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Reading in Reception - feeling frustrated

(93 Posts)
ladyintheradiator Mon 25-Mar-13 16:49:12

I don't want to push my DS and I think on the whole so far I've been quite relaxed about how much learning is going on, I can see the massive progress he's made in so many ways since leaving preschool and he really has blossomed, socially, his speech is better, he is very happy and enjoying school, is enthusiastic about the various projects he's learning about, etc etc. A few wobbles here and there but generally, all is good.

But... some days he appears to read whatever book he is given perfectly and others its as though he has never read a book or even a word before in his life. I think he relies on the pictures too much and then guesses, wrongly, without looking at the words at all - e.g thinking a lid was a plate, so 'reading' the word plate when it isn't even there. He is bringing home awful books, repeating the same few it seems, he says they get to choose from a certain box. I borrow lots from the library, and encourage him to read from our own books too of course but just feeling a bit lost in helping to guide his learning here.

He is an autumn birthday so do I have high expectations? He is bringing home pink books but I have no idea what that really means. He got so fixated on a picture of a beetle he just couldn't see that the word was bug. I am gentle and say, yes, it's a picture of a beetle but let's read the word too, b-u-g, can you blend the sounds? Beetle he says. I say there's no 'ee' or 'T' can he try again? No he says. Loves it when he can actually read things particularly if it follows an interest but outside of these moments he will say he never needs to learn to read, will just grow up and stay at home etc so finding it hard to get him to see why learning is a good thing.

Sorry for length. Any advice?

Waspie Fri 29-Mar-13 16:04:47

My son's teacher is a brand new, first year of teaching reception teacher and she is using the picture assistance/take a random guess method. Quite honestly, I'm now worried about what methods to teach reading they are using with my son and I think I'll make an appointment to find out more.

In the meantime, I will go back to covering the pictures if DS appears to be guessing instead of reading.

I agree about mornings being a better time to read than evenings. We try to read his school book with him after breakfast if we have time. he is certainly more alert and receptive.

The bribery has worked ladyintheradiator - at least so far smile. My son may gripe a little about reading if he's doing something that he feels is far more important but he actually enjoys it once he starts. If he reads a more difficult book he can get a little disillusioned, but I give plenty of encouragement and praise his effort. We have a star chart for reading books too.

I also have a lot of phonics apps on the tablet, which he loves playing and thinks of as a game rather than reading, which helps.

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 16:15:47

Lots of teachers claim/believe they are teaching phonics when in fact they are using mixed methods. Universities need to get their acts together and not leave something as important as reading to chance.

learnandsay Fri 29-Mar-13 18:45:48

Making any attempt to "read" a book by looking at the pictures is only guessing. It's true that some whole word advocates do also advocate guessing instead of reading but it's not the only way of teaching whole word reading. I wasn't taught to guess words. I was taught to recognise them. Different whole word enthusiasts have different strategies (some are more extreme than others.)

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 18:57:25

Regardless of what strategies "enthusiasts" employ learnandsay using picture clues is part of the look and say method alongside learning whole words by sight, guessing the word from what might fit the sentence. That is why look and say reading schemes like ORT include words like helicopter and concrete in their first readers, children don't need to read the words because they can guess from the pictures. It's the accepted method that has been around for a century.

simpson Fri 29-Mar-13 19:13:02

Yes I remember DS having the word pancake in a pink level ORT book. hmm

DD has not had one Biff et al book from school <<faints>>

learnandsay Fri 29-Mar-13 19:18:06

Not all techniques are mandatory. I'm not sure what picture clues you're referring to, or whether or not you're referring to basal readers. But whole word readers have less reason than other types of readers to need specially adapted books. They can read real books and real books have real illustrations in them not ones designed to help struggling readers guess what the accompanying text might say.

There may be a reason why this guessing is so unfamiliar to me because I had no trouble learning to read. If I'd been struggling I'm sure my teachers would have deployed any number of fanciful methods. The idea of whole word reading is to recognise the words and read them. If you can do that easily then you don't need a lot of other techniques.

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 19:30:51

Regardless of what you do lookandsay the method has been around since the 1830s and includes the use of picture clues to guess words the child hasn't learnt by sight ... and yes children taught by the look and say method were taught to use the illustrations to guess what unknown words might be in all types of books including those you call real books.

learnandsay Fri 29-Mar-13 20:16:58

You seem to be saying two things. One thing seems to be that basal readers for look and say tuition have picture clues in their illustrations and the other thing that you appear to be saying is guessing what the text might be saying in a real book was done using real illustrations. Well, fine. People can guess all they want. If they can't read then they still can't read.

When we came to unfamiliar words we were simply told what they were. We also read books multiple times so we became familiar with them and were able to read them easily. (I don't know what happened to struggling readers though.)

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 20:22:11

No learnandsay I used ORT books as an example but the method isn't restricted to reading scheme books.

When we came to unfamiliar words we were simply told what they were. unfortunately the human brain has a finite capacity for remembering whole words.

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 20:30:06

Let's go back to your original question as we seem to be going around in circles

"Are the teachers who want the children to guess the words based on the pictures following any kind of system (and are they prepared to tell you what the system is called?)"

It's called Look & Say

learnandsay Fri 29-Mar-13 20:31:08

The ability to pronounce unfamiliar words isn't helpful either.

learnandsay Fri 29-Mar-13 20:33:12

Not necessarily it isn't, no. It could be called the make it up as you go along reading system. As I've said several times, I was taught with look and say and I wasn't taught to guess the text by looking at pictures. It makes no sense unless it's just a single noun.

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 20:36:19

Just because you don't recognise a whole word in print doesn't mean that you wouldn't understand it if you heard it spoken

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 20:38:27

Only in your world learnandsay in the real world it has been called look and say for over a century.

learnandsay Fri 29-Mar-13 20:43:42

What are you talking about? Look and say reading isn't about looking at pictures and imagining what any accompanying text might say. The text could say anything!

That's no more look and say than having donkey rides on Blackpool Beach is, and people have been doing that for a century or more too.

simpson Fri 29-Mar-13 21:00:52

I guess mrz is saying that looking at the pictures is part of look and say but not the only part.

The main part would be seeing the word repeated again and again throughout the book.

learnandsay Fri 29-Mar-13 21:07:15

Of course it depends on the book. If the book is a real book then the repetition won't be any more unusual than you would expect to see in any text. If the book has been written especially to teach L&S readers then it's entirely possible that the pictures have been doctored too.

Teachers aren't bound to all methods in L&S. Beyond nouns I've never seen this picture method used and I can't see how it would work.

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 21:08:50

I suggest you study reading instruction in depth learnandsay rather than relying on your own interpretation

learnandsay Fri 29-Mar-13 21:11:14

That's untrue, I can see how it would work for contrived sentences with matching illustrations. But for real books it's just silly pants.

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 21:14:35

It doesn't matter what you can see learnandsay it doesn't change the facts

learnandsay Fri 29-Mar-13 21:16:20

If you can show me a text book that can teach someone to read the paragraph

And then they went back to the orchard and James divided the fruit into three parts. Peter ate two bananas and a pear and Paul ate two sardines. I didn't eat anything because I was too tired.

from a picture of a man eating an orange then I'll study it.

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 21:24:15

The point is the learn and say method failed to teach children to read ...

and you won't learn about methods of reading instruction in picture books ...

learnandsay Fri 29-Mar-13 21:35:20

No, it failed to teach some children to read. And I suspect that there will always be some children who fail to read. With better methods maybe fewer. But look and say was never about pictures and still isn't.

mrz Fri 29-Mar-13 21:40:13

It was and still is whether you accept it or not

learnandsay Fri 29-Mar-13 21:41:24

What, says you? No it isn't. No it wasn't.

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