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Non decodable books in reception

(235 Posts)
Sleeperandthespindle Fri 23-Sep-16 19:38:13

My DS was so excited to bring home his first book with words today - then disheartened to find he couldn't read it. He is doing well with blending with the phonemes and graphemes he knows, but of course hasn't been taught 'pp', 'er' and 'wh' yet.
Is it worth mentioning this to school? They must know that it's utterly pointless sending home such books? There's a printed page at the front of the reading record that mentions 'looking for clues' and 'encourage to guess'...

Euphemia Fri 23-Sep-16 19:48:43

Which reading scheme?

Sleeperandthespindle Fri 23-Sep-16 19:55:40

Biff and co

Euphemia Fri 23-Sep-16 19:59:49

Maybe that's all they have. My school was the same - we used to teach Jolly Phonics but the reading scheme was Oxford Reading Tree, which doesn't tie in with phonics very well. Children were often disheartened, but the school has no money for a new reading scheme.

Sleeperandthespindle Fri 23-Sep-16 20:14:23

I suppose it is all they have. I think it was the same at my daughter's school but I was teaching in a school with decodable books and was able to borrow them for her.

I'd rather they didn't send any books if they don't have decodable ones. He's so keen to use his reading skills. I'll check the library tomorrow. Or maybe someone knows of decodable books online?

mrz Fri 23-Sep-16 20:16:30

Unfortunately for the school it isn't good enough to say it's all they have they must provide appropriate books for the child's phonic knowledge

WhatTheActualFugg Fri 23-Sep-16 20:18:37

Are you sure they're not actually trying to teach him the 'tricky'/high frequency words?

My DS has been bringing home books with 3-5 words per page. He is in no way supposed to be decoding. Just learning by sight the high frequency words and basically guessing the rest based on the pictures and maybe initial letter (and to not be corrected if it's wrong) ie 'The snowman' with big picture of a snowman!

Admittedly without any direction from the teacher it's difficult to know what you're supposed to be doing at home!

Sleeperandthespindle Fri 23-Sep-16 20:25:00

Well I don't want him to be guessing! 1or looking for clues in a picture.

The school is judged outstanding and has been for many years. Maybe inspections have never happened early in the autumn term.

Any suggestions about discussing this with school or shall I just provide decodable books for him myself? I'm already 'problem parent' due to DD's dyslexia, so have nothing to lose!

TeacherBob Fri 23-Sep-16 20:29:45

You do want him using picture clues. It is all about understanding and pictures are critical at this time of his life.

That said, oxford reading tree books are horrid, I hate them, but in pretty much every school I have taught in, that's all they have and rarely any money to replace.

WhatTheActualFugg Fri 23-Sep-16 20:31:54

Just ask them. Doesn't have to be stroppy. "Of course DS can't decode this yet, how did you want him to approach it?". And then get yourself some books. I taught my Dd to read before she started school and we just worked out way through Biff & Chip and Songbirds.

How often do they listen to him read in class?

Sleeperandthespindle Fri 23-Sep-16 20:34:02

No I don't want him using picture cues. He has always had, and will continue to have, lots of lovely story time with brilliant picture books, developing his understanding. While he is learning to read I do not want him guessing. I want him to have books with words he can decode. He can read Cvc words and should be getting books with them in. There weren't any in today's book!

WhatTheActualFugg Fri 23-Sep-16 20:35:45

I'm not a teacher so didn't want you to suck eggs but was thinking what bob has said.

Our school is an outstanding independent - they very successfully start off their reception children with high frequency words and picture prompts, whilst concurrently working through phonics.

Sleeperandthespindle Fri 23-Sep-16 20:37:21

Reading in class - one comment per week but they've been non-word books so far.

I feel like anything I say will be a big deal as I don't do drop off or pick up so will have to make an appointment. Emails are never answered - I email the office with a FAO teacher as requested (that makes it sound like I'm constantly emailing. It's been once for DS about wetting and a few times regarding DD).

WhatTheActualFugg Fri 23-Sep-16 20:38:28

Didn't want to teach you to suck eggs!!

Maybe you're not compatible with the school. If you want them to change their fundamental teaching methods to suit your own ideas, that's not going to happen is it?

Can't you just supplement his reading at home with the stuff you think he should be reading?

Sleeperandthespindle Fri 23-Sep-16 20:38:52

Having had a very difficult school reading experience with DD, I want to make sure this is right for him. However, I know he's not her and he certainly doesn't have the difficulties she has.

Sleeperandthespindle Fri 23-Sep-16 20:41:18

They're not my own fugging ideas! They're based on evidence and research. 'Not compatible with the school'? Ridiculous statement. I'm posting about one aspect of their practice.

WhatTheActualFugg Fri 23-Sep-16 20:42:42

It's too easy to get stressed with the ins and outs of what your school is doing with your DCs. Particularly if you're a teacher yourself. But whatever you say, they will continue to do it how they want. When you send your DC to school that's just something you have to come to terms with. You pick your battles for the stuff that really matters and just learn to let go. Otherwise you just end up all wound up and stressed with a horrible relationship with the school.

If you can't, or don't want to, let the school get on with their job how they see best then you need to either find another school or educate them at home.


HuckleberryGin Fri 23-Sep-16 20:44:36

Using pictures is what they are supposed to do. It's a good skill. We all do it as adults too when we don't understand something we first look at the context.

Using picture cues is definitely part of the process.

Mistoffelees Fri 23-Sep-16 20:45:25

The first few books in ORT do have some ridiculous words in, 'spaceman' anyone? But as others have said they are designed to teach tricky words and in first few books, the characters names. Learning to link pictures to text is also a needed skill as it helps with developing the idea to use context clues for comprehension.
Just ask if they have any decodable books he could have alongside the others.

Swirlingasong Fri 23-Sep-16 20:45:58

I had similar concerns about dc1's early reading books (and the teacher all but admitted it was a case of that's all they have when I said at parents evening that I was uncertain how to link them with the phonics homework). I got a set from the book people for about £10 which were great and really helped with confidence.

MrsKCastle Fri 23-Sep-16 20:47:43

Maybe you're not compatible with the school. If you want them to change their fundamental teaching methods to suit your own ideas, that's not going to happen is it?

I think the OP is rather hoping that the school might consider a) following the National Curriculum and b) teaching in the way that has been proven to succeed for the vast majority of children.

Sleeper please do speak to the school. You sound like you're well able to support your DS with his reading, but many of the other parents won't know so much about it. The children need the right sort of books to practise on.

Flugelpip Fri 23-Sep-16 20:49:34

Our school does a session every year with a literacy expert so she can explain to parents that there are lots of different aspects to learning to read and phonics is just one of them. (I was of the same mind as you, OP, but it was an eye-opener for me to hear her explain about reading and how it is learned.) Not all English words respond to phonic interpretation and teaching him via phonics alone will actually slow his progress. It's not all sounding out - it's understanding and recognising that matter too and that's what creates fluent and enthusiastic readers. Picture cues really help children to learn independent reading/thought - and we use them in newspapers for adults so it's not as if it's a bizarre or babyish thing. It provides context and also opportunities for you to discuss the story/narrative ideas, all of which matter for literacy.

Why don't you give it until half term before you decide they're wrong? If the school is outstanding they're doing something right. But if you're very worried about his reading because of your DD's dyslexia, do talk to them.

I hope this doesn't come across as patronising; it's not meant to be.

TeacherBob Fri 23-Sep-16 20:53:25

Sleeper okay let me rephrase. You may not personally want him to use picture clues but it will help him learn and they are a big part of early reading.
If the school is judged as outstanding for many years, then they must be doing it right.

If he has lots of time reading a variety of books with you, why are you even worrying? What I mean is '(and I don't mean to be offensive so I hope it doesn't come across as such), is that, if you have such strong feelings on how he should be reading that you can adamantly say you don't want him using picture clues, and you are such a good parent that you are already providing many books and reading materials (both of those statements seem correct from what you say), then why haven't you just provided books he can decode?

MrsKCastle Fri 23-Sep-16 20:58:00

Oxford Owl have some decodable e-books. You just need to select 'phonics' under 'type of book'.

WhatTheActualFugg Fri 23-Sep-16 20:59:02

You could of course, write your own. Especially if you don't want him looking at pictures.

Bob sat with a cat.
Cat sat with a bat.
Bat sat with a fat rat.
Bob and Cat and Bat and Fat Rat all stood up.
The end.

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