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Yr 1 progress

(26 Posts)
thegreylady Wed 12-Nov-14 13:01:41

My dgs is 5 (6 in Feb) and in a mixed yr1/2 class in a small school. His reading is very fluent and, according to school well above the average. He was the only yr1 child asked to do a reading at Harvest Festival in church. However, his handwriting is almost illegible though accurately spelt and punctuated (uses apostrophes etc). His numbers are often reversed especially 2,3 and 5. He will practise at home if his older brother has homework.
What can we do to get the rest of his work towards the standard of his reading? I am a long retired teacher and tried an old (obviously flawed) Schonell Reading Test which came out at 10.8 before he got bored.
I should add that his parents , mum is an English teacher, are mildly concerned but not worried. We just don't want him to be frustrated. He works with the Yr2 groups for reading related work and with his own year group for the rest. At the moment he is a cheery, happy little boy smile

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 12-Nov-14 13:30:13

is he doing joined up?

we had the odd situation that DD was expected to print her letters when writing but then in their handwriting books they did joined up, but they weren't allowed to use that when writing normally! so consequently it all just looked messy because they were combining both.

has his eyesight been checked?

oh and another slightly random one - do they use lines? surprising number of schools try writing on plain paper which of course causes problems.

do you think he just rushes his writing because he is desperate to get all his good ideas down?

if he was given a passage to copy out would that be neat?

with regards to numbers DD1 has a lot of dyslexic tendencies as well as eye problems and for her reversing numbers we did literally a couple of minutes a day for a month or so of writing out the numbers 1-20. so they had to be formed properly and be round the right way (including beyond 10 because she would say 13 but write 31 etc). we still get some problems but it did help solve a lot of it.

thegreylady Wed 12-Nov-14 22:15:31

They are starting joined up writing and you are right about the lines. They seem to write on plain paper. If he is copying his writing is better but not great and he puts the odd capital in the middle of words. He will say,"my story will have sub-headings for every chapter"(sic) then he will write about 6 lines and say,"That was a summary, I'll do the rest later." His teacher says it is so frustrating. She gave him a star for knowing what sub-headings and summary meant but.... I have bought him a book for practising writing numbers, it came today and he likes the wipe clean pages and having a whiteboard pen. Hopefully that will help. His eyesight was fine when tested last year. Thank you so much for your help. He is fine really I know that.

noblegiraffe Wed 12-Nov-14 22:55:19

Blimey, his writing sounds amazing for his age. Apostrophes, accurate spelling and hyphens? The illegibility is probably due to his motor skills which are at the level of a 5 year old.
My DS (Y1) had a birthday party recently, and looking at all the birthday cards, crappy handwriting is fairly standard.

Betsy003 Wed 12-Nov-14 23:03:36

I think they won't consider dyslexia unless they are writing back to front in juniors.

I also think the emphasis should be on enjoying reading and feeling inspired and interested in books. The rest will naturally fall into place probably at the end of infants/start of juniors.

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 12-Nov-14 23:25:34

it sounds like a degree of asynchronous development, is that the right term? I think so. where his brain is advanced for his age but his physical skills are those of a child his age. fun practice can't hurt but gradually it should even out.

I never understand this writing on plain paper thing. My mum moved schools once back in the late 80s I think it was and she discovered they were still using plain paper in yr2 and 3 which shocked her. She changed them to lined paper very quickly and of course children's writing got neater.

Betsy003 Thu 13-Nov-14 07:24:52

I don't think you have to make him spend hours practicing his writing, he will do that at school.

My DS was just the same. Very advanced at reading and in infants wrote small amounts and illegibly yet with perfect use of punctuation. It's all evened up during juniors because the writing formation boils down to fine motor skills and these naturally improve with time. Concentrate on more enriching things, not writing formation if he finds it boring.

PastSellByDate Thu 13-Nov-14 10:32:40

Just a parent - but at that age I think backwards letters & numbers is pretty normal. Yes, of course, they are classic indicators of dyslexia - but reading well often means dyslexia isn't an issue.

From what you're saying about the structure/ style of his writing - there's no issue. I suspect it's a motor skill issue rather than SEN - but I sincerely don't know. I think the parents are right to give it some time. He's 5 - most 5 year olds have issues with writing.

If you're really worried - why not get him some handwriting practice books - but chose some that do have the lines (especially 3rd line - a hatched line in middle of two solid lines) and that show you how to form the letters.

We found with both DDs that colouring in geometric drawings with fine tip ink pens really helped their motor skills - and handwriting improved dramatically. For example


mrz Thu 13-Nov-14 18:00:45 I'm afraid the whole letter/word reversal thing is a bit of a myth with some "dyslexic" children never reversing a single letter/word while non "dyslexic" children/adults of all ages may frequently reverse numbers and letters

Betsy003 Thu 13-Nov-14 22:29:19

I was told most children stop writing letters and numbers back to front by year 3

mrz Fri 14-Nov-14 04:52:42

Say something often enough and people believe it

thegreylady Fri 14-Nov-14 13:05:22

Thank you all for your help. The teacher flagged the writing and backward numbers at parents' evening. When I wrote the number 3 normally and backwards he picked out which one was right then drew one sideways and told me it looked like a bum! He pointed out the reversed R in a Toys R Us advert and wanted to go into the shop to tell them it was wrong. He is a bit of a live wire at home but very well behaved at school.

thegreylady Fri 14-Nov-14 13:07:11

I have bought him both number and handwriting workbooks now and he writes the numbers properly there but not in his school work.

HPFA Fri 14-Nov-14 13:45:39

I'm sure you're doing this already but with my daughter (who was also behind in writing at this stage - I always thought that as an August birthday her fine co-ordination is really immature) I always emphasised that it was about making her writing clear to other people rather than calling it untidy or messy. So I would say things like "I like that you've kept between the lines here because I really want to read your story and you've made it much easier for me". It emphasises that the point of writing is to communicate to yourself or other people and that's why you want it to be clear. At 10 writing is now her best subject.

HPFA Fri 14-Nov-14 13:48:14

Sorry, should have said "was quite immature" instead of "is" above

DataColour Fri 14-Nov-14 14:19:02

I have a DS like this. Excellent in his reading and maths and good at spelling and writing sentences etc...however he does reverse letters and numbers sometimes (has even started reversing stuff he never did he has started reversing 9 and 7 recently...and he never did that before!). I could get him to write them the correct way at home and I do, and he would write it the right way round 50 times and then write it reveresed on the 51st attempt!! Argh!!! It is frustrating.

toomuchicecream Sat 15-Nov-14 18:54:53

There's a great book by Alistair Bryce-Clegg called Getting Ready to Write (I am almost certain...). It has lots and lots of different ideas for things that children - especially active boys - can do to develop the skills they need to be able to control a pencil to write neatly. Things like using a light sabre to write "big" in the air (getting the shoulder moving). Or painting a wall with blackboard paint so they can practise large letters, then when they're forming them accurately big-scale, they can gradually reduce the size. Or lying on their tummies to develop core stability while writing on wallpaper - large, large letters again. I've lent my copy to our Reception teacher, but those were the things that stood out for me!!

mrz Sun 16-Nov-14 06:41:47

I would avoid workbooks they rarely if ever help in the long term.

Betsy003 Sun 16-Nov-14 08:57:25

Work books. How boring and uninspiring

Betsy003 Sun 16-Nov-14 08:59:22

If it's just fine motor skills to be worked on, there are lots of more interesting ways

tobysmum77 Sun 16-Nov-14 09:01:41

In terms of the letter reversals my dd still does it (Y1) and her writing is really good. On its own its nothing to worry about at this age.

Asleeponasunbeam Sun 16-Nov-14 09:14:29

I would avoid work books too - although 5 yo DD would beg to differ! She loves 'playing schools' with them, doing endless worksheets. Not sure where she's got that from - not her own teacher or me! Can't say it improves her writing much as she likes to do them 'wrong' so she can reprimand her poor imaginary children.

mrz Sun 16-Nov-14 15:05:57

Would she not love playing schools with blank exercise books?

Asleeponasunbeam Sun 16-Nov-14 15:20:58

Yes she does. Don't worry, I didn't buy her the bloody things.

Madcats Sun 16-Nov-14 21:31:36

DH and I had no history of dyslexia, so I became a bit concerned when DD (good at talking and sums) would happily decode a sentence, but flip the middle word in yr 1 when reading aloud..

Writing was mostly back to front in Reception.. a bit so in yr1...rarely in yr 2.

Teachers told us not to worry. They were right.

Please don't get obsessed about it; maybe observe and encourage verbal skills/descriptions and intonation so they are miles ahead once they can process text accuratly.

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