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How can I help my daughter with reading

(45 Posts)
localgirl26 Wed 29-Apr-15 13:10:04

Hi, My daughter is age 5 and in Year 1 and has made good progress with reading this year wholly using the Look Say method as she is unable to blend a word at any level. For example, if we wanted to read "hit", I would ask her to say the letters which she does and then says the word is "ten". She guesses the word based on the last letter she sounds out. Has anyone any similar experience with Look Say method and how far a child can go with only this method. I am in my 40's so pretty sure I was taught by look say and turned out ok. Thanks

maizieD Wed 29-Apr-15 14:12:02

I am in my 40's so pretty sure I was taught by look say and turned out ok.

So what do you do when you have a completely unknown word to read?

TheRollingCrone Wed 29-Apr-15 14:24:32

Why is she not learning phonics? Do they not use it at her school?

I'm also in my 40's and learnt by Look and Say, I couldn't read until I was nearly 8 sad

I was amazed when my dd started reading in the 1st term of reception. I'm a total convert of phonics ( but realise some kids have problem with phonics).

Have her teachers raised any concerns? She still is very young.

Strictlyison Wed 29-Apr-15 14:30:46

If she is in school she will be using the phonics method, but if you are using the look say method at home she will be confused...

Ask the school which method they are using and work with that.

You can start by reading a book let's say about cats. Every time the word cat is written, say c-a-t instead, in phonics sounds (if you are not sure about phonics sounds, you can get a CD with songs and gestures, which really help, or there are lots of clips on YouTube with the correct pronunciation for each letter).

Then, ask your daughter to say the sounds c-a-t. Try with d-o-g and with c-a-t, s-u-n, s-t-a-r and other three-four letter words that are easy to pronounce with phonics letter. Stick to it, if you go back to a different method she will struggle with phonics and get confused, and when she will be given longer and more difficult words she will not be able to 'decode' them.

Does she know all the phonics letter sounds?

maizieD Wed 29-Apr-15 14:45:51 far a child can go with only this method.

If the OP's DD doesn't learn to decode and blend she will be stuck with a reading vocabulary of about 3,000 - 4,000 words for the rest of her life. That is about the limit to the ability to recognise words as 'wholes'. David Crystal counted words in The Sun and estimated that a reading vocab of about 9,000 words was needed. Where does that leave people with smaller reading vocabularies?

My earlier question to the OP is relevant to this. Would be interested in her answer.

sunnydayinmay Wed 29-Apr-15 16:02:42

Is she at school? Even if you teach her look and say at home, she will be taught phonics at school, and will not progress until she is confident.

I was taught the look and say method (am also 40 somethingsmile ) and my phonics knowledge, spelling etc is awful. I avoid reading new words outloud because I have no confidence that I have the correct pronounciation. I am a lawyer, and help in infants in school etc, and it has held me back. For example, I would not offer to help with key stage 2 in case I stumbled over words.

Ferguson Wed 29-Apr-15 19:44:18

Yes - Look and Say is what USED to be taught, as Phonics, in its current formal sense, hadn't been adopted. When I started as a TA in 1993, we even used 'blends' of letters such as 'tr' and I spent hours teaching 'tr = train, track, truck, trip' etc.

More recently, when Phonics had arrived, I sometimes had pupils who did exactly as you described - the LAST sound they heard was the one they used, and for some reason, they seemed unable to focus on the INITIAL sound.

If you possibly can you DO need to gradually steer her towards using Phonics, and patient, sympathetic support should get her there before too long. I did voluntary help in a Reception class, where children knew books off by heart, and would 'read' accurately, but without even having the book open on the correct page! So that is not 'reading' at all!

I will give you a few helpful items:

ONE - 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".

TWO - 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’.

THREE - When reading harder books with a child, get him to point to words as he goes along. If he knows the word, or can sound it out, he can say it. If he doesn't know the word, he can hover his finger over it, and YOU say the word for him. Don't stop to analyse or discuss the word at this stage, but try and keep the 'flow' of reading going. Review difficulties at the end, if you wish to.

This way, he has the satisfaction of reading more difficult books, without the fear of getting 'stuck' on words.

I hope these ideas might go some way towards helping you both. I'll look back sometime, and see how she is progressing.

MMmomKK Thu 30-Apr-15 00:48:40

Can you tell us more? Did she struggle at Reception when they were working on Phonics foundation - playing sound games, learning to count syllables in words, blending and segmenting sounds? Have you ever checked her hearing - as that may interfere with that process?

Does she understand how blending works? If you don't try a whole word, but just two sounds - say - "B-A" -- would she be able to make it into "ba" (as in ba-ba-black sheep...)

Mashabell Thu 30-Apr-15 07:14:05

In the end we all read by the look and say method.
None of us on these forums still decode. We read words as wholes.
The final aim of all reading instruction is to enable children to recognise all common words instantly, without decoding. But however we were taught, we have also absorbed enough phonics to use it when we meet new words.
(But for advanced readers in English it's also advisable to check the pronunciation guides in dictionaries, because the spellings of words are not always reliable guides to pronunciation, as all regular viewers of Countdown know. - Many contestants don't know how to pronounce some of the longer words they have learnt to spell.)

One way of getting children to pay proper attention to letters is to ask them to read several words in which ^only one letter is different^:
it, hit, sit, bit, fit, kit, git....
at, fat, cat, mat, rat, sat ...

Variousrandomthings Thu 30-Apr-15 07:18:33

Old fashioned didn't work for me. Totally sold on phonics. Been great for my kids

mrz Thu 30-Apr-15 07:41:55

Masha do you understand what the Look & Say teaching method actually is? It isn't a case of achieving automaticity ...Look & Say requires the learner to memorise words as wholes and respond accordingly a bit like Pavlov's Pup! See the word and bark!

mrz Thu 30-Apr-15 07:55:25

Local girl I always suggest first step is to rule out vision and hearing problems - children may pass basic school checks but still experience difficulties so best to rule out physical barriers early.

Then I would begin by checking whether she can aurally blend the word. If you say /k//a//t/ can she hear the word cat?

bertiebogtrotter Thu 30-Apr-15 08:37:29

I honestly think you don't need to worry. I think this is fairly common, both my older dds did the guessing thing (which drove me up the wall at the time) and then just suddenly got it and turned out to be great readers. What does her teacher say?

I agree though, stick with phonics if that is what your dd is learning in school.

lunar1 Thu 30-Apr-15 08:46:01

I was taught the look say method. I was too in my class for reading, till I was 7 and I swapped schools. I had a fantastic memory so had learnt look say well but couldn't read new words independently, I basically had to start again at 7 because the look say method failed me.

My 6 year old can read practically anything, I can give him a huge word, he can break it down and sound it out with no problems. I'd really try and stick with phonics.

lunar1 Thu 30-Apr-15 08:46:16

Top not too!

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Thu 30-Apr-15 09:09:47

I think I'm going to disagree with bertie. It's not at all common for a child at this stage in year 1 to be unable to blend even simple CVC words. Although how common it is might depend on the school.

Can she hear the word if you sound it out for her?

AmateurSeamstress Thu 30-Apr-15 10:22:36

A lot of us our generation were taught Look and Say and we manage fine with new words all the time. If we were truly limited to 3-4,000 words none of us would have a degree. So I do see your point.

It sounds like your DD is being taught phonics - she is expected to blend even though this is not easy for her yet. I would stick with the phonics. Look and say works because it gives us the experience to figure out the 'code' ourselves and then attempt to blend. Avoiding the phonics just takes away a big tool from her toolbox and gives her less to work with. If she took to Look and Say naturally she wouldn't be struggling with 'hit'.

I wonder if this is a directionality thing. Leaving out the vowels as they are quite similar, tn (for ten)is very similar to ht (hit) in reverse. My eldest really struggled with this for ages - she would say 'tac' or 'act' for cat, but eventually it clicked and suddenly she could read everything! It wasn't the phonics that was failing her, it was that this whole business of going from left to right just didn't compute. And why should it? It's quite a social construct really. Y1 reading was a slog for us but there was a magical moment where it all came together out of nowhere.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Thu 30-Apr-15 11:06:03

Look and say works for those that manage to intuit the code themselves just through exposure to text therwise known as children teach themselves to read. Unfortunately it tends to leave a large chunk of children who don't make those connections or only identify some of the connections unable or barely able to read. I work with several adults in their 30s-50s who can read well enough to get by and have a low skilled job but come completely unstuck when presented with any sentence with words they haven't seen before. Which has limited their education and closed a lot of doors for them.

I think the OP's issue is probably that her child might be in that group that don't quite manage to intuit it themselves and need a bit more of a push in the right direction. Ruling out and dealing with any physical barriers is a good start, then I would probably looking at what exactly and how she is being taught.

maizieD Thu 30-Apr-15 14:15:30

A lot of us our generation were taught Look and Say and we manage fine with new words all the time. If we were truly limited to 3-4,000 words none of us would have a degree.

Look and say works for those that manage to intuit the code themselves just through exposure to text

Which is why I asked OP the question. Lots of people say "I was taught by Look & Say and I can read fine" but when you ask them about reading completely unfamiliar words it usually turns out that they use phonic strategies to do so. For 99.9% of people having phonic knowledge is the key, however they may have acquired it, and in the case of all but a tiny handful of children systematic structured phonics instruction is the most effective way to learn. Whole word (Look & Say) learning with no phonic knowledge does hit an insurmountable bump at about 2,500 to 4,000 words. But unless people understand that it is the phonics which gives them the word ID skills they think that Look & Say is just fine.

I'd suggest that OP tries 'progressive blending' with her DD. If she returns to this thread and is interested I'll explain it then.

Mashabell Thu 30-Apr-15 15:01:40

I don't buy the notion that children have ever learned to read by just the 'look and say' method or with pure phonics alone, whatever teachers claim to be using.

With 'look and say' children don't have to take no notice of individual letters. I found that my daughter who virtually taught herself to read with a few of the Ladybird books and the nursery rhymes she knew by heart was learning phonics as well as memorising the words. Why else would she have asked me, Why is there a H in John?

In phonics children are asked to decode many words over and over again. How can a teacher be sure that they are not memorising many of them as wholes at the same time as practising decoding?

The idea that there is just one way of learning to read is simply daft.
And until children have learnt to recognise most common words instantly, their reading remains very laboured, especially the most common words with irregular spellings, like 'one, two, who, said, you'.

maizieD Thu 30-Apr-15 15:50:45

In phonics children are asked to decode many words over and over again. How can a teacher be sure that they are not memorising many of them as wholes at the same time as practising decoding?

You really don't have the faintest notion about the teaching of phonics, marsha.

mrz Thu 30-Apr-15 16:31:13

I agree Rafa it's unusual for Y1 children taught phonics to still be guessing random words beginning with the final letter (it's unusual for children to guess unless they have been specifically taught it as a reading strategy).

Feenie Thu 30-Apr-15 18:17:33

Yep, any half decent and trained phonics teacher would spot that instantly, Masha.

Mashabell Fri 01-May-15 06:56:36

Mrz, Maizie, Feenie
As so often, u three phonics furies resort to being rude about me and accusing me of not understanding, instead of answering the OP's question or commenting on what i actually said.

The OP knows that her dd's problem is unusual and asks how she can help her. Why don't u answer her?

I suggested
One way of getting children to pay proper attention to letters is to ask them to read several words in which ^only one letter is different^:
it, hit, sit, bit, fit, kit, git....
at, fat, cat, mat, rat, sat ....
because i have found it to work.

Why don't u suggest something even better if u can?

Feenie Fri 01-May-15 07:09:47

Please stop making yet another thread all about you, Masha - no one has been rude to you, mrz and maizie both addressed the OP with clear advice and I did answer your post directly, explaining that a trained phonics teacher would recognise the situation you describe instantly.

Moving on - ruling out vision and hearing problems, as mrz suggested, is excellent advice, OP.

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