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Reading in the infants, am I missing something?

(86 Posts)
Cortina Thu 29-Sep-11 14:58:59

A child that is a fairly advanced reader in Y1 - ORT 8 or 9 for example - is probably reading at this level because they've had more practice at home than others.

I know there is more to it than decoding but a child will usually become familiar with all the other aspects (comprehension, expression etc) if they've had lots of time to figure it all out and an adult's support.

So apparent 'talent' at this stage is really only hidden practice? Someone said that their child taught themselves aged three but these children are clearly unusual. This is what made me think.

They all tend to catch up and we are out of the infants now but surely, generally speaking the more practice a child has the better they get? Or am I missing something? Am not sure it's widely seen this way.

sittinginthesun Thu 29-Sep-11 15:05:06

Not an expert, but guess it's a bit of both, as most things. In DS's year 3 class, some children seem to have some natural ability, and read very early just because it came to them quickly. Others just practised a lot. Some may have problems that don't show up at first. Some are bright, but have issues with concentration etc. Lots going on, hence the variations in the class.

Cortina Thu 29-Sep-11 15:14:30

I am less of a believer of this 'natural ability' malarkey - I think generally if a child isn't young in the year & there are no underlying issues, comes from a home where everyone reads, has a parent that spends a long time reading with them and to them then it's perfectly possible. They're not reading Dickens. What's interesting is so many seem to believe 'you either have it or you don't' and we know this very early about you.

AMumInScotland Thu 29-Sep-11 15:19:28

I think for some children it all "vlicks" sooner than it does for others, regardless of parental input. Obviously a lack of any parental inteest/encouragement can slow down a child's progress from what they are actually capable of, but I don't think more interest/encouragement can push them ahead of their actual development.

But I don't think that getting the hang of reading early is a measure of their intelligence or will determine their future academic achievements. Though reading well fairly early probably encourages them to read more, than if they struggle with it and therefore dislike it.

AMumInScotland Thu 29-Sep-11 15:19:52

oh "vlicks" indeed..... "clicks" of course....

bruffin Thu 29-Sep-11 15:19:52

DD didn't practice, she just sort of absorbed reading. Reading is something that clicks, you either get or you don't. DS clicked a lot later but once he did he went caught up a lot those that clicked in reception. I spent a lot more time helping DS reading than I did DD. He does have some spld but reading and comprehension is not part of that.

DD could read words like architecture within a few months of starting school, I never bothered listening to her read after mid yr1. In yr2 she used to be used by the teacher to read to the class when teacher had a sore throat because she could read fluently with expression and make the class laugh if the book was funny etc.

AyesToTheRight Thu 29-Sep-11 15:19:58

DD is an old year (just 6). She reads at higher than level 9 at home although about 8-9 at school. Seriously I do not do loads of reading practice with her at all. I think a combination of (a) having a 22 month older brother who she has always tried to keep up with (b) being used to there being books around the place and (c) just being her have made her how she is.

My sister was considered "slow" until about 10. She went to Cambridge. I was reading at 3. I did not go to Cambridge. Both had same upbringing and exposure to books.

I have read to both DC from a young age though.

Cortina Thu 29-Sep-11 15:32:38

I truly believe that an 'average' Y1 child that had no underlying issues with reading, with A LOT of practice could get there. Whether or not that's desirable or an indicator of their 'brightness' or otherwise is a different argument, but possible? Yes, I believe so.

IndigoBell Thu 29-Sep-11 15:38:12

You are missing something. and YABVU

The amount of practice is not the biggest factor in how quickly kids learn to read.

My DD can't learn to read at all (aged 8) and she reads 4 times a day, and has done for the last 4 years.

My DS learnt to read quickly and easily, and he almost never reads.

Actually it's their cognitive abilities which is the biggest factor, followed by the quality of teaching, lastly followed by the amount of practice a child gets.

If it was as simple as you suggest, then teaching kids to read would be simple as well.

Cortina Thu 29-Sep-11 15:48:43

Hi Indigo, I believe more than most in the power of practice. I am against labeling of any kind, especially early on. Some children won't be ready, some children might have underlying difficulties but I've seen a great deal of 'early hidden practice' in reading (think 12 hours a week plus) being mistaken for 'talent' I believe. I think practice can make a difference even fairly early on. A child can speak a second language at 5/6, sometimes fluently, the reason another can't? Lack of exposure and practice. Perhaps this isn't a good example but can't currently think of another to illustrate my point.

AMumInScotland Thu 29-Sep-11 15:48:49

No, I think there's more to it than just practice. In some countries they don't attempt to teach them to read until more like 7, and I think the reasoning is that you might as well leave it until they are all developmentally ready, rather than have some who get it and some who don't.

Some children can practice till they're blue in the face, but their development has just not reached a point where they can connect letters on a page to sounds or meanings.

AMumInScotland Thu 29-Sep-11 15:52:50

DS clicked with reading when he went to preschool, just before he turned 4. I had been reading him a story at bedtime for quite a while, but not doing any more than that. Certainly he wasn't getting 12 hours a week practice at reading.

But I don't think you should label a child as "talented at reading" just because they get the hang of it quicker than others. Any more than you would label a child as talented as crawling or walking just because they got there ahead of their peers. A genuine "talent" for something doesn't even out over time, and early reading often does.

madwomanintheattic Thu 29-Sep-11 16:00:59

i might have been the poster with the 3 yo? not sure. if so - she has two older siblings who had been through the 'learning to read' process, and so a large amount of her teaching herself was probably through absorption - just being in the same room and listening to dd1 and ds1 decoding, and the books being around. we do have books everywhere, and obviously she had access to more complex books than a child with no older siblings might have had? we also didn't realise she could read as she has cerebral palsy and was non verbal - so until she became verbal we didn't really know iyswim. and even then we thought she was parroting because she'd heard the stories so often... (we were a big 'bedtime story' family up until they were all at school) - the first book she read out loud and we realised she could read was 'the lion the witch and the wardrobe', and the next day she started reading virginia woolf over my shoulder. grin in fact, the biggest obstacle for her was the ability to turn the page, as her fine motor skills at that point were non-existent! grin

so a lot of it is innate cognitive ability, but there is a good dose of contextual info. dd2 was lucky in that she had both.

i spent a couple of years as a reading buddy in a school for kids who were struggling, or who didn't have access to reading material/ support at home, and have witnessed the 'click' moment many times smile. and i am gobsmacked and heartened every time. there's nothing quite like starting the term with a fed up yr 2 who hates books because they don't make sense, and them transforming into someone bounces into the room, high fives you , and avidly discusses the last book they have read and wants to choose another one. grin but i do think these are often kids where the environment is not conducive to reading (and i'm not anything special - i just had the time and the resources to sit down with them a few times a week). i've also seen a lot of kids with exceptionally supportive environments (in terms of access to material and parental support and encouragement) where it just does not happen. sad

Cortina Thu 29-Sep-11 16:02:11

AMIS you say - But I don't think you should label a child as "talented at reading" just because they get the hang of it quicker than others.

I think we do though, especially if this is coupled with a child that is unusually verbal and articulate for age. This can give a child a sense of confidence which can follow them down the years and be advantageous in their school career. IMO they are often treated differently and cognitive bias can come about. AMuminScotland, you say: In some countries they don't attempt to teach them to read until more like 7 - I think this is a bit of myth. More often than not someone is the family has been going at it with early readers for a long time previously etc. But just my experience and perception. When they go to primary it's not as if they've never been exposed to the alphabet or print, far from it in some cases.

I get that some won't be cognitively ready but otherwise I think practice can be key. Whether it's desirable or not is another matter, but if a child is cognitively ready, can they get to this level by 6 years old? I think so.

madwomanintheattic Thu 29-Sep-11 16:03:09

x post - and small lol at 'unusually verbal and articulate for age' grin it probably wasn't me then. grin

Cortina Thu 29-Sep-11 16:05:34

Your experience in school, madwoman, sounds wonderful smile Great you were able help.

DilysPrice Thu 29-Sep-11 16:06:27

Would I be right in guessing that you just have the one child OP? smile
Quality of teaching is a big factor in how quickly a 7 year old learns to read, but for younger children it's a lot to do with natural aptitude. My cat could have taught DD to read.

Cortina Thu 29-Sep-11 16:18:54

My son didn't pick reading up so fast, pretty good now though, he's 7. These views come from going into school/s and others I know with slightly younger children.

It's this 'natural aptitude' and how much it can be influenced I am interested in. I think once a child is cognitively ready an 'average' child might be able to do as well as one with 'natural aptitude' or one who was considered 'bright'. Aptitude can also develop over time. I seem to come across many who disagree, believe talent is born rather than made and 'you've even got it or you haven't' or a mindset to that effect. How much of 'natural talent' is in fact hidden practice? IMO a lot more than many people realise.

AMumInScotland Thu 29-Sep-11 16:19:01

I'm not sure I'm following your point TBH smile

If a child is cognitively ready, and they get a reasonable amount of practice, then yes they will be a "fairly advanced reader".

If they either aren't cognitively ready, or they don't get the practice, then they won't be.

If they can read fluently early, it may or may not carry over into later life.

mrz Thu 29-Sep-11 16:25:08

Cortina reading like anything improves with practise once you have mastered the basic skills otherwise most children won't progress. There are some children who find reading second nature, my eldest is hyperlexic and was reading fluently before he was two without being taught but children like hime are rare.

Cortina Thu 29-Sep-11 16:25:15

AMIS I agree with you when you say: If a child is cognitively ready, and they get a reasonable amount of practice, then yes they will be a "fairly advanced reader".

I think my point is IMO many think a child that's a fairly advanced reader - level 9 ORT at this stage in Y1 for example- is bright and unusually cognitively advanced/possessing superior innate ability rather than just being 'cognitively ready' and practiced.

IndigoBell Thu 29-Sep-11 16:26:36

Cortina - you hang out with some weird people. None of what you say is what I see.

I know kids who are very bright and early readers and all that who lack confidence. I think because they're parents aren't confident people.

And I certainly know kids who can't read and who aren't top of the class who are confident.

So, I don't notice any correlation between academic ability and confidence. Nor do I see any correlation between amount of reading practice and reading ability.

Nor do I hear people thinking other kids are bright. It's their own kids who they think are bright grin

Cortina Thu 29-Sep-11 16:29:13

Sadly I see a huge correlation between academic ability and confidence.

IndigoBell Thu 29-Sep-11 16:34:59

ha, ha. If it was only that easy.

You really need to meet more people.

Cortina Thu 29-Sep-11 16:37:55

There are some under-confident terribly academic people I'm sure, but all too often if you're behind your peers (or perceive you're far behind your peers) self esteem can suffer. Can only speak with a reasonable amount of confidence about the early years though.

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