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End of reception year and still can't read

(92 Posts)
BrightonMama Wed 03-Jul-13 10:47:41

Just wanted to know how common it was really, and how worried I should be. Am wondering if DS could be dyslexic, or would it be too early to tell?

He was a very late talker which seemed to impact on his ability to learn phonics - can't hear the sounds or make some of them.He entered reception still having additional needs with his speech and language (didn't start talking til about 3 and a half. He is much better now but some speech sounds are a bit unclear).

Things looked good mid way through the year as he seemed to make some progress. He was moved out of the special needs group for reading and started to bring home reading books.

But his progress seems to have stopped and is possibly moving backwards. Reading with him recently and you wouldn't have thought he'd ever seen a word/had a phonics lesson in his life.

I think my worry is that you can show him a word on one page, turn the page and show him the same word and he's forgotten it again. He does have a terrible memory - can't remember days of the week etc. He also struggles with writing, certain aspects of dressing etc

We read every night - not just boring books, things like the beano which he loves etc Have tried loads of things to get him reading too, like iPad apps, different reading schemes, Cat in the Hat etc

Thanks if you've read this far! Any words of advice or comfort gratefully received!

HormonalHousewife Wed 03-Jul-13 10:51:50

Have you spoken with his teacher. If not you need to do immediately.

Phone up now and book an appointment.

Late talkers in my experience often lack a bit of confidence to say the words out loud. You are doing the right things and he obviously is interested in the beano and that. It can just take time.

But you need to speak to his teacher and speech therapist.

BrightonMama Wed 03-Jul-13 10:58:45

Thanks so much for the reply. I'm sure that's true, that he's worried he can't say some of the sounds out loud. The word 'the' in particular was tricky for him to learn as he could't say it (although he can now)

I spoke to his teacher at the end of last term at parent's evening. We were both quite positive as he really did seem to be making some progress. He seemed to 'get' phonics. But I think he's OK when he's doing 'pure' phonics, but any book that has too many tricky words in it confuses him so much that he doesn't try to sound anything out phonetically.

freetrait Wed 03-Jul-13 11:01:28

How old is he? Progress is often not linear. So you see some improvement, then maybe none or even a backwards step before the next leap.

What time of day do you read? Is he sufficiently alert and engaged? Can he hear the phonic sounds now, say them and blend them? Perhaps you need to go back to the basics, could you/school have rushed him through to a point he is not able to cope with?

I would chat to his teacher if you are concerned.

Periwinkle007 Wed 03-Jul-13 11:03:55

I would speak to the teacher - you want to be reassured or given some pointers for over the summer. I don't know how common it is but I would expect there is at least 1 child in every class of 30 by the end of reception who is similar and in many schools probably more than that. There may well be a problem with memory or it could be confidence or it could be that it is the end of a long year and he is tired or just not very interested at the moment. Learning to read is difficult for a lot of children.

Nemanemo Wed 03-Jul-13 11:04:23

My eldest DS wasn't reading well by Y2 despite being read to daily and having a house full of books. School were just beginning to think about investigating further when something clicked and he went from a year behind his chronological age to nine months ahead in the space of three months. His spelling has always been erratic but he wasn't struggling in school so we didn't stress about it. He is now finishing his MSc and on track for a distinction. He finally did a test at this uni and is, in fact, dyslexic enough to be given extra time in exams.

I think you are doing lots of really good, encouraging things and should keep an eye on progress but not worry at this stage, or let him know you are concerned at all. My boys all progressed in fits and starts with phases when nothing seemed to be happening, the main thing is not to make learning seem a tedious chore or let it develop into a cause of strife.

freetrait Wed 03-Jul-13 11:07:01

What sort of books is he being given to read? Are they good phonics based ones? If not, then I completely understand his reluctance to try! Could you read the tricky words for him for now to take the pressure off, or model how to sound them out?

freetrait Wed 03-Jul-13 11:10:35

By the way "still can't read" is perhaps a little negative although I know what you mean. Actually most children cannot read in the sense of being fluent readers by the end of YR. Fluent reading comes anywhere between YR and Y2 (of course the odd one or two children will come to school reading but this is not very common).

PastSellByDate Wed 03-Jul-13 11:12:39

Hi BrightonMama:

Not in Brighton - but DD1 did leave Year R barely able to read - maybe recognised 'I', 'the', 'a', 'an' and 'and' in stories. We found that there was a lot of memorising stories and pretending to read as well.

No dyslexia (DH is dyslexic and M-I-L now retired, but was dyslexic therapist for County Council & did check DD1) but DD1 has very minor lisp and was shy to read out loud.

This awkwardness has been a problem all the way through (now late Y5) but she is doing much better.

Talk to your school about reading/ phonics support but also talk to school about whether they have an accelerated reading support group for KS2. DD1 joined this in Y4 and the improvement was phenomenal.

It can be a long hard struggle (we've become religious about daily after bath reading time with DD1, often resulting in DD2 giving up the ghost and falling asleep before she can read to us) - but each step forward is a huge achievement and we've always tried to be incredibly positive (outwardly at least) to her about her getting there one day.

I can sincerely say she's doing o.k. now - it just was a long, but not unpleasurable, slog.

BrightonMama Wed 03-Jul-13 11:18:00

Thanks for all the advice! Glad to hear about your son, Nemanemo. Very reassuring and just what I wanted to hear!

Think that you're right, it may be that the school (and me!) have tried to rush him too far ahead and we may need to go back to basics a bit with blending.

I have the Ladybird Phonics app and he can cope OK with that, but the moment he reads a book with too many tricky words he won't try - or just guesses wildly.

I will make an appointment to see his teacher though as I think if I'm being honest it's not just the lack of reading that worries me. His working memory is practically non-existent. No idea what day of the week it is even after being told several times. He can't write his name, hold a pen or use cutlery very well, still struggles with some aspects of dressing etc

Bless him! I'm making him sound terrible. But on the bright side he's really creative, well behaved, very caring, great socially and is extremely happy!

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 03-Jul-13 11:20:09

OP - I'm sure you are concerned but I don't think it is that unusual. Of the reception class that I hear read, there are 2 or 3 children who are at the stage you describe your son being at.

I know that those children do get additional support in school, and one is having SALT outside school.

I would definitely talk to the teacher about what you could work on over the summer, and about what plans there are in place for September to help him make progress.

Have a look at Reading Chest to see about getting hold of some good phonics based books for him to have a go at.

Jenny70 Wed 03-Jul-13 12:04:17

Definitely speak to the teacher, the summer holidays usually result in a backwards slip - and by the sound of it you don't want your son to start yr1 in worse shape than he is now.

With memory thing, using a visual chart can help, long rectangle with each step is a picture square in a line (get dressed, teeth, socks & shoes etc) the ones I've seen use velcro to put each activity on.

With recogmising tricky words, we bribed our youngest - he got 1p for each tricky word he saw in the books we read to him... then it was capped @10p per book. Really motivated him to look for tricky words in books, signs etc.

smee Wed 03-Jul-13 12:21:57

Not at all unusual. Don't stress, talk to the school, but the biggest thing we were told is just to keep reading to them. Definitely don't pressurise them or they'll pick up on your concern. My DS didn't read until yr2. He is dyslexic, but his non-dyslexic friend was similar. DS is now (rather weirdly!) the best reader in his class.

BrightonMama Wed 03-Jul-13 13:15:38

Ooh, like the bribery idea a lot! Am going to try that one, thanks Jenny.

Apart from seeing his teacher, with him I think I'm just going to try to chill out and read books he enjoys for a bit. Last night we read his school books together and I think I was getting too frustrated (when he couldn't recognise words from one page to the next) with him to be of any real support. Don't want to put him off for life.

HormonalHousewife Wed 03-Jul-13 13:51:44

one thing we did was put stickers around the house or simple words on everyday objects (nursery encouraged this too) so a chair might have 'chair' sellotaped to it, which kind of reinforced everyday use of letters and sounds.

Vagndidit Wed 03-Jul-13 14:04:36

DS is in the same boat. Am trying not to stress about it (am a former primary school teacher so it's not for lack of trying at home) but it's hard. His school is very calm about it and insists that he'll get there in Year 1. The school is still very much "old school" play-based (most primaries I've read about here on MN have long since steered away from this model) and are happy to allow children to progess at their own pace.

We were told to keep reading to him, instill the joy of reading most of all and let things happen as they may.

EmmaGellerGreen Wed 03-Jul-13 14:47:38

Do you have an ipad as there are lots of fun phonics apps that might catch his interest and build his confidence?

simpson Wed 03-Jul-13 16:56:44

What school books does he get??

If they are the old fashioned Biff et al then they are not phonetic.

You can try the Oxford owl website for free ebooks. Also the songbirds books are good.

BrightonMama Wed 03-Jul-13 17:06:36

Emma - we have phonics apps coming out of our ears. He will do them to please me, but not out of choice for his own pleasure.

School books seem to be a mish mash of different schemes. For example, today he's brought home two Rocket books but other times it's a different style of book. The two he's brought home today are red, but he has had other colours at different times.

maizieD Wed 03-Jul-13 18:53:44

^ but the moment he reads a book with too many tricky words he won't try - or just guesses wildly.^

Kind of gives you a clue, doesn't it?

There is absolutely no need at this stage for him to be reading words which are beyond his phonic capabilities. Forget about 'tricky words' and concentrate on securing his letter/sound correspondence knowledge and using it to decode and blend words which contain all the correspondences that he knows.

Don't worrry if he has to sound out and blend words many times before they go into long term memory and he is able to read them 'by sight'. Children vary a great deal in the number of repetitions they need; he will 'get it' in the end. It sounds as though he does have some processing problems which will slow him down a bit with this, but, as he isn't going to be able to learn to recognise words 'on sight' any other way just keep on practising.

You might find the BRI books helpful. They move very slowly, with lots of repetition and really consolidate skills.

mrz Wed 03-Jul-13 19:59:17

Be very careful with phonic apps many are based on US methods which don't match how reading is taught in the UK and could confuse him more than help.

Noggie Wed 03-Jul-13 20:13:19

Maybe have his hearing checked? My dd had glue ear which affected her reading.
Another thing to think about is that kids vary so much at this age and it is not necessarily the good readers now who will definitely be the best readers in 5 years time x

BrightonMama Wed 03-Jul-13 21:12:45

Thanks all for the great advice. Yes, hearing all fine as he had frequent checks because of his speech difficulties.

MaizeD - Those Piper books look great (and not that expensive). Think the repetition would help and it would be great to find some pure phonics books he found easy to build his confidence back up a bit.

daytoday Wed 03-Jul-13 21:19:44

Firstly, your son will be fine because you are 'on it.'

My eldest was a late talker and was exactly you describe at the end of reception. We were relaxed until the start of year 2 - as he needed to grow and just enjoy school. In year 2 we knuckled down and got him a tutor. We also made him read every night for 10 minutes slowly increasing to 20 over the year. He absolutely hated this but we were insistent. This did the trick. By year 3 we had no more worries. He left primary with fantastic reading skills.

I have friends who at the time were aghast at the tutor but low and behold their children got to year 5 and they were really struggling, not just with reading but with self esteem.

Also, a tutor will help figure out if their is anything underlying his struggles.

simpson Wed 03-Jul-13 21:41:44

Also check out your local library.

My library has reading corner books "Run Rat Run" was the first ever book she read (you can also find it on amazon). It had in it "Rat ran....Dog ran....Pig ran....Rat ran in a big red hut" type thing.

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