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Reading in reception state primary?

(53 Posts)
SlinkyPebbles Sat 24-Nov-12 22:49:08

Is it right that DD should be bringing books home without words in at this point in the year? She's doing well at phonics, and can sound out many three letter 'green words'. Why wouldn't she have a book with words?

ReallyTired Sat 24-Nov-12 22:52:32

She can blend which is great, but prehaps her teacher want her to be able to blend longer words and I know some tricky words.

Its almost five years ago, but ds didn't take home a book until feburary and his reading is excellent.

I suggest you enjoy reading lovely stories to her and not worry about her bringing home books.

SlinkyPebbles Sat 24-Nov-12 22:54:13

I see, you're right, perhaps I need to relax a bit!

learnandsay Sat 24-Nov-12 23:01:05

I don't know. I've been talking about this kind of thing till I'm blue in the face for ten weeks. Luckily we now have words. At first the words were very, very stupid:

Tom got a pot. Dot got a pot. Tap tap tap. Pat pat pat.

Then they were a bit less stupid:

Dan the man can ban a pan and a van.

And once they were brilliant in a non phonics (Ginn the publisher) Zoom SetB reader, when they had words like Wednesday 22nd June, Thursday 23rd June
in them. Unfortunately the rest of the Zoom SetB readers just had ordinary words like "Joe got wet." "Jane got wet."

I was hoping for: "Then having conquered Neptune the heroes regathered," in the next book. But was disappointed.

It seems school progress must be slow.

But I have a subversive message. Take a marker pen and some blank paper and write your own stories. Get the child to read those and throw the ones from the school in the bin. It's a strategy which is working for me at the moment.

marquesas Sat 24-Nov-12 23:04:33

Does she pick her own books, I remember my DCs would choose one without words as they were in the same box as the first level ones. In fact I remember quite a wide range of books on the first level. Have you had a parents evening yet?

notactuallyme Sat 24-Nov-12 23:06:27

learn what are you on! op I detest books without words, but some schools love them. There is a serious reason for this, in an educational way, but I didn't really believe in it so have cast it from my mind. Sorry.

Leafmould Sat 24-Nov-12 23:08:45

Learn and say,

Really enjoying your comments again!

numbum Sat 24-Nov-12 23:17:04

'I've been talking about this kind of thing till I'm blue in the face for ten weeks'

Really learnandsay? I hadn't noticed

OP, it might be worth asking the teacher. I know some schools don't send 'proper' reading books home until after Christmas.

In the meantime, have a look at the Oxford Owl website for books with simple words

PastSellByDate Sun 25-Nov-12 07:53:31

Hi SlinkyPebbles:

I agree with some who have suggested that in YR 'proper' levelled reading books often don't come home until after Christmas. Many schools use this first term to settle children into school (remembering there are all sorts of backgrounds/ abilities) and to start getting them to learn how to behave in small reading groups and introducing them to concepts about books: authors, illustrators, characters, etc.... During this period the teachers are carefully working out where each child is at in terms of their ability to read and starting to organise reading groups by ability level (whether this is openly explained to you or not it's unlikely that reading will be taught as a whole class, although some literacy activities will be for whole class).

At this stage, the teacher's strategy may be to give everyone in the class the same book (or type of book) thereby not making any child (and by extension) parents feel they're not doing well. Sometimes parents can be more keen to start learning to read than the school - but please remember that elsewhere in the world children don't formally start school until the year they turn 7 - so England is very unusual in starting so early and as far as the world league tables go it doesn't look like it results in any substantial educational advantage long term. Picture books are used to teach children to 'read' clues about the story in the illustration - this is a very useful tool with early reading - and it may be that your school has found this approach to work well for the benefit of the majority of pupils.

As someone who had a child seriously struggle to learn to read (DD1 now Y5 and doing very well - reading books appropriate for her age) please spare a little thought for the children and parents of struggling readers - It's very hard to hear your 4 year old say they're the worst reader in class, everyone can sound out words but me. But it isn't a race or a competition - it's also not just about learning to read out words. It really is about appreciating meaning and beyond that 'getting' the subtext of stories or clues about where the story is heading. So this is an on-going thing that can take a few years.

In the meantime, as numbum suggested - try reading your own things as well.

Link to Oxford Owl here:

Oxford Owl also has very useful information on how to support learning to read here

Join a library.

Start exchanging books with friends with children of similar age.

Check out charity shops children's book sections.

Many schools allow children to take books from their class library or the school library - find out if your daughter will be doing this as well in Class R.


lljkk Sun 25-Nov-12 09:03:28

DS has been bringing home books with words from the start & I would so much prefer him not to. Just telling me stories from the pictures would be hugely much better for him. He is only just starting to be able to blend & to hear blending. He can recognise maybe 6 or so words he knows from shape, not from sounding them out. He could just as easily pick them out from the story books I read to him.

DS is my DC4 so I know jolly well by now what is & isn't a good way to learn to read from what starting point/skillset they currently have. DS is not that articulate, so he needs to learn to speak better first, really.

mrz Sun 25-Nov-12 16:46:02

"Picture books are used to teach children to 'read' clues about the story in the illustration - this is a very useful tool with early reading" no they aren't hmm
Wordless books, according to the publishers, "are designed to develop understanding how books work" hmm as if you couldn't do that with a book with words [sigh]
So it's things like holding the book the right way, turning the pages front to back, left to right scanning ...

They are a useful tool for children with language delay or limited vocabulary if used with an adult but for the purpose of teaching reading they aren't at all necessary.

learnandsay Sun 25-Nov-12 17:23:19

I'm a bit confused, how do you use a book with no words in in to teach a child to read?

mrz Sun 25-Nov-12 17:24:32

You don't is the simple answer

lljkk Sun 25-Nov-12 17:30:48

Having had 2 rather inarticulate children I get how wordless books can help learning to read. I am probably not articulate enough to explain it well myself! But it has to do with the poor mastery of the mechanics of story telling (and most early readers are stories not facts, so children need to follow and tell stories to really comprehend what they're reading).

DS2 is 8yo and still struggles to tell stories coherently. The mechanics of decoding & phonics are easy enough, but narrative is a huge challenge. So comprehension isn't great. He's the kid who asks all the "stupid" questions (loudly, at annoying moments) when he watches drama on telly. He can't connect one event to the next so he really can't follow what's happening very well. Luckily DS3 seems not so afflicted, but only time will tell.

learnandsay Sun 25-Nov-12 17:31:30

It's funny. The first book we got had no words in it. My daughter opened it and said where are the words. So I folder A4 paper, copied the main illustrations and she dictated a story to me. The book was The Ugly Duckling. The story my daughter made up was nothing like the fairy tale. But it was her understanding of the picture story. And she then read it to me and we put it in the book bag. The result was that we got the Julia Donaldson Tom got a pot. Dot got a pot. Pat pat pat. Tap tap tap book. It's so funny. I've never seen my daughter so confused by text. She read it, looked at me and said what does that mean? I said I don't know, darling. And I put it in the book bag.

Leafmould Sun 25-Nov-12 17:34:19

My dd teacher in parents eveninG said that it is important to read the pictures as well to enable the child to read with more expression and confidence.
I think you are supposed to get them to read the pictures, and talk about what is happening, and teach them to pick up clues from the pictures to help them when reading unfamiliar words later on.

Also taking time to look at the pictures means that the child is thinking about the story they are reading, and will read with comprehension. Some children rush through the story, read all the words, but don't think about the story and can't answer the comprehension questions afterwards.


pointythings Sun 25-Nov-12 17:36:50

My DDs never had wordless books - they started getting books home after autumn half term in YrR, and hey had words from the start. Mrz is right - the whole 'how a book works' can be taught just as well with a book that has words.

My DDs started chewing on being interested in books by about a year old and knew how to leaf through them and point out pictures of things they had words for from the moment they started talking. Even through the layers of drool.

learnandsay Sun 25-Nov-12 17:37:25

Or the mum and child could draw stick pictures and make up their own story.

mrz Sun 25-Nov-12 17:58:10

Having had 2 rather inarticulate children I get how wordless books can help learning to read. do the books help them to read or help language development?

mrz Sun 25-Nov-12 18:00:26

Then with respect Leafmould your daughter's teacher is an idiot ... when did you as an adult last read the pictures in a book.

learnandsay Sun 25-Nov-12 18:06:38

Inarticulate doesn't mean inexpressive, though, does it? My 18 month old loves the The Lion King. She can't speak yet, but shouts rah every time a lion appears. So that's nearly all the time. And she doesn't know what a hyena is. So we call them bow wows. And if I ask her where the tweet tweet is she points at the bird. I'm trying to work out if she can actually follow the developing story or if she's just responding to individual pictures. I can't tell. There's a lot going on there but I don't really know what. (We do use nouns as well. But she doesn't respond accurately to them. But to animal sounds she does. I guess she has known them longer.)

PastSellByDate Sun 25-Nov-12 18:11:31

guys just to say I'm not defending this approach to wordless books in YR - just a parent - I was just trying to explain to SlinkyPebbles what the thinking might be.

I don't think it can hurt personally - but if you feel very strongly about this - isn't the professional thing to do to make a motion at a teacher's convention that wordless books are abandondend in YR in England & Wales rather than rant on Mumsnet?

Leafmould Sun 25-Nov-12 18:13:21

Mrs z. Do you not read the pictures in magazines? Or you an entirely un- visual person?

I which case, recognise that there is a whole field which you cannot appreciate, and therefore are missing out on, and don't call people idiot just because they do.

learnandsay Sun 25-Nov-12 18:14:17

Actually that's wrong. She does respond to nouns accurately. She knows baby in both the context of her doll and The baby in John Burningham's book. She says baby and will collect either. She has a toy badger and will bring it when asked for the badger. But she doesn't respond to nouns at the speed they occur in the Lion King, and no wonder; she only 18 months old. But she does respond to animal sounds at that speed.

mrz Sun 25-Nov-12 18:16:39

No Leafmould I don't read the pictures in magazines I read words and actually I've been assessed as a visual learner smile

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