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Overly sensitive 5 yr old can't read...

(35 Posts)
Barbie1 Wed 21-Oct-15 19:55:20

Where to start?

Dd is 5 and in yr 1, this is her 4 school in as many years as we are expats and move a lot.

She has always been above average, very confident and full of enthusiasm for school.

Not this year.

The problem started last year in reception, the teacher noticed when asked to do something infront of the class she would clam up, further probing revealed she was terrified to make a mistake so refused to attempt the work. For this reason she fell behind on assessments much to the frustration of the teacher as she knew she could do it.

Her letter formation is fine and her handwriting is neat and consistent. She draws brilliantly and is confident in play and will often be the leader....

Yet she just can't blend her words, yet she knows all the sounds, and recognises the letters.

However she Will forgot the word she read only the page before.

She calls herself stupid, a baby and other such negative words sad

To top it off she has developed a tic which makes her move her eyes in an un natural way making her stand out even more.

Sorry this is long, I'm at a total loss.

TheTroubleWithAngels Wed 21-Oct-15 21:37:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

findingschools Wed 21-Oct-15 22:24:15

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Barbie1 Thu 22-Oct-15 06:42:16

Why is it hidden? I'm only asking for help!

Scarydinosaurs Thu 22-Oct-15 06:45:57

Barbie, because I imagine that 'finding schools' has posted unhelpful spam.

It sounds like she is very stressed, and putting herself under pressure. Could you do a month of no reading at all? Just you read to her?

hazeyjane Thu 22-Oct-15 06:48:17

Barbie, don't worry, it is not your post that has been hidden - findingschools has been spamming the boards with an advert - MNHQ gave hidden their posts.

AnyoneButAndre Thu 22-Oct-15 06:49:19

The hidden post is a spammer Barbie, ignore it.

Your poor DD. I also moved schools a lot at that age and remember the havoc it wrought with my emotions (I developed an eating disorder aged 7). I agree with the pp that her emotional state has to take precedence over her reading progress for now, and you need to make that very clear to the teacher.

hazeyjane Thu 22-Oct-15 06:50:30

Being under this much pressure at 5 is crazy - agree in reading some books for pleasure.

I would see gp about eyes, and ask for a referral to an opthamologist to rule out any eye problems

Barbie1 Thu 22-Oct-15 06:50:31

Oh gosh I worded my op slightly badly re the teacher frustration blush

What I meant was that my daughter changed over night once she realised she was in a room with children that were taller (she is very small) brighter and more confident than her.

Her teacher was amazing, she called as soon as she suspected something and helped us work with her at home. The school counceller also sent home books and had meetings with Me as she strongly suspected my daughter had GAD.

My daughters teacher was frustrated only for my daughter and not at her, she could see her struggling and holding back.

Hope this makes it a little clearer?

Barbie1 Thu 22-Oct-15 06:53:03

I'm not so worried about the reading to be honest, it will come.
It's more the pressure she puts herself under.
For instance she has spellings each week, she will no stop until she knows them all off by heart...\and even then she will convince she doesn't know them. It took us three hours (non continuous) this week, that's without all the other home work. sad

We have always read for fun, we don't put any pressure on her at all but it's all suddenly snowballed at this new school.

hazeyjane Thu 22-Oct-15 06:59:24

Three hours spelling sounds like an awful lot, even if not continuous! And there shouldn't be lots of other homework at age 5 anyway (imo!) DD 1 and 2's homework at that age would be reading and maybe a writing worksheet

What suggestions has the teacher made about GAD apart from concerns?

Barbie1 Thu 22-Oct-15 07:05:22

It's far to much!

We have a math sheet, reading every night, spellings and one night we have to have a discussion about the big writing topic the next day.

The last teacher emailed this new school re her concerns and suggested support to help dd.

We have been in touch with the GAd group who offer us ways to support dd and an eye tested is booked this coming week.

We also have a meeting at the school this coming week.

Barbie1 Thu 22-Oct-15 07:07:21

For clarification this new teacher who I dislike hasn't mentioned a thing! Not even about her eyes hmm

It was dd who told me she has to leave the room to go to a special room to learn to read, apparently she is one of three.

PerspicaciaTick Thu 22-Oct-15 07:14:12

What does your DD think will happen if she tries and fails or, for example, gets less than 100% in her spellings? Is she worried about being punished (maybe losing some playtime) or is it that she simply doesn't know how to handle failing?
Does she see you making mistakes, learning from them and moving on and/or laughing at yourself?
There are lots of resources on the web about building your child's resilience, I rather like this one for starters:

Barbie1 Thu 22-Oct-15 07:18:32

Thanks for the link I will save that for later.

What does she think will happen? I really don't know..she won't talk about it. We reassure her all the time that we love her and a full mark doesn't make any difference to us.

She is anxious about everything. For instance it's pink day at school, we spray her hair pink. She then went really quiet and asked if we had confirmed with the teacher that it's ok to have pink hair. She asked about 5 times.

The joy is being squeezed out of her childhood sad she is definitely not a rule breaker.

PerspicaciaTick Thu 22-Oct-15 07:33:16

I'd be tempted to find out what the teacher's approach to discipline is like and what tools they use e.g. perhaps some sort of traffic light system and in exactly what situations.
Hopefully they only sanction bad behaviour and not learning.
Funnily, while looking for the link, I saw that there is a book on Amazon about emotional resilience and the expat child. I have no idea if it is any good though.

SarfEast1cated Thu 22-Oct-15 07:34:25

My DD went through this a bit, fear of failure, fear of being shown up in front of her classmates. Your DD must be constantly trying to fit in with a new class. If it were me, I would go and speak to the head and ask her advice to help your DD feel comfortable. IMHO it sounds like far too much pressure for a little girl.

Barbie1 Thu 22-Oct-15 08:24:36

We have never removed her from a school in the middle of the school year, her first school was a forest school, more nursery at 2.5 year but the French classes it as school, then two reception years on two different continents. The dropping oil prices have forced our moves.

We took this new role in not such a desirable location (Middle East) because we will have a min of three years here and we want the kids to be settled.

Rewards in the class are in form of a sticker chart up on the wall. Once you fill the grid you get a lucky dip. Again, this only adds to dd worry as she is concerned she hasn't as many stickers as her peers. Sigh.

I'm going to push the head to see what support we can get for her GAD, I know the extra help either reading is good etc but removing her from the class room only seems to highlight to her that she is different.

I feel such a failure

Cedar03 Thu 22-Oct-15 09:27:19

It's absolutely normal for them to forget a word that they have read even in the same sentence never mind on the previous page. It is quite a frustrating time both for the reader - because it's hard work - and for the listener - because you wonder why they won't recognise words they've just read.

I used to remind my daughter by going back to the previous page to look at the word again.
Also getting her to read one word, then I read the next word, and so on. Or just look at the pictures and talk about what's happening. Sometimes we would just read for pleasure and I would point out the words she'd been reading in her school reading book. 'Oh look there's "jump" we were reading that in the other book' (This didn't necessarily go down well with my daughter at the time but I still did it).

Also you can stop her from doing too much work by putting away the spellings. You can say 'no you've spent enough time looking at them we are going to do something else' I would set a time limit in your own mind and just stop at that point. Then go and do something non school work related.

lostInTheWash Thu 22-Oct-15 10:22:16

Get the ears and eyes checked - like other have said.

Unlike others I'd say practise blending at home a lot.

sound foundation - Bear Necessaries Book 1 is what got my DC like this reading.

It's 10 minutes a day. Flash cards of letters sounds at start then blending exercises.

My DS appeared to know his letter sounds - I think recall wasn't as fast as it perhaps needed to be, mixed teaching methods of the school caused confusion and a loud busy classroom all led him to think he was incapable of reading and despite loving books decided it wasn't for him.

We had a jolly phonics alphabet set - and we played making words there and blending out. Even that needed bribery for him to attempt.

It was hard going - but as his confidence and ability grew with practise.

Unfortunately he still doesn't like making mistakes - he had a melt down this morning as he wasn't sure a maths problem was correct.

With eldest went though a phase of giving up the school ( non decodable) reading books and spelling. It wasn't worth the upset. We'd spend ages on the spelling list for her to get them wrong and there plenty of research out there showing that learning words for tests doesn't transfer to everyday writing.

Even with sympathetic teachers - they wouldn't budge on the spelling lists at that school. So I focused on the apples and pears by same people - which again is practise and learning patterns and what rules there are - doubling rules how to add/remove suffixes and prefixes. might be worth a look as well.

I've found working on the academic problems and boosting my DC confidence there helped their confide and anxiety levels generally.

We had to move their school and I was dreading the impact on them - but in fact it seems to have helped them. However the school we move to has been very good at making them feel welcome and unlike old school doesn't deny problems but step in with help almost immediately.

So talk to the school but help her at home pick up the blending skill she needs. Also that amount of HW doesn't sound normal - though that might be because the teacher is underestimating the amount of time things are taking.

Despite it taking longer for DS to pick up blending once he did - he went from strength to strength and is in top sets now. When he gets upset now that he's not instantly good at things I do point out that he had to work extra hard to get good at reading and that if he works at things he improves.

Twowrongsdontmakearight Thu 22-Oct-15 10:46:35

Hi Barbie.

From reading your posts I suspect your DD's issues stem from having to keep starting again with friendships and learning how to fit in. The reading is just one more thing. (I went to 4 primary schools and ended up with a bald patch from pulling my hair out sad).

But you have said that you will be settled for at least 3 years so things should get much better. It's still early days yet.

With the reading, until a couple of years ago I was that TA taking out a small group for extra reading - but in Y2. (Can I echo PPs, five is very early to be really worrying about this). We didn't just plough through books, I tried to make it fun so we played games as well. If your DD knows her phonic sounds but can't blend you might want to have a go at playing some games at home. (There are some online, like which has some free games that you play on the computer. There are others you can print out and play as a family. I've just found that looks good too). Playing on the computer doesn't feel like working! I bet Galt toys must do similar games too so that it feels like a proper game rather than learning. Bit by bit you can build up her confidence. I found that once the penny had dropped 'my' readers came on in leaps and bounds.

One last little thing. You end one of your posts saying that you feel like a failure. Is that something that you say (obviously not about DD when she's there but about other things)? Maybe she picked that up?? They are amazing sponges!

ReallyTired Thu 22-Oct-15 10:50:07

I agree with lostInTheWash that ten minutes a day practicing basic phonics would help. I would advocate using Jolly phonics rather than Bear necessities. The Bear Necessities materials are designed for children with significant learning difficulties and a five year old with average intelligence would find it boring.

There are lots of Jolly phonics vidoes on Youtube that make it fun to learn the sounds. I suggest you get the Jolly Phonics CD with the songs to play in the car and the activitie books.

Jolly phonics activity books

Jolly Songs

When your child knows their letter sounds could might consider buying decodable books. There are several threads on mumsnet with recommended decodable readers.

catkind Thu 22-Oct-15 11:14:26

There's really no point memorizing spellings. When she's got the hang of segmenting and blending in phonics, spelling will be soooo much easier, and there will only be little bits or special cases to learn.

Is there any way she could be exempted from spelling tests to give her more time to focus on phonics? That's 3 hours basically wasted. And talk to the teachers about not putting her on the spot in front of the class? DS would have hated that, some kids just don't like performing in front of a crowd.

I'd focus on getting the blending going, sounds like that is the root of the reading/spelling difficulties. Top tip from here - say the sounds together, with emphasis on the first. So Sssss -a -t. And just t- not tuh, in case you didn't know. Say it faster until she hears the word. At first that may take until you're actually saying the word, but gradually she'll hear the blend sooner. Then see if she can do it. Something like alphablocks might help her click, have a look on youtube or the bbc?

lostInTheWash Thu 22-Oct-15 11:54:32

The Bear Necessities materials are designed for children with significant learning difficulties and a five year old with average intelligence would find it boring.

grin DS was 5 when he did it and now considered above average intelligence by his teachers.

We'd done Jolly phonics pre nursery and during - had songs and books - reading and activity at home and were done with him. He made no progress reception year at all seemed to go backwards - curses mixed method teaching.

I started his younger sister at book A later on - but he needed that one - the repetition and slow progressions seemed to be needed plus it had to be easy enough to seem doable to a child who confidence was rock bottom.

You used to be able to have a look before buying which would probably help OP.

Alpha blocks are good too - but again by five in yr 1 DS needed a structured program.

spelfabet and explanation YouTube videos - worth a look as well. I think if I'd know about them earlier I'd have used them much more.

I do agree with ReallyTired - reading from decodable books helps massively and there are some lovely one out there. It really didn't help any of mine being sent home with reading books full on none decodable words - well words that that hadn't yet been taught to decode - or being given advice of guess or look at pictures.

lostInTheWash Thu 22-Oct-15 12:01:20

I seemed to remember the Bear Necessities materials suggesting that the child shout out loud the letter sounds when blending - oddly seemed to help DS to blend.

His hearing was borderline but they decided ultimately fine. Even now though he doesn't with spellings always seem to hear the correct sound but something similar.

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