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Another reception reading one. Sorry.

(20 Posts)
TickledOnion Mon 26-Jan-15 20:30:33

I wasn't sure whether to add to the existing post or start my own but that one seems to have descended into a debate about phonics.

DD1's school do read write inc. They seem to take it pretty slowly, just started bringing home green books this term. According to her teacher DD is in the top group, but I'm really not sure if she should be. She really seems to struggle blending even 3 or 4 letter words and prefers to guess, memorize or use the pictures. She has a good memory and I'm worried that the teacher thinks she can read when she is actually memorizing the book.

She refuses to do any reading with me at home, though she will go through the green and red words at the beginning of the book if I insist.

Should I just wait and see? Or speak to the teacher?

Pikkewyn Mon 26-Jan-15 21:14:47

Speak to her teacher. We were told if they wouldn't read school books then getting them to read anything at all or doing word match/bingo instead was fine. The last thing they want to so is put children off reading. DD2 refused to read her book at home but we found a few of these sheets really boosted her.

Our school has opened up the 'quiet room' at school for 30mins after school so parents can read in school with their Yr R children as they have sound they tend to read better because it is still school.

tumbletumble Mon 26-Jan-15 21:17:22

Do you have a parent teacher meeting coming up? (Our school has them in Feb.) If so, you could leave it till then to discuss with the teacher. If not, then yes, I'd mention to the teacher that your DD is struggling with blending, or make a note of it in her reading record.

Don't stress too much. There's a lot of movement between groups at this age.

louisejxxx Mon 26-Jan-15 21:20:20

I would just make a note of what you've said in her reading diary: that she mainly got through the book by using picture cues and guesses rather than by blending.

TheRealMBJ Mon 26-Jan-15 21:37:06

This is really useful, thanks.

I was worried that DS was not being challenged at school adequately (see my other thread where I was accused of being a pushy parent ) so I have bought some great phonics reading sets from the book people. One is a Floppy Phonics Facts set as DS is really into general knowledge and facts.

They arrived today and it has really helped me feel a lot more confident about his reading, he struggles with blending, but not because he can't, rather he is afraid to fail and because his memory and intuition is so good, he just guesses instead.

Having reading material that he is very keen to decode, combined with me making some obvious mistakes whilst reading with him had done a great deal for his confidence.

maizieD Mon 26-Jan-15 21:41:24

It is just possible that the school, despite using a good phonics programme, is teaching guessing strategies alongside sounding out and blending. Might be worth trying to find out.

To eliminate guessing from pictures, at least, you could cover them until the text has been read.

But do ask for advice from her teacher.

but that one seems to have descended into a debate about phonics.

I regret that the sight of my name among the posters on this thread may bring mashabell hotfoot to tell you that phonics is rubbish..sad I won't join in...

TickledOnion Mon 26-Jan-15 22:13:41

Thanks everyone. I'll have a look at the links and print some sheets off. She loved learning her how to form her letters and loves writing words, she just seems to be totally put off by blending either to read or work out how to write words for herself.
I also think she is afraid to fail and would rather guess or memorize.
I'll try to have a word with her teacher.

TickledOnion Mon 26-Jan-15 22:16:02

Also we don't have a reading record. Is that odd? School seemed very keen to tell us that they don't have to read their phonics books at home and that homework at this age is optional.

screamingeels Mon 26-Jan-15 22:16:44

Masie - final comment, why would you say that if you aren't trying to start a fight?

Ferguson Mon 26-Jan-15 22:49:04

Retired TA here -

I would hope they have reading records for older children, maybe just don't stress it too much in Reception. However, I think most professionals would like to see things started off the way it should carry on. Encourage 'reading' as much as you can, but don't 'push' too hard.

That's good she knows letters and tries to write - some R children are reluctant to write. 'Blending' is a difficult skill, and at this age children just DO NOT know what they are supposed to be aiming at. They realise reading is easy for adults and older children, but to them it seems like an impossible achievement.

I offer a couple of suggestions:

ONE - An inexpensive and easy to use book, that can encourage children with reading, spelling and writing, and really help them to understand Phonics, is reviewed in the MN Book Reviews section. Just search ‘Phonics’.

TWO - When I worked with less able Yr2 children, who were finding learning to read particularly difficult, we often used a SoundWorks kit, which consisted of a set of wooden letter blocks, which the child used to build simple words. The theory was that, for some children, it is easier to SPELL words than READ them, which is a later stage.

It started with three-letter words, with a vowel in the middle - "a" glued onto a board.

The child then looked at the individual letter blocks, and was asked to make the word "c a t". Then he was asked, how do we change "c a t" into "h a t", which letter do we need to change? Then change "hat" into "ham" (with an emphasis on the "mmmm" sound).

Work slowly, and pronounce the sounds accurately and clearly. This approach was used with our Yr2 children who had been unable to make progress with more conventional methods of learning to read. It is rather time-consuming, and ideally needs resources to be made, but it does work very well.

So, if you can find or make suitable letters, and make a card with "a" glued in the middle, your child may enjoy building the words. Use letters that are occurring in words in the books he is bringing home, and then go on to make cards for the other vowels if it seems to work with "a".

OP: I am sorry that a parent's simple query can often descend into a Phonics 'war', and you were wise to keep well out of it!

Let me know how things progress.

maizieD Mon 26-Jan-15 23:05:36

I'm not trying to start a fight; I just know from long experience that that is what is likely to happen.

Mashabell Tue 27-Jan-15 07:09:25

Phonics is not rubbish. For the majority of children, except the few who manage to learn to read largely by themselves, it is absolutely essential.
They need to be taught the main sounds of the 25 English letters (s a t p i n, etc) and how to blend them into words, and also the sounds for another 40+ common letter combinations like qu, ch, sh, ai, ay, oa, ou, igh....

But when it comes to learning to read words in which some letters don't have their main sounds, e.g. any, many, angel, father, said, plait, double, soup, only, once, other phonics no longer does the job quite so well. It becomes more a matter of somehow fixing those words into children's minds so that they begin to recognise them as wholes - as we all do now.

Phonics is merely the first stage on the way to learning to recognise all common words by sight. It is not all that learning to read English involves.
For some children the words which have some irregular letter sounds (won, woman, women) requires lots of going over, again and again. Others manage to memorise them quite easily.

Parents who understand what learning to read English really involves can cater for their children's particular needs much better than a teacher with a class of 30.

maizieD Tue 27-Jan-15 07:59:56

On cuegrin

Ferguson Tue 27-Jan-15 19:35:02

. . . and 25 English letters ! - so which one are we NOT going to learn?!

(or was that a 'typo' ?)

Feenie Tue 27-Jan-15 20:25:54


Mashabell Wed 28-Jan-15 10:04:35

Q Ferguson.
U should have read what i said:
^They need to be taught the main sounds of the 25 English letters (s a t p i n, etc) ... and also the sounds for another 40+ common letter combinations like
qu, ch, sh, ai, ay, oa, ou, igh....

Q is never used on its own in English words, just a few foreign names like Iraq.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Wed 28-Jan-15 11:00:59

Whilst I'm sure there are several politicians who wouldn't mind expunging the word Iraq from the English language, the fact is that English language does take words from foreign languages and we should give children enough knowledge to read those words. Until your campaign for spelling reform gathers momentum and we are all writing Iran, I'm afraid we're going to have to teach 'q'.

Did you mean to write 'They need to be taught the mains sounds of 25 of the 26 English letters' instead? That's a very different sentence to the one you wrote. Q is still a letter even if it only very rarely appears on its own in words.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Wed 28-Jan-15 11:11:04

I think if the school are saying you don't have to read the book at home, and she is really resisting, I would leave it. If nothing else it will give her less opportunity to memorise it, so they teacher may get a better idea of where she is finding things difficult.

Perhaps try and sneek in some opportunities for blending instead, if she will allow. I wouldn't be massively worried about a reception child who struggled with blending at this point. If she has a good knowledge of the sounds, when the blending falls into place she will make a huge jump forwards. It's probably just a case of needing more practice, and if she has a good memory she's probably not getting that from rereading books she has already read.

Emmie412 Wed 28-Jan-15 12:19:38

So if q is not even taught what happens with words like Queen, queue, quit...?

maizieD Wed 28-Jan-15 12:59:10

I would much prefer it if 'q' were taught on its own as a matter of course. 1) It represents a /k/ sound. 2) The 'u' that normally accompanies it represents a /w/ sound.

That they are taught as a unit equalling /kw/ doesn't matter for most children but for the ones who struggle it's not obvious. I don't know how many times I have been told that /kw/ is spelled 'q' - it appears that the 'u' is just there for decoration!

Conversely, in words like 'persuade' and 'suede' the 'u' is spelling a /w/ but, as they've never been taught it, that comes as a bit of a shock grin

I've argued the toss over this with well known programme developers and they don't seem to think it's important but I think that anything which makes life easier for the 'slower to learn' is important. And it really doesn't affect those who pick it up easily one way or the other.

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