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Thoughts about reading.......

(41 Posts)
seeker Tue 04-Oct-11 09:41:10

...has anyone ever come on here worrying that the books their child gets a too hard?

Honestly, people, don't worry. The very fact that you are thinking about it means that your child will learn to read. It's not a race, or a competition. Reading slightly too easy books won't do any harm. Just because I can read James Joyce and Shakespeare doesn't mean that I don't read Agatha Christie or Maeve Binchy. Nobody ever says to a grown up "my, you're a good reader"! They are just readers, as your child will be, (sn possibly excepted, of course) by the time they are 7 of 8.

CauldronsTrulyReign Tue 04-Oct-11 09:42:28


2BoysTooLoud Tue 04-Oct-11 09:46:55

You are right!
In Reception with PFB got bit sucked into it all but year by year I am mellowing and becoming more laid back.
I am actually slightly embarrassed when I see Reception teacher these days as can see how silly I was.

CauldronsTrulyReign Tue 04-Oct-11 09:47:06

Thinking about it seeker, one thing our school drummed into parents was the fact that the reading scheme is such a tiny part of the child's whole reading experience, it is valueless to make judgements on a child's skills from just that. The problem is, reading scheme books are exceedingly quantifiable and comparisons can (although shouldn't) be drwn.

Fostering a joy of reading is far more important than what friffing level they are on at any particular time.

Note, this is the opinion of a fourth-time-through ORT mom, my attitude was embarassingly different with Chaotic1. blush

Shanghaidiva Tue 04-Oct-11 09:54:35

Not afraid to admit James Joyce is too hard for me...(wink)

Shanghaidiva Tue 04-Oct-11 09:55:49

Smileys also a bit tricky for me too confused

AnxiousElephant Tue 04-Oct-11 09:57:46

I agree that it definately isn't just about reading levels. I don't agree that parents should just be encouraged to be mellow. It is seen often that those mellow parents don't encourage reading at home, viewing play as far more important. Stats demonstrate that the children who fall behind in all areas are not read with regularly at home. The reading scheme books are a good indication of level and what is likely to be achieved by the next KS. If a child can't read by year 3 how will they cope with other subjects such as history, other languages etc? The earlier they read the more opportunity to extend learning in other areas imo. So I do expect dd1 to read her books most nights or the following morning and inevitably she has quickly gone through the reading levels. It wasn't to push her up the levels per se, more to ensure she can free read by year 3.

sugartongue Tue 04-Oct-11 10:20:02

AnxiousElephant it is not inevitable that a child who simply reads their reading books will move quickly through the levels! And please don't make sweeping statements to the effect that children who struggle to read are not regularly read to at home. My DS has been read to on a daily basis (at least 30-40 mins) since he was about 5 months old - clearly picture books at that stage. He continues to be read to even though now the focus is on him reading to me - which he does for a further 30 mins a day. We spend hours a week on spellings and I draw his attention to language all the time as a matter of habit. He is 8 and cannot really read. Life really is about more than sodding ORT.

nickelbabe Tue 04-Oct-11 10:29:08

well said sugartongue - in addition to that, just because he can't read on his own yet doesn't mean that's a disaster either - if he loves books and stories, that's much more important than reading fluency! It's soooo much more than just being able to speak the words on the page.
It's about loving books and stories and facts etc etc.
Even if he spent all his reading time listening to audio books, that's still brilliant.

It's not a race, that's true. smile

nickelbabe Tue 04-Oct-11 10:31:08

ps - anxious - your comments are actually wrong by proof, too. It has been proven (can't cite references, because I can't reemmber where I got it from), that children who listen to audio books have much greater vocabulary and understanding of the way language works than those of the same physical reading ability - the reason being that without the restraints of having to read the words on the page, they can listen to much more complicated stories.

CaptainNancy Tue 04-Oct-11 10:33:17

Anxiouselephant- please could you direct me to some stats that show children who fall behind in all areas are not read with regularly at home?

sugartongue- my DH was the same- reading didn't kick in for him until 9, then he was away smile His mum did exactly what you're doing- used a broad vocabulary, drilled him senseless on spellings, read to him every day, he is dydslexic, and it just took a long time for him to develop the skills he needed. He still reads slowly (not ridiculously, just slower than me) but his spelling is top notch, and his language excellent (he is E2L too, so mulitple bariers).
The difficulties he encountered have never stopped him loving language or books, because he took his cues from his mother.

sugartongue Tue 04-Oct-11 10:43:11

Exactly nickelbabe - DS constantly amazes people with how well he uses language, and by quite how sophisticated his vocabulary is, and actually by quite how much he knows about the world and the way it works! Then they're doubly surprised when they find out what his reading level is like...I wish other parents of children who aren't dyslexic would chill out about reading levels because they could be enhancing their children's love of reading (and all the rest) by focusing on making reading a pleasure at home

CaptainNancy Tue 04-Oct-11 11:01:01

hmm and despite me being able to read at 2, I seem to have difficulties <<cough>> 'multiple barriers' and 'dyslexic' obviously.

Elibean Tue 04-Oct-11 11:08:05

I know of two grown men who didn't read till they were 8. They just didn't 'get it', and/or weren't interested. One went to medical school, the other is an engineer - they both read perfectly well now.

Parents will worry about all sorts - I think reading is a current trend, in my mother's day it was vitamins - and, in addition to applauding Seeker's OP, I would add: a bit of parental attention is fine - that way real problems get spotted and attended to. But over worrying, micro management (both of which I've been guilty of at times with dd1, of course) and covert competition are just stressful for all concerned - best dumped.

rebl Tue 04-Oct-11 14:20:42

My ds's 1st teacher of the deaf (who was by far the best teacher he's ever had) said that reading for a child isn't just about learning to read or understanding the text they are being told to read, its about understanding WHY they have to read in the 1st place. She said that obviously reading to him everyday was important but equally important was for him to see us reading a variety of material everyday, not just a book. He was 3 months old when she said this.

He's now 5 and in yr1 and still on pink books and just not getting it. But he said something the other day that made me think about why he's not getting it. He said, "I don't know why I need to learn to read.". That made me think about what the teacher of the deaf said all those years ago about him seeing us reading on a daily basis. He rarely sees us reading (something obvious like a newspaper, magazine or a book). Obviously we are reading all the time but its all signs or letters home from school etc. But he probably hasn't noticed that we're actually reading and getting information from what we're reading.

So back to what others have said. Yes being read to and listened to everyday is important but its not the only thing. If the child doesn't understand why they are learning to read, why they even need to read in the 1st place, then there is a barrier to learning to read which they need to overcome before they will learn. My ds isn't interested that much in stories and therefore maybe the way forward is to ditch the stories and go to fact books. Show him what he could get out of reading and then maybe he'll get an interest and understand why he needs to read.

strandednomore Tue 04-Oct-11 14:29:47

I think I agree with whoever said encouraging a love of reading is more important than encouraging the reading itself. My dd1 (6, Yr1) is a good reader and I have no problem getting her to read her school books because she is very diligent. However I am struggling to translate that into picking up a good book at home and reading to herself, which is what I loved doing when I was little and hope she will too (to stop her saying "I'm bored, what can I do" as much as anything else!). Now I am worried that by putting too much emphasis on reading books being a "school thing" I am putting her off reading for fun..........agggghhhh (stressed mum emoticon - will I ever do it right?).

seeker Tue 04-Oct-11 14:33:10

"don't agree that parents should just be encouraged to be mellow. It is seen often that those mellow parents don't encourage reading at home, viewing play as far more important. Stats demonstrate that the children who fall behind in all areas are not read with regularly at home"

Honestly, those parents are NOT the parents who are on mumsnet worrying about ORT levels!!!!!

treas Tue 04-Oct-11 14:41:56

Ok just to throw the cat amongst the pigeons - its true that there will be a time when you will not be able to distinguish who was reading at a higher level at the earliest age.

However, being able to read early does have advantages when it comes to other subjects e.g. children will be able to read more advanced and interesting books and therefore have a more varied vocabulary. Early reading also helps with spelling.

That said the actual scheme book levels are irrelevant it is what a child is able to read outside of the schemes that is important and more helpful educationally.

roadkillbunny Tue 04-Oct-11 15:52:55

My dd had a tough start to reading due to having SEN around speech issues, she struggled with phonics and failed to meet EYFS goals in reading at the end of her reception year (although I disagree with the comment above about early readers having better vocabulary, due to dd's speech problems she has a huge vocabulary, one of the best in her (really quite bright bunch) class as when I couldn't understand what she was trying to say to me I would always ask her if there was another word she could use, side effect, great vocabulary!), with surgery and speech therapy dd has improved hugely in the area of speech and is no longer on the SEN register, she made great leaps through Y1 and is now in Y2, she is now reading words she sees in her environment which was a much better sign of how she was improving in her reading then which ORT band she was on. She started Y1 on ORT stage 1 and left on stage 5. She is now on the brink of going onto stage 7 (I don't understand all the colour banding's that get thrown about here) however she isn't quite there, she is stumbling over more words a page then I would like, problem is she has turned into an avid reader and has read everything available at the stage 6 level!
I didn't take off reading until I was nearly 7, neither did my siblings, we all were academic and went on to do well, the age we learnt to read was irrelevant, other then the fact our children seem to be similar!
I have to say though my spelling is terrible, I never did cursive script at school and I am now learning it with dd (she is teaching me smile ) and have seen my spelling improve as it slows me down and makes me think!

AnxiousElephant Thu 06-Oct-11 21:02:12

I can only say what I have been told from friends who are teachers and assistants, which is that the majority (clearly there will always be exceptions and those who have special needs) that fall behind are the ones with easy going parents who don't insist children read. This book says exactly the same
this also suggests the same thing.

Just as those people poo poo it saying that those with different opinions are pushy or ignorant of special needs or whatever, I could say that not reading at home is a lazy cop out. I haven't done that, merely stated what teachers often see.
I also said there is more than just reading. I also think that talking books are quite a lazy way to do things, it is my opinion. Why can't they be read more complicated stories, which FWIW enables far better learning because it not only increases vocab, they can also learn how words are sounded out and how they look/spell it. It isn't all about ORT (which isn't a great scheme imo) and luckily we have a school who doesn't use it. DD has a range of books from various publishers.

sleepingbunny Thu 06-Oct-11 21:10:52


I am that Mum who comes on here worrying that my daughter's reading book is too hard. So we do exist! It's also too long, and contains the words "fat, red, pen" about every five seconds. I may burn it. She was only four in July - it all seems a bit much really- perhaps I am too mellow.

WoodBetweenTheWorlds Thu 06-Oct-11 21:50:03

Hmm, I never worried about dd's books being too easy (though they always were!), and I have never insisted that she read to me either. I did encourage her at least once a week (when the school books were changed) and she was usually quite willing but I'd never have forced it if she wasn't in the mood. I happen to think that reading should be a joy not a chore. Oh, and playing is very important! smile

I don't think my "mellow" approach has done dd any harm as she was the first so-called "free reader" in her class and she reads avidly for pleasure. I did read regularly to her, and I'm sure that helped. But it's a bit simplistic to suggest that the reading level will necessarily correlate with the amount of input from the parents st home.

motherinferior Thu 06-Oct-11 21:56:12

Reading is frightfully over-rated anyway. It leads to English degrees and journalism. Far better to concentrate on Facts Facts Facts like wot that nice Mr Gradgrind said.

motherinferior Thu 06-Oct-11 21:59:42

OH, and DD2 (aged eight) likes nothing better than to chill out with a picture book before falling asleep. DD1 (10) confesses to a mad love of pop-up books.

sleepingbunny Thu 06-Oct-11 22:01:32

absolutely, motherinferior -I'll not be encouraging my dd to follow me into either of these things (but it's a living, innit, as we say down at the Catford end of SE23).
Now I just need to get dd off the Songbirds before they drive me (and her) insane

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