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Please help me understand how to help my child read

(46 Posts)
Whynotnowbaby Fri 07-Oct-16 07:33:49

Dd has just started reception. She has been given cards with the names of characters in the books she is reading and other words that appear all the time which she has memorised. Not many of them are easily decidable at the very basic level of phonics she has so far. She brings home reading books from the Ginn scheme which she does quite well with but she isn't really reading them - more using the pictures to fill in the gaps (so reading a book about lollies and kept saying ice cream whenever it should be lolly).

I don't know how to get her to really read these books as if she sounds out words they don't generally work (so eg shopping but she doesn't know sh or ing as sounds and sounding inidivual letters won't help). I'm just not sure she is really gaining anything from her reading atm and worrying that she is actually developing bad habits of guessing.

We had a phonics evening at school but that advice just doesn't seem relevant to the words and books she is getting. Can anyone advise?

Pootles2010 Fri 07-Oct-16 07:38:41

They sound awfully difficult words for someone starting reception ! I'm not familiar with Ginn books, do they have a website where you can look up book bands & suggested ages?

BaronessEllaSaturday Fri 07-Oct-16 07:48:00

Ask the teacher how they want you to do it. As an example we were told by the school that the first books they were bringing home were for reading together, they want us to model good reading behaviour and handling books so reading carefully, word by word and pointing to each word as we read to the child. They are trying to build good habits for reading both for the child and the adult before they start asking the children to decode phonics books at home.

BabyGanoush Fri 07-Oct-16 07:54:18

The pressure on kids, and parents, to read at age 5 is silly.... some lids will, and some won't until 7

The key is to foster a love of books by reading together (reading out loud).

Some books like The Gruffalo and dr Seuss are brilliant as kids seem to learn them almost by heart, and then they can look at the words whilst saying them from memory.

Phonics worked for one of my DC, and for the other it did not.

One was an early reader, one a late reader. Now both at secondary, and they are both fine.

So don't get too worried about it.

Any kind of reading with DC will be beneficial, little and often!

Whynotnowbaby Fri 07-Oct-16 07:56:43

Thanks, I will have a word with the teacher but seem to have so many questions at the moment I don't want to be the irritating one who never leaves her alone! The Ginn books aren't that hard, they basically have the same sentence repeated so "Sam wanted a lolly, Lizzie wanted a lolly, Mo wanted a lolly etc". Just not very decodable!

MrsKCastle Fri 07-Oct-16 08:07:35

My advice: do NOT ask her to read these books. Read them to her. Go to the school and ask them for some reading books which are 'closely matched to her developing phonics knowledge' as the National Curriculum states. If they are resistant or unhelpful, find some phonics books yourself: The Book People have a cheap set of Songbirds, or you can try the library or Reading Chest which is like an online library (although it does cost a bit)

Whynotnowbaby Fri 07-Oct-16 08:23:04

I will try and get some books of my own Mrs K but I don't want to fall out with the teacher at this early stage (which I suspect I might if I go in demanding alternative books or refusing to read what they have sent). The school does do well in the phonics test but it just seems that the books don't really support what they do at school.

Tigresswoods Fri 07-Oct-16 08:27:58

You may find it comes together. If you'd asked me in YR I'd have said I doubt DS will ever read. By October half term of Y1 he was a different child!

Just keep reading to her & go with the flow.

happyinthesunshine Fri 07-Oct-16 08:51:57

What previous posters have said. It's important to establish a love of books. The rest will follow. Read, laugh, enjoy together.
It will come quickly and naturally. Ask the teacher if you can borrow books from school to look at together. The he can choose.
At this stage it's getting them familiar with the notion of a book. That the pages are turned, the story unfolds. My sons first reading book didn't have words, only pictures.
We laughed about it and looked for the words that might have fallen out.

Ginmummy1 Fri 07-Oct-16 10:58:48

Your DD’s school sounds similar to ours, with a mixture of ‘old’ books, many of which are not decodable at the children’s current phonics level. Our DD happened to be an early reader so it didn’t matter for her, but I’m quite sure many in her class struggled like you (and maybe still do now in Y1).

Of course the other posters’ advice about reading with her and encouraging a love of reading is good, but you still need to know what to do with these ‘reading’ books, as you’re understandably expecting your DD to be practising her reading in these books, and she is understandably having difficulty as some of the words are inappropriate.

I’d agree with you that you don’t want to go in all guns blazing, demanding fully decodable books and becoming ‘that’ parent. However, it is entirely reasonable for you to go in and ask for advice on how they are expecting parents to work with their children on the school books that are sent home. Perhaps ask her to explain whether you should be expecting your daughter to decode the simpler words and for you to step in with the hard ones. If so, you’ll need to know exactly what they’ve covered in phonics, in order to determine which words she is expected to read at this stage. Perhaps when you do meet with the teacher, mention that you’re a bit confused after the phonics meeting, as the last couple of books haven’t been decodable. I think clarification is absolutely required in this situation, and you’re not being unreasonable in asking the teacher to help you help your daughter.

Batteriesallgone Fri 07-Oct-16 11:03:33

Have you heard of the CBeebies program alphablocks? Brilliant phonics spelling program. Apparently there are also associated books which are used in schools.

MrsGwyn Fri 07-Oct-16 11:03:54

The school does do well in the phonics test but it just seems that the books don't really support what they do at school.

Had a school like that - they did well on the phonics test after a few years as months before they sent home loads of sound out work sheets and did load of parent work shops. Rest of the time it was a much more mixed approach.

I'd slit the words up for them and sound out and help a lot or just read words they can't sound out- then find books that are phonics based to read at home. might be worth a look.

If they start to have problems reading - look at sound foundation dancing bear books.

IceBeing Fri 07-Oct-16 11:04:28

whatever you do, don't pressurize or make her read when she doesn't want to. Far FAR better to wait till she is a bit older, and her brain has developed some more, then it will click rapidly.

Did you force her to practice walking before she could hold her weight up? Or take her out of nappies before her bladder control developed? Reading is very much the same - lots of banging on at it when the child hasn't reached the developmental milestone is just going to make everyone miserable.

MrsGwyn Fri 07-Oct-16 11:06:43

Free e-books might be worth a look as well.

Vagndidit Fri 07-Oct-16 11:09:42

Honestly? Lay off. Read books together, instill a love of books (which she certainly won't be developing by being forced into it), chill.

DS didn't have any interest in reading until spring term of Y1. Then he just took off. He was reading full chapter books by his 7th birthday. School asked us to lay off the pressure and it will happen. Sure enough, it did.

Ginmummy1 Fri 07-Oct-16 12:27:02

All this ‘she might not be ready – chill out’ stuff is missing the OP’s question. At this stage she wants to meet the school’s expectations that she reads at home with her child, and she is unsure how to do this, given the conflict between the phonics advice given by the school and the reading material provided.

Further down the line, if her daughter is struggling, she may be back onto MN for reassurance that it just takes time and all children are different etc.

OP, while home books and online resources are fine if your DD is keen, I wouldn’t suggest that you ‘teach’ her to read using separate resources at this stage. You need to try to work with the school if at all possible.

Feenie Fri 07-Oct-16 12:56:30

How sad that simply asking a school to send home books required by the statutory national curriculum could get you labelled ' that parent'. sad

chamenager Fri 07-Oct-16 13:29:03

Sounds a bit like DS' school, in that the phonics teaching and the reading books provided don't match up.

I think there is some risk that if you make your DD attempt to read those non-decodable books, you might put her off, confuse her, frustrate her.

Can she blend? If not yet, then one way of supporting the school phonics teaching/practising at home could be to ask her to identify single letters/sounds in the school books. Then model the blending for her. But you read the rest.

If she can blend and is keen to learn to read, then providing her with decodable books may give her a great sense of achievement, as well as a chance to practise the phonics she is learning at school.

If she is not so keen, then you could just use the school books and ask her to read the odd word here and there - making sure you choose decodable words, and starting with short ones - CVC words mainly.

CecilyP Fri 07-Oct-16 13:40:49

Totally agree with Ginmummy1. You are confused because the situation is confusing. The approach is not one thing or the other. Presumably you had a new parents meeting where they emphasised they were teaching phonics. After only 4 weeks, when they really can't have covered much in the way of phonics, they are sending reading books home (because that is what they have been doing for the last 30 years) which don't match up to the phonics taught so far (or will be taught any time soon). The books have just appeared with no further explanation of what you are supposed to be doing with them, so, under the circumstances, it would be more than reasonable to ask for clarification. In the meantime, can you just read the words that your DD is unlikely to be able to know or work out and encourage her to sound the ones that she can.

MrsGwyn Fri 07-Oct-16 14:45:58

I think clarification is absolutely required in this situation, and you’re not being unreasonable in asking the teacher to help you help your daughter.

I wasn't trying to imply its' unreasonable to ask for clarification - and OP shouldn't be worried about doing so.

Personally I never got a good response - I'd be told me to get them to guesses or read story so frequently the could remember most of the words and then could "read" it. Though none of their teachers had a problem with parents talking to them about concerns.

I was unlucky my children started to think reading was hard because they struggled with the books sent home making them think that reading was hard and inconsistent.

I'm in the position that I wish I'd started reading song birds, Usborne phonic readers and other decodable books, joined reading chest, and doing a bit of phonics at home well before we did. Mixed teaching had a long negative impact with my children.

The phonics game I link to early is free and something mine request to do as they enjoy it so much. I'm sure the OP will ignore if if it's not helpful to her.

mrz Fri 07-Oct-16 16:59:38

The school should be using books that match your child's current phonic knowledge not sending home old Look & Say reading scheme books with words to learn as wholes.

Whynotnowbaby Fri 07-Oct-16 17:57:06

Thanks everyone for your input. I think I will try and have a chat to the teacher at some point. I know she is very keen to practise her new blending skills and always sounds out the letters in the books but then obviously can't actually work out the words from them which I am worried will ultimately make her feel there's no point in sounding out!

mrz Fri 07-Oct-16 19:22:05

I would supply the missing Information she needs to blend the words (you may have to support) or simply tell her the word while praising her effort.

Linpinfinwin Sat 08-Oct-16 10:16:23

Depends on the child I guess but I'd just tell her the longer words. As long as one of you is pointing at the words (or you are otherwise confident that she is following the text) she will take it in.

When my eldest started YR I had this idea that it wasn't "proper" reading practice unless she was reading it all to me. Now I think differently - don't expect her to read the whole thing, just help her and move the goal to her just reading the decodable words.

It sounds like a bad choice of books, but even with an entirely decodable scheme, the better readers in our YR are reading ahead of the phonic sounds taught in class, so they experience something of this issue.

Feenie Sat 08-Oct-16 10:54:16


That is not at all how a decodable reading scheme works.

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