I am after some advice on what to read with YR DS please.(18 Posts)
DS is in Reception, and as far as I can tell he is doing fine. He is enjoying school, and is keen to learn. He is bringing home a mixture of Phonics Songbirds, and ORT books at level 1+ and 2. He gets 3 books a week. Once he has read each book a couple of times he seems to memorise them, and after that just recites them from memory rather than reading as such. To keep it interesting I have been getting him books from the library as well.
Yesterday DH went into town, so I asked him to pick up some new library books, and he came back with books about 3 levels above what DS has been getting from school. DS was keen to give them a try, and was able to read about three quarters of the words. The rest he had a go at sounding out, then I told him what they said, but it was very slow going, and I had to repeat each sentence after we'd gone though it to make sure he understood what he'd read.
My question is, will it help or hinder DS' learning if I carry on with the harder books, or should I stick to the same level the school are sending home? The school seem really good, and I don't want to do anything to accidentally set DS back, when he seems to be enjoying it so far.
3 levels above is imo too much, even though as you say he had a good go at them, my dd is in r and we get books 1, max 2 levels above her school books because she can read them with about 95% accuracy and good pace - any less than that and you run the risk of him switching off because they are "too hard" A lifelong pleasure in reading is my aim for her, not to rush through the levels and wear it like a badge of honour in the playground.
I should imagine that the only thing you don't want to do is give him the impression that reading is a struggle and an overly hard task. Because then he'll learn to hate it. So, if he's struggling with quite a few words and looks like he's getting tired then stop.
How good are you at phonics with him? If you're good yourself at sounding words out with him then sound out the words that he can't read with him and that way the books won't take ages to read, They should take a bit longer than it would take you to read them to him but not much longer.
I think if a child is really good at sounding out/reading and still very young then reading longer and harder books gives them infinitely more opportunities to sound out than the early scheme books do because with the early scheme books by the time the child gets going the book is finished! So my own feeling is that reading harder books doesn't actually teach them to read but it gives them more opportunity to practice what they already do know. If you want your son to learn more then you might either need to teach him or wait for the teacher to do it.
Thanks for the replies. I think you are both right, maybe they were a bit too much, although he enjoyed trying them. I am certainly not interested in competing with other parents, just helping DS do the best he can.
I don't think I would want to teach him myself, as I am well aware I am not a teacher, it is more a case of wanting to support what he is learning at school as much as possible. DS is my first, and I am learning with him as he goes along.
One of my children is put off by harder books and it knocks her confidence. When she was learning, and struggling a bit, I went for books that were easier than the ones she was being sent home to build up her confidence. It worked fine and she soon was up to speed and progressing fast. The other one loves the challenge and the best way to get her to advance is to give her much harder books and then when she reads her own school books she finds them a ridiculous breeze by comparison... she has moved along rapidly with this method. It's just about learning style, I think. I'm more like the second daughter in this. (Although, as a note, I've paid little attention to formal phonics).
When I say 'much harder' I mean proper chapter books as opposed to her schools books which are probably around level 11 ORT.
I think you can read pretty much whatever you want with your child, but you have to adjust your approach to reflect the level of difficulty in each book.
So one that is about the 'right' level you can let your DS read to you. A harder one might mean that you do more of the reading, while you and your DS talk about the pictures, think about what might happen next or come up with ideas for different endings. A much more complex book, perhaps a chapter book, might be a chance for you to read, doing different voices and sound effects, while your DS sits back and enjoys the process of story-telling.
The main thing is for you both to have fun with books and stories.
When we go to the library, I choose 2 books for DS and let him choose 2 for himself (no matter how unsuitable for his stage of reading). This way he can read some himself and I can read the harder books to him.
I buy/borrow a real mixture of books for DS (YR). He brings home a new reading book from school each day so I'm not too worried about what he does at home as long as he enjoys it.
I got a set of Ladybird 'Read it yourself' books which he enjoys doing and M&S also have a range of 'First Readers' where I read the left-hand page and he reads the sentences on the right - these keep the 'flow' of the story but still help him to read other things. I also try to read ahead in his bedtime stories and pick out sentences/paragraphs that he should be able to read/sound out so that he builds confidence - Dr Seuss books are good for this.
I don't worry too much about the level - it's more about the enjoyment of learning to read and being exposed to a range of material. If it's too hard I read it and that's fine.
I'm not a teacher or an expert though, I can only say what DS enjoys.
Op - didnt intend to imply that you were a competitive parent re: the reading, but it reminds me of a parent who was crowing about which level her dc was on and when I asked what books she enjoyed reading at home mum replied "oh, no, she hates reading".
OP, another thing to remember is that your DS doesn't need to read every single word himself, even when he is reading to you. With my reception DD I am very aware of which phonics she has covered, so I can look at a word and know whether she would be able to sound it out or not. If we're reading a book and we come to a word she can't read, I will often just give her the word and she'll continue with the sentence. Or I will explain the tricky part of the word and she can sound out and blend the rest.
Occasionally when I'm reading to her, I'll stop at words she can read and let her do them- she gains confidence from seeing how many 'easy' words appear in a 'hard' book.
It doesn't have to be you OR him, you can share the reading.
Thanks, lots to think about there! It sounds like the general consensus is that if he is enjoying it, it doesn't really matter what the level is? He doesn't seem to like us reading together. It has to be either him reading, or me reading, although with the harder books he read a few pages, then when I thought he'd had enough I took over and read the rest.
Iamnotminterested, don't worry, I didn't think you did. I try to resist the temptation to discuss levels with other parents in RL, as I do have a nasty streak of competitiveness in me, and it would be far too easy to get involved in that kind of thing, which would not help DS at all!
If he won't accept any help with difficult words and for some reason you feel it necessary to give him access to harder books then I'd limit the number of pages that he reads to maybe one or two. Even if he seems to be enjoying it now (maybe for the novelty) I can't see struggling through too hard books doing any good, (probably the opposite.)
I'd imagine what previously looked like a consensus, that the hard books were OK, came from a view that you could read/(read most of) the hard words and let him read the easier ones.
Hi - exTA (male) here :
I very much agree with Pozzled, that harder books can be SHARED between child and adult, so it is unfortunate if he does not want to tackle them in that way.
I worked with KS1 children for twenty years, and was rather unconventional sometimes in the way I approached reading, trying to make it as enjoyable and satisfying for them as possible. We might work as a pair on harder books, with the child following words with his finger as he read them, and he would pause on words he did not know, so I could say that word for him. This approach is particularly useful on non-fiction books, where much of the text is simple but there are technical words for the particular subject; dinosaurs would be a good example (though dinosaur names are difficult for ANYONE to read!)
Learnandsay, he is happy enough for me to help with harder words. He sounds them out, then I can pronounce them correctly. What he won't do is a joint effort, where I read some and he reads some.
He has just read the easier of the three library books we'd got from start to finish with no problems. He was so proud of himself, and begging to read another one, although I said no as it was getting late. I think if I am careful and guided by him he will be fine. I do appreciate everyone's advice though!
Ferguson, thanks. I think what I have been doing is in the spirit of what you say you've done. It's just the degree of sharing has to be on his terms. He is a stubborn little bugger, and wants to do it his way.
If the book is too hard, you need to read more of it yourself and let him read the easier sentences. Agree with above that it depends on the child, how they feel about not being able to do it all.
Ds will shout at the book(!) if he is trying to read it and can't or will just give up but dd will plough on regardless. Also higher levels can make them think they are not a good reader, even if they actually are good for their age.
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