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Reading and handwriting help

(44 Posts)
ChablisLover Wed 13-Feb-13 11:28:18

DS is coming 6

I find his reading is a little behind and he gets confused by simple words

Am looking for some assistance to help him at home

Have seen the teach your child to read books on amazon - are these any good?

We have the jolly phonics series and the story books

And the school operate a 'library' system where he can borrow books at his level - his teacher is currently off sick so dont know if this is still operating.

Any suggestions how I can help him progress to reading independently and enjoying reading as much as i do?

Also, any suggestions for help improving handwriting would also be appreciated. He has some OT issues and we are using triangular pens and a improvised writing slope.

I had thought of pencil grips too - are they useful?


learnandsay Wed 13-Feb-13 11:33:59

What type of confusion is he having and which words are you referring to? Does he know all his letter sounds? There are people commenting in various threads about how much they dislike JP books. I've never seen one personally. Some children like doing the JP actions. My daughter loves doing them.

ReallyTired Wed 13-Feb-13 11:35:54

For handwriting I suggest Write from the Start for ten to fifteen minutes everyday. It is a bit boring, but my son got really dramatic results. Many children simply lack the fine motor skills for writing and write from the start goes back to a very basic level. (ie. drawing a circle in different directions, developing visual perception)

To develop reading I suggest getting the Jolly Phonics teachers manual. It explains how phonics works. Practicing blending and knowing which words are tricky will help your son's confidence. Decodable books like jelly and bean are great for improving confidence.

Pencil grips are good and the best place to get them is ebay. There are loads of different types of pencil grips and you need to experiment to see what works best.

I suggest

and experiment. A sloping surface can help some children.

ChablisLover Wed 13-Feb-13 19:09:02

Thanks for the replies

He knows his sounds as he has had speech therapy since he was 3 and at quite a specialised level. So he has little issues with that.

The salt therapists use jolly phonics so we know sounds and putting sounds together

He gets stuck on simple words such as red her his was so the high frequency words but can quite happily read longer more difficult words.

I will look into the writing grips


mrz Wed 13-Feb-13 19:19:04

The Jolly Phonics programme itself is very effective for lots of children ...when I say I don't like the reading books it is purely from a personal view ...the early books are picture word based hmm IMHO there are much better alternative books.

ChablisLover what is his hearing like? Gross and fine motor skills? sight?

ChablisLover Wed 13-Feb-13 19:28:40

Mrz - what would you recommend? I'm open to all suggestions.

He has some difficulty with his fine motor skills also. His pencil grip is odd and he sort of leans over the pencil and I'm constantly nagging him and correcting the grip hence wondering if pencil grips would work.

In regards to hearing, he can hear normally, (hes passed all the hearing tests) but can at times recently complain they are blocked. He would suffer badly from ear wax and needs drops but am wondering if there is a more serious undertone. Luckily the next doctors appointment I can get is late next week ( the joys of our local surgery!)

mrz Wed 13-Feb-13 19:35:05

Lots of young children suffer from intermittent hearing loss which isn't always picked up by routine checks so might be worth mentioning it to the doctor

The hunching over his pencil suggests he may not have developed shoulder girdle stability needed for writing

ChablisLover Wed 13-Feb-13 20:19:12

Mrz - this looks fab advice. Will read it later.

We have been to ot but have been discharged.

He holds his pencil at an opposite angle - so if we hold pencil with the top part angled back towards our wrists he holds his angled away from his wrist. If he holds correctly his words are good the other way he has no control.

mrz Wed 13-Feb-13 20:25:49


ChablisLover Wed 13-Feb-13 20:38:31

Interesting technique

But if it works???

mrz Wed 13-Feb-13 20:41:58

a hair bobble is sometimes more comfortable

maizieD Wed 13-Feb-13 21:27:46

He gets stuck on simple words such as red her his was so the high frequency words

He wasn't taught to read these words as 'wholes' by any chance, was he? (The dread phrase 'high frequency words' always put me on red alert sad)

Can he sound out and blend them?

learnandsay Wed 13-Feb-13 21:37:30

Would mum know how he was taught them? If the OP does know then that's great. But if she doesn't then working out what's going wrong might be a step-by-step process.

simpson Wed 13-Feb-13 21:43:56

Can you buy the pack of song birds books??

I think the book people have them and they are fab.

Also my local library had some good phonics based books (Run Rat Run - its on amazon too so you can see what it looks like).

I hate the JP books. The early ones have the word "butterfly" and then you lift the flap to reveal a picture of a butterfly etc. There are 24 books like this (DD had to wade through them all last year).

mrz Wed 13-Feb-13 21:45:11

I would imagine parents would know if their child was expected to learn whole words as it usually involves word lists or flashcards.
FWIW I agree with maizieD the fact that these words have been labelled separately suggests they have been presented as sight words which can make a child anxious (believing they can't decode)

mollythetortoise Wed 13-Feb-13 21:53:26

I would second write from the start. I've been doing this with my son (6 in may) since this time last year. Recommended on here. We do 10 mins 3 times a week and very nearly finished the two work books. It has made a big difference IMO.
He is left handed too but can produce lovely cursive handwriting sometimes.
He does regress to not so great handwriting when tired etc but I know he can form his letters too.
i also started the sound foundations course with him at same time ( again recommended on here mrz I think - thank you!) and he is now stage 5 Ort which is not brilliant but still pretty good as he was not even on the school reading scheme until march 2012.
Poor boy!! But he does just accept he has to do it and I reward him when done!!

maizieD Wed 13-Feb-13 21:56:39

He gets stuck on simple words such as red her his was so the high frequency words

He wasn't taught to read these words as 'wholes' by any chance, was he? (The dread phrase 'high frequency words' always put me on red alert sad)

Can he sound out and blend them?

simpson Wed 13-Feb-13 21:59:42

Molly - if your child is in yr1, stage 5 is pretty good for my DC school. Most of them are on 2-4.

I also use the write from the start scheme for my DD (hyper mobile) and her writing is sooo much better.

I thought at the beginning in reception that she would really struggle but she is actually doing ok now.

learnandsay Wed 13-Feb-13 22:01:49

simpson, my dear, I think maizie wants a particular question answered, and is most insistent about it. It's probably important. Do you mind?

mollythetortoise Wed 13-Feb-13 22:17:19

Apologies, didn't mean to side track. I was referring to op and handwriting issues. Write from the start easy for non teacher parent to do at home with child.
Also I found sound foundations really easy for me to teach my son at home as starts very basically and really helped with blending and sounding out. I was amazed at how easy it was to teach as knew little about phonics before starting.
He is now good at blending easy words and longer ones.

simpson Wed 13-Feb-13 22:44:42

My DD is taught phonetically (mainly) but still gets sent home "tricky" words to learn by sight and spell (could, would,should,because etc).

So I guess a lot of school must do this which may cause problems sad

But red, her etc can all be sounded out so something is definately going wrong sad

Well, all words can be sounded out but IMO (as a parent) some are more obvious than others).

CocktailQueen Wed 13-Feb-13 23:00:10

'He gets stuck on simple words such as red her his was so the high frequency words'

They are not HF words - her, his - they are simple blending words. So and the are among HF words but they are among the first DC learn. Id DS is almost 6, has his teacher not hinted there may be a problme before now?

If he knows longer words, then he may be a visual learner - my ds is - but he also needs to know all his sounds to be able to decode words he doesn't know.

ChablisLover Thu 14-Feb-13 06:54:46

My other theory I was thinking of last night is that ds is entirely capable of doing this in school as his teacher says he is doing well and that he plays up with me at home when reading.

This too seems plausible?

mrz Thu 14-Feb-13 07:04:38

They are HFWs as in words that appear frequently in written texts in English but for some people HFW has wrongly taken on the definition of "sight words".

Fine Motor Skills
Things to remember:
Upright working surfaces promote fine motor skills. Examples of these are: vertical
chalkboards; easels for painting; flannel boards; lite bright; magnet boards (or
fridge); windows and mirrors; white boards, etc. Children can also make sticker
pictures; do rubber ink-stamping; use reuseable stickers to make pictures; complete
puzzles with thick knobs; use magna-doodle and etch-a-sketch as well. The benefits
for these include: having the child's wrist positioned to develop good thumb
movements; they help develop good fine motor muscles; the child is using the arm
and shoulder muscles.

Moulding and rolling play dough into balls - using the palms of the
hands facing each other and with fingers curled slightly towards the palm.
Rolling play dough into tiny balls (peas) using only the finger tips.
Using pegs or toothpicks to make designs in play dough.
Cutting play dough with a plastic knife or with a pizza wheel by holding
the implement in a diagonal volar grasp.
Tearing newspaper into strips and then crumpling them into balls. Use
to stuff scarecrow or other art creation.
Scrunching up 1 sheet of newspaper in one hand. This is a super
strength builder.
Using a plant sprayer to spray plants, (indoors, outdoors) to spray snow
(mix food colouring with water so that the snow can be painted), or melt
"monsters". (Draw monster pictures with markers and the colours will run
when sprayed.)

Picking up objects using large tweezers such as those found in the
"Bedbugs" game. This can be adapted by picking up Cheerios, small cubes,
small marshmallows, pennies, etc., in counting games.
Shaking dice by cupping the hands together, forming an empty air space
between the palms.
Using small-sized screwdrivers like those found in an erector set.
Lacing and sewing activities such as stringing beads, Cheerios,
macaroni, etc.
Using eye droppers to "pick up" coloured water for colour mixing or
to make artistic designs on paper.
Rolling small balls out of tissue paper, then gluing the balls onto
construction paper to form pictures or designs.
Turning over cards, coins, checkers, or buttons, without bringing them to
the edge of the table.
Making pictures using stickers or self-sticking paper reinforcements.
Playing games with the "puppet fingers" -the thumb, index, and middle
fingers. At circle time have each child's puppet fingers tell about what
happened over the weekend, or use them in songs and finger plays.
Place a variety of forms (eg. blocks, felt, paper, string, yarn, cereal,
cotton) on outlines
Match shapes, colour, or pictures to a page and paste them within the

Self-Care Skills
Fastening Snaps
Using a screwdriver
Locking and unlocking a door
Winding a clock
Opening and closing jars
Rolling out dough or other simple cooking activities
Washing plastic dishes

Sweeping the floor
Scissor Activities
When scissors are held correctly, and when they fit a child's hand well, cutting
activities will exercise the very same muscles which are needed to manipulate a pencil
in a mature tripod grasp. The correct scissor position is with the thumb and middle
finger in the handles of the scissors, the index finger on the outside of the handle to
stabilize, with fingers four and five curled into the palm.
Cutting junk mail, particularly the kind of paper used in magazine
subscription cards.
Making fringe on the edge of a piece of construction paper.
Cutting play dough or clay with scissors.
Cutting straws or shredded paper.
Use a thick black line to guide cutting the following:
A fringe from a piece of paper
Cut off corners of a piece of paper
Cut along curved lines
Cut lines with a variety of angles
Cut figures with curves and angles
Sensory Activities
The following activities ought to be done frequently to increase postural muscle
strength and endurance. These activities also strengthen the child's awareness of
his/her hands.
Wheelbarrow walking, crab walking
Clapping games (loud/quiet, on knees together, etc.)
Catching (clapping) bubbles between hands
Pulling off pieces of thera-putty with individual fingers and thumb
Drawing in a tactile medium such as wet sand, salt, rice, or "goop".
Make "goop" by adding water to cornstarch until you have a mixture similar
in consistency to toothpaste. The "drag" of this mixture provides feedback to
the muscle and joint receptors, thus facilitating visual motor control.
Picking out small objects like pegs, beads, coins, etc., from a tray of salt,
sand, rice, or putty. Try it with eyes closed too. This helps develop sensory
awareness in the hands.
Midline Crossing
Establishment of hand dominance is still developing at this point. The following
activities will facilitate midline crossing:
Encourage reaching across the body for materials with each hand. It
may be necessary to engage the other hand in an activity to prevent
switching hands at midline.
Refrain specifically from discouraging a child from using the left hand
for any activity. Allow for the natural development of hand dominance by
presenting activities at midline, and allowing the child to choose freely.
Start making the child aware of the left and right sides of his body
through spontaneous comments like, "kick the ball with your right leg." Play
imitation posture games like "Simon Says" with across the body movements.
When painting at easel, encourage the child to paint a continuous line
across the entire paper- also from diagonal to diagonal.

Socialist Thu 14-Feb-13 07:33:45

Danger: Write from the Start.

Please don't go near this book. The sellers are fraudulent. They will take your money, you won't get the complete volume and when you get the book it is TOTALLY UNSUITABLE. BUY IT AT YOUR PERIL!

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