5 year old below average in reading and writing

(20 Posts)
LMonkey Sun 13-May-18 21:53:12

DS is 5 years old and in reception. I went to parents evening a couple of weeks ago where I was told by his (really lovely) teacher that he falls below average in reading, writing and in concentration. I was really surprised about the reading as I feel that he has been doing well although I have been a bit concerned about his writing and had been planning to address this anyway. I have been told by a different teacher that his concentration isn't so great, and I really am at a loss as to what I can do to help this. I asked what we could do at home to help and she gave us ideas for ways to practice writing etc.

DS has now been off school with the chickenpox for the last week, giving me time to mull over things, and I'm really thinking - shouldn't they be addressing this?? He is at school for 6 hours a day...to be honest I would be expecting him to be able to write a simple sentence by now and at least be writing his letters properly, but he isn't. I realise reception is mainly play-based nowadays, but could there be too much playing?? There is just no way he will want to do writing practice with me when he gets home from school, he's knackered! And he's 5 years old why should he do more learning when he gets home?

I guess I'm asking advice on a) how to address this with the teachers without seeming unreasonable or pointing fingers (tactfulness isn't always something I'm good at), b) what we can do to help him catch up, good ways of getting him to learn and improve concentration, and c) am I even right to think that it is more the school's responsibility to help him catch up or am I being unreasonable?

I realise he's only young but if it has been recognised now it makes sense to start improving. I so worry that it's because I've just been crap and far too lax. Any ideas/ advice/ opinions welcomed. Thanks

OP’s posts: |
user789653241 Sun 13-May-18 22:03:56

Writing practice doesn't need to be sitting down at the table with pen and paper. My ds did lots of writing/drawing on the pavement with a chalk. Writing/drawing on the white board is good practice too. Or writing on the sand. Or many things which improves fine/gross motor skills, like lego/ play dough/ threading/climbing/hanging from monkey bars, etc.

PatriciaHolm Sun 13-May-18 22:07:17

What makes you think school aren't addressing it?

Children learn at different rates. He may need more support and time to get to where he is expected to be, and anything you can do to support his learning is helpful. But I don't see why you think school aren't supporting him?

MyOtherProfile Sun 13-May-18 22:09:42

Don't worry too much. He's a 5 year old boy. Just keep his interest in books going with nice story times together and give him it's of freedom with paper and pens. Involve him in things like writing shopping lists and generally writing for meaning. Try to stock up on information books about things he is interested in as lots of boys prefer non fiction. And try to encourage him to do some things with you that so build his concentration like puzzles.

ltk Sun 13-May-18 22:11:52

Why would the school be more responsible than you, his actual parent? You are responsible for making sure your child can read. If they are telling you that he needs extra support, and explaining how to give it to him, then do that. It does not take specialist training. Five minutes online will find you some fun phonics apps, and reading books together at home will improve his concentration. The class has maybe 30 children to teach and will not be able to give him the daily 1 to 1 support that you can.

minipie Sun 13-May-18 22:19:26

How about having a conversation along the lines of

"So after parents' evening, I'd like to help DS in those areas at home as mucH as I can, but I'm not too sure what works best. Can you tell me the kinds of things you are doing with him to help bring on his reading/writing/help him learn to concentrate, and I can do some of those at home too?"

This way you get the answers to both your questions 1) what are they doing at school to help him and 2) what's best for you to do.

As to whether it's your responsibility or the school's - both. They have him for 6 hours a day but they also have a lot of other children and some children benefit a lot from one to one which they can't do very much of.

When was your DS 5 - age in the year makes a big difference in reception.

RebelRogue Sun 13-May-18 22:22:04

Have a chat with the teacher about what they are doing to help and what you can also do at home.
Kids that also get support at home are nearly always better at catching up than those that don't,despite having the same interventions/help/strategies.


Gottokondo Sun 13-May-18 22:50:01

Someone has to be below average. It's silly to think that everyone will do great all the time. He's probably good in other stuff instead. He will learn to read and write sooner or later.

LMonkey Sun 13-May-18 23:46:36

Wow thanks for all your replies.

PatriciaHolm I guess I feel that from the conversation with the teacher there was really no mention of what they will try and do to offer additional support to the children who are finding it harder. I was told where he is on the 'spectrum' but nothing else was really offered to suggest any kind of plan going forward.

Itk we read together every day. Like i said, i thought he was doing pretty well, however the writing needs work. The point I was trying to make is that when on earth do we, as parents get the time to do extra learning with our children? They are at school 6 hours a day!! He's knackered when he gets home and why should he have to sit down and learn more stuff then?! That leaves weekends I suppose, and yes that is possible though still a struggle. It's really writing that he needs help with and that's not something that can be done with phonics apps etc

Great idea about the puzzles, we don't do enough of these as his little sister usually destroys things but will try!

OP’s posts: |
Super123 Sun 13-May-18 23:54:25

Our school system expects far too much of young children.

In most countries, he wouldn't be starting formal work for another year or two.

I wouldn't put him under any pressure at home. Six hours is a long time to be in school for a young child.

BarbarianMum Mon 14-May-18 08:47:39

The thing about averages is, somebody always have to be lower than them. The school will almost certainly be trying to bring your child on, but (logically) not all children can be average or above.

Wrt writing I think it is totally normal for many children to struggle age 5. I think you would do best to encourage him to read, concentrate and develop his manual dexterity through play without fighting about writing at home. My own ds1 barely put pen to paper in reception and Y1 despite being classed as "gifted" at English/maths. By Y2 he was ready.

somanyfeministsthesedays Mon 14-May-18 08:50:52

Please please do not worry my son was the exact same and now he is in year 2 and is a free reader and his writing has come on loads. Do what you can at home, make it fun and he will come on leaps and bounds. Don't forget he is still only young, so please try not to put any pressure on him or yourself.

LittleHearts Mon 14-May-18 11:36:28

You might find this thread helpful here.

Nuffaluff Mon 14-May-18 11:54:55

Children develop at different rates. He will catch up - he’s very young. From what you’ve said, it doesn’t sound like they’re suggesting he has special needs.
I’ve taught reception. I’m now teaching Year 3 - I’ve had 20 years experience.
This year two of the children in my class were working at ‘well below expected standard’ for the end of year 2. They’ve both now made huge progress and are going to be at ‘expected’. Who knows where they’ll be next year?
It’s not all down to me, but it’s also about the parents, the children’s own development and their work ethic.
The best thing you can do as a parent is hear your child read regularly and read bedtime stories to them. I still do this with my 7 year old DS, but now it’s Greek Myths rather than Room on the Broom.
I have many kids in my class who have no support at home. Not just no reading, but no books in the house, no breakfast, etc. It’s much harder to get them to catch up.
Your son will be fine. Just give him time. You are doing everything right and the school probably are too.

BubblesBuddy Mon 14-May-18 13:55:01

He doesn’t have 30 hours of teaching a week. His daily routine has breaks and lunch. It’s nearer 22 hours a week.

Of course you have to find time to help. Most of us get into a routine of doing something every evening and you have to restructure your day to fit it in. Ditto weekends.

When mine were in YR, the school gave a list of games and puzzles to help concentration. This was the days before iPads so we did these as a family. Also read to him every night. Try to get him to talk to you about the story and get him involved so he concentrates. Go to attractions at the weekend and see if they have quizzes for children. They can concentrate on finding the answers.

Many children cannot write sentences in YR. However forming the letters is important and the school should have given you information on how they want letters written. If he has poor pencil grip, try colouring and fun activities using grip, eg playground equipment.

The school certainly can be asked to give you a steer towards what you should do to help. Also, what is average? Average of what? National expectations or average in his class? Also, you need to ask about progress. Average suggests attainment but progress is the most important aspect of judging how well he is doing and how well he is being taught.

Ask to see the teacher again and ask about his progress over the year and what you can do to help. However improved concentration helps with nearly everything.

LMonkey Mon 14-May-18 16:52:40

Thank you all so much for taking the time to answer, you have given me loads of ideas and reassurance smile xX

OP’s posts: |
Snowysky20009 Mon 14-May-18 19:50:35

Get a tray and fill with sand- show him how to form his letters and numbers. Then simply shake, and start again! Or wet the sand, this makes it easier to write, then use a spade (beach bucket and spade) to flatten down before starting again. My dc loved this.

BackforGood Wed 16-May-18 00:29:36

Agree with others. The reality is that 1/2 the class will be "below average", just as half will be "above average". Why do you think the school aren't helping him learn? The staff will be working hard to make sure all the children make progress. Potentially, a child who is well below average could make a massive amount of progress and still be below average. Equally, someone who started out way above average, might make little progress. Comparing your child with other children isn't helpful to them at all. What you need to look at is the progress your child is making. What were they able to do 6 months ago ? Have they moved on ?
The teacher hasn't given you ideas to support them instead of what she is doing, it is ideas for those parents who want to put in a bit of extra support.

user789653241 Wed 16-May-18 06:03:12

I think you shouldn't really worry about your ds being below average at reception. One of my ds's friend was below average in reading and writing in reception, and his mum was really worried. But he was one of the first ones to get pen licence in yr3, and in top reading group.
As for parents helping at home, short 1-1 is worth more than hours of 1-30 at school. And just 5 minutes a day really counts in a long run.

slightlyglittermaned Wed 16-May-18 08:17:48

Is it "below average" or "below expectations for age". DS is "below expectations" for writing, and as a summer born, this means he is a long way off "average".

Quick question for those recommending the other thread - how "schooly" is Write From The Start? www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1855032457/?tag=mumsnetforum-21

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