading before they start school, that's the worst thing you can do! Children should love looking at books and spending time with a parent having books read to them. If you spend your time doing this with your child they are far more likely to end up being early readers. I came across this website recently which has some good articles you could read along with a great idea for creating books which your hubbie might enjoy doing

MollyCherry Tue 19-Aug-08 22:08:15

If you want to encourage your child with writing and reading, try relating simple things to their 'real' life.
From when my DD was about 2, I used to point out if we saw her initial on a sign, then 'm' for mummy, 'd' for daddy, her friends initials, the first letter of her favourite TV programmes and characters. I think this helped it to 'stick' in her mind.
We have been doing phonics with her since she turned 3 (will be 4 in a few weeks) and she is starting to write (she asks how to write a word, we spell it out and she writes it down), just beginning to pick out the odd word when we are reading to her and knows her alphabet off by heart. She can even write a few of her friends names, mummy & daddy etc without help.
We have never pushed her at all, she is just much happier playing with pens, paper and books than most toys, and I guess being an only child she gets to concentrate more as she doesn't have siblings around.
I'd recommend ELC flashcards, Letts Phonics workbooks, and also Usborne and Ladybird phonics series books.

MollyCherry Tue 19-Aug-08 22:13:08

OMG - have just read the thread a bit more thoroughly - am probably going to be shot....

GooseyLoosey Tue 19-Aug-08 22:14:15

Sounds quite normal to me. Ds couldm't read or write anything but his own name before school and he is regarded as bright at school. I wouldn't worry about it at all!

Orinoco Tue 19-Aug-08 22:19:08

Message withdrawn

swedishmum Thu 21-Aug-08 08:54:08

Dd (4 last Jan) can't read as such but can sound out words like spring, strong etc. I have a dyslexic child so am keen she doesn't get bad phonic habits. We do lots of rhyming games/silly songs and JP. We've made a scrapbook over the last year with initial letter sounds, rhyming words etc. She's made play doh and pipe cleaner letters too. I really like the JP CD Rom - we bought her a lower case keyboard and she "works" on it sometimes. It sounds dreadfully formal when I write it down but it's not!

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