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Is this how children learn to read these days?

(485 Posts)
Bananaketchup Sat 08-Feb-14 20:10:40

Am genuinely asking. DD is in reception. She started late at the school and has only been in full-time since xmas, so they don't really know her too well. She loves being read to, she can sound out words when she's in the mood, but is also one for the easy life. She reads once a week 1-1 with a TA at school, and brings the book home afterwards until it's swapped a week later. The books are of the 'this is a house, this is a garden' level. In her reading record it will say 'DD read the book and enjoyed it'. But when she reads it at home she rattles off the sentence on each page and has clearly just memorised it, and isn't actually reading. If I mix the page order up, she can't read it. If I hide the picture, she can't read it. She will make wild guesses without even trying to sound out the word e.g. she will guess 'the' for 'house', just pure guesses. This weekend she got in a strop because I wouldn't let her see the picture (as she was just guessing from this and not reading the words at all). She then said 'but Mrs X (The TA she reads with) says look at the picture, then read it'. So my question is (if you've got this far without dying of boredom), is this how children are taught to read - to look at the picture to know what the words say? Because DD isn't paying any attention to the words, just gabbling off what's in the picture, and I can't really see how this is teaching her to read. I am minded to speak to school, but don't want to be 'that' mum if this is genuinely a method children learn to read by, which I'm unaware of. Can anyone advise please?

SapphireMoon Sat 08-Feb-14 20:14:35

I would think it is the 'this is the' bit that is important and the pictures are there for words like garden and house.
I have a ds at this level and we do use the pictures. I do run a finger under words though to make him look at them as prone to the memorising thing and can be thrown by the last page which may change format slightly!

Bluecarrot Sat 08-Feb-14 20:14:46

Obviously you already know the answer to this!

I'd go see the teacher on Monday morning or write a note if you can't be there, and ask for more info on their tesco of method- is it sight reading? Jolly phonics?

LittleMissGreen Sat 08-Feb-14 20:18:51

This is the outdated look and say method which should now have been replaced by phonics. Whilst a large number of children can eventually learn to read this way - because they work out the phonics themselves (or in some cases can actually only read words that they have specifically been taught to read) it can lead to children being left completely unable to read.
All schools should now be teaching phonics. It is possible (giving the school the benefit of the doubt) that they are teaching phonics but don't have enough phonic readers to send them home and only use them in school (but I wouldn't be holding my breathe on that given that your DD is reading the book in school too).

noblegiraffe Sat 08-Feb-14 20:21:19

No, that's not how my DS is leaning. He is also in reception. They learn the sounds for the letters and get books only containing the sounds that they have learned. They sound it out and then blend the sounds to make the words.

So his books started with things like 'a big bad bug', with three or so words on each page. Then he moved onto more complicated ones, at the moment he has one called Fish and Ships (practising sh).

Before he stared the phonics books they just sent home books without words, and normal reading books. 'Garden' and 'house' are quite complicated for someone learning to read, are you sure she is meant to be reading them?

SapphireMoon Sat 08-Feb-14 20:23:35

Interesting. My ds is definitely learning phonics at school but the books home not really supporting that which maybe why he is a bit 'stuck'...

columngollum Sat 08-Feb-14 20:29:02

Tormenting her isn't going to help.

lljkk Sat 08-Feb-14 20:30:45

'but Mrs X (The TA she reads with) says look at the picture, then read it'.

hmmm. sorry, but I think that might be a leetle bit of a misunderstanding.

NomNomNom Sat 08-Feb-14 20:32:46

Yes. Don't hide the pictures. Reading at this point is meant to be fun and enjoyable, otherwise you'll put her off it for life. Let her do it at her own pace and support her. School should have told you how to help her read the sounds and blend them, so if you don't know, then ask them.

Ease off a bit, I'd say.

NeverQuiteSure Sat 08-Feb-14 20:38:22

My DS is also in Reception, and I observed a Read, Write, Inc (their chosen method of teaching reading/writing) lesson earlier this week.

I think most schools teach phonics-based reading now. If your DD has come home singing "a-a-ants on my arm" (Jolly Phonics) or "Maisie-mountain-mountain" (Read, Write, Inc) she's probably on one of the popular phonics methods, although I believe there are lots of ways to do it.

My DS spent the first term making sure all children knew the first 40-odd (I think!) pure sounds and could write their letters well. They're now blending and can read most short phonetically 'sound able' words, plus a small handful of words like 'the' and 'put' that have to be memorised as whole words.

They bring Oxford Reading Tree books and the odd Jolly Phonics book home (purely as the school have them left over from old schemes), but were are encouraged to use these to work on their 'story telling skills' more than reading. A large number of these book have no words at all. They do bring home reading work too (mostly photocopied sheets), but the emphasis with the reading books at home at this early stage is storytelling.

I mention this in case there have been some crossed wires with the purpose of your DD's home reading books. It does sound like very poor communication by the school though. We have lots of guidance in the front of reading journals, plus lots of opportunities to observe lessons and meet teachers.

Swimmingwithsharks Sat 08-Feb-14 21:04:05

There are many different components to learning yo read. Part of it includes memorising, recognising word shapes and using pictures as clues. The pictures at this stage aren't just there to be pretty. Stop taking all the reading tools away from her! Some children learn to read using phonics, some don't, some use a mix of decoding and word recognition. Just let her gain confidence in her reading now and before long she will be reading using different skills.

Bananaketchup Sat 08-Feb-14 21:10:37

Hmm, okay, not sure. The weekly newsletter home will have things in it like 'this week we have been learning oo and ou and the tricky word they' which made me think they learnt by phonics. But the books she brings home bear no relation - maybe like Never's school they're left overs! I should emphasise, DD started the 'hide the picture' thing, I think she was proud she'd memorised the book the day she got it! I'm certainly not trying to put her off reading. She is more than capable of trying to hoodwink the TA though, and pretending to be sounding out the words when she's just looking at the pictures, in order to try and please/conform to what she thinks is wanted, which seems a bit pointless. I've answered my own question haven't I? I need to speak to the teacher. I am already 'that' mum - hey ho. Thanks all.

Feenie Sat 08-Feb-14 21:12:04

Part of it includes memorising, recognising word shapes and using pictures as clues.

Bollocks, bollocks and bollocks. None of those are reading and all promote guessing. None are strategies which are supposed to be used in teaching reading now, and none are 'reading tools'.

Quangle Sat 08-Feb-14 21:12:11

I don't think there's anything wrong with looking at the picture. It helps with context and comprehension. I get frustrated with ds when he doesnt look at the picture and is wrestling with the sounds instead! But there needs to be a phonics backup to it. Are they doing this at school?

Idespair Sat 08-Feb-14 21:13:11

Looking at the picture is a strategy that a 5 or 6 year old can use if they can get most of the text but are missing a word. It is not a strategy to learn to read and you should tell the school to give books that she can't decipher from the pictures alone.

Feenie Sat 08-Feb-14 21:15:41

Using pictures should never ever be used as a strategy to guess a word. What happens when the word appears without the picture next to it? It isn't reading and we know from research that weaker readers over rely on picture cues.

columngollum Sat 08-Feb-14 21:18:37

I'd like to see anybody read anything anywhere without the aid of memory!

Littlefish Sat 08-Feb-14 21:19:04

If your dd only started at Christmas, is she being given additional support to help her catch up and learn the single sound phonics that the other children will have learned before Christmas? This will be important in helping her learn to read.

Quangle Sat 08-Feb-14 21:19:42

But you would look at the pics to situate the story a bit more or prompt a discussion about the story that's not evident from the words alone. May e that what the TA meant.

columngollum Sat 08-Feb-14 21:24:54

Since we don't know either the book or the pictures we can't tell what the TA meant. And we don't normally rely on face-value second hand information from infants to tell what went on. But anyway, if what's been reported is an accurate reflection of what happened it's likely that the TA thought there was some obvious correlation between the picture and the text.

In an infant reading book that's not unlikely.

Feenie Sat 08-Feb-14 21:25:52

That's fine, promoting discussion about the story is to be encouraged, as long as they're not used to help guess anything.

TeacupDrama Sat 08-Feb-14 21:25:55

phonics is used mainly but looking at shape of words is necessary for some words which do not follow phonics there are about 20 really common words like "was" which you just need to learn as the sounds do not match pronunciation

LucyBabs Sat 08-Feb-14 21:26:10

Can I ask how old are children generally in reception?

I ask because I live in Dublin and we don't have the same names for classes.

My dd is 5 she started school last September we call it junior infants.

I'm worried now because this is the 4th thread I've seen where reading and blending words has been mentioned.

My dd is doing jolly phonics she gets a new letter to learn every 2nd day.

There has been no sign of reading or blending.

I can't imagine our school curriculum is that different.

Sorry for derailing the thread!
I've been meaning to ask these questions for months!

Littlefish Sat 08-Feb-14 21:28:27

Teacup - we just teach the children that when "a" follows "w", it makes an "o" sound


columngollum Sat 08-Feb-14 21:30:10

Reception children are between four and five, usually. The children clearly have to learn the letters and their sounds before they can blend them. Some children, mine for instance, learn to recognise whole words and blend later (after they can already read.)

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