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DD reception just can't seem to memorize letters?

(39 Posts)
MrsMushroom Tue 05-Feb-13 17:27:07

She turns 5 in March and her teacher has told me that she's not remembering any letters so isn't beggining to blend. She told me to work at home with helping her remember them.

Today I began with A B and C and she just cant remember which is which!

She might get it all right...then 5 mins later, she's back to just guessing wrongly. She IS interested and seems to like working on the letters...I,m keeping it light and fun but I feel really worried now!

I did a lot of showing her each letter on a card then drawing them on the window etc but she just cant remember. The teacher says she'll give me a something-card (forgotten what its called) which is what dyslexic pupils use but she's using it in this case to help DD learn the letters...but I cant help but think now that maybe the teacher thinks she's dyslexic. She is also the it possible to tell if a child is dyslexic at the age of 4? Or is it just her age? She's bright in other ways...remembers songs and all kinds...very articulate and sociable.

Proudmotheroftwo Tue 12-Feb-13 15:23:56

Hi MrsMushroom,
I have a daughter who is in the same age and studying Reception. So, I can really understand what you are going through. Just small suggestions as I have tried with my daughter too. You can try:
1. "Jolly phonics workbooks" by Susan M. Lloyd, which is around £10 and you can get in major bookstores or online websites such as
2. You can encourage her by watching BBC-cbeebies Alphablocks program. Really good for phoneme.
Hope it helps you,

Haberdashery Thu 07-Feb-13 09:37:53

MrsMushroom, I am really pleased that your daughter enjoyed it. I think once she starts enjoying the process of learning to read, you have more or less won the battle as then you can practice as much as you like without it being a chore or something to be dreaded. You can do the thing with sticking words all over the room when she starts reading a few words, too. Get her to make a sentence and jump it out while saying it - it doesn't have to be at all difficult. The dog has a hat. Or something. Whatever she's interested in. For my DD it would have been anything about animals.

I have noticed (I am sure most parents have) that when you have children who are a bit bored by sitting still and trying to learn something, their attitude to it often changes dramatically if you can make the process physical. It's very interesting because I would find it twice as hard to learn something if I was leaping around!

learnandsay Wed 06-Feb-13 23:33:53

Yup, definitely think haberd is being a bit on the modest side. But that's her right. So glad you got an answer. So grateful for your daughter. Nobody wants to be behind at school. whisper well done again to you know who.

MrsMushroom Wed 06-Feb-13 22:04:08

I am so grateful MrsH as DD is such a game lover it was the best thing for her! She was thrilled to get them could tell.


Haberdashery Wed 06-Feb-13 20:56:04

Well done to MrsM's daughter, I think.

learnandsay Wed 06-Feb-13 20:53:42

Well done, haberd.

MrsMushroom Wed 06-Feb-13 20:48:18

yes...good idea I will stick S in will help build her confidence...then I'll stick a t or an n in the following day...then spend a few days on that until I feel I can add all of the first ones in.x

Haberdashery Wed 06-Feb-13 20:46:21

It is different to us, but I just wanted to make sure she keeps succeeding as that will make the biggest difference to her, IMO. I just meant that like a, it's a round thing with a line. I'm sure you are the best judge of what she is likely to recognise, though!

Maybe put s in as she already knows that and make sure she is saying the sounds for all three before you add another unknown?

MrsMushroom Wed 06-Feb-13 20:41:52

She knows S and I thought P was different enough to a and i.....or do you think t or n is better?


Haberdashery Wed 06-Feb-13 20:31:39

Sorry, realised you've already done i. Then do s or t next so they are all definitely v different shapes.

Haberdashery Wed 06-Feb-13 20:30:58

Actually, you know what, I'd add t or i next. They're a bit more different from the other two so easier to get right. Ideally you want her to get it nearly all right at this stage so she feels like she is winning the game. P and a are potentially quite similar if you are finding it hard.

Haberdashery Wed 06-Feb-13 20:24:30

Yay, really pleased to have helped a bit! Good idea to go slowly. And make her say the sound of each one (and maybe do the action) when she reaches it as a next step.

MrsMushroom Wed 06-Feb-13 17:06:57

Haberdashery thank you so much she loves the game of me putting letters on cards all round the room.....she's dashed about so thrilled! But the best thing is that she definitely remembers which is which....we've only stuck to i and a but I think it's best to go slowly so she can really get them in her head.

I just feel relived that she can retain them! Tomorrow I will add

MrsMushroom Wed 06-Feb-13 16:37:57

Haberdashery thank you for the idea...I am trying the games tonight.

MrsMushroom Wed 06-Feb-13 16:37:25

I would like to add though that we did seem to have some progress last night and she did appear to retain some letters....I wonder now if the problem is that she simply hasn't quite associated the shape with the I say look DD...this is an S....see the S....and do the sign for S....a moment later she's nonplussed when I ask her to point to the S....she HEARS the sound...she sees the shape..knows it looks like a squiggle or a snake....but she doesn't associate them together.

MrsMushroom Wed 06-Feb-13 16:35:31

Thank you everyone...the problem is allchildren that DD cannot even recognise an S or an a at the moment to she's not going to be able to read anything at all.

allchildrenreading Wed 06-Feb-13 16:22:13

WiganKebab - that looks fun - thanks.

Mrs Mushroom -
The first five sounds have been chosen for a number of reasons - not least because they are sounds that blend very easily - No 'plosive' sounds like 'p' 't' for instance. They are:
/s/ /a/ /m/ /ie/ /ee/
'S''s' 'a' 'm' 'I' 'ee'

Very, very gradually more letter/sound correspondences are introduced. No high-frequency word learning, no 'tricky' words

This allows 'real' stories to be constructed - lots of expressiveness, amusing incidents, and interaction between the animals. And although there is heaps of repetition (which lots of children require, regardless of whether they are very bright or not), the instruction is always via the decoding route. The books are used very successfully with all the main synthetic phonics programmes including Jolly Phonics, Read-Write Inc, PhonicsInternational, L & S and Sound Reading System.

It's hard to explain but sometimes when a child is 'stuck' learning abstract sound-letter correspondences, learning to read via very carefully constructed stories can be very motivational and boost confidence tremendously.

It will be good to hear how your dd progresses.

WiganKebab Tue 05-Feb-13 21:44:41

Google 'teaching my monster to read' - a great online aid to help with the initial stages of recognizing letters. My DD (4) loves it!

Haberdashery Tue 05-Feb-13 21:09:19

MrsMushroom, would doing it as a game make it fun? I played loads of games with DD and other children that I know or knew when they were learning letters. You could make a pile of snap cards with s a t p i n (or any other small number of letters/sounds, but lots of each one) and just work on seeing that one s is the same as another s, with lots of praise whenever she gets it right or is really making a good effort/concentrating. You need lots of each one so there will be lots of matches. Then move on to saying the sound when you pick up the pair of cards if she can see that s and s are the same or p and p or whatever. Obviously let her win if you possibly can.

You could make BIG letters (in fact, you could draw outlines and she could help colour in etc) and put them all round the room on chairs, back of sofa, table etc and make her run/jump/climb to each letter when you call out the sound. She won't know them to start with so you can describe them (eg s, the curly letter that looks like a snake, or p, there is a round part and a long stalk). Treats/rewards/stickers as required.

Dominoes with letters (which you make out of card) would also be quite good fun.

You could also do magnetic letters on the fridge and get her to race herself at bringing you the correct letter (you might need a few sets to have plenty of letters of each type - or make them with her on card and stick them somewhere out of your sight with blu-tac so she can work out which one to bring herself - you can give her clues about the shape of the letters if you want to/she needs it).

MrsMushroom Tue 05-Feb-13 18:25:34

Thank you allchildren I will look at the site now...can I ask which 5 sounds would the little stories include?

allchildrenreading Tue 05-Feb-13 18:23:10

Mrs Mushroom -
My colleagues and I have helped struggling children to overcome this difficult first hurdle with very, very carefully structured little stories starting with only five sounds . For the first 3 books no other sounds are introduced and little animal characters help in all sorts of ways. The last child I saw who was in a similar situation to your dd was the one child who didn't recognise his name by the end of Reception, his mother was told. By the start of Year 1 he was terrified and by the end of September he was on the way to becoming a school refuser. I introduced him to the 'Sam' books - - and within an hour he was able todecode/ read (not guess!) the first little books and read the first one to his Mum and then to his grandma. He was then given extra help at school and has never looked back, in spite of severe dyslexia on both sides of the family. Have a look at the website if you've time- the books are used with all main Synthetic Phonics programmes so the same processes of blending and segmenting words is taking place.
I was instrumental in bringing these books to the UK - and have had wonderful feedback particularly with children who initially struggle to get on the first rung of the ladder.
Good luck .

mrz Tue 05-Feb-13 18:19:50

I would normally ask parents to check eye sight and hearing first then go back to basics focusing on the first 6 sounds (if the school use Jolly Phonics - s,a,t,i,p,n) recognising the letters, saying the sound and reading and spelling simple words (sat, at, it, in, an. pan, pat , tap, sit, tin, tan) 10 mins a day

There are other programmes but I would stick with what the school uses initially.

MrsMushroom Tue 05-Feb-13 18:16:25

Well I know but she can't even tell me what f looks like and the teacher told me to stick to lower case...what I'm asking is why you think there might be a problem? What sort of problem?

mrz Tue 05-Feb-13 18:14:44

She needs to know both capital and lower case letters

B & b are both spellings of the sound "b"
A & a are both spellings of the sound "a"

MrsMushroom Tue 05-Feb-13 18:13:42

So what do you think the problem is?

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