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Phonics - how to start with my 3.5yo ? Pls recommend a book for parents

(55 Posts)
ReceptionMum Fri 04-Dec-15 14:02:31

Hello all,
would very much appreciate some guidance on the best reading material for parents on how to start working on phonics/pre-reading technics with my 3.5 yo DD. She is quite advanced in math for her age (due to her own will and curiosity rather than us pushing) but I feel that she is a bit behind (compared to her peers that I know) in terms of letter recognition etc.

I myself is not a native speaker so will need some self education on this subject. DH is a reasonably well educated native speaker, however a product of an "old teaching system" so says he "doesn't have a clue what these phonics are about".

Many thanks in advance.

SunnySomer Fri 04-Dec-15 14:10:12

Honest opinion: just read lots and lots of stories. Do drawings. Play with playdoh. Sing songs and nursery rhymes. All this stuff will ensure your child is ready to learn when they go to school and a teacher who does understand phonics can teach them.
My DC could trace his name and recognise his initials when he started school but was completely ready to learn. There was then nothing stressful about learning, and nothing stressful about the teacher not "stretching" a child who was ahead of the game. (He is in absolutely no way disadvantaged as a result).

SunnySomer Fri 04-Dec-15 14:11:36

Actually that isn't what you want to hear.
You could also teach the shapes of the letters, but it will honestly be re-done at school.

Longtalljosie Fri 04-Dec-15 14:17:27

This is good:

And also the Jolly Phonics CD and book.

But you should be aware it's illegal on Mumsnet to help your child with reading. Ideally they will learn it without you even looking at them and then will be free readers by Easter of reception despite your best efforts. grin

ReceptionMum Fri 04-Dec-15 14:47:14

Thanks SunnySomer. You more or less repeated what DH says.

I'm probably a bit paranoid about the "school" subject. Don't know what to expect yet (DD is the oldest) so constantly feel that I need to prepare/learn something in advance or will be too late and I won't be able to help her.

We do read to her a lot which she enjoys. However, she has no interest in learning alphabet, writing (tracing) letters. So I thought I need to start filling this gap a bit.

ReceptionMum Fri 04-Dec-15 14:52:21

Thanks for the links Longtalljosie. I will have a look.

BatteryOperatedBoyfriend Fri 04-Dec-15 14:55:44

I know its a little frowned upon, but does she use an IPad at all, or tablet. There are so many free or cheap apps available to help them learn phonics and letter formation.

Does she know the alphabet song?

HeyMicky Fri 04-Dec-15 15:00:02

We have some foam letters for the bath which DD (3) loves playing with. She has learnt all her letter sounds that way. Plus DH and I can write swears to each other on the wall

The jolly phonics app is still too sophisticated for her to use, and many other apps use letter names not sounds

Reads lots, underline repeated words with your finger, stress the repeated sounds in alliterative sentences, point out when words start with the same sound

ReceptionMum Fri 04-Dec-15 15:14:59

BatteryOperatedBoyfriend, yes she learned the alphabet song ages and ages ago but it doesn't seem to mean more than a song to her yet. And she easily and quickly does her alphabet puzzle (an easy one I must clarify). However, when I asked the other day to sing the alphabet song and point on the letters on the puzzle she was singing somewhere " q-r-s" bust pointing around "i-j" area smile.

We did store some alphabet apps on the tablet for her (whether good or not they are - I do not know) but again not much interest here. She picks the ones with counting/shapes puzzles instead smile.

irvine101 Fri 04-Dec-15 16:10:06

My ds learned to read mostly from watching TV with subtitles on.
I think it's almost same as child looking at words while mummy/daddy reading a book with finger under the words, only difference is it's all the time he's watching TV/film, etc.
Every time the character talks on TV, DS was seeing words on the screen. I didn't teach any phonics to him(I had no knowledge) or how to read, but he was a really good reader(decoder) by reception. He did enjoy learning phonics at school though.

mrz Fri 04-Dec-15 17:13:28

I'd recommend the free Teeny Reading Seeds booklet here for preschool children

Avoid the alphabet /letter names until children are secure with sounds (around end of year1)

Many of the free apps are US based so teach mixed methods and analytic phonics not the systematic phonics taught in the UK so best avoided.

mrz Fri 04-Dec-15 17:16:34

cariadlet Fri 04-Dec-15 18:56:48

The most important thing that you can do is to talk to your daughter, sing with her, teach her nursery rhymes, play listening games and read stories to her.

If you think that she'd be interested in phonics then I'd buy the Jolly Phonics dvd and a set of Jolly Phonics finger phonics board books. I bought these for my daughter years and years ago when she was about your daughter's age. At the time I was aware that mixed methods were being used in the school that she'd be joining and I didn't want her to be encouraged to guess at words.
She loved the Jolly Phonics materials and was able to read and write cvc words by the time she started school. There was a load of recapping in the whole class teaching when she started school, but it didn't hurt her - any more than listening to familiar stories and songs would have been a problem.

catkind Fri 04-Dec-15 19:18:02

Alphablocks! There are some resources for parents on there too. But the videos are great for getting them engaged, there's lots on youtube or the BBC site.
Teach your monster to read is good too if she gets into it.
But wouldn't worry; my DD is the other way round, she's ace at reading but not particularly interested in maths. School will start with basics anyway, I'd think the reading is more likely to cause problems than the maths for our DD, vice versa for yours.

Longtalljosie Sat 05-Dec-15 07:57:34

I understand your concerns. A lot of reception is learning through play. Encourage her to do lots of drawing - they love all evidence of mark-making. And to be able to spot her own name among others. Knowledge of some phonics will be a plus but certainly not expected. Does she go to nursery/ preschool?

Holidayrash Sat 05-Dec-15 10:13:46

I didn't bother with actual letter recognition at that age but DD heard me saying things like, 'Where's the c-a-t?' So she learnt to recognise the individual sounds and started segmenting the words herself. That meant when she did actually see the letters at nursery and start to read she knew how to blend the sounds.

Make sure you educate yourself well on the correct sounds beforehand though.

Also lots of rhyming books.

Believeitornot Sat 05-Dec-15 19:30:15

She isn't at school yet and she isn't behind. Honestly I wouldn't push it by getting in to phonics now. Just read as you would normally and see what happens.

ReallyTired Sat 05-Dec-15 19:40:11

Jolly phonics materials are great for this age group. I will go against the grain and say hat three and half is a good age I start teaching reading. Just go at your child's pace and be patient. Make sure you really understand the synthetic phonics method. Once your daughter has mastered blending get he some decodable books.

ReceptionMum Sat 05-Dec-15 22:50:41

Many thanks for all your answers.

I will try to read a bit and get my head around "mixed methods", "analytic phonics", "systematic phonics" etc etc alien terminology to me before (if I ever feel confident enough) I start teaching my DD anything about reading.

We have got some development though - she got into Alphablocks app today (herself, without me suggesting or anything) and spent ages there.

Ferguson Sat 05-Dec-15 23:08:46

You have had a lot of good suggestions already. If you want to read more about Phonics, this is a useful book, and later on you can share it with DD. The most important thing is to let her progress at her own speed, and not 'push' her:

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’ and my name.

BertieBotts Sat 05-Dec-15 23:23:41

I found Andrew Brodie's book to be good at explaining the phonics system to me and I used it to help support DS with his reading when we moved to Germany.

ReallyTired Sun 06-Dec-15 08:09:42

This website explains different approaches to teaching reading.

The website is a fun site for learning letter sounds.

cece Sun 06-Dec-15 08:20:06

None of my children learnt phonics before school. If they naturally picked up words/letters from being read to, walking/driving around and just generally carrying on with our lives then so be it.

When they started reception they could recognise their name. The could also have a go at writing their own name - with different levels of success. They were all quite slow to start on the reading scheme. By the time they finished Year 2 they have all been reading chapter books. I honestly don't think pushing pre school children into reading is a positive thing. My DC overtook most of the children who could read when they started school quite quickly once they started reading.

OP carrying on developing a love of reading/books and talk to your child a lot, teach them rhymes and nursery songs. The rest will follow.

Mashabell Sun 06-Dec-15 10:22:39

I think irvine101's idea of helping young children with learning to read
by watching tv with subtitles is the best by far. It's priceless.

I wish it had been available when my son was struggling really badly with the likes of 'you, young, your '... etc. 40 years ago. Watching Dr Who with subtitles would have made him fluent in no time at all.

Because despite all the guff about phonics nowadays, what really counts
is meeting the 7,000 or so most common words over and over again
until we come to recognise them instantly without having to decode them.

IAmAPaleontologist Sun 06-Dec-15 10:31:34

Do you have an ipad? Teach Your Monster to Read is brilliant. Once you have got the hang of saying the "pure" sounds phonics style then when she asks what letters are etc you can use the phonics sound rather than the letter name and she will soon pick it up.

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