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Help. My dd is starting school in September and can't read!

(52 Posts)
blueslide Wed 29-Jun-11 13:53:37

my dd is due to start school this September. It seems to me that practically every other child who is going to be in her year can already read a little bit and i spoke to one mum who said her ds can do things like take 4 from 10 mentally. I am starting to panic that i need to hothouse my dd. HELP!!!!!!!!!!

munstersmum Wed 29-Jun-11 13:57:23

Deep breaths. Not all kids can read when start school. My DS certainly couldn't. Preschool had deliberately not taught the kids phonics as the headmistress of one of the local primaries had been in and said it was better for all if they learnt at school. Some could & some couldn't when they got there. Those that could are not necessarily showing as brightest at end of yr2.

Just enjoy the summer!!!

hester Wed 29-Jun-11 13:59:38

No no no - there is absolutely no need to worry about this. Most children do NOT read when they start reception, and a couple of teachers warned me that they prefer it that way, because often they have to 'unlearn' stuff and learn again the right way or something.

Honestly, my dd's school is very high achieving, and the children start school well above the average, but most of them were not reading at the start of reception (including my dd). They are now, though.

If your child knows her letters (phonics) it's a help; if she can count to 10 and get her own coat on and take herself to the toilet, brilliant. But you mustn't worry about the reading (or listen to boasting mums).

GooseyLoosey Wed 29-Jun-11 13:59:56

If it helps, neither of my children could read when they started school and this was a deliberate choice of mine.

I could read and vividly remember being bored to tears for the first few years of school.

The schools assume that children cannot read and from my observations, there seems to be no real gain for the children in being able to read early.

If your dd wants to learn to read now - help her. If she doesn't, I wouldn't bother.

hester Wed 29-Jun-11 14:00:55

Should add that my dd is one of the oldest in her class, couldn't read at all when she started reception, but has finished reception as one of the best readers in her class. Please don't feel you have to spend the summer cramming her smile

hester Wed 29-Jun-11 14:02:41

Yes, Goosey, I started school a very confident reader - everyone thought I was brilliant and expected great things of me. I remember seemingly endless sessions just reading on my own while the class did other stuff.

I have to tell you that I peaked at the age of 4, and my academic achievement has been on a downward trajectory ever since. Early reading is really not important smile

Bramshott Wed 29-Jun-11 14:02:48

Most won't be able to read - honestly! The only thing it's useful if she can read is her own name.

sittinginthesun Wed 29-Jun-11 14:02:53

Oh, don't worry at all! Everyone will say the same thing - they all learn at their own pace. My DS1 couldn't read at the start of Reception - another child was reading Enid Blyton. They are both at the end of Year 2 now, and are neck and neck academically. In fact, DS is very pleased to note that he is one point ahead in their weekly spellings tests!

Having been through it once, and about to embark on it again with DS2 (also starting Reception in September), I'd say the best thing you can do is to play play play this summer - snakes and ladders, shop games, counting games, etc, and to read read read all the lovely story books you can find. x

sittinginthesun Wed 29-Jun-11 14:05:12

Goosey - I was also an early reader. As a result, I could not, and still cannot, spell! I think my reading age got stuck at around 9 years oldsmile

neolara Wed 29-Jun-11 14:05:35

My dd couldn't read when she entered reception. In fact she couldn't read at the end of reception. And at the end of Year 1 she was still pretty hopeless, struggling with words like cat, lot, frog etc. At the end of Year 2 she has just sneaked into the top reading group (high achieving school). Really, really don't worry. Early reading, or otherwise, doesn't seem to predict what will happen later on.

GooseyLoosey Wed 29-Jun-11 14:06:54

Interesting sittinginthesun - I can't spell either!

dietcokeandwine Wed 29-Jun-11 14:08:39

Please don't worry and definitely don't hothouse her!!!

Her reception teacher will be quite happy if she can take herself to the loo, get dressed/undressed for PE, sit quietly on the carpet for a few minutes, that sort of thing. As hester says, if she knows her letters, count to 10, recognise her name etc, then marvellous. I really wouldn't worry about anything else.

FWIW, out of the 60 children who started school with DS1 a few years ago, very few of them were reading. Several of them could write their name - but the reception teachers cheerfully informed us at the curriculum evening that not one of them could write the letters in their name properly, so those children had to relearn letter formation anyway.

DS went into reception unable to read or write and was certainly not able to do things like subtract 4 from 10, but (now end of Y2) is above average for both literacy and numeracy.

Don't panic. And ignore the boasting brigade. Half of them are probably lying, and the other half are most likely exaggerating wink Just enjoy the summer with your DD - you will never get those preschool years back again.

woollyjo Wed 29-Jun-11 14:08:42

dd1 starts in sept, she can recognise some letters (mainly those that make up her name) and she is interested in which sounds words start with and matching them up with similar sounding words but that's it. A friend of mine teaches in international schools in Africa and told me British parents are identifiable by their focus on early reading.

Personally I think we start the whole thing far too early

sittinginthesun Wed 29-Jun-11 14:14:00

Goosey - my late dad was a primary Head. May have it a bit wrong, but he said there has been a lot of research about early reading. Apparently the bit of the brain that connects to recognise phonics doesn't usually kick in until around five years. Until then, a child just memorises the shape of the word. If you read earlier that five, you usually just read by memory, and struggle to decode words by phonics. Certainly correct in my case - I can scan read a document in seconds, which is great, but I have to double check my DS1's spelling book before I practise with him, because he actually has words I cannot spell!

GooseyLoosey Wed 29-Jun-11 14:16:30

Wow - I can blame my parents for the fact I can't spell. How fantastic is that! I too have to check ds's spellings and encourage him to use a dictionary. At 8, he can spell far better than I can so it looks like (on purely anecdotal evidence) your theory is correct. That has made my day.

Pagwatch Wed 29-Jun-11 14:23:25

Is at academic top fifty ranked prep
School asked (pretty much begged) that we do NOT teach our kids to read.
They asked could we please please ensure they can use toilet independently and use cutlery. If they can get changed for pe or swimming they will adore you forever.

Seriously. If your child start wanting to know sounds or write then fine. But please in the name of god don't be one of those mums pulling their hair out and hectoring their child to learn some so that they can feel great at start of term. They do exist. I met a few. I even said "WTF are you doing" to one.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 29-Jun-11 14:24:18

Blueside.... as everyone else has said, relax. Your DD is going to school where there will be a nice person who is specifically employed to teach children to read and do sums!

I'm yet another with a DD who really couldn't read at all when she started reception. Didn't know all the alphabet (and BTW, don't teach them to say 'Ay, bee, Cee' - if you want to do something helpful use ah, buh, kuh phonic sounds to identify letters)

Anyhow, my DD was 'behind' with reading all through KS1 ... then suddenly it clicked at around the age when some of our wiser continental friends first start formally teaching to read. Ended junior school with a 16+ reading age.

stopthelights Wed 29-Jun-11 14:25:07

My DC could not read when they started school. They have reading ages far in excess of their chronological ages now. Don't worry - teach them to socialise well, to appreciate music, to love sport and to be happy. Leave the reading to the experts. As long as they have you supporting them they'll be OK.

Hothousing just leads to fragile, anxious students IMO.

veritythebrave Wed 29-Jun-11 14:26:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bitsyandbetty Wed 29-Jun-11 14:32:21

I too was an early reader who cannot spell. I did not teach mine to read and left them to the school when they were ready. My DS now 11 is in top group for literacy and expecting a 5 in SATs. He loves reading as does my DD 6. Remember everything is so competitive when you go into reception and it seems to continue until the end of Year 2, then those early people who crow are very quiet on the subject.

Camerondiazepam Wed 29-Jun-11 14:35:52

I'm giving you lines.
Write out 100 times "I Must Not Listen To Other Mothers Bang On About Their Gifted And Talented Little Johnnies Because 98% Of It Is A Load Of Old Tosh"

My DD is at a high achieving private school and I asked at the end of nursery year what they expected the kids to be able to do at the start of Reception - the answer was "it's really helpful if they can go to the toilet by themselves, it's nice for them if they can write their name but that's what we're here for". Aaaaaand, that was it.

Seriously, don't worry!

chippy47 Wed 29-Jun-11 14:37:22

Personally I will be sending my DS's to school(one already in year one) in the hope that they will teach them how to read. And lots of other useful stuff.

blueslide Wed 29-Jun-11 14:38:12

Thankyou everyone. Feeling so much better. Will try to avoid all talk of academic ability from now on because it always makes me feel inadequate.

Elibean Wed 29-Jun-11 14:51:25

Goodness, dd1 barely knew any of her sounds (she knew her alphabet, but that was about it) and was hopeless at counting past 10 accurately. She's in Y2 now and in top sets for literacy and numeracy smile

I wouldn't worry one bit. All that competive early-years mummying is a total waste of time!

Lizcat Wed 29-Jun-11 15:48:10

When my DD started at her fairly academic school I confessed to another mother that my DD could not read - her reaction was not dissimilar to if I had confessed child abuse.
At the end of reception the teacher reported that DD had been one of the best prepared for school she could feed herself, take herself to the toilet, get changed for PE\swimming, she could sit on the carpet for 5 minutes and she could play nicely with other children.
Now approaching the end of year 2 some of those early readers are still ahead on the readings scheme, but from talking to other mums most of them do not read for pleasure. However, my deprived child may not be as far on the reading scheme as some of them, but she will read anything for the sheer joy of reading it.
So have a joyful summer watching the flowers grow and playing in the sun.

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