Teaching my 3-year old to read.(43 Posts)
Try the free materials here with your son
I taught my daughter to read from two onwards. Have a look at Sesame St Getting ready to read
DS is Aug birthday. He couldn't read at all when started school. The school had asked the preschool not to try to teach them so I took a view that they had a plan and I would go with it. He wasn't the best reader by far at end of yr R (seemed to spend most of his time outdoors poking in mud with the TA) but by yr2 was on top table.
Reading other posts with interest as I am teaching my DD who is the same age to read. The first thing I did was teach all the letter sounds (I am using synthetic phonics which is different to how I learnt at school but makes it easier for them to go on to read whole words).
After she knew all her letters we tried blending 3 letter words like cat, dog, and 2 letter words like in, on, at. We just practice a couple at a time and not even every day, if she's not interested I don't push it. We've got some Jolly Phonics activity books at the moment just for fun, they are mainly teaching writing and consolidating letters.
I think the next stage is books but I'm not sure when she'll be ready to move on to them, I guess I'll just see how it goes.
I taught my daughter to read, and I didn't bother with books as such for quite a while, maybe six months or more after blending/recognising (more recognising than blending) three letter words. I just wrote down what I wanted her to read and she read it.
The best things that you can teach him are.....
Put his coat on
Ask in good time to go to the toilet
Practice fork/knife or unpacking his lunch from the lunchbox that you plan to use
Who to tell in the event of rough behaviour in the playground
This will free the teaching staff up to teach him reading, which they will do efficiently and thoroughly.
Highlander, I think the OP has a problem with the way this particular school teacher reading, or rather fails to teach it.
I also found it easy to teach my 3 year old to read. You just teach them the phonic sounds of the letters, and then sound them out to make a word - so ke-ah-te is clearly CAT. I used to speak to my DC like this a bit too, so sounding out the letters phonically to make words. She very soon started reading very basic books (a few words per page) on her own, and progressed very quickly, mainly on her own, so reading quite difficult stuff by age 4.
At school they only listened to them reading for 5 minutes a week each!
Dromedary - they may only listen to them for 5 mins each but they will do phonics work every day in small groups or as a whole class, as well as separate literacy time!! They're only little...
PiedWagtail - I don't regret teaching her. All children are different, and my DC2 is bright and quick on the uptake. She was completely ready for learning to read, really enjoyed it, and was reading little books to herself almost straight away. When my DC1 started school I decided to leave it all to the school, and that really didn't work out - she learned almost nothing, and by the end of Reception was already falling behind, could only read a few words, and thought that she was thick. I had to teach her to read over the summer hols and it made all the difference for her when she went back to school in Year 1 - shot up to the top group in the class, became much more confident. Parental input makes a big difference, especially if the teacher happens to be poor.
Having tried to teach both my children to read before they started school I now strongly believe that a child will start to read when they are ready and not a moment before. My ds1 picked it up straight away. I taught Ds2 to recognise all the letters and sounds and to blend into simple words and he took all this on board but still didn't really read until well into year 1. He is now doing very well at school.
I'm sure the activities you are doing with your ds will stand him in good stead but you really shouldn't worry if he doesn't completely 'get' reading for a while yet. I think the worst thing you could do is to make him feel like he isn't good at reading.
Ooh, highlander,...bit patronising? Not all teachers may be thorough and efficient,...and sadly some could be neither.
I would have thought that support at home is essential at any age and any encouragement in reading would make the teachers job easier. After all performance of the school is (rightly or wrongly!) showcased by SATS results...which do not yet, to my knowledge, give credit for continence, tidiness and table manners!
SevenPalms, I think there is some great advice for you in this thread and whatever you do will help.
Why are you sending your child to a school you appear to have such little confidence in?
I think highlander is far from patronising. If more YR children had these basic skills most of the TA's (and some of the teacher's) time would be freed up for learning. And in YR the bulk of that learning should be through play.
My very late Aug born DS could not read when he started school. What he could do was enjoy a book, follow a story, tell a story, know how to hold a book, turn pages etc.
He is now Y5 - top table literacy and reading. He loves to read for pleasure and can read for purpose.
By the way children need to trust what their teachers are teaching in order to learn effectively. Be careful that you are not communicating the message that his future teacher doesn't know what they're doing.
I think the general merits/demerits of teaching your own children to read before they start school are different from the OP's point. She doesn't appear to have access to proper reading teaching and so would appear to have little choice.
I'd be happy to start a separate thread debating the other point.
I'm no expert of course but here's what happened with my DS who is also very young in his year.
We're quite a 'booky' family so we read to the DC very frequently. Prior to starting school, DS was making up detailed stories / scenarios (he had an imaginary country called 'Eas' for example and had very detailed 'knowledge' about it). His general knowledge was also quite good we thought. So we were surprised when he was incredibly reluctant to read when he started school.
But DS had an incredibly sensible reception class teacher who stayed with the class into Y1 as well. DH and I started to get a bit concerned when at the end of reception and in early Y1, DS was in one of the lower phonics groups. His teacher's message to us was very consistent:
(1) His vocabulary is very good
(2) His understanding is very good
(3) His general knowledge / memory is very good
(4) He doesn't want to read yet
And she was absolutely right. It took until Christmas-ish in Y1. All of a sudden he went from total disinterest to reading really quite fluently. This all happened over the course of about three weeks. It was like he suddenly saw the point of not relying on other people to read to him and that was the end of that.
So I guess I'm agreeing with Highlander. There are other things to think about and 3 is very young. After my experience with DS, I'm all for being relaxed about this sort of thing.
Now the next challenge is to convince DS that an 'a' doesn't look like a 'g'. Or that eating green food doesn't harm you in any way...
My DD is 3.5 and is reading a range of two and three letter words, she wants to read like her older cousins, I didn't have to push her.
Suggestions/things we did/do:
We have some foam bath letters that I used with her to help her learn her initial phonemes (sounds - the ones at the beginning of the word). We played a game where X was a superhero (like X in Alphablocks - great tv program for learning phonics) and had to rescue the letters who would cry out in their phoneme for help. She was X so had to know the phoneme to be able to rescue them.
Rhyming songs are great, singing and games are a great way to teach phonics so nursery rhymes and making up silly rhymes are good.
I also tell her stories and get her to give me key details like names and say what she thinks will happen next. Comprehension is a big part of reading so when you read stories ask questions who, where, what, why, when, how and get him to predict what might happen next or make up a different ending together. You can do this with toys when you play with them too.
Finding objects/animals etc that start with a certain letter and making a collage of pictures/drawing.
Drawing letters in sand while saying the phoneme.
We have the Jolly Phonics stories book which she enjoys.
We use a magnetic whiteboard and magnetic letters to practice sounding out and blending sounds in the words from the Jolly Phonics book. Then she writes the words on the whiteboard (she has taught herself how to write some of the letters).
I hear Oxford Reading Tree Songbirds by Julia Donaldson are good, I will be getting those for her down the line and also Usbourne First Reading Series are meant to have more interesting stories.
Jolly Phonics songs in order you will need this to help you.
Phonics songs and under ABC's check out games, we used to listen to the song and she would play the game to reinforce the learning.
Phonics videos using puppet to teach for all sounds including diagraphs (two letter phonemes).
Alphablocks games on CBeebies are great.
Also my daughter's new favourite Reading Eggs, it requires a subscription, but you can do a free trial for 14 days and when I did that I got offered a reduction on the 12 month subscription.
I also have the book Reading Reflex which I find useful.
If your child is ready to learn you will know. My cousins went to Steiner School, they didn't teach reading until they were 7 years old, they can read perfectly well now. I have met home schooling families where the child has mostly taught themselves to read. There is not one way, just the way that works best for your child (although phonics is generally accepted as the method to follow).
I wouldn't bother at this age.
I speak as someone who was totally illiterate till - gasp - five or so. As were my daughters and partner. We all read rather well now. I have a couple of English degrees and write for a living, so clearly my belated start (in MN world) didn't do me a lot of harm.
In the case of my DC1 it became apparent that the teacher, who was totally newly qualified, didn't in fact know what she was doing. She left at the end of the year, having made it clear to both me and the Year1 teacher (and my DC) that my DC was thick and not up to learning to read even the basic list of words that all R children are supposed to learn.
I half agree with the view that children become ready to read at different times, and there is no point in forcing a child who is not ready. Having said that, I worked my reluctant DC1 hard in the holiday after YR to teach her to read to an average level for her year group. She didn't like it, but it was what she needed to push her to the level where she then took off with reading and had the skills and confidence she needed to shoot up to the top group in the class. That did so much for her emotionally. If a child is stuck at not being able to read much, with a teacher who has classed them as t
thick and expects little from them, in a low abiltiy group, it is surely
time to take parental action. I became much more proactive after
that. One to one with your child on any topic makes a lot of
I think the problem with August born dc is that if of average ability (as on average they obviously will be) they will naturally tend to be a bit below average in their class due to being younger. This will even itself out over time but only if the child doesn't suffer a drop in confidence in the meanwhile. So countries like Germany that start school later don't see the gap in attainment based on birth month on leaving school that we do in the UK.
I think the solution is to give August born dc a bit of a helping hand at home to make sure they don't lag behind. However you need to wait until they are ready to learn. In England reception is mainly about learning through play. Year 1 gets a bit more formal. So I gave my August born DD extra help with reading at the end of Reception over the summer holidays. We basically read the whole of the Songbird series. At this point she was nearly 5 and so able to sit still(er) and pay me some attention. She knew her sounds and could blend. A year before this would have been futile. For her at least 3.5 would have been too young.
In terms of actually learning to read. I would say teach the sounds and some of the digraphs. Then see if they can blend simple words like cat, dog etc. Once they can try a phonics based reading scheme like songbirds or floppys phonics rather than peter and jane. If at any point they either cant do it or dont want to then just wait. Just keep practising sounds and come back to it later. Oh and keep reading interesting stories gradually moving from picture to chapter books. This will help their vocab and comprehension and make them actually want to read which is half the battle.
DS2 now 3 years 9 months has been learning to read for about 5-6 months. They do have to be ready though and want to do it for themselves. I am not a teacher but there are probably a lot of pre-reading developmental skills that need to be acquired around being able to spot patterns and see the difference between things that are slightly different. Before reading came letter recognition (as in sounds rather than letter names.) I used Jolly Phonics for this. After a few months of that and with him having already picked up by himself some simple/common words I got a "reading book" for him. For him to read I have ORT read at home and Songbirds. He loves reading and wants to pick up a book all the time and read to me. We often spot words when we are out and about eg push/ pull signs and when I read at bedtime I follow the words I reading with my finger. He often reads the title of the bedtime book or sometimes shouts out when he spots a wordhe knows.
I don't think you can make them do it before they are ready any more than you can hold them back when they want to and you know your dc best.
I don't know the set up of international schools but children reading before school at UK school entry age is not average/ normal so they must be in a position to teach reading. DS1 was the only one in his class that could read before school started.
I think be guided by your DC as you know best :-)
Stitch; are you me?!
Our DTS are reading some simple words (dog, can, on, at, the, then, are etc) and recognise all the letters. They do phonics at preschool so it seemed a logical extension to get the Jolly Phonics book and CD. They LOVE the Jolly Songs CD and have learned the letters with no effort at all. They want to read - are always asking me what things say and trying to work it out. They sound out the words on Alphablocks (if I pause it for a few seconds). I just do bits they want to and keep it really light - but they just seem to be 'doing it'.
I think all DCs are different, too. And I think reading often comes in fits and starts. I don't remember learning to read - and my mum says she never taught me, just read to me a lot. I think for some children it goes in almost by diffusion. - Reading to them loads when they are little helps as it seems to 'prime' them to 'get it.
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