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Teaching your children to read - your job or the teachers?

(260 Posts)
clarlce Thu 14-Jul-11 22:05:31

Apparently, according to Ms Frost, 33% of parents NEVER read to their children.

What lengths should parents go in supporting their children in learning to read?

I volunteer as a reading assistant in my local primary school and the variation in the level of ability, in one year group, is significant and would certainly make it extremely difficult for a teacher to accommodate all those differing abilities.

From my point of view i cannot understand why any parent would want to hold their child back, especially as the benefit of a one-to-one session with mum or dad can have about the same impact as weeks of school.

I am not just talking about reading to your children before bed etc. but actively, imaginatively teaching them how to read as a teacher might.
Is it a parents responsibility to make the teachers and, of course, the child's life easier?

mummynoseynora Thu 14-Jul-11 22:12:31

I personally think that parents should be their childs first teacher in pretty much everything

obviously teachers are very important - and trained in how to teach certain things, but the basics of teaching to read / write/ count etc should be part of a day to day toddler / preschoolers life

DD is 4 and about to start school, we have always had things like those alphabet foam mats around the house. We played games with them like finding the letters in her name.

This isn't a boasty post by the way, I know we are lucky that DD is bright - but we would have done the same things either way - counting games / spotting letters or words out and about etc

DD is going to school at the point of starting to be able to read - in that she can sound out words and blend them, recognise a few words (her name, mummy, daddy etc), can count to about 30, do simple adding / taking away

hester Thu 14-Jul-11 22:12:46

I thought teachers didn't like parents actually teaching reading? Reading with their child, yes, but not actually teaching phonics?

penelopethefrog Thu 14-Jul-11 22:13:58

It's my responsibility to educate my children. I choose to do so by sending them to school and by doing lots of reading to them and with them at home.

I have taught DS2 to read. He starts school in September. It has been good fun for both of us, and I've been fascinated by the way he's learned. I've spent lots of time with DS1 helping him read too, although he does get input from school too. It's made me realise how hard it is to read the English language and how amazing the human brain can be.

christmasmum Thu 14-Jul-11 22:15:22

From what I have been told by my friend who is a P1 teacher (first year) the kids who can already read become bored very easily and play up - she would much prefer it it the kids had a grasp of the letters and numbers but could NOT read before starting school!

MyBalletShoes Thu 14-Jul-11 22:16:11

I think most teachers prefer children to come into school with the necessary social skills etc so that they are ready to be taught phonics, letter formation etc.

HauntedLittleLunatic Thu 14-Jul-11 22:16:40

As a parent I try and avoiding teaching reading.

I do however listen to my DD read (less so for my Yr5 going into Yr6 DTDs...even though I know I should at least "quiz" them on the comprehension aspects of the books they are reading).

I feel that it is my role - primarily - to give my DCs opportunities to practise the things they are being taught - across the curriculum.

GoggleEyed Thu 14-Jul-11 22:19:20

What mummynosynora said.

DuelingFanjo Thu 14-Jul-11 22:20:18

I think children should be able to read by the time they get to school at 5.

Has it always been this way, that schools would prefer children to all have a low literacy level? I remember being in school at 5/6 and just being given more advanced books to read by the teachers - I didn't get bored.

cat64 Thu 14-Jul-11 22:20:28

Message withdrawn

DuelingFanjo Thu 14-Jul-11 22:21:39

And are kids who can read at 4/5 considered to be gifted?

cat64 Thu 14-Jul-11 22:22:32

Message withdrawn

HumphreyCobbler Thu 14-Jul-11 22:30:18

as a parent who is a teacher I find this a fascinating one. I have taught my ds some phonics as he showed an interest in the letter game we had. I know I taught him the pure sounds but I have not gone any further with him as he wasn't interested and I don't think it appropriate to force it. So I have not taught him to read as a teacher might as he is clearly not ready. Sharing books is the single most important thing you can do for a child's reading, and it is sad that not all children have that opportunity. But it is not obvious to many people how one would teach a child to read as a teacher would. Not everyone would know, I remember when I didn't have a clue. I have friends who are secondary teachers and they taught their child the capital alphabet and letter names.

clarlce Thu 14-Jul-11 22:31:20

christmasmum - I am shocked. what a truly appalling thing for a teacher to say!
Your friend is a dreadful teacher. Imagine prioritising the manageability of students over their progress. Tell her to give up her day job.

HumphreyCobbler Thu 14-Jul-11 22:34:44

yes, how about christmasmum's teaching friend offering them some READING to do in order to cheer them up grin

clarlce Thu 14-Jul-11 22:37:43

This is perhaps my point. HAVING to rely on teachers when so many are inept and where the schooling system is almost designed to destroy a child's natural desire to learn is not a risk i would take with my children. It is not about being pushy (I really dislike how responsible parents are tarred with this remark these days - whether they're actually pushy or just good parents) its about doing all you can for your child as they move through a system which could either make or break them.

clarlce Thu 14-Jul-11 22:39:02

HumphreyCobble - a ridiculous idea, you know nothing can be done with bright, bored children...they must be subdued before they grow into anarchists.

SpareRoomSleeper Thu 14-Jul-11 22:40:08

Definitely my job as a mother, is my personal belief. I have the knowledge and the ability, why not pass it on to my DD who loves being taught new things? She's only 2.3, and at the moment, we share books and talk about the pictures mainly (DD does this at great length), and we do phonics in the bath with foam letters. She loves it all.

And yes, clarlce, I am shocked at this teacher too. What a selfish thought! I hope she never gets to teach my DD.

HumphreyCobbler Thu 14-Jul-11 22:44:13

it was possibly just a flippant comment, not meant too seriously.

I don't know any actual teachers who think like this, I wouldn't worry too much. It is important to remember that most schools test for phonic knowledge and teach accordingly so there is no need to worry that your child will be bored.

clarlce Thu 14-Jul-11 22:48:28

Unfortunately quite a large portion of primary teachers have fallen into the profession and have no genuine thirst for learning themselves - how could they ever hope to encourage others to learn? Working in a school i see these kinds of teachers all the time. Who actively turn children off learning. Forcing them to get to the end of the book even though the poor kid is falling asleep or complete a piece of writing that has no relevance to anything the child finds interesting. Its no wonder they quickly decide that schooling aint worth doing. I would be amazed if any of the children i read with at school will be reading for pleasure when they leave primary school. The entire focus is on coloured book levels and a child moves up a level regardless of whether they're ready to simply because they've run out of books!! I despair.

MoChan Thu 14-Jul-11 22:51:05

I think my job is to respond to my daughter's needs. She has been desperate to read for some time; we would read story books, and she would demand to know what each and every word was. I didn't especially want her to just learn what each word meant, I wanted her to be able to work out what the words were, so I started to show her. She is suddenly getting better very quickly, and is very, very keen.

She is 4 in August, and starts school in September. Personally, I agree with the school of thought that formal education ought not to begin until they're older (ie, 6ish) and would never have forced the reading on her. But she wanted to know how to do it, and so I helped her to learn. She's not so interested in numbers, so I'm not pushing it.

I don't think school can teach a child everything. I do think that if you want your child to learn, and be the best that they can, you have to support them as much as you can, and be a partner in their learning processes, as far as you can.

Francagoestohollywood Thu 14-Jul-11 22:51:28

I've always read a lot to my children, and I am more than happy to follow and support their progress at school, but I find that it is not my job as a mother to teach a 4 yr old to read (unless the child is keen, but not all 4 yr old are interested in letters)

Saracen Thu 14-Jul-11 22:55:02

c) None of the above.

It's the child's job to tackle reading when she is ready, and the job of everyone else to give her whatever help she asks for, and leave her alone when she doesn't want help.

I'll happily teach my kids to read, but only when they are ready, which is to say when they want to.

BunnyWunny Thu 14-Jul-11 22:56:52

OMG! can't believe the teacher friend who prefers children to not be able to read, fgs give them something to challenge and stimulate them if they are bored!

I think it is paramount to a childs development in reading for parents to assist and build on skills learnt at school. Reading is such a complex and tricky skill, that without the extra support from home their progress is so much slower as no teacher can give each child the input required to learn to read as quickly as they need to.

Those children that do not get the opportunity to reinforce their reading skills at home have no hope of keeping up with children that do.

Also, by the time a child starts school they should have learnt an awful lot already about reading, if not the actual mechanics required to do so, and will be ready to learn quickly. However, if the day they start school is the first time they have seen a book then the road ahead will be a long and difficult one.

piprabbit Thu 14-Jul-11 23:03:26

It is my job as a parent to give my child opportunities to explore the world in different ways and to answer the questions they ask to the best of my ability.

My 3yo son's nursery does letter of the week, and counting etc. So I'm quite often faced with a little boy asking me 'what that letter is?' or coming up with words which start with the same sounds. I follow his lead, but whatever the whys and hows, he is learning to read and it's definitely not my job to stop him.

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