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Teachers, what is the average age at which children learn how to blend phonic sounds?

(37 Posts)
Teuchtermam Thu 27-Jun-13 15:48:01

I have a Dd who has recently turned 3. She has known the sounds letters make for quite a while now but doesn't understand blending at all. She will say c-o-t, cup or something else random.

However, you only need to show her a word once or twice for her to know what it says but that's not much good for figuring out new words. So my question is, is she too young to understand blending or should I make an effort to teach her? She is very interested and wants to learn.

Thanks in advance for replies

Tiggles Thu 27-Jun-13 16:23:21

DS1 could blend unaided before his third birthday, DS2 and DS3 were about 4.5. DS3 (who is now 4 and 9months has only just managed to start blending more than CVC words (e.g. from 4.5 could blend cat, now can blend flag)

quip Thu 27-Jun-13 17:06:21

Don't ask on mn. You will be overwhelmed by stories of babies blending before they were even sitting up.

Iamnotminterested Thu 27-Jun-13 17:39:51

In utero actually, quip.

virgil Thu 27-Jun-13 17:42:44

She'll get the hang of it. We used to talk in sounds to the DSs eg give mummy a H U G. They picked it up really quickly that way.

virgil Thu 27-Jun-13 17:45:11

Are you also sounding out phonetically?

Eg C O T to a small child sounds like cu-otter not cot. If you're not sure on the sounds jolly phonics is good.

TheBakeryQueen Thu 27-Jun-13 18:14:47

I don't know about the average age but my 3yr old has just started blending, just simple words like cat, dog, mum, sat. He is the only one in his preschool who can. He picked it up from joining in with ds1 when doing reception homework.

It just takes a bit of repetition really. It just clicks all of a sudden I have found.

My ds learnt in reception, aged 4.

Periwinkle007 Thu 27-Jun-13 19:08:15

my eldest is 5.5 and she never really got blending when she was starting to learn to read, she just learned the whole words and there wasn't really any way to stop her. I worked really hard with her trying to go through it and she now manages to blend new words she comes across but they are obviously now long words and more complex.
my youngest is recently 4 and she is very good at blending simple words. she will look at it, she may know the word already by sight or do it quickly in her head I don't know or she will just sound it out and then say the word.

I would keep practicing it with her. It hasn't held my daughter back, she is an exceptional reader but she does show a lot of signs of dyslexia and she certainly has irlen syndrome (bizarre she can read well I know but it can happen) and she has found blending very hard to get to grips with so the more practice you can do the better. It is hard if they are a child with a good memory who can just learn the word because it makes it difficult to practice but it is worth doing as there is only so far they can get before they need to blend in order to progress (my daughter had no problems at all before she got to book band 7 so it can carry them for a long time but then they can hit problems).

going by their friends I would say the majority of children get blending in reception (obviously at slightly different ages) with some having got the hang of it before that and some struggling initially but getting it later.

prettybird Thu 27-Jun-13 19:29:05

And at the other end of the spectrum, ds didn't blend until he was 6.5 (all the way through P1 I was saying to the teachers that he wasn't blending, he was just learning the books off by heart; he only finally "got" it towards the end of P2 - and that was despite getting lots of excellent extra 1:1 support).

He's just finished his first year at secondary school and is the top set for English, part of a cohort which the English teacher says is "exceptional".

Just goes to show (as his primary school said way back in P1/P2) - they all develop at different speeds. grin

thegreylady Thu 27-Jun-13 19:43:31

dgs started blending at 3.6 ish and now at 4 reads 3 letter words easily and longer words he can sound out and have a good stab at them.

itsnothingoriginal Thu 27-Jun-13 20:05:23

From my experience of reading with reception children in school a few come to school able to blend 3 letter words and a few are now coming to the end of the year still unable to blend.

Most develop blending somewhere in between - by the end of their first term many of the year group had 'got it'.

Whipple Thu 27-Jun-13 20:42:33

I really don't understand why you are trying to make her understand it so early.

If you wait till she is in reception then she will pick it up easily and in the long run it will not make one jot of difference.

Snowfedup Thu 27-Jun-13 21:39:00

Thank you pretty bird you have made me feel soooo much better my ds just finished p1 and hasn't got phonics at all he has just been learning the words by sight no matter how hard I try, while others in his class are reading fluently by themselves, I was getting a bit diheartened, here's hoping he picks it up better next year !

prettybird Thu 27-Jun-13 22:03:44

Snowfedup - ds' school said that some kids (especially boys) are just not developmentally ready until they are 6 (ds was just 6.5). He had 6 weeks of 1:1 support from the depute head in Term 1 of P2 before we all agreed he should drop to the middle language group for the sake of his confidence. He stayed there for three (?) years (think it was until P5) before moving back up to the top group and thriving.

The most important thing is that he enjoys reading - he is a boy who free reads even if it is not as much as I would like grin This evening he came and proudly told me that he had just spent an hour reading "Catching Fire" (? - the 2nd book in the Hunger Games trilogy) and saying what a good book it was.

One thing the primary school said was to encourage them to read anything - in ds' case, he wanted to see the football scores, so he tried to read them. he then got into Captain Underpants and progressed on to Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Skulduggery Pleasant and now the Humger Games. He was doing Shakespeare at school this year shock (A Midsummer's Night Dream) and Beowulf!

Fuzzymum1 Fri 28-Jun-13 10:12:33

Some children start school blending (my youngest was just beginning to blend in the summer holidays when he was 4.5 - he excitedly came in the house saying "it says J E T on the hose, that says jet" and there are children at the end of year one at the moment who are just getting there with blending - I would say some time during reception year is normal but later isn't unusual.

MrsMelons Fri 28-Jun-13 10:19:55

It varies hugely. DS1 could blend any phonetically built words, however long, before he was 3 but with DS2, he knew all the sounds within a half-term of starting school but it did not really click until november time when he was 4.7. He would be saying c-a-t but just could not hear what word it was supposed to be. I think it is practice for most and comes naturally for a minority.

jgjgjg Fri 28-Jun-13 12:59:30

My understanding is that it's a developmental thing. You can keep exposing them to sounds etc but fundamentally it will just 'click' at some point. A relative (who is a qualified speech therapist) reckons that 5 is the average age for that 'click' but it is often delayed in children who have any kind of speech or language delay.

Teuchtermam Fri 28-Jun-13 15:24:10

Thanks everyone for replies, you've been very helpful.

We did try sounding out correctly but it just didn't click with Dd so for the moment we will carry on with telling her what a word says when she asks.

We will return to sounding out in a year or two as it looks from the thread as if the average is 4 to 5ish, and Dd just isn't ready.

I'm sure with enough repetition, she'll get it when she's older. There is absolutely no hurry of course, we were just interested, that's all. Dd will start primary school in Scotland in Aug 2015.

About the joke earlier, do some people have a habit of exaggerating on here or something? Sorry I'm new!

MrsMelons Fri 28-Jun-13 19:20:41

I am not sure if people exaggerate on here but if anyone mentions a gifted child they are generally flamed!!

zingally Fri 28-Jun-13 19:37:47

Most "average" ability children are sounding out and blending reasonably well by the end of Reception year.

By the end of Year 1, virtually all are. In my experience, only children heading towards the SEN list still have no clue by the end of year 1.

TwasBrillig Fri 28-Jun-13 20:12:10

Average for mumsnet is different to average remember! A ridiculously high number of children start school not really having been read to at home etc.

prettybird Fri 28-Jun-13 20:30:43

Just to clarify: P1 is roughly the equivalent of Reception (although on average the children are about 6 months older), so P2 equals Y1.

lastnightidreamt Fri 28-Jun-13 20:38:45

twasbrillig I have read to all of my DCs every day since they were under 1, and not one of them has known a single letter/sound/phonic before starting school, let alone blending!

I have tried confused

MrsMelons Fri 28-Jun-13 20:41:17

I know a YR teacher and they said most years no children can actually read when starting school, she said they get quite excited when one can and weirdly it is often boys but she said the girls seem to take over very quickly.

TwasBrillig Fri 28-Jun-13 20:55:21

Last night -sorry wasn't at all suggesting they should be! Just trying to point out that from reading mumsnet you could believe its normal to be able to read before starting school. It really isn't.

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