Worried about dd in reception

(8 Posts)
m0therofdragons Sun 17-Jan-16 22:12:22

Dd is youngest in her year and I feel like she's struggling. She's saying she doesn't want to go (but is fine when there). Reading is something she finds hard. She can sound her letters so gets some words but can't seem to memorise the ones you can't sound out. She's finally able to write her first name without the e being upside down. But that's it. I'm worried she's getting left behind but don't want to do too much at home as it seems to upset her so I'm trying to balance helping her with giving her time to play.
It's hard as dd1 was 6 months older when she started school and is very bright so by end of reception was reading without help and writing paragraphs. It is an unfair comparison so I've tried not to compare or worry but now I am worried dd2 is way behind her peers. No idea what to do or if I should do anything.

Ginmummy1 Mon 18-Jan-16 09:01:57

I wouldn’t say she sounds far behind, if she can write her name and sound out letters – especially if she’s the youngest in her class. She’s probably on the cusp of starting to blend too. If you’re worried though, and especially if she’s not wanting to go to school, why don’t you ask to have a quick chat with her teacher? Hopefully this would reassure you and also bring any issues to light so you can give your daughter support in specific areas if needed.

MMmomKK Mon 18-Jan-16 13:32:07

The main goal of Reception is to settle kids and get them used to being at school. So - I won't worry about the reading/writing. Especially given that she is the youngest. Would focus more on liking school and having friends. Are you doing okay dates? They are work, but are very helpful. I'd ask the teacher who she might get along with given their characters and make regular play dates.

Early reading/writing is impressive, and lack of it is often worrying to people. But - they really do all catch up. Dd1 was an early everything. Now in Y4 she commented that she used to be the best reader, and now everyone is reading the same books. No one can remember who started reading/writing first.

Don't worry!

m0therofdragons Mon 18-Jan-16 16:25:47

Thank you. I'll try more play dates - they're very tricky as I'm always the host and I understand other people's reluctance to have dd as she has a twin so people feel they have to invite both at this age.

MrsKCastle Mon 18-Jan-16 22:33:57

motherofdragons when I read your post, I immediately noticed your comment that your DD 'can't seem to memorise the words you can't sound out'. Can you give some examples of the kind of words she is struggling with? Is she encountering them a lot in the books being sent home? At this stage in reception, they should only be expected to know a handful of tricky words, which should have been explicitly taught and practised in class. For instance, my DD has learned the, to, go, no, I, into, me, we, my. Pretty much everything else that she reads is fully decodable using the phonics that she has learned. The school should be sending home appropriate 'phonically decodable' books, but unfortunately many schools still send the old 'look and say' books. If you can say what scheme the books are, that would help others to advise you.

In order to build up your DD's confidence, I would give her lots of practise with words and sentences that she can read independently. Try writing questions like 'Is it a dog?' next to a picture, then she can write 'yes' or 'no'. Or write some simple, decodable words on cards and spread them around the room, then ask her to stand on x or go and pick up y. If you have magnetic letters on the fridge, make a couple of words every night that she can read in the morning.

MMmomKK I know you're being reassuring, but I'm afraid that it's simply not true to say 'they all catch up'. Most of them do, yes, and it's absolutely true that children develop at different rates. But some children will always struggle, and many have their confidence knocked if they feel that it's 'too hard'. Of course young children shouldn't be under pressure, but it's possible to make the learning fun.

m0therofdragons Tue 19-Jan-16 18:54:15

Oooh I have magnetic letters, I'll get them out.
I think my biggest concern is her confidence being badly knocked so early on. I do think she'll catch up but I worry her confidence issues could continue. Mind you, dd1 thinks she's rubbish unless she's top of the class - maybe it's a family thing. They all put really high expectations on themselves.
I spoke to the teacher meaning for it to be a quick chat to let her know so she could maybe keep an eye and do a little extra encouragement. Lovely teacher didn't quite get that and called dd over for a chat. I didn't plan to make it an issue dd was aware I was worrying about. Oh well.

Ferguson Tue 19-Jan-16 19:11:56

I was a primary TA for twenty years, and will give you a couple of items that may help:

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’ and my name.

TWO - 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.

Reception will probably be doing many other activities - maths, arts, crafts, PE, drama, music, dance, ICT, nature & wildlife, simple history & geography (often connected to the local environment). So how is she enjoying/coping with these kinds of subjects?

MMmomKK Tue 19-Jan-16 20:39:31

MrsK - all I as saying is that for the youngest child in the class, not reading well, and not memorising non-phonetic words (that shouldn't even BE in her books) is hardly a matter of concern. And - definetely, not something that means that she is "falling behind".
Also - a Reception child shouldn't even be aware that there is such thing as being "first in the class".

Dd1 is a summer child. She progressed very slow through the levels in Reception. Then, just over the long spring break, something clicked. She went several levels up and finished the year on simple chapter books. For many of her friends, this "clicking" also happened, just a bit later.

So, unless there are specific issues - and it's just too early to tell in e OP's case - here is really no reason to worry. At least, not yet.

It is far more important that the girl is happy and her confidence is propped up.

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