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Which Read Write Inc material at home if abroad?

(22 Posts)
Barly Wed 23-Apr-14 08:51:40

Good morning, everybody!

We're living in France now, our son's 5, going to a French school, and he talks English at home like other native speakers of his age, but we'd like him to be able to read and write in English, too. He's familiar with the phonics method from watching Alphablocks, and he's started to scribble some letters and recognises a good deal, both by phonics value and by name, but hasn't started reading words yet.

After some looking around, I decided to go with Read Write Inc, but I'm overwhelmed by the number of books and other stuff they have, and most or all seems to be for schools, not for home.

What do you think would be a good choice of materials to start with?

tara49 Wed 23-Apr-14 23:28:54

HI Barly
Go with a pack of the small speed sounds cards sets 1, 2 and then 3 and 1 of each of the storybooks starting with red ditty's. If you want to go totally with RWI then you'll also need a complete set of green and red words. Go to the RWI website to watch video's of teachers using the products.
The RWI programme is a good way to teach and use phonics but the storybooks are dry and the purely phonics-based approach doesn't aid fluency and expression.
The PM books are excellent for early readers as they expose the reader to words which are not decodeable and encourage a variety of strategies to read rather than just phonics. Also 'the book' will deliver to europe and they have fantastic resources including the excellent oxford reading tree books at very discounted prices.
If you do go with the RWI make sure theres lots of exposure to other books otherwisehe'll just think that English stories are too dull to bother with!
Tara, reading manager, London primary school

tara49 Thu 24-Apr-14 00:11:47

Also, avoid bothering with the letter names at the moment - only use lower case and make sure that your phonics are pure (avoid adding an 'uh' to sound endings) - google pure or synthetic phonics to hear pure sounds.

temporarilyjerry Thu 24-Apr-14 03:55:00

I am a primary school teacher and lived in France when my children were a similar age to yours. I used RWInc with my children but if I could go back in time, I would wait until my children had learned to read in French. Many of the letter sounds are the same and so you would only have to teach the ones that are different (e.g. j/g, e/i,) and the "tricky" words.

I do think RWInc is great for teaching children to read, just not necessary in cases like ours. Good luck!

mrz Thu 24-Apr-14 06:34:19

I would agree with avoiding letter names until your child is secure with sounds but your son needs to know that both capital and lower case letters are spellings for the sounds so teach both.

I would also suggest avoiding PM books as they are based on the mixed method teaching of Reading Recovery.

Take a look at Phonics International which is an excellent online phonics programme.

Feenie Thu 24-Apr-14 07:04:14

I know it's bad form to highlight grammatical errors, but my eyebrows had a life of their own when I read video's, ditty's from a 'reading manager' (not to.mention the mixed methods guff).

Mixed methods are even more of a bad idea than usual when dealing with reading in two languages.

mrz Thu 24-Apr-14 07:14:17

If you have an ipad you might consider an excellent app to help you teach your child to read and write. Highly recommended.

allyfe Thu 24-Apr-14 10:06:06

As a parent, I would just suggest getting a selection of possible reading books. My daughter hated the RWI ones. She wouldn't read them. They are great from a phonics point of view, but the stories are really rubbish (I've only looked at the earlish ones because my daughter wouldn't touch them after the first few we tried). However, my DD loves the much maligned Biff & Chip books which we also had. I wouldn't suggest you get those because as I understand, in their own right they aren't necessarily the best way to teach reading (I think they work for her because they were supported by what they do at school and she likes that link, and she also loves stories about people/characters). But we also had an which were great to begin with, although my DD got bored with the stories (lots about animals) because she essentially loves people stories more than anything.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Thu 24-Apr-14 10:15:46

The RWI programme is a good way to teach and use phonics but the storybooks are dry and the purely phonics-based approach doesn't aid fluency and expression

This is total rubbish,and quite depressing (although not surprising) to read from someone signing themselves off as a reading manager. It is absolutely not necessary to get books with 'non-decodeable' words to supplement RWI or any phonic reading program. And possibly quite harmful for some children.

I'd agree with getting the speed sounds cards. The black and white versions of the RWI books are available on Amazon and are quite reasonable priced. If you want to supplement from the book people they used to do a good deal on the ORT songbirds which are decodable.

I'd agree with the PP about not starting both English and French at the same time. I think at 5 though you might be a bit ahead of the French system, particularly if he knows the English sounds already so you might be OK.

Feenie Thu 24-Apr-14 12:57:32

Questionable advice also when considering the new curriculum that 'reading managers' would presumably be required to implement from September.

Barly Fri 25-Apr-14 10:05:11

Thanks a lot for all the answers!


- letter names: too late, I'm afraid; he knows them already, Alphabet Song and all that. But thanks to the occasional Alphablocks episode, he sees the letters separately with their phonetic value.

- p vs "puh": no problem, luckily, I never said "puh".

- mixing French and English: good point, the other day, my wife spelled something to a French friend and said "ghee" for G in French. :-) It's confusing. But I don't know how quick or slowly they're going to introduce reading and writing in his school, and it would be a pity if he starts reading English years later because of this.

- mixing methods: I know there's a lot available, in print, online, as toys, as films, but I really agree that it's best for me to stick to one "line", at least for the time being.

tara49, Rafa, thanks for the concrete tips, too!

mrz Fri 25-Apr-14 15:27:17

Alphabet song is fine it's the matching name to letter symbol that can cause problems for some children.

There are a few posters who live in France and have taught their child to read in English (with no apparent consequences).

freetrait Fri 25-Apr-14 18:45:16

The first bits of RWI are very good, both my kids have learnt (at school) really well from them, and have read the books up to yellow at which point we all got bored. Have done these alongside Songbirds (Julia Donaldson), and recently enjoying Usborne Ladybird reading, First Reading Series (they do Very First Reading too). Those are not so phonics based, better as you know more. DD also enjoyed some Jelly and Bean books.

The cards are good, and then once you can blend and read a bit you can do the green books-On a bus etc- DD did them in first term of Reception just before turning 5 and they were just right for her at that stage.

Not sure about the ditties, am guessing they did these at school before green books.

freetrait Fri 25-Apr-14 18:46:38

oops, it's not Ladybird is it.. ah well, just the books are that sort of size, and have great pictures. It's Usborne First Reading, level one, two, three, four, then Usborne Young Reading...something like that anyway.

Barly Sat 26-Apr-14 09:25:03

I ordered the cards now, and the first sets of stories, to see if we like it.

temporarilyjerry Sat 26-Apr-14 09:44:14

Although reading isn't taught until CP, children learn to read fluently in one year, unlike in the UK where they begin much earlier and take much longer.

Barly Sat 26-Apr-14 10:05:26

Good to know - I suspected as much but wasn't sure. (He'll be in CP in September.)

SolomanDaisy Sat 26-Apr-14 10:08:27

mrz do you mind if I ask, what Is the problem caused by matching letters to the letter names and is there anything I can do to alleviate it? DS learnt it from watching stuff like the alphabet song on TV. He knows the sounds as well and tries to sound out words, but sometimes uses the letter names. We also live abroad and he has self taught himself this far, but I think maybe I need to do something so he doesn't create problems for himself later on. He also recognises some words by sight. He's very young, so I just thought it would work itself out later, but maybe it won't.

mrz Sat 26-Apr-14 13:24:13

Some children try to decode and spell words using letter names and can get confused (I see it more with spelling when a child might write night nIt or mAd etc but some children will try to read in the same way)

If you find you son is doing this just keep reminding him gently - I would say something like - well done that is the letter name but do you know the sound because we need the sounds to help us read and spell.

SolomanDaisy Sat 26-Apr-14 14:48:00

Ok, thanks, I'll give that a try!

ddmommy Sat 26-Apr-14 18:23:35

I have been teaching my now 4yo to read over the past year and found that a mix of books worked best. Originally we used Bug Phonics (Amazon) and Jelly and Bean books (own website) - we liked the pictures and simple stories. Now that she is moving to letter combinations - I got Dandelion Launchers/Readers that are structured to practice specific letter combinations - eg. one book will be using a lot of th- words, another one will be for --ai-,...
Also before starting with actual books we played a blending/segmenting games. The one she liked best was Metal Mike - who is a robot and speaks in phonic sounds. Basically it's a shoe box with a picture of a robot and a slot for a mouth. And there is a set if picture cards. Then parent says Metal Mike wants to eat C-A-T. If the child gets blending, he'll pick the right card and slot it in. If not, you help him by saying the sounds a bit closer together. Once he gets short words, you can move to 4 letter ones and replace picture cards with word cards. All of this can be downloaded of the net - or if you want I can email it to you.

Barly Tue 29-Apr-14 10:24:36

Thanks - found it online.

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