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Need to help DS Y1 with his reading and writing, can you help?

(22 Posts)
McDreamy Thu 16-Jun-11 10:05:04

DS needs some help with his reading and writing. I use everything the school send home and we practise every night (reluctantly) but I wondered if anyone might be able to recommend some books/websites anything extra we could do at home which might capture his interest.

mistlethrush Thu 16-Jun-11 10:12:02

My Ds seems keen to read AS LONG as its not school books which he considers to be 'work'. Home books are quite different.

Similarly he will write detailed notes on pictures, labelling things, naming superheros that he has drawn - but get him to write something in his school book and he immediately finds it a real struggle.

In terms of books - find something that he likes and get a book out of the library - ds likes dinosaurs and we read lots of the words - I do all the hard ones so that there's a decent flow, but he's still reading. He also like books about the human body. However, he's also very happy to read fiction and poetry too - so I try to make sure that there's a mix of fiction and non fiction.

Writing - I go on two different routes - I encourage drawing and he now nearly always writes something about the picture - if your ds is unwilling, ask him to give it a name or title, or lable bits that he's drawn that are particularly special. I also let him use the computer so that he can simply get words down on a page (email grandparents eg) using the keyboard rather than having to actually struggle with the writing as well (although that's massively improved in the last 4 months)

McDreamy Thu 16-Jun-11 10:14:17

How old is your DS mistle? Thanks for all the tips, really useful smile

redskyatnight Thu 16-Jun-11 10:19:06

DS was keen on this website www.oxfordowl.co.uk - they are basically reading scheme type books but he liked the novelty of reading them on the computer smile

He also prefers non-fiction books - I think because he can just read a bit of something and can pick and choose what he wants rather than a whole story that might have limited interest.

Also DK readers do learn to read books on Star Wars/Transformers etc.

mistlethrush Thu 16-Jun-11 10:19:11

He was 6 in April.

His reading seems to go in huge steps then plateaus for a bit.

I really find reading a story 'with' him is useful - he's got used to me showing him where I'm reading - and then just stopping with my finger under a word and he reads it - now we tend to do a page each, or I just do the really difficult words - although if it is a book with lots of close writing and few pictures he might do a paragraph then I do a couple or something - just keeps the story going at a reasonable rate.

LeoTheLateBloomer Thu 16-Jun-11 10:20:39

The key word you've used is reluctantly. The last thing you want to do is put him off, so while it's important to you that he needs to practise and progress it's also really important that you don't pressure him. When he's had a busy day at school, the last thing he probably wants is to then sit down and be forced to do more reading.

Mistlethrush is right, find things that will engage and interest him by taking him to the library and letting him loose for a bit.

I teach Y1 and 2 and in my experience, as long as they have the basic understanding of letters and sounds at this stage, the rest will come. Boys are often slower to get there than girls, but they do manage it as long as they feel they have some sort of control over what they're reading and writing.

IndigoBell Thu 16-Jun-11 10:26:19

Most kids learn to read using phonics, so the first thing to do with a struggling reader is extra phonics practice.

It obv depends what he is struggling with and how far behind he is....

If he is very far behind then I would recommend:

Dancing Bears is a good scheme that a parent can do with a child 10 mins a day. And thoroughly teaches a child how to read.

Toe by Toe is another one.

Or if you think he would respond better to a computer scheme try

Click N Kids or Headsprout

Writing is more tricky, but probably concentrate on reading first, and then when it's improved a bit panic about his writing.....

snailoon Thu 16-Jun-11 10:32:59

My Y1 learned to write when we took several extra weeks off school to travel in the US. He kept a journal, which consisted of taking photos of anything he wanted and writing about them (a few misspelled words).
I would buy your son a lovely, hard covered, blank, unlined, journal and get him to write/ draw/ stick in things he finds interesting.
I have 3 older kids who are all good writers, and I NEVER corrected spelling or even told them how to spell anything. I think they learn by sounding words out for themselves, and if you correct them it knocks their confidence. If they asked whether something was spelled right and insisted on an answer, I would say something along the lines of: "that's a pretty good way to spell that word.....I think most people spell it 'knapsack' because spelling is kind of silly sometimes".
I think schools often take the fun out of learning to write, so I would avoid anything that makes him "reluctant".

For reading, I would find interesting books he loves, and read them aloud to him, no matter how difficult, (if he doesn't like the dreary school offerings). My son was bored by beginner books, but couldn't read anything harder because he couldn't be bothered to try. Then he got fascinated by Tintin, which I refused to read aloud, so he learned on that, even though it was HARD. My daughter was obsessed with Harry Potter books on tape, and went from reading about cats on mats to reading HP, which she could only do because she knew pages and pages virtually by heart.

Reading this over, I'm thinking maybe this isn't helpful, because it's all about our family, and might sound like I'm bragging about how much fun we had learning together blah blah blah.. I guess what I'm really trying to say is, learning to read and write is so much fun IF you find the right things which actually really interest you and him. Faking it doesn't really work, I don't think; kids can tell when you are trying to "educate" them and they tend to close up and resist.

What does your son love most?

McDreamy Thu 16-Jun-11 10:35:38

Brilliant ideas and advice thank you just what I was hoping for.

DS is interested in vehicles of any kind and more recently dinosaurs.

IndigoBell Thu 16-Jun-11 10:41:26

But how is his reading? What can he read? Do you know what colour books he is reading or what his NC level is?

crazygracieuk Thu 16-Jun-11 10:43:43

My oldest son was a very reluctant writer but started to enjoy writing when he discovered lists and post it notes. He would happily write a sentence on a post it note and stick it it on doors, walls etc. They ranged from "This is my room and you can't come in." to "I'm sorry for being naughty mum." He also preferred writing lists to standard prose which is what school seemed to encourage. He would be very proud when I used lists that he wrote.

As for reading materials, he enjoyed reading the Beano and Dandy (not school books!) and I bought books about topics like Star Wars and animals which captured his interest.

Snailoon i don't think it's bragging! Sounds good. My ds6 is the same on writing. Now we have moved to a school overseas there is less emphasis on copying dotted words and more exercises on solving puzzles and writing the answer and he seems keener. Also he is given loads of colouring in homework to encourage his dexterity.

He will write loads of really technical info on trains and train parts but isn't bothered about writing anything Brer Rabbit did iyswim. Scrap book on cars may be good. I did get those jolly phonic writing books from elc they copy over in the uk but after 1 page he would moan and i didn't want to drain the very life out of it!

Again I never critique his spelling, some letters are the wrong way round but he's giving it a shot and spelling out some very long words in his head and trying to get them on paper. I see little scraps of paper with "plans" on them and I feel very proud.

Above all else keep calm, my brother hated writing, never read fiction and is now on his Ph. D! I still don't think he has read a fictional book for fun since school!

I think the biggest boost for ds was having a chat with the Eurotunnel driver - and him telling DS he had to learn to write before he was allowed to drive the train. Ds knew he had to get right on it!

McDreamy Thu 16-Jun-11 10:56:48

Yes he can read, wouldn't be able to tell you what level he's on although his current book is Josie and the Cake Sale - I'll google it, hang on smile

McDreamy Thu 16-Jun-11 10:57:52

Yellow reader - does that make sense?

IndigoBell Thu 16-Jun-11 11:00:36

So is it his writing that is the real problem or his reading?

If he can already read at the end of Y1 things don't sound too bad.....

According to the Rigby site 'Josie and the Cake Sale' is exactly where he should be at the end of Y1 confused

I wonder why school told you he needs extra help?

mistlethrush Thu 16-Jun-11 11:01:45

Ds quite liked the alphablocks option on the Cbeebies website too - and there's a TV programme that goes with them - but that might be a bit too basic now.

McDreamy Thu 16-Jun-11 11:09:43

Maybe it's me then. His friends seem to be much further ahead than him (or at least that's what their mums say).

He isn't interested in writing much more than his name. I like the idea of getting him to do plans and maps. I think he would enjoy that. He loves cars and has a scrap book he sticks pictures of cars from Exchange and Mart in, he'll spend ages sat at the table with a prit stick and a pair of scissors but ask him to write in it too and he's not interested. He loves to draw though. I think maybe I am over analysing it.

I think he has been labelled as a summer born boy for so long I am almost expecting him to not be achieving - that sounds awful doesn't it?

IndigoBell Thu 16-Jun-11 11:12:08

His friends might be further ahead - doesn't mean he's behind where he should be grin

Maybe ask the teacher what she thinks, and ask to see some of his writing that he's done in class?

If he's a summer baby, and is reading fine by the end of Y1, I think you should probably chill a bit.........

mistlethrush Thu 16-Jun-11 11:40:29

But, Indigo - there's no harm in reading with Ds on non-school things to help him see that its 'fun' and interesting to read - its not work. I think Ds sees school books as school work, but home books as fun - I think that its really important, particularly for boys who often are less eager to read, to learn that they can be interested by, get knowledge from and also enjoy books.

IndigoBell Thu 16-Jun-11 11:55:05

Normally no harm is done by reading at home - but sometimes it backfires and the correct approach is to back off. Especially if the parent is stressed or the reading they are trying to do is too difficult, or if the child is being taught phonics at school but whole word or guessing at home.....

There are many situations when harm is done. I'm not suggesting that it would be true in this case. I don't know. All I recommend was 'chill a bit' - which could mean not doing extra reading, or doing extra reading in a chilled matter.

But it is not true that there's never any harm in doing extra reading at home.....

Many posters on here have had everyone recommend they stop doing extra work at home. And they come back here a few weeks later to report how when they backed off their child suddenly took off.........

mistlethrush Thu 16-Jun-11 12:34:34

Fair point - although I'm really glad that Ds knows that non-school books are not work and we enjoy them together - and I'm more relaxed about not expecting him to try words out and chipping in etc when we're doing that - just to make it almost more natural. I remember being read the CSLewis stories when I was not much older than ds - which was great - I want him to have the same appreciation of reading for pleasure that we do - rather than seeing it as 'school work' which to my mind makes it a chore - certainly we find that he will unenthusiatically read one of his school books and then rush off and get a more interesting (harder) book to read which he'll do quite happily in the knowledge that it is fun, and not work.

mycarscallednev Thu 16-Jun-11 17:01:23

Try the Crickweb site they have some excellent games for cvc etc, SEN teacher site has great pencil control printables as well as the facility to make your own handwriting sheets tailored to your child. Dont be put off by the name - it's a brilliant site for primary aged children. It may be helpful to take a look at other sites and books used for Home Ed. The TES site is also very good. I Home Educate and have found all of these useful.
Try books that are aimed at early readers, but that the child can choose as if they were a 'free reader' at school. We use the Library for this. Paul Jennings has written great books for reluctant readers - and one for their parents suggesting real and practical ways to help.
Hope this helps.

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