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Anyone else with a Reception child who can't blend sounds together for reading?

(50 Posts)
spookyskeleton Sun 23-Mar-14 20:13:45

Am getting really concerned about DS2 who still cannot blend sounds together - I feel we are no further forward than we were 4 months ago sad

He knows all the sounds and is confident with these but, for example will say the sounds that make 'cat' so c-a-t and then say something completely random like 'bed' when you ask what word it is.

Parents evening a few weeks ago, the teacher just kept saying he will get there but did not explain how that is going to happen if we haven't made progress so far.

I am concerned he is just getting left behind so much from his peers who all seem to be on proper reading books and get 3 a week whereas we are still on the sounds books and only get 1 a week.

I don't know what to do or where to turn for assistance if the school aren't bothered but we are 2 terms in now and I am certain he needs further help.

Anyone else in this position?

itsnothingoriginal Sun 23-Mar-14 20:37:01

Not sure if it helps but I help out regularly in school with YR and have done for the past 3 yrs. I can pretty much guarantee your DS won't be the only one struggling with blending as there have been a handful in each year I've worked with that struggle a little more with blending. Most get there by the end of the year but our school do put a bit more intervention in place by the end of this term if no real progress being made.

How does he learn best? I do lots of physical stuff with the children who respond well to it - helps to reinforce the phonics and make reading more fun as they can get a bit despondent if finding it tricky.

columngollum Sun 23-Mar-14 20:39:57

You could try teaching him to recognise whole words. Stick the word bed on his bed, chair on his chair and cat on the cat.

allisgood1 Sun 23-Mar-14 20:48:03

We "sing" each sound (elongate it). For example, ccccccccaaaaaaaattttt. It really helps her get "cat". And she's much better now but don't think that's down to me

spookyskeleton Sun 23-Mar-14 20:51:39

Thank you for the reassurance that he won't be the only one but it feels like it when I talk to the other parents sad what kind of intervention options are there?

He has learnt his 'tricky' words ok so putting the words on the objects would probably work but I know we cannot do that otherwise he will fail the phonics test they do in year 1 to check they are reading phonetically. I assume when if he faiks that, the school will have to do something about it but that is 12 months away!

So difficult as DS1 is a high-flyer and has always worked way above the expected levels in everything so this is a completely alien situation for me.

columngollum Sun 23-Mar-14 21:02:33

You're right, recognising whole words is in some ways the opposite of phonics. But, as you point out, they still have to learn tricky words. (There is a pointless debate about whether they have to be learned whole or not. Let's not go there.)

But, the upshot of all this is that children can learn whole words and phonics one after the other or both at the same time. Children are pretty adaptable, unlike adults.

bellablot Sun 23-Mar-14 21:03:23

My DD is like this but it doesn't concern me in the slightest. She's one of the eldest too. 5 years is still only very young and they will learn in their own time. I honestly honestly don't understand why parents would stress themselves out about this or put pressure on the kids and then compare their children. You sound very 'elected' saying stuff like 'I'm not used to this'. And I've tutored children if all abilities, it's usually the pushy mum's who get no-where in helping progress their kids.

I abide this side of school, why can't we leave the children to learn in their own time FGS!!!confused

addictedtosugar Sun 23-Mar-14 21:03:24

DS1 was just like this a couple of months ago.
You don't say how old he is - remember there is also a wide range of ages. DS1 is still 4.

The random stuff really, really used to get to me. He did exactly what you say - sound it out, and then say something completely unrelated. I have NO training in this, but we went with the following.

Can he "hear" the word if you sounds it out for him, so
DS: c-a-t
You, yes, cccc-aaaa-tttt, what do you think it makes
DS: bed
You: cccccaaaaatttt, doesn't sounds like bed to me, ccaatt (ie making it more like the word each time by shrinking the sound length, does that make sense?)
DS: may or may not get it
You: cccaaaatt makes cat

We also signed him up to reading eggs.
Again, it was really frustrating watching him try (there are usually free trials about to see what he thinks - we had a friend who home eds, and we had a play on that before even going for the trial), but he has really progressed. His teacher has commented on it. Don't know if it was something that would just have clicked anyway, or if the eggs helped. I've seen positive and negative comments about reading eggs on MN.

I don't think reading / not reading at this stage is a total predictor of future GCSE grades.

JodieGarberJacob Sun 23-Mar-14 21:09:58

Make sure he can blend 2 letter VC words first before moving onto three letter CVC words. E.g. at, in, it, is, as, on. If he can't do those then he won't be able to blend the harder stuff like cat yet.

spookyskeleton Sun 23-Mar-14 21:20:39

bellablot I apologise if I sound 'entitled' or pushy as I assure you I am neither of those. I consider myself to be extremely laidback about school stuff (i never speak to teachers other than parents evenings or if they speak to me about DS1's behaviour but I feel I am allowed to be concerned about his lack of progress. When I said I am not used to this, it is because DS1 picked it up so easily, I didn't have to practice with him/help him out etc so I really don't know how to help DS2,

Yes, he seems to get it more often if I do the sounding out for him and I shorten the sounds but often endup saying the damn word!

What are these reading eggs you speak of?

spookyskeleton Sun 23-Mar-14 21:22:11

Oh, btw he is one of the oldest in the class but I deliberately didn't say that as it just makes it seem much worse. His August-born cousin is already reading at level 3 sad

jenniferalisonphillipasue Sun 23-Mar-14 21:54:22

I wouldn't worry unless the school are worried. Like you my ds just didn't seem to get it. I too panicked and worried about it but towards the end of year 1 reading seemed to click and now in year 4 he is a voracious reader. My dd on the other hand just seemed to get it. My ds2 is now approaching reception and although he can blend sounds he can not visually recognise them unless in the context he knows.
Having gone through the process with the other two I think I have a bit more confidence to be more relaxed. They are still so little. You obviously care about him and am sure by just encouraging him and reading to him, he will develop.

nonicknameseemsavailable Sun 23-Mar-14 22:03:18

I would personally say keep a close eye on it. yes some children do take longer to get it but one of my daughters has never quite got it. It now is looking likely she has a phonological processing problem. School haven't taken any interest in her difficulties at all because she just memorised every word she was told so they say she can read but I have said for over a year she can't segment words. he is still in reception, it is still ok to be struggling with it but if it persists into yr1 then please don't be fobbed off with school saying it is all ok because whilst yes it MIGHT be all ok, it equally MIGHT not be. sorry, don't want to worry you but I never once considered it might be a language problem but I did know something wasn't right.

caffeinated Sun 23-Mar-14 22:06:55

Hello, you are me two weeks ago. Ds knew all his letter sounds before school started. He is dc3. Dc1 got blending in day 1 of reception dc2 by the first half term so when by this last half term dc3 still couldn't at all I started to worry. I spoke to his teacher who was very impressed that he could remember all the tricky words. He could hear a word if I sounded out. Other than that it'd be totally random and so trying would stress is both out, maybe 1 out of 50 words attempted would be right. But this week it did click and is managing to sound out Cvc words.

MissPricklePants Sun 23-Mar-14 22:07:44

My dd can't blend. She doesn't know all the sounds yet either. I am worried but you are not alone op!

MerryMarigold Sun 23-Mar-14 22:20:16

My ds1 was like this, and dd is a little bit too. He took ages to read as it was an exclusively phonics based programme and he didn't have any book for the whole of reception! He has finally learned words mostly off by heart, although he does know how to sound out too so it has been worth persevering in it. He failed the phonics test in Y1 and was one of a very few to fail, but passed in Y2. It has affected his overall progress at school, I am sorry to say. He also struggles with telling the time, times tables, letter formation. However, his spelling isn't bad and his reading is fine now too, although he doesn't really do it for fun (he's 8) and sometimes gets quite simple words wrong.

He is very creative, imaginative, sensitive, thoughtful. Tons of other stuff which is sadly, not really recognised in the school system unless by an exceptional teacher. I have just had to keep building him up at home. I think the best thing you can do is to keep up an enjoyment of books. Perhaps read books he knows and get him to sound out some words that will prompt his memory. I read dear zoo with dd tonight, as she struggles a bit with blending. She didn't know all the words off by heart, but because she remembers them the sounding out prompted a memory. Also I do prompt first letter a lot eg. there is a picture of a dog in a boat and dd will read 'dog is in a boat' when it is 'ship' so obviously hasn't bothered looking at the word at all, just guessing. Once she reads the 'sh', she can guess ship. I am trying to bang home about the first sound.

My other ds (who is 5) is reading quite difficult books with ease. He's a totally different kettle of fish. They are all so different. It's nice to go to parent's evening and get a good report. But who knows how they will turn out when they are 25...I don't think how fast they learned how to read will be featuring!

maizieD Sun 23-Mar-14 22:32:48

School haven't taken any interest in her difficulties at all because she just memorised every word she was told so they say she can read

That's why you never 'tell' a child a word! That's how 'mixed methods' schools mess up children, as you have found to your child's cost...

To the OP I'd say 'Don't worry, just keep on practising, it will come in time and it doesn't matter if he takes a bit longer than other children do'

Might suggest that you try him with the little BRI books from:

Very inexpensive, very good...

milkysmum Sun 23-Mar-14 22:42:53

I could have written this post a few weeks ago about dd who is in reception - the c-a-t random word thing is very familiar! I did a months free trial on reading eggs which she really enjoyed. A few weeks on it is lime it has suddenly 'clicked' and she is starting to sound out confidently. I have no idea whether it was the reading egg program or not but either way it is a really fun program and you know they are learning too! If you google it there is always a free trial period?

ShoeWhore Sun 23-Mar-14 22:43:39

My youngest took ages to learn to blend sounds reliably, in fact he was in Year 1 before it clicked. Please try not to worry too much yet about the Year 1 phonics check, that is ages and ages away. (He is now on track to get a good KS1 reading level at the end of this year though.)

I just kept supporting him to sound words out and modelled blending them for him. He knew what sounds the letters/digraphs made but couldn't blend them together, so I helped him do it. Keep everything really positive around reading as well.

My dcs' very experienced and wise reception teacher always used to tell us, please try and remember it's not a race. smile I'd just keep an eye on it for now.

spookyskeleton Mon 24-Mar-14 07:04:32

Yes, I keep telling myself that it will just click with him and he will be fine. I have signed up to the reading eggs trial and will make the effort to spend time with him every day on it.

merry thanks for sharing your experiences. DS2 is the same age as your twins (I have changed names but you do know me from the Nov 08 group smile ) will pm you on FB. DS2 is also extremely imaginative and creative and spends his life telling very detailed stories but, as you say, these skills don't seem to be recognised by his teachers. His vocab is excellent so he knows words but just cannot read or write them sad

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Mon 24-Mar-14 10:03:24

dc1 couldn't do this at this stage, about a week later it just clicked. She was one of the first in her class to go on to free reading and is now at a very academic selective school and top in English, so I really wouldn't worry at this stage! grin

MerryMarigold Mon 24-Mar-14 10:22:44

spooky, one of the things which ds1 and dd love about books are the pictures. Personally I feel it is a huge asset to their enjoyment of a book and therefore their enjoyment of reading. They are both v visual (spot the difference is easy for them!), and spend ages looking at the pictures before they read - not in order to 'cheat' but because they love looking at facial expressions or details which I'd never notice, what the people are wearing etc. I always give them some time to look at the picture before starting to read. I see someone mentioned Reading Eggs, I did do it with Ds1 too, in the summer between YR and Y1 and the first term of Y1, which gave him a boost as it's very colourful and fun and was a fun way of doing stuff in the holidays.

Ds1 has just got some books with black/ white pics and he doesn't enjoy these nearly as much, although he is old enough now, and can read well enough that it is not so much of a problem. The Floppy series has tasks such as finding a magic key on every page etc. and he loved doing this (but that particular group was in Y2 as it is a harder set). It made the whole task of 'reading' a lot more fun, which is definitely a good thing. I would say it has helped him not get too hung up on reading, which he never complains about doing (even though it needs to be prompted).

My friend is a Foundation Stage manager, and she is excellent at thinking about what motivates individual kids. The only books my ds1 has ever read unprompted and on his own are Star Wars, Lego Hero Factory, Transformers. (Again, this was when he was a bit older, but worth bearing in mind). It makes me so angry when I think about the year he lost in Reception when he was reading lists of words/ sentences with no pictures, no pages to turn and then if you were very lucky you got to graduate to a book with black and white pics. He HATED it. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr....(thankfully, the school has totally changed their reading programme). School use all sorts of books now. My kids love the Alpha blocks ones and also Rigby Star do good ones.

spookyskeleton Mon 24-Mar-14 10:37:32

merry DS2 loves picking up a book and looking at the pictures and either talking to me about it or telling his own story via the pictures. I remember when DS1 was in Reception, they used to give them books without words to encourage this but they have changed reading schemes so don't know if those kind of books are part of this scheme. DS2 would love those!!

Bumpsadaisie Mon 24-Mar-14 10:45:19

I think this is something that will just "click". When it does, your son will be away quickly and catch up to the others.

Some kids just get it instinctively, others it takes a while. I very much doubt that when they are all 7 it will be obvious who "clicked" with it first and who took a bit longer.

I expect your son is ahead in other ways, like physical confidence and agility and coordination.

We have just had parents evening for my DD (also YR). She is one of those who just "clicked" with blending instantly. So she's reading yellow and blue band books. On the other hand, she is probably the least confident in the class when it comes to sport, swimming, chucking yourself down a zip wire at an adventure playground etc etc. These things are a much bigger challenge for her than the reading, tbh I feel much prouder when she gets a well done certificate for being brave enough to jump in the pool holding a teachers hand than when she gets one for reading (which she can do easily).

They can't all be good at everything immediately.

No doubt by the time they are 8 my DD will be jumping in on her own and your son will have caught up with reading.

MerryMarigold Mon 24-Mar-14 10:46:00

Aw, that's really sweet. He will be writing brilliant stories in Y3! Yes, I remember my friend telling me about those kind of picture books when ds1 was struggling. Maybe you can pick some up on the internet. Or even ones with a few words, but really cool pictures. We are encouraged to talk about the pictures, what's going to happen next etc. as literacy is also about being able to put stories together, not just read words.

Reading schemes seem to come around and go around. Ds1 was doing RWI (Ruth Miskin) - which is the progression from words to sentences and then finally to books (or that is how it was done where he was) but the books have pictures with no 'clues' (hence black and white and a bit obscure). The sentences were quite hard (using words like 'night' and 'fair') and really hammered home all the sounds they needed to learn. Just in a very dry way which was no good for my ds.

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