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Reading .... what's usual?

(47 Posts)
fedupandisolated Sat 20-Sep-08 20:51:20

My DS has just gone into Year 1. He's left handed and so struggles with writing and has a very immature palmer grip with pencils which affects how much control he has on paper.

In addition I am noticing that he is struggling with reading. He seems to have some basics of letter sounds but cannot seem to blend the sounds into words.

Having said that - he enjoys tappung words out on the computer like C-A-T and F-O-X.

If I put a book in front of him thou8gh he can't seem to manage it.

I noticed in the playground the other day that one of the other Mums was looking through her DS's school book and it was really advanced. T give an idea he is on the Level 10 books while DS is struggling with Level One.
What is normal?

I went up to the school's open evening last Wednesday and they went through what DS's class will be doing this year. I was amazed that the teacher only listens to each child read once a week (although the teaching assistant also listens to them once a week too),

I realise that the teacher is coping with a whole classful and not just DS so am not surprised that she doesn't have much time to devote to reading.

Is my DS behind though? Any Year One teachers out there?

Am going to make an appointment to speak to teacher and SENCO this week (DS has Sensory Processing problems) so will ask further about his reading ability. But has anyone else got a non reading Year One child.

DrHorrible Sat 20-Sep-08 20:53:22

I got told off last week for a similar thread. We must not compare wink

Thread was quite reassuring - speak to the teacher about your concerns, but until now they are all at very diff stages and just don't grasp it yet for some of them. They are meant to come on in leaps and bounds by the end of the year

We don't have levels like other schools, but I think DD is similar to your DS

fedupandisolated Sat 20-Sep-08 20:54:36

Oh thank goodness for that - was utterly shocked by the Level 10 book DS's classmate had.

pudding25 Sat 20-Sep-08 21:09:07

Hi. I teach year 1 (on maternity leave at the moment). I would perhaps have one child per year capable of reading level 10 at this stage in year 1. Most children in the class would start around levels 1-3 with a few around the level 4-6 mark. I work in a school with excellent results in a very nice area in London with children who are read to at home etc etc.

Does he know his letter sounds? If he does, then he will begin blending soon. You said he is typing out CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words on PC already. That is a good sign.

I am sure that you will be amazed at his progress over the next few mths. In particular, by the end of Spring term.

Listening to readers is the bane of my life. With a class of 30 and all the work that needs to be done, it is really hard to hear children reading more than once a week (twice incl the TA). I know some teachers in other schools who listen to pupils each day but they are listening to them read while the other children are working. In a yr1 class, the teacher needs to be helping the children while they work. That is how they learn and how the teacher can assess.
Also, bear in mind that reading goes on throughout the day in class. For example, words will be written on the board and children will read them together. Big books will be looked at together and read. They may also have guided reading groups.

I think it is really important for parents to listen to their child read/read with them. It does not have to be a case of making him read his reding book every night though. Of course, read the school book together. Help him by asking him questions about the story. Get him to sound out words. he may not be able to blend but he can sound out the letters and you can help him read it. Read other books together for pleasure. All of this will help his reading.

Please do not stress. If you are worried, go and speak to his teacher.

fedupandisolated Sat 20-Sep-08 21:13:09

Thank you so much Pudding - am being a bit overanxious I suspect.

pudding25 Sat 20-Sep-08 21:16:04

I think it is perfectly normal to be anxious, especially as yr 1 is quite a step up from reception. I am sure that when dd starts school, I will be a wreck! At the beginning of Autumn term each year, I have so many parents asking the same questions as you have.

moondog Sat 20-Sep-08 21:20:01

If you are bothered, I would recommend a brilliantly designed reading programme calledHeadsprout which is backed up by vast amounts of research.
I know as it is the subject of my MSc. I have put my daughter through it and can also speak as a paprent. It's an online resource which will cost about £100, which may be the best money you have ever spent.

Never assume teachers have any real understanding of the process of reading. They don't. Most kids learn to read in spite of this but those who trail need to be picked up fast.

NB There is a free 3 episode trial for Headsaprout (80 in all) Please bear in mind also that i have no commercial interest in the product.

pudding25 Sat 20-Sep-08 21:23:09

moondog I think you are being a bit harsh on teachers and on schooling and I don't think you can assume that the OP's son is already trailing. He has only been in yr1 for a few weeks. Do you know anything about the school system?

moondog Sat 20-Sep-08 21:25:12

Yes. Masses.
Am a salt of 13 years and have worked with scores of teachers.
I'm not harsh on teachers, I am harsh on a system that expects people to do a highly responsible and technical job with inadequate training.
As yuo say,there may well be no problem. I hope that is the case.

moondog Sat 20-Sep-08 21:25:22

Yes. Masses.
Am a salt of 13 years and have worked with scores of teachers.
I'm not harsh on teachers, I am harsh on a system that expects people to do a highly responsible and technical job with inadequate training.
As yuo say,there may well be no problem. I hope that is the case.

pudding25 Sat 20-Sep-08 21:39:42

Fair enough. I think the problem in schools is the lack of money available for extra staff to help any children with difficulties. One teacher and one TA cannot give enough 1-1 support which is often necessary. I think it is too early to tell if OP's son has any problems. I have seen children like this so many times and they usually make huge progress.
Definitely keep an eye on progress fedup and ask teacher to feed back to you.

moondog Sat 20-Sep-08 21:54:13

That's not strictly true.
With a properly designed programme it would be easily manageable. The fact is that what is known about effective reading instruction (by which i mean data driven eveidence based practice) is not being utilised.

i don't trust anyone (or rather, very few) in education

fedupandisolated Sun 21-Sep-08 08:52:42

Thank you all once again. Moondog I will look at this programme - many thanks for that.
pudding my son has a lovely teacher and TA and within the confines of the system I think they are doing a great job.

moondog Sun 21-Sep-08 09:01:52

Fedup,it is American, but don't let that put you off. The accent thing will not impinge on the important factors involved in creating a fluent reader.
In 80 20 minute episodes (which the child will complete, in his own time at his own pace at the rate of about 3 a week) the programme takes you from assuming you are a non reader, to one who is reading like a fluent 6/7 year old.

critterjitter Sun 21-Sep-08 09:54:25


I used to help out with reading in my DD's Reception class last year (so they would now all be in Year 1).

By June, I'd say 1/2 of them were reading the 'pre-reading scheme' books i.e. they were still grasping learning the sounds etc. to enable them to read the scheme books. About 1/4 of them were on levels 2-3, and another 1/4 of them were on 4-5 (mainly girls).

This was in a nice affluent area with involved parents etc. Most of the children on the pre-reading scheme books were very young (the summer-borns).

However, most children apparently 'even out' by 7. I think its a bit like learning to walk!

Have you thought about getting an independent assessment if you are concerned?

fedupandisolated Sun 21-Sep-08 10:38:40

Love the Headsprout programme moondog. DS enjoyed the sample activities but yes - the American pronunciation was a bit hard for him to decipher. However, with me repeating the sounds he did well. Am definitely going to look further and perhaps buy this.

cj - thank you for your input about this. Am definitely being overanxious. I think if DS is not reading by 7 then I'll think about an independent assessment. Hopefully though this won't be necessary.

moondog Sun 21-Sep-08 15:03:22

Oh, glad you had a look at it. smile

I would not be leaving it until 7. That is waaaaaaaay too late (not to late to catch up by any means but unacceptable all the same)

fedupandisolated Sun 21-Sep-08 15:48:14

Will be buying the stuff as soon as I get paid next week. Having thought about it I want to give DS every support I can to help him along and this looks a good and practical system we can both work with and enjoy.

Liked the notes for parents pdf they put on the site too. Very easy to want to do it for the child.

Have bookmarked the page so I can go back and order it next week.

fedupandisolated Sun 21-Sep-08 15:51:50

Have signed up for the first three free lessons. grin

moondog Sun 21-Sep-08 15:53:16

You can pay in instalments.
It really packs in soo much and very user friendly. As child gets used to it, you need to back off and just hover (which is good for you!)

Looking at dd's data , she spent 18hours 52mins on it in all (completing 80 episodes over 4 months) and loved every minute. That is a lot of reading.

angrypixie Sun 21-Sep-08 15:55:25

Moondog, hated your 'they don't' generalization.

I am a teacher who knows a great deal about the process of reading. I have undertaken research in my own time and at my own cost. I have a first class degree and an MA and I am not the only one!

Please don't undermine teachers by writing us all off with one sweeping generalization!

moondog Sun 21-Sep-08 15:57:37

You're an exception to the rule then.
Which is excellent news!

moondog Sun 21-Sep-08 15:58:31

And maybe read what I said more carefully?

'I'm not harsh on teachers, I am harsh on a system that expects people to do a highly responsible and technical job with inadequate training'

fedupandisolated Sun 21-Sep-08 16:23:18

There are probably inadequate resources too I suspect.

angrypixie - I have the greatest respect for my DS teacher - she's lovely as is the TA. They both work extremely hard and DS adores them both. The system is hard for them though and I suspect they don't have enough time to do the things they would like to with the children.

angrypixie Sun 21-Sep-08 16:26:17

I didn't get round to your second post - I couldn't get past

"Never assume teachers have any real understanding of the process of reading. They don't. Most kids learn to read in spite of this..."

Doesn't exactly inspire confidence for any parents reading this who might just assume that you meant all or even the majority of teachers.... Perhaps 'Never assume all teachers.... or 'some don't' might have been more helpful (and accurate!)

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