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How to motivate a 5 year old to learn literacy and numeracy

(10 Posts)
Maia290 Sun 30-Oct-16 10:46:53

My son has never been motivated to learn to read or write, he is now in Year 1 and his teacher has asked us to help him at home as his level of reading, writing and maths is very low.
Im more than happy to help him, and we try to do fun learning activities that I have looked for in the internet, that involve jumping, running, playdough and so on. But even with those he is still not motivated to play/learn. We try to do those activities even if he doesn't want to. We use descriptive praise aswell.
We haven't tried a reward system because I have read that this only creates extrinsic motivation, and doesn't work long-term, the motivation should ideally be intrinsic.
Im quite desperate, any ideas on how to get him motivated?

bojorojo Sun 30-Oct-16 13:03:18

I would ask the school if he could see an educational psychologist. Lack of motivation seems a very unhappy situation for a young child. Are you sure it is motivation, or is there another problem? The school should be very concerned by now.

Do you read to him? Do you get books from the library eery week so he loves books? Do you play with water, measuring, counting, number games and board games? I do not think I would use the computer, but do some hands on reading and number play together. I would expect the school to help with this as it may not just be lack of motivation that is the problem. If he is really struggling, I do think you need extra expert advice.

junebirthdaygirl Sun 30-Oct-16 16:36:09

How is he at chatting and picking up knowledge just from life?What sort of vocabulary has he? How is his memory for details or events? Th a t would give you a small indication if he is bright but no interest in academic stuff or maybe if he has some learning difficulties.

sophree Sun 30-Oct-16 16:39:46

Buy loads of fun activity books that have colouring and puzzles and bits of spelling, grammar, reading and math in them.
They do loads of great ones in the likes of home bargains! And just leave them to it.

I find mine enjoy doing the work in them cause they don't realise it is work wink

InTheDessert Sun 30-Oct-16 16:45:18

What DOES he enjoy?? My 5 year old would spend longer counting dinosaurs, or pairing them up or describing them, and maybe even writing about them than worksheets or books focused on other topics.
So I'd think of something he would like to learn about, and bring reading and maths into that subject.

What can he do in terms of ability??

Avebury Sun 30-Oct-16 16:50:25

Things like Squeebles on the iPad

Maia290 Sun 30-Oct-16 21:23:56

He likes arts and crafts and musical activities. He likes when we read books to him, but he is not interested in reading the books from school or library such as the Oxford Reading Tree.
He is able to read CVC words by sounding out each sound and he can blend the sounds and read the word, so we are still at this stage. And he often gets confused with several letters such as d and b, m and n. In numeracy he recognises up to number 20 well.
We now often ask him to write the shopping list, to read signs in the streets, he will sometimes do it but other times he doesn't want to.

GreenAndWinter Sun 30-Oct-16 21:59:45

I sympathise with him about not wanting to read books from the Oxford Reading Tree. I wouldn't either.

My son was a reluctant learner at this age. The school didn't have any concerns about his ability, partly because he could read and do sums when really pushed, and partly because they had so many children who barely spoke English that my son was the least of their worries.

I ended up withdrawing him from school for ten months. It took him four months to open a book voluntarily. I didn't push it, I just left really interesting books lying around and put no pressure on him. I let him choose his own books at the library but didn't make him read them. We embedded maths into everyday life (quite easy to do at this age, cooking, counting, shopping etc.) He found maths easier once he had separated the interesting number concepts from the stress being judged on how well understood them. Even though it felt like we were doing nothing academic, his reading and maths skills now impress school-educated children much older than him (he still won't write, but I've noticed that he is starting to write odd things down when he has a reason of his own, so that will no doubt sort itself out as well).

I'm not saying you should take your son out of school - in fact, I think my son is now ready to go back, and I'm applying for places now. However, I wonder if taking the pressure off a bit might help. You sound like a very concerned and loving mum who knows a lot about the strategies that often work - but sometimes just playing works better than anything else. Children need to play, and generally learn best through play, especially when they are so young.

If the school think your ds has a specific learning difficulty, then they should be providing help with this. If not, please don't worry too much flowers

Maia290 Tue 01-Nov-16 14:38:21

So my son is having one to one sessions at school to catch up with literacy and numeracy and we were asked to help at him at home too, which is what we are doing now, but I wish he was more motivated to learn as it would be a lot easier if he was motivated.
When he was about 3 years old, I bought magnetic letters and numbers, foam letters for the bath, but he was never interested.
Last year at reception he was not interested either with any of the books from school, and we didn't force him to read, thinking one day he will be interested to read, but now that we have been told he needs to catch up is when I feel the pressure from school.

Comiconce Tue 01-Nov-16 14:48:10

This is just from my own personal perspective but I'd do exactly the opposite to what the school suggest. The poor little thing seems turned off learning entirely if he gets one to one at school to catch up (good thing that they do keep an eye on his progress) but you then try to get him to do stuff at home, too. I'd step well back at home and just let him play and do things he enjoys doing! He's 5!! In many other European countries they don't start formal schooling until 6 or 7.

My dd2 was very slow to pick up the basics and I let her be. Reading suddenly clicked in a big way towards the end of year 1 when she was nearly 6 1/2. She's now in year 2 and flying. She loves reading and am very sure she would not be so keen if I'd tried to ram in phonics when she wasn't ready. And once the reading clicked she seemed to improve in her maths, too.

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