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Reading in reception

(36 Posts)
acebaby Sun 25-Nov-12 12:08:50

DS2 is in reception (may birthday, age 4.6). He is doing well with his phonics - secure with individual letters and getting the hang of diagraphs (sh, ch etc). So I am not worried in general about his progress or ability. However, he still can't recognize any words by sight (eg 'the', 'he').

My concern is that his teacher has rapidly moved him onto level 3 ort songbirds books. Ds2 can sound out most of the words individually, but he needs support to make sense of the stories. He doesnt enjoy reading them with me. I should say that he can tell the story from the pictures and also he can easily understand chapter books that I read aloud to him.

I think he finds these books too hard and he would be better sticking with much shorter and simpler books that he can both decode and understand. his teacher thinks that I underestimate his ability and that he is being a bit lazy. He rarely reads his books at school, although they do literacy everyday (eg reading sentences off the board).

Before I go back to the teacher, again, and ask for the third time for easier books and more support for him at school with his reading books, please can I have a second opinion about whether I am being unreasonable to question the teacher. Genuinely not sure

Thanks in advance!

Tgger Tue 27-Nov-12 19:14:56

Hooray! Enjoy smile.

mumchat Tue 27-Nov-12 19:10:05

Well I'm on here as soon as I have my little one in bed as I had to say yipeee!! We have received a Julia Donaldson Songbird book home from school today!!! ..... Is our reception teacher reading this thread :-0

It says stage 3 so no idea how it equates with RWInc but it looks Fab! Full of decodable words, good pictures (not pictures that mean they don't read the repetitive words!) Birthday party after school today so will read in morning :-)

coldcupoftea Mon 26-Nov-12 22:46:23

Mumchat- we have exactly the same problem. DD is really keen to read, but is being sent home with books that aren't really decodeable - eg today's book had the words 'painting', 'painted' and 'some' in. She gets frustrated that she can't sound the words out with the knowledge she has. But also they are so repetitive, and the pictures are so obvious that after the first 2 pages she can 'read' it through guessing/looking at the pictures 'Sam painted a house, Sam painted a spider, Sam painted a mouse...' you get the picture!

I am a KS2 TA and I know that a lot of those sounds are not taught until phase 3, while DD is clearly still on phase 1 or 2.

I have bought her the Songbirds set, and we have had much more success with them, DD loves the fact she can read the entire book herself, and the words are not immediately obvious from the pictures.

mrz Mon 26-Nov-12 22:27:09

We previously used Jolly Phonics in reception but have been looking for a scheme that would take us right through reception & KS1 (KS2 if needed) for quite some time. In September we changed to Sounds-Write, which we believe can improve standards. So far all staff involved are very positive and the children love the structure and success.

SavoirFaire Mon 26-Nov-12 22:21:22

Thanks mrz (sorry for hijack). Very interesting. I have the ear of the head and deputy at the moment, via another community group locally. Is there anything you would suggest I could say that might influence their choices on how to spend some additional money coming their way? I know they are trying very hard to improve the school at the moment and this might help? What scheme would you recommend?

Tgger Mon 26-Nov-12 22:18:09

Awwww, can you do the oxfordowl ones? Here is the link

Also, if you feel like spending any more money get either the Songbirds or these
that's just the first one I found of that series, more colourful!

Hope you find some good ones, and why haven't the school got them. Grrrr!

mumchat Mon 26-Nov-12 22:12:17

Thanks Mrz and Tgger,

Mrz - what you say makes total sense. The sounds for those letters aren't immediately obvious to me. It is once I read your post but it doesn't whizz to front of mind when I see the word (if that makes sense!). I see "there" and know the first bit is "th" but then would have to really think whether the "ere" should be broken up into two more sounds or what! I do get it once I think about it! I have taken the link from another of your posts on a different thread with the spellings for the sounds and will print it tomorrow to try to grasp it all. I will then try that approach with the books from school.

Tgger - If I am honest I resent the books. We have enough iPads, mac books, kindles and laptops to take on PC world but not reading books to match our reading scheme - hmmmm! BUT because the books come from school (chosen by my child each day from "the box") she wants to do them. I've bought WRI set one books on Amazon to try and supplement school books. Issue I have is - school books have colourful pictures & mine don't & she's a bit tired to manage both. I am finding a way somehow & if she shows interest in "reading" anything I drop whatever I am doing!

mrz Mon 26-Nov-12 22:09:36

Lots of schools use Letters & Sounds because it's free biscuit
My problem with it is the contrived phases which get some schools/teachers so hung up children don't move on and can be left floundering in the early phases for far too long. I would suspect many schools that use L&S haven't invested in phonic reading schemes either and are using Look & Say books like ORT.

SavoirFaire Mon 26-Nov-12 22:04:15

mrz, which books/schemes should schools be using these days? Local primary where DS will be going is Letters and Sounds. Good or no good? Should I be lobbying for an update? thanks.

mrz Mon 26-Nov-12 21:58:51

I agree schools should be providing books that match teaching methods

Tgger Mon 26-Nov-12 21:53:20

Yes, some extra learning is fun for them and it depends what stage they are at. At this point in Reception when a lot are only just starting out isn't it a bit dispiriting to have a book full of words you haven't been taught to decode yet when you could have one with?

ninah Mon 26-Nov-12 21:51:46

Thanks. I have been doing similar (1-1 as often as poss plus a weekly group session for those who can cope with it). Have been advised it should be everyone in guided reading groups daily. It seems to vary so much! am glad to be in line with what you have done.

mrz Mon 26-Nov-12 21:48:40

Tgger I would let the child say "th" and tell them the next part is "air" then they can decode there or "s" tell them "u" "m" to decode some....IMHE 4 year olds take incidental learning on board easily ...

mrz Mon 26-Nov-12 21:44:27

When I taught reception I aimed to hear children read 1-1 as often as possible, easier in the autumn when not all children had reading books but at least twice a week in the summer term.

Tgger Mon 26-Nov-12 21:41:42

You see mrz has an easier attitude, but how many 4 year olds who are proud of their new decoding skills really want to know all that and want/can take it all on board at that moment... (not many!). Maybe a 7 year old might just cope with some of that.

Surely it is better to stick to the sounds they have been taught with easy books.

Tgger Mon 26-Nov-12 21:39:30

Burn those books mumchat! grin. Sorry, but I feel passionately about this. They should be getting books they can decode pretty much all of the words not things like come, more, castle etc. Seems so silly the school teaches the phonics really well then sends home a book in a foreign language...

So... up to you, but if I was you I wouldn't want my beginner reader starting on those books. If you are more broad minded than me then you could read those words and let her read the ones she can decode. Personally I would ask the teacher for some better books- there are loads out there- if they claim not to have any then they should buy some! Rant over grin.!

mrz Mon 26-Nov-12 21:37:39

I would point out the code she hasn't been taught yet so in there <ere> is the spelling for "air" but in here the same spelling represents the sound "ear" and in more <ore> is the spelling for the sound "or" and <o> is the spelling for "u" in come

ninah Mon 26-Nov-12 21:35:24

I wanted to ask mrz a question, if I may - I think it could be relevant on this thread if not please excuse the hijack.
How often should children in R be heard to read in class each week? and as a group/individual? thanks

mumchat Mon 26-Nov-12 21:31:18

Sorry phone ran ahead of me...
Friday's book had similar words plus castle and a few others I can't remember now!

Happy to try to teach new code ahead of time, tell child the words or ditch the books but need advice please :-)

Apologies for errors in previous post. Didn't get chance to preview it.

mumchat Mon 26-Nov-12 21:28:15

I totally "get" the not trying to memorise high frequency words. I think decoding is great and my almost youngest in class R four year old is thrilled that she can "sound out" words.

My Q is... As a parent with a 4 yr old who has learnt the single letter sounds & 4-5 double letter sounds (ch, sh, nk, ng, th) when reading books have words that will be decidable in the future (once more code has been covered) should we try to teach that code now or just say the word for the child or try to stick to books with words using code they have learnt and move up the books as they learn more code?

They are following Read Write Inc at school but don't get RWI books. Today's book had "come, here, there, more," etc which I am never sure what to do with! Friday's b

mrz Mon 26-Nov-12 16:18:24


Rudolphstolemycarrots Sun 25-Nov-12 23:55:45

Google high frequency words for R. My son is working through these at home and has to play memory games each day.

mrz Sun 25-Nov-12 17:47:15

acebaby Sun 25-Nov-12 17:38:24

Thank you mrz. I was hoping you would be around to help when I first posted. I have pasted your phonics guide into an email to myself for future reference!

Tiggr thank you for the advice and encouragement. It is great to hear that your DS is now doing so well after a period of reluctance. I think that ds2 would have benefitted from a term of phonics! It is interesting that your DS also got stuck at stage 3. It does seem a big leap. I too am uncomfortable with ds2 being described as lazy. He is actually an energetic and helpful little boy, who is finding his reading books heavy going. Grrrrr.

Right. - well I will have one more go tactfully asking the teacher for easier books and then I will ditch the school reading books. ( he barely reads the, there anyway) and get a pack of stage 1 decode able books to read with him myself. Very annoying!

Tgger Sun 25-Nov-12 16:26:34

I should also say that a term of phonics lesson in YR had probably helped a lot grin..

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