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Is my daughter pretending not to know or does she really just not get it?

(24 Posts)
ChairmanoftheBored Tue 07-May-13 10:54:32

This is relating to reception reading (another thread, sorry) I don't do masses of reading at home with my daughter, maybe half an hour a couple of times a week if that. Sometimes when she brings home her phonics book she seems to pretend to find little words like "it" and "is" tricky to read. Now I am pretty sure she can read these as she is sounding out and blending other words quite well. I just think she does it to wind me up and I'm afraid its working! Last week I consciously decided to back off a little in case she was feeling pressured by me so I hope that may help.
Also I am secretly worried that she should be reading more by now. She will be 5 in June and she is on pink stage 4 I think. Her school uses a mix of different phonics schemes but lately she has had a lot of Alphablocks ones which are beyond tedious.
I know its awful to make comparisons but can anyone put my mind at rest that she is doing ok for this age. I would say she knows around half of the 45 high frequency words too, but aren't they meant to know them all by the end of reception?

daftdame Tue 07-May-13 11:10:12

It sounds to me as is your daughter is well on her way...Without speaking to her teacher, concerning how well she has picked up what she has being taught it is difficult to say exactly, in comparison to what should be expected.

If you think she may be 'winding you up', rebelling in some way at having to read to you, why not try to see if she will shows she can read in a more 'fun' context. For example, you could write her funny notes or do a treasure hunt, write a 'treats' list for her to choose from etc (include the words you think she should be able to read). Like you, I also think it may be the routine of reading a school reading book she is kicking off about. Whatever you can do to mix this routine up may stop her resenting it and at the same time reassure you.

redskyatnight Tue 07-May-13 12:15:01

It's quite common for children to "forget" one skill once they are working on the next. So it's possible that she's spent so much time thinking about blending longer words that she's forgotten the "common" words she knows.

Pink is a little below average for this stage of Reception but well within the range of "normal" (some children take longer to click).

I'd suggest trying to find more time to read with her to help her improve - 5 minutes every day is probably better than 30 minutes twice a week as it's hard to stay focussed for a length of time at this age.

ChairmanoftheBored Tue 07-May-13 13:19:55

Thanks for the responses. I do think I rather lack imagination in teaching at home tbh, I guess I wouldn't have ever made a reception teacher that's for sure.
Redsky, When I said half an hour twice a week, what I should have said is I tend to do 5 minute sessions, a few times a week.
I do worry though that she doesn't get enough at home. My husband does very little with her, so it falls on me to do it. I work 2 long days a week and its hard to fit everything in with another toddler at home too. I am not sure how much I should be doing. She always gets a bedtime story, and on the days I don't work I do try. Sometimes I have a window of opportunity to read with her and its then that I find she just buggers about. It ends up in me getting frustrated and cross and I just know this is so detrimental to her learning, but I can't help it!
I am reading this and wondering if maybe I should be posting somewhere else. My insecurities and lack of self esteem I fear are probably not helping.

daftdame Tue 07-May-13 13:50:40

I think you need to give yourself a break...From my own experiences, people I've talked to and reading many posts on here a lot of children (and their parents!) will at some point get 'hacked off' with homework. It doesn't mean they necessarily are struggling.

What can help I think, is to set aside a small amount of time, eg the 5mins, as you have been doing and just persevere (telling yourself it is only 5 mins). I found mine eventually got used to it and does sometimes quite enjoy some of the work wink.

Also the more you can do with her, reading wise, as part of everyday life, the more you can be reassured of what she can do. Have words on the fridge, write family notes if you have a noticeboard / chalkboard, shopping lists, check television guide, menus etc. When these things are part of everyday life it won't seem like work so much.

If you can involve your husband with some of this, so much the better. It will take the pressure off you and give you someone to talk to about how she is doing. Also if you've had a busy / bad day it would be nice to think someone can step in. Maybe try some of the 'everyday stuff' when he is around, then the homework when he is around. He might also be able to deflect the situation if she starts messing about.

Periwinkle007 Tue 07-May-13 20:34:29

if you honestly think she is deliberately doing it then a couple of things you could try are

1) get her to read something and don't correct it, if she is doing it deliberately and sees you ignore it then the fun has gone so she will probably stop doing it. let her read it then calmly just say 'oh I think we might need to relook at a couple of bits' and reread it to her.

2) bribe her. not ongoing and to avoid it becoming an issue say you want to play a fun game and if she gets the words right in this game she can have a sweet or whatever.

I think most of the children in my daughter's class have moved off pink now but that doesn't mean there is anything wrong with those who haven't.

as time is tight you reading stories to her is important. perhaps read some 'easier' stories to her which contain some words she could help with. some of the rhyming ones are good because she will know the story and the style.

bigbuttons Tue 07-May-13 20:37:12

my 7 year old dd did what you describe. I thought she must have been trying it on. Seemed to blend some words perfectly well and then not remember 5 minutes later. It drove me mad. Turns out the poor kid is dyslexicsad

Periwinkle007 Tue 07-May-13 20:49:06

yes there is that bigbuttons. my daughter is probably' dyslexic too but I think that is one reason to try and find out if she really IS trying it on or not. I did shout at my daughter about full stops. why did she ignore them sometimes and not others, she surely could see them. except she couldn't poor girl.

in which case perhaps try my first suggestion of not correcting her until she finishes the page. so just ignore her mistakes, when she finishes the sentence then just read it to her correctly. that way you won't be indulging her if she is trying to annoy you, you won't be stressing her if she genuinely is having a problem of some sort (that they won't be able to diagnose until she is in Yr2 probably) but you will be correcting her.

simpson Tue 07-May-13 21:31:02

Do you mean pink stage 1 (which is a little behind) or blue stage 4 (which is good)?

learnandsay Wed 08-May-13 08:45:33

Dr Seuss The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham and also Elsie Marinarik's Little Bear books are the best ones I know for teaching small children how to read the most common high frequency words. Both sets of books were deliberately designed for that purpose. I had my daughter read them all over and over and over again (about 100 times.) Not surprisingly she has no problems with common high frequency words.

ClayDavis Wed 08-May-13 09:37:56

I'm guessing the pink stage 4 refers to the Bug club reading scheme. It's based on Letters and Sounds and Pink stage 4 focuses on the sounds from Phase 2 set 4.

You say she's learning the 45 reception words. There's no such list anymore and hasn't been for some time. If the school are sending these home to learn as 'sight words' then they are using mixed methods and that maybe the cause of her problem.

If she reads a word wrong, I would get her to sound it out and blend it aloud, running her finger underneath the word as she does it. If that doesn't work, try using your finger or a small piece of card to reveal each sound one at a time.

ChairmanoftheBored Wed 08-May-13 12:22:56

Claydavis, The school did give us a list of 45 HF words at the very start of the year, but to my knowledge this was just a rough guide for parents. I have not heard the teachers talk about the need to learn these, nor have the children been sent home with words to learn. Although I do know that the school up the road IS doing this. It does make you wonder a bit exactly what they are expected to learn as it seems to vary so much from school to school.
I made up some cards at home with these high frequency words and we look at these from time to time.
She is currently on pink stage 4 with the bug club scheme. I have no idea what the other kids are on. They only started getting phonics books after Christmas so that may explain why she is only on the basic level still (I hope grin )
I thought mixed methods of reading were ok though. For example teaching synthetic phonics but also learning some tricky words by sight too.

breadandbutterfly Wed 08-May-13 13:20:04

Agree - beware in case of dyslexia or related issues. I used to get very cross with dd2 endlessly missing out wordsor lines or substituting words that weren't there. Turns out her eye tracking is atrocious - she literally doesn't see the words... blush

If she is just playing a game with you, she's five, laugh along. You want her to enjoy reading.

daftdame Wed 08-May-13 13:21:49

There are people who would disagree strongly with 'mixed methods'.

I think problems can occur if a child does not realise they should switch to reading using their phonic skills when they come across a word they do not know (or suspect they should know but cannot remember).

An over reliance on sight recognition may cause someone to be too ready to substitute a word they think it is to the word that is actually there. (Think of the FCUK t-shirts!). If phonic skills are neglected it might cause someone to find spelling difficult - knowing a range of combinations to make a sound in the English language can be pretty useful, knowing the basic building blocks which spell a word is pretty essential (unless you've an outstanding memory).

I personally think sight recognition has it's merits, we don't want to have to consciously spell a word out each time we come across it. However I'm not sure sight recognition needs to be taught IYSWIM.

ChairmanoftheBored Wed 08-May-13 13:27:31

So is the list of 45 words by the end of reception year not being used anymore? I just googled it, and have now found a list of 100 HF words Eek! Its so confusing!

daftdame Wed 08-May-13 13:40:18

I think it depends on the school.

I think the flash cars may appear to 'speed up' reading whilst the phonic skills are still being mastered. If the children are familiar with these words it will open up the amount of books available which they can attempt to read themselves and in this way can be quite encouraging.

However if this is done to the detriment of good phonics teaching and there are subsequent problems regarding the child not using their phonic skills, where appropriate, this also could cause confidence problems. If you think this may be a problem for your child I would use the method ClayDavis detailed in her post.

LilyAmaryllis Wed 08-May-13 13:45:54

It sounds like she's doing fine. My son is the same age (5 later this month), I don't think he can read as much as your DD can. I am not worrying about it, I think all children develop at their own pace. If he does manage to sound a word out he is really pleased with himself so I just share in his pleasure and say well done.

maizieD Wed 08-May-13 17:51:56

I personally think sight recognition has it's merits, we don't want to have to consciously spell a word out each time we come across it. However I'm not sure sight recognition needs to be taught IYSWIM.

I think that the term 'sight recognition' is a difficult one because there are two 'understandings' of what it means.

The most common 'understanding' of the term is the one promoted by the 'look & say' method of teaching, whereby children were taught (or attempted to be taught) to recognise words as 'wholes' with no attention paid to the significance of the letters within the word. This was developed from the belief that skilled readers do appear to instantly recognise words as 'wholes' without having to sound out and blend them every time. As 'look & say' with a smattering of phonics has been the predominant method of teaching reading for several decades this understanding has become something of a dominant belief.

The other 'understanding' says that words become secured in long term memory and can be read 'on sight' through learning the letter/sound correspondences and using that knowledge to sound out and blend a word several times.

The difficulty with the first 'method' is that it is far more difficult to learn words as 'wholes' (hence the extrememly repetitious nature of 'look & say' reading schemes and a plummetting literacy rate in the 80's & 90's) and that it gives children no tools with which to independently work out what unfamiliar words 'say'.

The perceived problem with the sounding out and blending route is that it can take children a number of repetitions of sounding out and blending before the word is secure. Some children only need one or two repetitions, a few need hundreds and most children fall between the two extremes. The advantage of this method, though, is the fact that letter/sound correspondence knowledge gives the child the tools with which to independently work out most unfamiliar words.

What I cannot understand is that people are tolerant of the hundreds of repetitions of exposure to a 'whole word' needed to 'learn' it (see L & S's earlier post, for example) but feel that a child has 'failed' if they have to sound out and blend a word a few times before it goes into long term memory.

Another common misconception is that 'high frequency words' are in some way different from other words and are more difficult to learn. They are not. They are merely the most frequently used words in text. Most are completely decodable; a very few contain correspondences which a child wouldn't be taught at the start of learning to read. It is possible to teach a child to read without using any of these in the early stages but they have somehow become embedded in the 'must learn early' lexicon. So we teach them as 'decodable' but with a tricky bit. No flash cards of words to be learned as wholes!

If the OP is still with me after this rather long explanation I would say not to worry about your daughter still sounding and blending words which you think she ought to know, they will eventually get into sight memory. Trying to force her to read them 'by sight' might well turn her off reading altogether or she might develop a guessing habit (any old word will do just as long as I don't sound it out because sounding out and blending upsets mum...). Let her do what she needs to do to to consolidate her learning.

ClayDavis Wed 08-May-13 18:11:03

The 100 HFW are the ones listed in the Letters and Sounds document. A lot of these are decodable with the level of knowledge expected at the end of reception. Some of these are not and are taught as 'tricky' words. These are not supposed to be taught as sight words but as words with a 'tricky' part that can be blended in the same way as any other.

IIRC the Bug club books introduce 2-3 tricky words at each level and if you look on the inside of the front cover it will show you how to blend the words they focus on in that level.

ChairmanoftheBored Wed 08-May-13 20:10:24

Thanks MaizieD for your explanation, and I do agree that it does make a lot more sense to give children the tools to decode words for themselves. So far I have done mostly phonics type learning, with just the occasional look at some of the HFW on my list. I think it helps to have a few words that can be instantly recognised on sight too.
ClayDavis, I will have a look at that document on Letters and Sounds if I can find it online. Do you think most children will be able to know all of these by the end of the year? If not, what happens next, surely they would not be considered to have special needs would they?

maizieD Wed 08-May-13 20:49:10

I think it helps to have a few words that can be instantly recognised on sight too.

But it's not an 'either or' situation (either phonics or 'sight word recognition'). Children taught with purely phonics will be just as capable of instantly recognising words 'on sight' once they have decoded and blended them as many times as they need to. I worked with a much older child for a long time; he needed to sound out simple words over and over again. He was delighted when one day he looked at the word 'and' and was able to read it straight off! But, he was an exceptional case. Your daughter has age on her side and lots of opportunity for practice.

Will she be regarded as having SEN if she doesn't 'know' the HFWs by the end of the year? Well, it depends on the school and their approach to learning to read. Hopefully they will recognise that she could do with extra intensive practice and arrange for that without making a big song and dance about it! Once she's 'got it' she will be fine. I just worry that sometimes the children who need more time to learn aren't challenged enough; are given less reading to do because they 'strugggle' and are then left behind their peers. I get children in Y7 who have never been expected to read more than 2 or 3 sentences at a time. But they haven't had the benefit of the greater emphasis on phonics in the initial stages (because although it became official 'guidance' in 2007 it has taken time to embed) or the developing understanding of how to teach all children, not just the ones who catch on easily. I'm sure your daughter will fare better.

ClayDavis Wed 08-May-13 21:01:27

They're not expected to know all 100 by the end of reception. The expectation is that children will be secure at Phase 4 of letters and sounds by the end of reception. They'd be expected to be able to read about 75 of the HFW at the end of phase 4. About 43/44 of those are fully decodable at the end of phase 4 though, so there's no need to make an effort to learn them.

girliefriend Wed 08-May-13 21:06:45

She sounds fine to me. She is still very little and I think at this age its more important that they are enjoying books rather than worrying too much about reading.

ClayDavis Wed 08-May-13 21:21:40

She most probably is fine. As the OP says she is sounding out and blending other words well. At this stage it might be something or it might just be a bad habit. If it is a bad habit it's much easier to deal with at this stage than to break it much later when it has become ingrained.

It's impossible to say without having read with the OP's dd myself, but I'm wondering whether the OP's dd is one of the minority of children who get confused by the mixture of phonics teaching and teaching 'sight words'.

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