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Help please - primary 1 'reading' question

(14 Posts)
Nyx Thu 25-Aug-11 14:00:00

My DD (5.7) has just started Primary 1 - we're in Scotland. She does not know her alphabet and can not read. DH and I have always read to her, every single day (generally before bed) and she loves stories. In the last year I have been asking her to point to various letters, and she can recognise quite a few, but not all of them.

So this week she came home with a book bag and her very first school book - "One Two Buckle my Shoe". Apparently they were reading it in class. There was a homework diary sheet thing, and the parent is to read over the book with the child and then sign that it's been done. I 'read' it with DD; the problem was that she knows that rhyme so well that she was just singing it out - I was getting her to focus on the words on the page, and point to each word as she was saying it, etc. We did this 3 or 4 times, then I wrote on the sheet that we'd read it together.

There's a space for 'teacher's comments' and yesterday I had a look...it says "Not sure - try again".

Now, I don't want to get defensive right from the start! However I'm not sure what the teacher means by "Not sure". Of course she's not sure - DD can't read and doesn't even know all the letters yet. I'm just a bit puzzled that they have 'reading books' when they, well, can't read. Also I'm wondering if it's deliberate that it's a well known rhyme - is this to make the children feel like they are reading when actually they are reciting?

Oh dear oh dear - my head is spinning and it's only the first week! Can anyone give me any advice - am I doing the right things? DH is all for buying a phonics scheme and starting her on the flashcards immediately etc. Should we be doing this (because if so, I'm happy to do it!)

lovecheese Thu 25-Aug-11 14:30:53

Hi Nyx; is P1 equivalent to reception in England (4-5 year olds?) I would ask the school if they use a phonics programme and get some materials to use at home to support her. I see your frustration with the "Not sure" comment - how odd.

DorisIsAPinkDragon Thu 25-Aug-11 14:32:08

My first thought is if you don't undrstand what she means just ask, (and tbh I wouldn't have a clue what she's going on about!).
I am trying to remember what we did for DD1 but we did have some read write inc flashcards which we used (and are doing at the moment for dd2 who is 4.1` and starting in 2 weeks)

AnotherJaffaCake Thu 25-Aug-11 14:39:11

I helped DD at home (she started Reception year last year) by giving her the Jolly Phonics workbooks to do. There's a series of 7 workbooks that take you slowly through all the phonics sounds, giving you plenty of writing practice along the way. We also used a pack of the Oxford Reading Tree Read At Home books (got them from The Book People). I think it can't do any harm to help out at home with a phonics scheme. DD was reading by Christmas, and now is a very confident reader.

thejaffacakesareonme Thu 25-Aug-11 14:51:17

I'm in Scotland too! My DS1 has just started p3 and couldn't read when he started school. I think it is normal. He could recognise his name but not the other letters in the alphabet. I'd have a word with the teacher and ask her for more info about her comment and what you can do to support your child. I'm afraid I wouldn't rush into using jolly phonics without speaking to her first. Our school used a different system and I think it would have confused DS if he'd had two different systems to deal with.

AnotherJaffaCake Thu 25-Aug-11 15:43:31

Yes you should check with the school first before buying a phonics system, but they are quite similar. DD's school was using a system similar to JP so we went with that. You could also have a look at www.starfall.com - it is American, but we found it v. useful.

Seona1973 Thu 25-Aug-11 18:34:27

ds has just started primary 1 too and his 'homework' has been to learn 3 words - a, at, the. He has also practiced writing the number 2 and the letters a and t. He will not get a reading book until mid september at which point he will have learned a few more words. Its a bit pointless to give a book out when they havent learned the letters/words beforehand.

Nyx Thu 25-Aug-11 21:32:41

Thanks everyone. Seona, that's exactly what I think - why give a book when they're not reading? However. I have downloaded an app for my iphone and have let DD have a go, tracing the relevant letters and making small words - it, at, in, sit, and the rest of it. Hopefully she will see it as fun that way.

Today's comment from the teacher was "Much Better [smileyface]". Good! Although not sure why it's much better as she's basically singing the rhyme without looking at the book...

Nyx Thu 25-Aug-11 21:34:41

And Lovecheese and Doris - thank you! It's not just me who was puzzled at the 'not sure' comment relief

Nyx Thu 25-Aug-11 21:40:58

Me again...Anotherjaffacake, I have just now looked at that starfall website and it looks perfect! Thank you very much, DD will love it grin

Ineedacleaneriamalazyslattern Thu 25-Aug-11 21:54:29

They have only been back a week so it is a bot soon to be thinking about phonics systems and things.
I would ask about the comments if you're not sure.

The thing about the rhyme and the book I believe is yes they are reciting it as it is familiar and because they know it so well it is helping to link the words on the page with the words being spoken to try to introduce the fact to them that they are both the same.
To some children they already know and realise this but others even some who are read to a lot just don't get this yet.

When dd (now p4) started school there were some things that I found quite confusing but the headmaster did call us in for a meeting to explain why they did some of the things they did in relation to reading and language work and it did all make sense when they explained it.

Nyx Thu 25-Aug-11 22:30:57

Thanks, Ineedacleaner (I can so relate to your name...!) - I'm sure it will all become clear soon enough. I know it's just the first week, and tbh I will probably not speak to the teacher just yet, for that reason. (Plus, I work so don't always drop DD off/pick up so finding an opportunity for a chat would not be particularly straightforward - I will, if and when I need to, of course).

I will trust the teacher - she is the one with experience and training! We'll just do what we're doing, and play on starfall.com and the iphone, and hopefully it will start to sink in.

PastSellByDate Fri 26-Aug-11 12:07:16

Hi Nyx:

My DDs are in England so I know the system is slightly different, but I would say two things.

1) Remember that most likely there are children at all sorts of different abilities in your DDs P1 class. There will be some who can read well and some who can barely read. Keep telling yourself - it will all come out in the wash - your DD will learn to read.

2) Remember that you can help at home by taking notice of how your DD is reading (or not) as the case may be. We had real problems with DD1 picking up on reading because quite frankly she preferred (and still does) for us to read to her. She loves our funny voices for characters and both DDs love it when their usually serious Dad gets a bit silly reading them stories. We found taking turns reading very helpful (started at first just having her read a few easy words & then building from there - a sentence, a paragraph, a page, etc....).

Finally I would say this - Remember it's a marathon and not a race. Your daughter will get there in the end - and fortunately she clearly has your support!

AMumInScotland Fri 26-Aug-11 12:34:29

When DS started P1 they had a meeting for all the new parents about a week or two in, where they explained how they were doing the reading and let us know what they would like us to do with the books that came home. Could you drop the teacher a note saying you're a bit confused how best to do this, and could she put you straight?

I wouldn't start doing anything separate from what the school are asking for, at this stage, as the teacher is probably still working out who can already do what, and will be giving her the right level of reading once she gets a feel for what she can do.

You can also put notes on the reading book to say "We went through the book together but DD doesn't know any words yet"

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