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Non-decodable books in reception? Is this right?

(36 Posts)
BenefitsQuestions Sun 08-Jan-17 20:01:34

DC is 4.5 and in Reception at an independent school

This is my first child so I don't know anything about learning to read etc really.

They have a mix of reading books and some of them have sentences like "This is an orange" and my DC can't sound out orange. The teacher said that they have some books which are wholly "decodable" but they don't have loads of them and so he'll get one of those only twice a week.

Is this ideal? My gut reaction was that i'd like him to have a decodable book all the time and I'm paying £10k a year so can they not buy enough of the "good" books?

But maybe IABU and the other books are just as good. It was the way the teacher made it sound like the decodable books were desirable but limited that made me think...

Any teachers or more experienced parents on here? At home he enjoys reading Songbirds (level 2) and they have gone down well with him so far.

mrz Sun 08-Jan-17 20:10:37

*"*^*Is this ideal?*^ *"* no it's very poor practice. Research clearly shows that the most effective way to teach reading is via high quality phonics and that mixed methods (using a mixture of other strategies such as guessing from pictures or context clues) can be detrimental for many children.
"^*I'm paying £10k a year*^*"* confused

Bitlost Sun 08-Jan-17 20:10:53

Not sure what a teacher's advice would be on this. From experience though, my DD wasn't getting anywhere with those not fully decodable books so we moved to Songbirds, which I bought myself. We're in a state school so I didn't mind too much.

BenefitsQuestions Sun 08-Jan-17 20:16:26

Both responses confirm my initial feelings. Thank you for replying.

Tomorrowillbeachicken Sun 08-Jan-17 23:33:56

Not ideal and not unusual. We've had it too. My DS has done the set one sounds but has books in his level which are non decidable with these sounds and need set two or even set three.
I've ended up having to teach him some of the sounds myself just so he can read. Words like 'come', 'blues' and 'are'.
Ironically though the same level fully decidable books (songbirds) are way too easy.

Tomorrowillbeachicken Sun 08-Jan-17 23:36:01

This is at a state school in a deprived area. I'd be spitting feathers if I was paying 10k a year

SauvignonGrower Sun 08-Jan-17 23:42:57

I've come across this at the private school my sister sends her kids too. Unfortunately they are a decade behind the curve in best practice for learning to read. Both her kids really struggled whilst mine progressed very smoothly through the Read Write Inc books.

angelcake20 Mon 09-Jan-17 00:13:12

Our "outstanding" state primary has loads of non-decodable books in the reading scheme, which always surprised me given the strong feelings on here. Some of them have even been purchased recently so it's not a budget issue. Having volunteered at the school extensively, I'd say that this causes no problems for the majority of children, who actually benefit from an earlier exposure to the high frequency words, but for those that are struggling it isn't ideal.

mrz Mon 09-Jan-17 06:35:27

Can you get any earlier exposure to HFW than in the first (phonic decodable) books? hmm

irvineoneohone Mon 09-Jan-17 07:06:30

If it's a selective independent school where majority of children are able and come to school able to read anyway, it doesn't really matter, imo.

But if the school was where children start non reading, why do you have to pay so much yet still have to teach your own children to read, because school isn't doing the right thing? confused
Some state school may be better in that case.

prh47bridge Mon 09-Jan-17 08:20:46

I'd say that this causes no problems for the majority of children, who actually benefit from an earlier exposure to the high frequency words

I would disagree that the majority benefit but the problem isn't the majority. Around 80% of children will learn to read pretty much regardless of the method used. However, if synthetic phonics is used as the only method the success rate would be 95%+ - possibly 99%+. If your school stopped ignoring the evidence they would have fewer struggling children.

sirfredfredgeorge Mon 09-Jan-17 09:12:14

irvineoneohone If the phonic knowledge is already such that all words are decodable, then why would they be on such low level books?

Tomorrowillbeachicken Mon 09-Jan-17 10:57:53

Sir Fred I assume it is because there is an assumption that most children will never need lower level books so it doesn't matter if they aren't great.

BIgBagofJelly Mon 09-Jan-17 12:17:22

My DS's school does this too, annoys me a little. I buy phonics book for at home (Songbirds and read, write inc). I does grate a little, I can understand high frequency words but do they really need to learn "elephant" and "orange" etc before they're reading fluently.

irvineoneohone Mon 09-Jan-17 12:43:55

sirfred, sorry you misunderstood my comment.
What I meant was, if they can read/decode already, it really doesn't matter what kind of books the school has for teaching to read, because they don't need them.

irvineoneohone Mon 09-Jan-17 12:52:51

I only have my ds' experience, he started reception on orange, jumped to purple after 2 weeks, lime by spring term, and haven't touched school book since summer term.There weren't any words he couldn't read in school books.

I assumed some selective independent school might have similar children.
I didn't say OP's school was.(I don't know.)

sirfredfredgeorge Mon 09-Jan-17 13:34:10

irvineoneohone Sure, but if the kids can read, then like your child, they should be giving them books that are already at the level appropriate to their phonic knowledge - which if it's Orange then it's everything I believe?

If there are lots of kids that are already at that level, then it makes it even more of a mockery to claim they don't have enough phonically decodable books as they'd need so few to just support a few kids. That it would cost peanuts.

mrz Mon 09-Jan-17 20:11:02

And if they're receiving £10K from each parents the cost of purchasing appropriate books will be a drop in the ocean

irvineoneohone Mon 09-Jan-17 20:24:36

sirfred, I really don't get your point.confused

smellyboot Mon 09-Jan-17 23:21:50

I thought all had to be fully decodable but then thats state. Indy can do what they like. And charge. A box of 36 songbird is less than a tenner. For £10k a week Id want the best and in plentiful supply. - esp if only 20 in a class ?????

HardofCleaning Tue 10-Jan-17 07:26:55

irvineoneohone a selective school would likely have some early readers like your son but they don't tend to select for reading ability (which often evens out after a few years anyway) so even there they'd have plenty of kids who were just beginning to read.

G1raffePicnic Tue 10-Jan-17 07:31:10

I'd hope a private school was on top of best practice to be honest.

irvineoneohone Tue 10-Jan-17 08:07:15

HardofCleaning, I agree some, children even out, but normally, early reading means early access to all sorts of other resources, so I don't think truly able will even out. (completely off topic here, sorry.)

If selective private have plenty of non readers, then there are no excuse not having proper decodable material. Even more so for normal private.

irvineoneohone Tue 10-Jan-17 08:08:11

not ...some, children....some children!

teaandbiscuitsforme Tue 10-Jan-17 10:45:18

mrz I'm a teacher, worked in both state and private. In my last school (private), the parents £12k a year fees gave us less than £60 a year to spend on each child in the classroom (i.e. all books, resources, etc). Worse budget than all of the state schools I've been in!

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