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DS year 3 still not reading

(43 Posts)
OldJoseph Sat 01-Oct-16 18:11:02

I've got a meeting with his teacher next week and I want some advice on how to approach this...
He can't read very well at all. We're already doing exactly what we did last year. He reads very slowly with lots of prompts. He practices his spellings most nights of the week but only gets one or two out of ten at the test. He doesn't recognise words from one page to another and it's becoming disheartening for him and for me. He had intervention last year but still failed his SATs. He is getting intervention again this year. He goes to a good school and has good attendance and behaviour. We are a supportive family and English is our only language at home. He has a good lifestyle; he eats and exercises and isn't poorly much.

I don't think what we (school and home) are doing is working. One (senior) member of staff I spoke to about him said 'he'll get there in the end'. I don't know what end she means though...the end of the school year, the end of KS2 or when he's about to collect his pension?

I suppose I want to know if there is some sort of road map for children like my DS? Is there another technique that could be used with him? We just seem to be on a hamster wheel of try and fail, try and fail. I can see it won't be long before the trying stops but the failing continues.

So advice on how to approach this with his teacher? In a way I'd like to have the confidence to not bother with his homework but I don't.

kilmuir Sat 01-Oct-16 18:12:43

What about ruling out something like dyslexia?

OldJoseph Sat 01-Oct-16 18:22:28

How would that diagnosis help him though? Unless they said something like the following to me:

'We think your ds has dyslexia so we'll do some different techniques with him and if his reading improves in 4 months then we'll go for a diagnosis."

So at least there's a timescale. Dyslexia isn't a rare condition so I'm sure they've got the resources and so on.

OldJoseph Sat 01-Oct-16 18:41:34

Or, I'd like them to acknowledge that what has been done so far hasn't worked and the chances of it working in the future are slim.

MistressPoldark Sat 01-Oct-16 18:59:48

What is likely to work is time. Something that the school system doesn't allow for is that all children are ready to learn all things at different times. They don't all learn to walk at the same time or to potty-train and that's accepted, but not being ready to all read at the same time is not OK in our system, which is sad. It means that those who aren't ready at the age school wants/needs to them to be ready may be left behind and/or may find reading stressful and unpleasant and begin to see themselves as unintelligent when that may not be the case at all.

My four children are all home educated so had no need to learn to read at the timetable schools demand. One was fluent by herself at 5. One had a lot of help because she wanted it and was fluent at 8. The last two were fluent at 7 - both with very little help at all. Simply being surrounded by books and being read to and living in a family culture where literacy is valued and enjoyed.

Reading very quickly becomes a miserable thing to those children who aren't ready at the age school wants them to be and that holds them back even further.

Is there anyway you and the school can decide to take the foot off the pedal completely? I know that reading is important for the way children have to learn in school, but could you and the school work together to make the whole reading thing be more about the enjoyment of books than about struggling to master a skill that is clearly difficult for your son at this stage but might well come very easily when the time is right, provided he hasn't been put off it completely and/or has come to completely believe he is incapable?

OldJoseph Sat 01-Oct-16 19:11:49

Thanks Mistress for your reply. Funnily enough they've started a reading club at his school but it's invite only and he hasn't been invited because his reading isn't good enough. It's annoying because I think it's something that might help him get some enjoyment out of books and reading.

I wish school would give me proper insight into the situation rather than meaningless platitudes. As I said it's a good school and the teachers are very experienced so something along the lines of...'Your DC is very much like a boy I taught last year, he started doing x reading scheme instead of y and can read brilliantly now'. I would feel more hopeful for his future.

OldJoseph Sat 01-Oct-16 19:14:52

Oh and the reading club is aimed at his year group only, and he's not been invited.

kilmuir Sat 01-Oct-16 19:17:37

He is struggling. Surprised you have not been in quicker.
Don't get your issue with dyslexia diagnosis.

BabyGanoush Sat 01-Oct-16 19:18:42

My Ds1 was similar, I did not do well enough in y2 sats to even register a score. He was officially 18 months to 2 years behind where he should be. Y3 was a bit of a drama, he could not really keep up.

We kept on at him, reading, spelling practice etc.

The school gave him 121 twice a week.

I also decided the spend time on focussing what he was good at (tech stuff, cricket), this was important for his self esteem.

By y5 he suddenly caught up, and got average 4b in y6 Sats (dreaded by MNers but we were happy) .

Now at the comp, he is middle to higher sets.

MistressPoldark Sat 01-Oct-16 19:20:18

Awww...that's a bit rubbish for him sad Must make him feel even crapper! Seems very shortsighted! I think if I were in your position, I'd not push him to read at all at home, and just read to him. Make books a really lovely, special thing that he associates with cuddles and love and closeness to counteract that horrid feeling we all know of not being able to do something someone is expecting us to be able to do that he must feel at school a lot. Don't push him to show what he can do, just make sure his environment at home is literature-rich - letters on the fridge etc.

Has he got a tablet or any kind of device that you could send short, read-able messages to him via? I've had lots of 'mummy, i love you' messages from my youngest as she was learning to read and write and she can read anything I send her now. It's fun and about connection and joy rather than fear and frustration.

It will come, but it'll come sooner and more pleasantly if the pressure is off and the energy around reading is changed for him.

kilmuir Sat 01-Oct-16 19:20:42

Teachers aren't all great at spotting dyslexia. I had to push and keep pushing . My DS was shocking at spelling, handwriting was illegible. They said he was a boy and would catch up. Rubbish.
He is the Beat dyslexia scheme, given extra time to complete work etc

SisterViktorine Sat 01-Oct-16 19:24:21

Are you at home with him after school? If so I would look at the Sound Foundations stuff.

DS has massive difficulty with spelling- we used Apples and Pears over the Summer and it has made a huge difference. The Dancing Bears books may well help your DS if you have time for concerted intervention at home.

There is also Toe by Toe- it's dry but effective.

OldJoseph Sat 01-Oct-16 19:26:25

Dsis paid (£300) for her dd to be diagnosed with dyslexia, the school wasn't interested in the result. She got no more extra help than they were already giving her.

SisterViktorine Sat 01-Oct-16 19:27:24

Make books a really lovely, special thing that he associates with cuddles and love and closeness to counteract that horrid feeling we all know of not being able to do something someone is expecting us to be able to do that he must feel at school a lot.

This is nice and Mistress you sound like a lovely mum, but it will not help a child overcome dyslexia.

OldJoseph Sat 01-Oct-16 19:31:17

In a way I'd like to ditch their homework and do something different. The homework from school takes up our time and isn't working as far as I can see. He gets 1/10 whether or not we practice every night or not.

I'll look into your ideas and ask if he can be excused their homework so we have time to do something different.

OldJoseph Sat 01-Oct-16 19:31:50

Oh and thank you for messages of hope.

irvineoneohone Sat 01-Oct-16 19:36:00

Doesn't official diagnosis of dyslexia help in the future even school aren't doing anything extra because of it? Like extra exam time, etc?

BabyGanoush Sat 01-Oct-16 19:36:42

Also, be aware that schools do not push for dyslexia assesment as it costs them money.

FWIW DS was diagnosed with moderate dyslexia at 8.

Then at 11, the dx said he was no longer dyslexic, as his results were now average.

Still not sure what to make of that.

One of those dx must have been wrong!

MistressPoldark Sat 01-Oct-16 19:38:46

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that considering dyslexia was a bad idea! I think it's very wise, actually.

OP, it's not so much that the school would need to give him more help but different help and if they refuse to recognise dyslexia and provide that different kind of help, then they're not the good school with good teachers that you think they are, sadly.

OldJoseph Sat 01-Oct-16 19:43:36

'Good' is the OFSTED term.

Yes it's different help I think he needs whether or not he has a diagnosis. I think we should be doing different things with him at home and at school.

MistressPoldark Sat 01-Oct-16 19:45:59

Well, let's face it, OFSTED reports, like CQC reports, are pretty meaningless when it comes to the actual lived experience of the children and parents of a school.

OldJoseph Sat 01-Oct-16 20:37:26

You're probably right about it's 'Good' rating. It's good for the bright kids only. I'm not sure moving schools is the answer, unless I know they do work differently, although I won't rule it out.

The school is extremely well staffed, it's what I like about it. I don't think they ever have external supply in apart from to cover maternity leave. There are more TA / part-time /specialist teachers than there are full time classroom teachers. There are 4 full time teachers (plus the head) who don't have their own class for example. We only had one classroom teacher for 30 kids when I was at school, so I can understand why some kids might have left primary unable to read. With so much more support in the classroom and understanding of different learning styles no child should leave primary unable to read.

Bluepowder Sat 01-Oct-16 22:31:55

The shouldn't leave school not being able to read, but they do. Unfortunately there is no one right solution that solve all reading difficulties. A comprehensive eye and hearing test would be good. Push for as much help/diagnostic help as the school can give. Ask what extra help the school are giving and if you can support it at home. It could be that DS is a late developer, many children are. But personally I wouldn't take the risk.

MoreVegLessCake Sat 01-Oct-16 22:34:13

Hi OldJoseph

I'm sorry to hear of your and your DS's struggles and can really empathise.

I wondered whether you had any concerns about your DS's eyesight? My DS, now in year 4 was really slow to get into reading. For a long time I wasn't sure whether to push for a dyslexia assessment or to give him more time. He was very reluctant to read despite loving being read to.

In the end things were a little taken out of our hands because early in year 3 he started complaining of difficulties seeing the board, and his (new) teacher started questioning his writing (still quite weak). We had had his eyes tested several times with no problems reported, but then I heard about Paul Adler ( and took DS there. I was horrified to discover how much difficulty he had in maintaining focus sufficiently to read. I was also angry as I had worried about his eyes since reception (he used to rub them a lot and got lots of eye infections) but despite flagging this up during opticians checks no one could find anything wrong...

Anyway, roll on a year, he had 3 months of eye exercises (very hard work for him but 200% worth it) and is about to get tinted lenses. His reading has come on massively and it is no longer the massive struggle it used to be.

I actually think there is a bit more going on - he still struggles with phonics - he gets the idea but really struggles to use phonetic knowledge to read or spell - he basically now has a good enough sight vocab to be able to read adequately. I think the glasses will help reading be a lot more comfortable, which will help develop the vocab better, but we are also looking into auditory therapy - which I hope with time will make the phonetic knowledge sink in (I think he has some auditory processing issues).

Anyway, my main point was to suggest considering your DS's eyes. Visual difficulties are, I gather, often a big part of dyslexia (so says Paul Adler certainly) yet they seem quite poorly understood. I don't know how far a dyslexia assessment will help you understand what the underlying reasons for difficulties are (so you can address them), or whether they will just tell you that the difficulties exist. I'd like to know the answer really, because it would certainly incline me more to go down this route myself.

Good luck with whatever you choose to do.

Bluepowder Sat 01-Oct-16 22:35:15

Reading difficulties/dyslexia / whatever name you give to it is a large and complicated area. Don't assume that the school will have all the answers.

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