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Non-decodable book sent home

(260 Posts)
drspouse Sat 16-Sep-17 13:07:29

DS has just started Y1, he's decoding nicely and building up fluency. He is still on Red partly I think because he tends to mix up some of his digraphs.
I've done the Yellow digraphs on Hairy Phonics and read a few bits with him too. But if they feel he needs more practice on Red that's great.
However we've just had a non-decodable book from school. New Zealand publisher, 1997, all repetitive/guessable, and on every page is the word Time. He's not done i-e. The title contains i-e too.
Shall I send it back and say maybe it's in the wrong band?
He's started trying to guess words which we have firmly discouraged and I try not to say "you've seen this word before" unless it's an official "tricky word" but that's how he'd have to read this book.
Maybe advice from @mrz?

MiaowTheCat Sat 16-Sep-17 13:16:00

I sent one back this week saying I really thought it had made its way into completely the wrong reading book box. School were fine with that.

alittlepieceofme Sat 16-Sep-17 13:18:44

They may have sent it home so your child can learn sight words that can't be decoded such as 'you' 'the'. The only way they can learn them is by recognising them.

drspouse Sat 16-Sep-17 13:19:58

I'm not sure this book is appropriate at all for a phonics based scheme but at least if I say it's the wrong band then he won't have to read it!

drspouse Sat 16-Sep-17 13:21:54

alittle, no, "you" is perfectly decodable. So are i-e words if you've done that bit of phonics. He hasn't.

StinkPickle Sat 16-Sep-17 13:21:57

I would definitely send this one back with a polite note saying you think he might have brought the wrong book home as he hasn't covered the i-e digraph. I've done it before. Very important at this level to have decodable books containing the phonics he knows already.

drspouse Sat 16-Sep-17 13:25:39

Thanks all, I'll do that!

albertatrilogy Sat 16-Sep-17 13:43:39

What about encouraging a child's natural curiosity?

Their innate will to develop problem-solving strategies with family encouragement?

shakeyourcaboose Sat 16-Sep-17 13:47:06

Dc not at school stage but for my curiosity... Decoding? Is that really just learning to read? I thought all the new schoolers were doing fancy IT stuff!

Chilver Sat 16-Sep-17 13:59:04

Can you not just teach him that diagraph? It should be a joint effort between teachers and parents to encourage the learning and curiosity imo.

ShatnersBassoon Sat 16-Sep-17 14:06:32

I'd give it a go. You seem to know your way around the principles of learning to read, so the teacher has given you the chance to stretch him a bit at home.

What do you think a parent who wasn't so clued up on the areas their child had covered at school would do with that book? They'd probably have a crack at it.

Logans Sat 16-Sep-17 14:21:03

Isn't this a great opportunity to teach him to read the word time?

OP, some DC learn to read almost entirely from recognising the words rather than decoding. In fact, many DC have an excellent memory for words but a poor decoding ability.

ParadiseCity Sat 16-Sep-17 14:23:55

All reading is good, I agree with looking at it together like you would any other writing irl. You don't go to e.g. the shops and only let him look at the EGGS and MATS but not the FRUIT.

brilliotic Sat 16-Sep-17 14:51:32

At our school they give home 'decodable' books initially, until a child has read all of them in a 'band' or 'level', then - if the child hasn't recently been assessed by the teacher, or has been assessed as not ready to move to the next level - they move on to the old-style ORT books. Chances are this is what happened to your DS, OP, particularly if he has been on red for a little while but still makes regular mistakes in de-coding. I doubt it was a 'mistake' - I don't see how that could happen, unless the mistake is that they have forgotten to remove a few of the non-decodable books when they cleared them out. It is much more likely that they never did clear the non-decodable books out, but rather use them as back-up for when someone runs out of decodable books to read, like at our school.

Can you not just teach him that diagraph?
If it were a one-off, rather than that he will be getting not-yet-decodable books from now on, then perhaps. But even then, it feels wrong to teach a child who isn't confident with digraphs yet, the next step i.e. split digraphs. Like saying 'oh, the child can't consistently add up correctly yet, let's teach him some multiplication then'.

I'd give it a go. You seem to know your way around the principles of learning to read, so the teacher has given you the chance to stretch him a bit at home.
Same problem really. You don't stretch a child who is not yet secure on basic skill A, by challenging them with advanced skill B.

*Isn't this a great opportunity to teach him to read the word time?

OP, some DC learn to read almost entirely from recognising the words rather than decoding. In fact, many DC have an excellent memory for words but a poor decoding ability.*

These days children are not taught how to read words. They would need to learn thousands of words. Much better to teach them to decode and blend, then they need to learn some 180 PGCs and can read every single word there is.
Many children have poor decoding ability because they haven't been taught phonics properly. This will severely disadvantage them at some point, where their excellent word recognition memory hits its limits, perhaps after a thousand or so...

All reading is good, I agree with looking at it together like you would any other writing irl. You don't go to e.g. the shops and only let him look at the EGGS and MATS but not the FRUIT.
Again, fair enough if it's a one-off. But this child needs to practise decoding, practise applying the phonics he has been taught. This book does not give him that opportunity to practise his basic skills.

I heard children in reception and Y1 read for three years. Much too often, a child was doing well on their decodable books, just not QUITE ready to move up yet - then reached the non-decodable books and was completely thrown. Their phonics skills and, importantly, their confidence made huge steps backwards. Whereas the other children who moved up just before reaching the end of the decodable books, thrived on the new level. My own DS developed bad habits of guessing when he got stuck on non-decodable books for a while. The worst is the confidence. They have learned that these letters make those sounds, and have learned that if they concentrate, they can 'read' - they can turn those squiggles on the page into words. Then suddenly it doesn't work anymore. Instead it all turns into a big mystery and they get told off for trying to guess. I have seen 5 year olds becoming very distressed and saying 'I can't read' when just a week before they were doing fine.

brilliotic Sat 16-Sep-17 15:00:19

Regarding what to do, OP, I would definitely send the book back with a note that this book is not matched to his phonics ability.

I suspect you will then be given a spiel about having to learn to recognise words by sight. Then be given more books of the type.

At which point I would stop reading school books with him, and provide him with decodable books yourself. Then when you feel he is confident with the digraphs etc ask the teacher to move him to the next level, where he should get the decodable books again, at least initially.
You could also ask if he can re-read the decodable red level school books rather than moving onto the non-decodable ones; this might be acceptable to the school if you argue that you feel he needs more practice with them. If you think it won't put him off to re-read them, and he doesn't know them off by heart yet, that is!

Apple23 Sat 16-Sep-17 15:38:13

I'd read the book with (to) him, so you keep the routine of regular reading and talking about books. Record in the Reading record that you've read it together and discussed the story. Then take the book in on Monday, ask if you can change it as you think it's from the wrong band. See what they say.

You're obviously knowledgable about how reading is taught in most schools. If what you're told does not tally with that, make an appointment to discuss with the teacher, from the what-can-I-do-to-support-my-child's-learning viewpoint.

Apple23 Sat 16-Sep-17 15:41:03

* knowledgeable
Two attempts and still it auto-corrects without the middle e.

MiaowTheCat Sat 16-Sep-17 15:46:45

With dd1 I tend to tell her "That is another spelling of x phoneme, don't worry about it if you've not got to It in class yet". I just know that works ok in terms of how she handles things best

drspouse Sat 16-Sep-17 16:21:49

I think we'll try the decodable words quickly then say "maybe this is the wrong level". I've already pointed out he's started learning the next lot of digraphs but he really does need more fluency.

Feenie Sat 16-Sep-17 16:24:08

They may have sent it home so your child can learn sight words that can't be decoded such as 'you' 'the'. The only way they can learn them is by recognising them.

Everything in this post is wildly inaccurate.

I'd take brilliotic's advice - it's excellent.

Mrz has deregged for now

cornflakegirl Sat 16-Sep-17 16:29:03

I had this issue with DS2. I complained, school said they didn't have enough decodable books to be able to send them home. I borrowed decodable books from the library, but also kept making a fuss, and eventually they found some money to buy more books.

Of course you read non-decodable books with children - but when they are practising decoding, they need books at the right level.

Looneytune253 Sat 16-Sep-17 16:31:19

At year one haven't they covered all the phonics? They usually do them all in reception (if I'm remembering from my girls correctly) and then start on the book bands and work their way up that? I'm pretty sure by year one they have covered them all?

Feenie Sat 16-Sep-17 16:32:30

To meet the requirements of the NC, children must be given a decodable book matched to their phonics ability and must not be taught strategies that don't rely on phonic decoding.

Like bloody sight words, and advice matching the teaching of said sight words that is more than 15 years out of date.

Feenie Sat 16-Sep-17 16:34:28

By end of Year 1, most children will have come to the end of their decodable scheme. Phonics teaching for spelling continues until the end of Y6!

80sMum Sat 16-Sep-17 16:38:33

What on earth is a "decodable book"?

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