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6 years can old can't read and has no photographic memory - brainstorm help?

(55 Posts)
hyperspacebug Mon 09-Oct-17 14:35:42

My 6 years old can barely read and seems to have really poor memory that is required for dealing with school academic stuff.

His writing and other fine motor skills are ok and he doesn't seem to be 'thick' generally.

But I cannot understand why he doesn't seem to remember what the word and (for example) looks like. When he reads and he will read it as if he's never seen this word before and goes as how he remembers from phoenetics in school: 'Aaaa eNNNN Duh's and'. Next minute he'd repeat exactly the same. He does it with all words. I don't think there is a word that he recognises instantly by sight. Maybe his name?

He passed phoenetics test in Y1, strangely enough.

He's ok with writing - 'this is my favourite fruit' he wrote like 'tis is my faforit froot' and his writing style is no worse than his peers. Very normal, it seems.

He couldn't talk until he was 3. Even now his pronunciation is still slightly off. Slow to adapt to corrections, often repeats same mistake over and over again beofre things change.

What can this be? We read to him most bedtimes and even encourage him to sound out the words, but it's too exhausting for him. I've GP booked to refer him to have mild hearing loss ruled out, but ..what about slow memory? The rest of his family has photographic memory. I don't want him to struggle at school all his childhood and compare himself negatively to his brother.

magpiemischeif Mon 09-Oct-17 14:56:54

Children are taught to read primarily with phonics now. They are not encouraged to read by sight. So if he is doing fine in terms of his phonics don't worry. He will get quicker with time.

hyperspacebug Mon 09-Oct-17 15:10:14

He's learnt phoenetics rules in by Y2 things should have taken off a bit more by now than it seems to be the case for him. It might click together eventually for him, but hard not to be vigilant now.

magpiemischeif Mon 09-Oct-17 15:22:43

What do his teachers say? I know that with the phonic method of teaching reading, reading by sight is often not actively encouraged because it is considered that a reliance on sight reading can cause problems with not properly understanding how the individual sounds fit and blend together. Which means unfamiliar words and spelling can be problematic.

hyperspacebug Mon 09-Oct-17 15:36:37

It does makes sense to get phoenetics principles right first, however I can imagine many kids with recognise simple words instantly like 'the', 'and', 'be', 'on' after sight exposure of a few bedtime readings of sounding out these words. Mine still sees word and as if he's never seen it before after goodness knows how many times.

Teacher last year said he's hitting expected for everything but I heard 'expected' range is incredibly wide.

poppl Mon 09-Oct-17 15:39:33

He’s year two - he shouldn’t still be sounding out “and”. I can see how in reception and maybe into year one yes, it’s just a question of keep practicing, but there comes a point when phonic blending and segmenting should be being replaced with sight reading. Adults don’t blend phonics ffs, they remember the shape of the word and sight read.

What do his school say? Is it only certain words he has trouble with? What’s his memory like otherwise?

2014newme Mon 09-Oct-17 15:40:48

Hearing seems the most obvious but they test for that in reception, worth double checking though., would tally with the late talking
Dyslexia they don't test for till age 7
Development delay
Reading just not clicked yet

hyperspacebug Mon 09-Oct-17 15:47:08

poppl - exactly...

I'm going to talk to his new teacher later this week, it'd be good to be prepared.

If he remembers the principles of phoenetics, then I guess his memory isn't too awful, but I do feel like he should have progressed beyond sounding out very simple words. His vocabulary isn't great in general so I'm worried about his memory. Will need to check his hearing just in case as too many words may have gone over him. My husband thinks we didn't spend as much time reading to him as with first child, but I don't think that's all what's stopping him.

poppl Mon 09-Oct-17 15:49:56

How about flash cards? Just for the basic words. Does he actually get that he doesn’t need to sound out every word? Is he just sounding out because he has been taught to approach every work in this way? Or can he genuinely not read the word?

TaxAdviceNeeded2015 Mon 09-Oct-17 15:58:22

I have thought about this too and checked - I can see he mostly doesn't recognise words. He gets impatient very quickly after sounding out couple of sentences, it's like his brain goes into effort of reading aloud that he can't see meaning of sentence.

So I mix reading aloud to him and encourage him to sound out a few words inbetween.

hyperspacebug Mon 09-Oct-17 16:02:38

We haven't done flashcards - I'd like to check with people first of flashcards can help for this type of problem.

catkind Mon 09-Oct-17 16:07:39

OK, so he can sound out and blend whatever words he needs to - that's all he'd need to pass the phonics test. So that's really good. I wouldn't have thought he'd be doing that if hearing was a problem.

Most of them have started saying at least some words at sight by end of year 1, but not all by any means. First thing, does he know he doesn't need to sound out aloud? What about if you suggest he does the sounding out bit silently in his head? As a reading helper though, I'd say the ones that keep blending aloud get it much quicker than the ones that are prone to look-and-guess. He's on the right track. Often they have a "click" moment and suddenly everything is read at sight.

magpiemischeif Mon 09-Oct-17 16:08:49

If you wait till you get some responses from KS1 teachers, I think you might get a more informed perspective on this, OP.

Really, 'sight reading' is not taught, encouragement or emphasised at all, now, as part of the National Curriculum. There is a big emphasis on phonics. This could have affected the way your DS approaches reading.

Goldmandra Mon 09-Oct-17 16:14:12

If the school are aware of these issues too, I would ask for an educational psychologist assessment. They can carry out tests that are designed to identify the root of these sorts of issues. Once the root is identified, they will be able to make informed recommendations for how he can be supported by school to ensure that he these difficulties don't result in him falling behind in other ways as well as how to help improve his reading.

hyperspacebug Mon 09-Oct-17 16:18:00

Thanks, catkind

It is his less than photographic memory that bothers me too. Why would it take so long for him to remember words by sight? His vocabulary is still very simple and any long word has probably gone over his head (low end of normal? sign of very mild hearing loss?)

It has to be said that we do have a bright first child who learnt to read at 2.5 and he only needs to hear or look once or twice to remember everything and at reception he was ploughing through encyclopedias. That may distorted my perception of what's normal more that it should have, but I am starting to worry that my DS2 slow memory = future academic problems.

Goldmandra Mon 09-Oct-17 16:25:34

This may not be memory. It may be visual processing or something else. Without knowing what it is, school will probably find it hard to help him.

hyperspacebug Mon 09-Oct-17 16:26:52

In other respects he looks fine - no trouble in following Lego instructions meant for older children, seems to have decent fine motor skills, enjoys arts and crafts and he mightily looks forward to Forest school every time.

poppl Mon 09-Oct-17 16:34:08

Er who says there aren’t any KS1 teachers on the thread? grin

Msqueen33 Mon 09-Oct-17 16:39:42

My dd is 7 and is a sight reader. Phonics has helped and hindered her. She will spell completely phonetically. She has a poor working memory. Have a look on twinkl to strengthen phonics and keeping reading with him.

Witchend Mon 09-Oct-17 16:51:00

My MIL (teacher) said that she had a very few children that even in year 2 approached reading like a decoding exercise. So every word they phonetically spelt out, and they had no clue of the meaning of the sentence by the end.
That sounds similar to your ds.

hyperspacebug Mon 09-Oct-17 16:56:05

Witchend yes, approaching reading like a decoding exercise, sounds tiring

what was up with these children?

Norestformrz Mon 09-Oct-17 18:18:16

*“*^*When he reads and he will read it as if he's never seen this word before and goes as how he remembers from phoenetics in school: 'Aaaa eNNNN Duh's and'.*^*”* And that’s perfectly OK and normal for 6 year olds.

Feenie Mon 09-Oct-17 19:03:55

Er who says there aren’t any KS1 teachers on the thread?

Anyone reading earlier replies and expecting advice from educational professionals that matches the curriculum and reflects quality practice?

Norestformrz Mon 09-Oct-17 19:09:25

*“*^*what was up with these children*^*”* not a thing. Some children just need to read a word over and over before it becomes automatic others might remember after decoding it once or twice others might needed to do it ten, twenty, a hundred times or more. All are normal.

BurnTheBlackSuit Mon 09-Oct-17 19:10:27

This is what my son was like. He is very..rigid.. in his brain. So, he was taught to decode words so that is what he did, even when he could read them by sight. When I had a Eureka moment, I explained to him that he could just say words he recognised. So starting with and, I'd point to it every time it appears on a page and ask him what's this word? And then he started to realise it was ok to recognise words and just say them.

My other child is much more flexible and happy to guess words, so progressed in reading quicker (although less accurate).

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