DD learning to read at nursery - what happens at school?

(27 Posts)
Tallulahoola Mon 25-Apr-16 08:22:19

DD is 3 and at a lovely nursery that has a teacher as well as usual nursery staff. When the kids turn 3 they start teaching them phonics. DD (now 3.3) has picked this up surprisingly quickly and can read 'the cat sat on the mat' type sentences. She seems to really love it - she is constantly looking for new words and stopping to read shop signs and words she spots in magazines. So I imagine by the time she gets to school in 18 months she will be properly reading and I'm sure there will be other kids in the same boat, whether from nursery or because they've been taught at home.

Yesterday I bumped into someone whose child is in reception at the local primary. Her DS had the same phonics book that DD got through in her first week of phonics. So my question is, how do primary schools deal with this? Do they give the children who can already read books at the appropriate level? Or do they start everyone from scratch? This school has more than 50% of kids with English as a second language so some definitely will be starting from the beginning.

And does it really matter? I don't want her to be a freakish child prodigy or anything hmm

Potterwolfie Mon 25-Apr-16 08:32:30

It doesn't matter, just continue to encourage and enjoy reading together.

Both of my DSs read fluently, well before they started in reception, and the teachers did a great job of providing appropriate books after testing them and working out where they were up to. It doesn't make them prodigies, it's just one of their strengths, just as all kids have strengths, passions and abilities.

Mine both still love reading, they're pre - teens now, which I'm really happy about.

IAmAPaleontologist Mon 25-Apr-16 08:33:30

Depends on the school but a good school will be well used to this and will teach children accordingly. My dd could read when she started reception and so she did all her phonics and literacy with the year 1 class and when in year 1 worked with the year 2 children for literacy. Good teachers make it work.

Rosebud05 Mon 25-Apr-16 09:50:09

There will be a huge variation on starting reception.

They will start at the beginning with phonics so that teachers can assess which children can accelerate quickly (and to ensure that their learning is accurate and secure) and which need to move at a slower pace, but schools will most certainly differentiate.

BertPuttocks Mon 25-Apr-16 09:54:21

DD was able to read well when she started school.

The teacher assessed her level when she started, and gave her books that were at an appropriate level for her. They also looked at things like comprehension, how expressive she was when reading, and whether the content of the book was suitable for a child of her age.

She stayed with her own class for phonics and went through them from the beginning. This was to make sure that there were no gaps in her knowledge of phonics. She also learned how to correctly write/form each letter as they went along.

After the first few weeks the class were split up into smaller groups so that each child could learn at a pace that suited their needs. It's worked out really well for DD and she's never felt as though she's "freakish" or different in any way.

Groovee Mon 25-Apr-16 09:57:07

We do a baseline test to get an idea of where the child is at.

We've had children reading, we normally have them in a group but have them individually with a more challenging book. Sometimes they go to another class to read with a group who are on the same level.

Most schools are equipped to deal with the wide range in variations in that first year.

You may find others catch up with your child quickly.

MiaowTheCat Mon 25-Apr-16 10:10:27

Dd1 is reading basic CVC words (when she can be added) and going into reception in September. I'm not worried- they'll do their on-entry assessment and look at transfer paperwork and differentiate accordingly. Might be a few weeks while they get to know the new intake but it's not massively unusual

Tallulahoola Mon 25-Apr-16 10:28:32

Thanks all. I was just genuinely interested in how they do it because in my admittedly hazy memories of primary school because I'm ancient we all sat in rows of desks and learned the same thing at the same time.

drspouse Mon 25-Apr-16 11:06:13

This school has more than 50% of kids with English as a second language so some definitely will be starting from the beginning.

Some of whom will be very bright, and all or almost all of whom will be in nursery where they will also be doing phonics...

Children of first generation immigrants usually achieve better than children of British-born families, on average.

EarthboundMisfit Mon 25-Apr-16 11:44:29

I'm interested in this. My older two knew their letter sounds when starting but couldn't read a lick. My youngest isn't three yet and is starting to read. I think it will be fine. There are all kinds of levels going in, there's always something to learn and going in with a boost is beneficial I think.

Witchend Mon 25-Apr-16 14:14:41

From my observation that main problem with a child arriving who has learnt to read is that some get demoralised when they find those who couldn't read over taking them.

Mine all could read when they went to school, as could others in their year. I don't think at infant level their books ever challenged them, but they read their own stuff at home so it wasn't an issue. All it meant was they could trip quickly through the school book. They've all stayed at the top end, but certainly by the end of year 1, and actually earlier, you wouldn't have been able to pick out the children who started reading chapter books and those who started not knowing their alphabet.

The issue for some children (and my observation is that it tended to be the ones whose parents made a big thing about them reading) really struggled when they found that children who started not being able to read, now had books above them. In some cases they took it as a challenge (again some for better, some for worse) and in some they just gave up.

cedricsneer Mon 25-Apr-16 14:20:17

My ds couldn't hold a pencil properly or recognise letters.

By the end of p1 he was the strongest reader (with comprehension) in his class. It doesn't matter - they mostly catch up quickly. I'm sure she won't be bored and will enjoy feeling she has some prior knowledge while the others catch up super fast.

I cannot understand why a nursery is teaching all the kids phonics. They should be learning through play for as long as possible. Makes me so glad I live in Scotland with a more progressive curriculum, although even we still have a long way to go on this.

cedricsneer Mon 25-Apr-16 14:20:29

My ds couldn't hold a pencil properly or recognise letters when he went to school.

By the end of p1 he was the strongest reader (with comprehension) in his class. It doesn't matter - they mostly catch up quickly. I'm sure she won't be bored and will enjoy feeling she has some prior knowledge while the others catch up super fast.

I cannot understand why a nursery is teaching all the kids phonics. They should be learning through play for as long as possible. Makes me so glad I live in Scotland with a more progressive curriculum, although even we still have a long way to go on this.

cedricsneer Mon 25-Apr-16 14:21:04

Sorry for double post - my phone is being weird.

drspouse Mon 25-Apr-16 14:34:40

I cannot understand why a nursery is teaching all the kids phonics. They should be learning through play for as long as possible.

To my DS (4 and in nursery) learning phonics IS play, just as reading Julia Donaldson books with rhymes in is even more fun when he spots the rhymes and tells you they rhyme.

mouldycheesefan Mon 25-Apr-16 14:44:12

They differentiate. They get more challenging books. They still have to do phonics!
They discuss the books e.g inference, why might the child feel this/why does the mouse trick the gruffalo etc etc, what might happen next, discuss the characters, what do you like about the story. They may discuss other words the author could have used. They may do punctuation e.g when is there a full stop and when is there a comma.
She will not be bored! She has a lot still to learn. Encourage a love of reading and don't worry about it.

MiaowTheCat Mon 25-Apr-16 15:33:49

Most nurseries do some form of light touch phonics with their kids (I used to do a lot of supply in early years). My own kids' preschool does with kids as well - just letter recognition and formation, lots of rhyming, I spy (I'm blaming Apple that I originally spelt that iSpy), and DD1 came home telling me that Axel Scheffler illustrated the Gruffalo the other day.

The blending and segmenting I've supported her on and they've done with really really low ratios with only the kids at that point developmentally as well - definitely not excessively formal or high pressure but very much what she was starting to need.

My youngest (just turned 3) has most of her letter and number recognition sorted as well - just by picking it up from her older sibling. Her sister delighting in playing phonics flashcards with her sister might have something to do with it as well.

Tallulahoola Mon 25-Apr-16 16:23:25

drspouse* I'm the child of first generation immigrants so I'm not making sweeping generalisations smile

A lot of children at this school are recently arrived from abroad and a lot of the mothers (I don't know about the fathers) speak little or no English. But I know they catch up fast and after a couple of years are doing just as well if not better than the native English speakers. The level of diversity is one of the reasons this school appeals to me. I'm just curious to know how they manage a group of children who start off from different points.

Cedric I'm not sure why they're teaching them phonics either but it all seems to be done in a fun way. And I guess the fact they pick it up quickly means it is suited to them at this age?

drspouse Mon 25-Apr-16 16:37:17

I am also a child of one first generation immigrant (but she spoke English before she came to the UK).

As the children will have been to nursery, and have done some basic phonics there, they will be speaking at least some English.

sirfredfredgeorge Mon 25-Apr-16 16:51:20

lots of kids will find phonics easy to learn, those that can do it at 3 or 4, will also find it easy at 4 or 5 when in school, and they will almost certainly have a larger vocabulary to make it even easier to understand what they read. Whilst schools can differentiate very well, and will be used to it, they'll still be some full class activities which will be tailored to the strengths of the whole class.

I don't think there's anything wrong with learning phonics pre-school, but what is the opportunity cost, given that most kids will be learning it at school anyway. There's lots of components to intelligence, and many can be taught and practiced in nursery, so what's the opportunity cost that's not taught if you waste your time on words earlier than necessary?

irvineoneohone Mon 25-Apr-16 18:12:27

I think reading early can be a huge advantage. It's great for everything, not just literacy, since you can access different things once you can read.
My ds was able to read before school, but enjoyed whole class phonics teaching. And some children do catch up, but those who can read early always stayed ahead of others IME of my ds's class mates. As for ESL children, they may start behind, but they seems to overtake quite easily after few years.

Toomanywheeliebinsagain Mon 25-Apr-16 18:51:19

My daughter didn't read before school (she could have but she refused to let me teach her) but by half term she was reading extremely well. She is in a class with v high ESOL including several children who started school with no English at all. She has thrived. The school has moved her weekly to year 1 to stretch her and given her a range of advanced activities to do. According to the teacher she also supports the children who speak v little English which helps her and helps them

TheTroubleWithAngels Mon 25-Apr-16 19:18:32

I also disagree with nurseries teaching phonics, I see no need for it.

(although my LA has taken teachers out of nurseries and 'teaching' has gone down the pan since)

I'm just curious to know how they manage a group of children who start off from different points.

Everyone does it differently, but in general:
- do basic things as a class group while you try to work out where everyone is (so don't post a complaint on AIBU after her first day wink )
- then begin to differentiate

That can either be by output or input. I prefer to differentiate by output, so everyone would learn 's'. Some children would just be writing s s s s s, others would be writing little sentences or stories about the sad snake.

Differentiating by input would be setting or streaming, which I personally disagree with at age 4/5.

Mandzi34 Mon 25-Apr-16 21:31:04

My DS is starting in Reception in Sept and can only recognise the letters of the alphabet and the words 'the' and 'wait'. I don't intend to teach him to read as he's at a nursery where they are very laid back about such things and so I'll waiti until he starts school. His brother and sister couldn't do anything when they started and caught up quickly.

thisagain Mon 25-Apr-16 22:07:48

It is amazing how quickly children catch up to be honest. My son certainly had the advantage in reading when he started school, but really not for long. In any event, phonics is a relatively small part of their day. He never felt bored because (1) he was only 4 and it all reinforced his knowledge which can only help (2) he had no such advantage when it came to writing, maths etc (3) a lot of their day is learning through play.

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