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encouraging enthusiasm to read - yr 1

(21 Posts)
embles76 Fri 09-Sep-11 17:02:16

Hello - I haven't posted on here before but I'm hoping some of you can give me some advice on how to encourage my son to become interested in learning to read. He is bright and very knowledgeable, loves books, but seems to have next to no interest in reading the words! He can 'decode' cvc words and read some sight words (he is on red level books) so I'm not overly concerned that he is not making progress, but if I suggest he tries to read words in the books he enjoys he just says the words are too small, or he's too tired, or he already knows how to read (which he doesn't he just says this so he doesn't have to try!). He will read his reading books sent home from school quite happily, but doesn't seem to want to transfer this new skill that he is learning into reading other things which might be more interesting for him. He just refuses to even try. I read a lot to him as I have always loved reading and I think one of his concerns was that I would stop doing that - I have tried to reassure him this would never be the case I will always read him stories. I'm sort of waiting for him to have a lightbulb moment, to make the connection that reading isn't just something he learns at school or homework he 'has' to do and that's it, it's a lifeskill which could bring him so much pleasure and joy. I know it will happen eventually (I'm really not a pushy parent!) just I know he has a tendency to laziness with things he doesn't find easy immediately. Anything more I can do to encourage him? Can anyone recommend any good books at his reading level I could get (the ones in the library and that the school send home are pretty uninspiring!). I think I need to help him build up some confidence, there are a lot of bright kids in his class who can read way past their reading age.

Thanks for reading and thanks for any advice!

embles76 Fri 09-Sep-11 17:02:42

he is 6 in November, btw, just gone into yr 1

NK346f2849X127d8bca260 Fri 09-Sep-11 17:12:19

Has he got any particular interests? space, football, dinosaurs. My ds wasn't interested in story books but liked reading fiction books in what he was interested in ( i can now name every dinosaur!)
Also take him to a bookshop and choose a story book together and share the reading with him, get him to have a go at a sentance and then your read a paragraph.

emodi Fri 09-Sep-11 17:35:13

I could be the one writing this . I joined a library and after the picture books in our library are some books for new readers which have large pictures and chapters and I got him to start reading chapters and a book mark which made him feel all grown up and interested ;. I think boys are just lazy anyway and that help him a lot and he now flies though them . U can ask your librarian for help

CecilyP Fri 09-Sep-11 19:08:05

You can't really read for joy and pleasure until you can actually read. If he can 'decode' cvc words and read some sight words and he is on red level books and quite happy to read the books sent home from school, he is making progress. He is not yet ready to read books that might be more interesting for him. And they might not be all that interesting if he has to struggle his way through every word.

You might find the books he brings home from school uninspiring, but these are the ones he is happy to read. You could probably get books at the same level from the library but you might not find them any more inspiring. He could also be quite right when he says the words in the other books are too small; to read new words for the first time, you have to be able to see the individual letters clearly.

He is very young, so I wouldn't worry what other children are doing; he is making progress and will get there in his own good time. Most of the avid readers that you know will have been on uninspiring scheme books when they were nearly six.

RosemaryandThyme Fri 09-Sep-11 19:20:17

Couple of thoughts that might help ;

Has his eye-sight been tested recently - (free NHS childrens tests are available) - he might be correct when he says the words are literally too small for him.

Are the fonts regularly changing in the books ? - some 'a's for example look totally different in different books - maybe stick to one reading series that has a consistant font / type-face. (ORT?)

Has he been taught the capital letter sounds in addition to the phonetic alphabet and digraphs prior to attempting to blend ?
Any gaps here will make reading a struggle - maybe just run through them with him - a fun game where he gets a little chocolate for each attempt, note down any he is not 100% sure and quick with.

If all fine then tap into what motivates him (bribes?) stickers, time playing with you, friend over for tea, dad presenting a certificate at the end of the week etc etc.

blackeyedsusan Fri 09-Sep-11 23:02:47

if he is reading red band books then a lot of other books will be too hard for him to decode properly. My daughter got scaared of big words and hid and refused to read on. we tackled it by reading long words for her and letting her read the words she knew (on, in, at, etc and cvc worrds) i only gradually introduced extra worrds, usually pointing it out several times... oo look there is the word.... again, several times before even asking her to read it.

she is caapable of sounding out words.... but still prefers to guess some random nonsense word..... and she is reading early chapter books now...

ninah Fri 09-Sep-11 23:07:57

I'd just add that reading doesn't all have to be about books.Interactive games, board games with text, road signs, top trump cards = all good for engaging readers

midnightexpress Fri 09-Sep-11 23:13:37

DS1 is also 6 in November and sounds quite similar - he'd far rather listen to me reading to him than read something himself and hates doing his school reading books, even though he's actually quite good at reading. I think the problem for him is that he's moved on to listening to chapter books, which he's not ready to read by himself yet, and bloody Biff, Chip and Kipper are not exactly a roller-coaster of excitement, are they?

I do find that he quite likes reading online - have you tried getting him to do the Oxford Owl books - you can read and/or listen to some of them downloaded from the website for free.

I also get him to read things like chapter headings in books I'm reading to him, or captions under pictures, that sort of thing, so we're sharing the reading a bit. And I'm not averse to bribing him by telling him that I'll read him one if he'll read me one.

embles76 Sat 10-Sep-11 15:36:52

thanks for all the ideas this is great! midnightexpress this is exactly the problem we have. He is getting sent home floppy and biff and chip and although he will read them (beacause he 'has' to) he doesn't enjoy them and finds them babyish (it doesn't help his 3 yr old sister gets sent the same books home from pre-school, although they are to talk about rather than read). At bedtime we are reading Roald Dahl, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland etc. and he loves listening to them but obviously they are waaaay beyond him in terms of reading level. I know that reading big words is very daunting, I think the problem is reading has become a bit of a chore for him (and I hate that I really never wanted that to happen) whereas listening is much more pleasurable. I think, though, there are some great ideas here to make it a bit more fun and I like the idea of taking turns (he quite likes doing that), helping him with longer words and reading online. You have made me realise how scary it can be, and I think if I help him a bit more rather than just leaving him to do it all by himself his confidence will grow and with repetition those tricky sight words will start to sink in.

Infact we read one of the online pearson books yesterday together and he enjoyed doing that just because it was a bit different. In terms of interest he is very into non fiction books actually typical boys stuff: space, volcanoes, anything science-y. I like the idea of encouraging him to read headings, the odd sentence here and there. I know it will come eventually. Thanks guys x

PS - RosemaryandThyme thanks for tip on eyesight I assumed he was being lazy that's something I never even considered (bad mummy!). I will get it checked out. He has been taught phoenetic alphabet alongside normal alphabet (what are digraphs?). The problem is he is a very logical child so can decode but as our lovely english lang doesn't follow the rules a lot of the time, he finds this very difficult and frustrating (he grew up in Italy until fairly recently and although he didn't learn to read Italian he spoke it quite fluently - although english is his first language - and it is a phoenetic language so pretty much you say it as you read it. Perhaps this is also adds to the general confusion!).

madamehooch Sat 10-Sep-11 17:12:35

I don't really blame him for being daunted in having to read words in Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland! These are books definitely designed to be read to and not by a six year old.

Would strongly recommend not getting him to read parts of books such as these at this stage. It is not laziness and unlikely to be an eyesight problem. More likely it's the fact that the font is definitely smaller and there are so many more words on the page than he is used to. He will dread you picking up a book if he thinks that halfway through the story he has to pick out a word to read in a sea of black and white.

Keep up the reading aloud of books above his reading age to ensure a continuing enjoyment of reading. If he finds Biff and Chip too babyish, try the Horrid Henry early readers or the Usborne Young Reader series. They look more grown up and less 'schooly' but still have pictures to make them more interesting.

It will click but the more you force it or expect him to read books way beyond his capability, the more he is likely to rebel!

Good luck and don't worry.

maizieD Sat 10-Sep-11 18:04:04

He has been taught phoenetic alphabet alongside normal alphabet (what are digraphs?). The problem is he is a very logical child so can decode but as our lovely english lang doesn't follow the rules a lot of the time, he finds this very difficult and frustrating

It sounds suspiciously to me as though his school is not giving him the best teaching. Well taught phonics appeals very much to logical children because it progresses through the alphabetic code, from simple to complex, and makes the reading process very clear to pupils.

If he is being taught 'sight words' as wholes, and being given books which contain words beyond his current phonic knowledge (which 'red band' ORT are bound to be, unless they are the new phonics based ones) he will be getting a very confusing picture of what reading is about.

It is also very early days yet; because of the complexity of the English 'code' it takes a good couple of years for most children to master it, even when taught well.

BTW. digraphs are two letters which represent one sound, like 'ch', 'th', 'ee' and 'ay'

mrz Sat 10-Sep-11 18:13:18

If he will read his school reading scheme book I suggest he doesn't want to read his story books because he enjoys sharing the stories with you (or other adults) and is reluctant to lose this.

MrsGravy Sat 10-Sep-11 18:25:12

This is an interesting thread for me because my Yr2 DD is exactly the same - and has been since she started bringing books home last year. In fact she's never that happy to read the school books now, although she was at first. I do lots of reading to her and get lots of different books from the library. Basically I do pretty much make her read something simple to me every other day but other than that leave her be in fear that I am going to put her off for life. DD is also at a Welsh school and is learning to read in welsh which means encouraging to read the things that are around her is a little more difficult.

I shall try a few of the other ideas on here though and keep treading gently I think.

RosemaryandThyme Sun 11-Sep-11 15:28:05

Oh just remembered - Alphablocs (online) is good for learning rules through short memorable songs for example: "magic e" - turns mak into make, tak into take - stretching the central vowel sound.

Jolly phonics do a good DVD - not free but comprehensive, covers all sounds and digraphs, and tricky/sight words needed, easy to pause and come back to - children can easily follow with no input from adults - you can have an hour to yourself !

racingheart Sun 11-Sep-11 21:59:57

I suggest you encourage reading everywhere other than books for now:

Write him a letter.
Ask him to 'find' the right food in the supermarket, or the right street to walk up, from its name.
Go to a big newsagent together to find a new magazine about one of his favourite interests (even if you are gagging at forking out £4 for *$%! Pokemon comics every week.)

Once he makes the connection that words are a source of accessing otherwise secret info, he'll be hooked. At that age one of my DSs read only factual books for 2 years. He refused fiction resolutely. Now he's crazy about it. Steer him towards what he loves to know about, never what you think he 'should' be reading. Time enough for that later.

AgnesP Mon 12-Sep-11 14:23:43

Hi, This might sound like a bit of a cheat for some of the issues above but I've started letting my ds (about the same level) read on the ipad. He gets this sense of it being 'cool' because it's not the school books and he can pick any stories he likes. You can change the font size and let him build his own little library shelf collection. Since mine's obviously not allowed an iPad to play about with, it is really a 'treat' to be allowed to read on mine and he treats it as such rather than finding it to be a chore. If you don't have a tablet then you can usually get the ebooks to read on your pc through the Amazon Kindle app or Digital Editions. Maybe try the 'Giglets' adapted and illustrated classics; if you like reading Peter Pan then they have a simplified version of the first story about Peter Pan (called Little White Bird) which is a short read with illustrations. For that one just search 'Giglets' on Amazon or iTunes. The wee children's ebooks are normally inexpensive. smile Or try www.giglets.net for more of their titles.

embles76 Mon 12-Sep-11 15:20:11

would just like to point out I DO NOT try to make him read the books I read him at bedtime!! I am not in any way suggesting he should attempt to do that! Sometimes if the title is easy, in larger font I suggest he try to decipher it but I don't force him too. The point I was trying to make is that as this is what we read (i.e. I read to him at bedtime) he gets a bit bored with biff and chip etc. but I know this is what he has to read. Gotta dash - school run! THks for more tips will read properly later and post thoughts x

embles76 Mon 12-Sep-11 18:27:30

AgnesP - thks so much for that link will check it out - he likes reading on the computer (or doing anything on the computer for that matter!)
racingheart - brilliant idea to write him a letter and other stuff. His new teacher wrote him a little card and sent it in the post saying welcome to year 1. He loved that even if he struggled to read her writing!
RosemaryandThyme - thanks will try alphablocs and look at the dvd
MrsGravy - I agree with you re treading gently - it will come in the end, as others have said it's not an easy language to master!
Thanks all such brilliant advice! x

virgiltracey Mon 12-Sep-11 18:37:48

Have you tried project X. Its an ORT scheme (not pure phonics) designed for boys. I ordered it and thought it was rubbish when I opened the pack and looked at the books but the DSs love reading the stories. They are more modern than the biff and chip series and are about a group of children with watches that make them shrink. They then go on to have various adventures.

As I say I was sceptical but my DSs 6 and 4 will both pick them to read. My library has them so its worth checking out.

Also how about separating the reading for himself and being read to so that he realises that just because he is doing some reading it doesn't mean that he won't get his story later on.

AnyoneButLulu Mon 12-Sep-11 18:50:27

Maybe you could try reading simpler books at home together for a little while - funny easy readers, Ricky Rocket, the "early reader" Horrid Henrys, the Top Gear children's books for example. The advantage of those sort of books is that they have speech bubbles, sound effects, text boxes, signs etc, so you can read him the main text while he helps you with the add ons. I had great success with both my DC using this approach, and this sort of book combines fun with approachability. I would recommend Captain Underpants but the approach to spelling may present problems.

Horrible History/Science books also worth a try maybe once he's improved a bit - the full books are quite challenging text but the annuals are much more approachable.

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