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Reading in reception class -what is expected?

(39 Posts)
FanjolinaJolly Wed 01-Oct-08 21:02:37

ds has started school this September.I guess hes your typical 4 year old,not a genius but not totally dimwitted.He can read some simple words and knows the alphabet.We read to him every night.Last week he brought his first "Reading" book home,basically a pictoral book of about 6 pages called "The Apple".It says it is part of a series calle Oxford Reading Tree.Alongside this a small reading "diary" appeared with a section marked "Parents comments".I looked at the book with ds and got him to tell me the story.Dutifully commented on said book.We did this every night,as well as a Proper story (Currently reading him Fantastic Mr Fox.)Last Friday I asked the ta if he needed a new book,she said "Oh,sorry forgot to look in his book bag" and found me another book in similar vein about a street fair.

How long does the pictoral stuff go on for?When do they start progressing to words,and should I be doing anything else to help ds with his reading.?Is this the usual stuff that is done in Reception I am clueless!Thanks

GeorgeAndTimmy Wed 01-Oct-08 22:03:55

I am not a teacher, just a parent. My understanding is that a lot of schools do this while they are going through the phonics sounds in class. Once they have completed a certain level of phonics, then the books start to get words in them. Hopefully the reading scheme will support phonics, but many, esp old ORT, don't.
The picture-only books home serve three purposes afaik - to familiarise children with the concept of books telling a story; to get parents to spend time with a child over books; and to appease parents who think that books should come home right from the start.
My dd's school doesn't send books home until about November time. For children new to learning phonics this gives them enough time to get some confidence with sounding out words, while children reading already are likely to be supported by their parents anyway.
Once books are coming home, children are moved through the scheme when they are ready, not when they have 'completed' a level.
However, one thing I have found is that all schools have different ideas about what is best, and many parents seem to disagree with whatever their school does!
It sounds like you are doing exactly what your ds needs you to be doing, ie sharing a love of books with him. This boring stage of picture-only books won't last too long I suspect smile

FanjolinaJolly Wed 01-Oct-08 22:08:43

Thank you

I am new to all this and not really au fait with it all.In my day it was Janet and John and those pirate ones!

ds seems to be enjoying himself,which is the main thing

swedishmum Wed 01-Oct-08 23:13:24

My dd doesn't get a reading book home yet, just a sharing book. She says her reading today alone with teacher was easy words like mum, dad, dog. Sounds like they are preparing her for the onslaught of ORT and mum's dreadful earrings. I speak with the jaded expression of mumwith4thchildinreception! They do varied stuff on Jolly PHonics.

Anngeree Fri 03-Oct-08 13:44:49

Ds just gone into yr1 but last yr in reception he didn't get a reading book sent home until February. The school focused on teaching the children phonics, they sent home Jolly Phonics worksheets for us to complete with them which encouraged pencil control,letter recognition & formation, also simple word recognition with letters which could be easily blended to make a word. Jolly Phonics workbooks are sold in Early Learning Centre if you wanted to try the scheme, (I would speak to ds teacher 1st though to see if she thinks it's a good idea as if the school are following ORT scheme trying Jolly Phonics at home might send mixed messages to your son & confuse him.) My ds has Ginn home reading books his starting point in reception was level 2 but he's worked his way up to level 5 since February.Best way to help your son is to join a library let him choose books that he wants to read, Make reading fun; talk about the pictures what he can see, what he thinks might happen. Let him see you reading newspapers, magazines, books this will show him that you enjoy reading. Also if you buy the magnetic keywords(I bought some from the school book club)& stick them on your fridge this will encourage simple word recognition. Don't think your son will have any problems learning to read as your obviously very supportive of him & that on it's own will help.

littlestrawberry Fri 03-Oct-08 14:35:13

DS2 hasn't had any proper reading books yet either, only books for us to 'share'
In a way I'm a bit frustrated but he was only 4 in July and I'm assuming they are just taking things slowly. I'm trying really hard not to be a pushy mum hmm

littlestrawberry Fri 03-Oct-08 14:35:14

DS2 hasn't had any proper reading books yet either, only books for us to 'share'
In a way I'm a bit frustrated but he was only 4 in July and I'm assuming they are just taking things slowly. I'm trying really hard not to be a pushy mum hmm

policywonk Fri 03-Oct-08 14:37:25

AFAIK, the aim at Reception is to have the whole class reading by the end of the year (although of course some will get there a lot sooner). So long as your DS is reading by the summer you don't have anything to worry about!

Agree that the early readers are v. dull though - for the children as well as for the adults.

catrin Fri 03-Oct-08 14:41:12

If children start bringing ORT (or other) early reading books home befoer they can read, the books then get harder before the child can read them with confidence, IYSWIM. Some parents like a reading scheme but it does mean that sometimes children are moving through the scheme faster than they are learning to read the books. Does that make sense?
I'm sure you have lots of lovely 'normal' books at home, so just keep looking at those together. The aim is for children to be able to read 90% of a text independently, so when he starts bringing home books with words, they will be at the right level for him.

Apologies if that is very garbled.

TheFallenMadonna Fri 03-Oct-08 14:41:32

DD is bringing home jolly phonics stuff at the moment. They are doing a sound a day by the looks of it. They don't move onto books (other than books to be read to them) until they have covered all the sounds. And then they aren't proper reading books, which come quite a bit later IIRC from when ds was in reception.

ProfYaffle Fri 03-Oct-08 14:42:31

dd1's just started reception, we're getting the same series of books (The Street Fair was last week) At the start of term we had a group meeting for the parents with the reception teachers who told us more or less what GeorgeandTimmy posted (without the appeasing parents part!)

I'm just going through them with dd1 when a new book appears in her bag, which takes about 2 minutes, then doing the normal reading we always do at bed time etc. Will probably get a bit more disciplined about it when she's getting books with actual words in them.

Mercy Fri 03-Oct-08 14:44:10

D's class hasn't started any reading yet.

DRAGON30 Fri 03-Oct-08 22:13:01

DD1 was given her first (no words) book at the end of the second week - OLT, (Biff, Chip & Kipper) She found them VERY boring. She learned the phonic alphabet when she was around 3.5, and could read, and write quite a lot when she started school. She came home knowing all the flash cards, and could tell the stories well. I know I shouldn't be pushy, but why should my kid be bored, - it was a very small class (12!!), so surely they should be able to sort out who needs more help etc.
My husband is a teacher and I don't really buy the 'they'll all get to the same level in the end' argument. Yes, the children who are less familiar with books/writing need lots of encouragement, but the ones at the opposite end shouldn't just tread water. It is not a leveling off, 'one size fits all' exercise.

After a month of gentle nagging culminating in me saying 'will you PLEASE test her!!' they admitted she was actually nearer a Year 2 child, and started to give her books with words, and she is really enjoying school now.
I think the key is to give your LO as much encouragement as you can, and keep a sharp eye on their progress. If they are becoming bored, then have a word.

bythepowerofgreyskull Fri 03-Oct-08 22:20:44

DS1 has just started reception.

the set up in his class is that there are 3 stages to learning to read.
They get a sounds book to cover the letters of the alphabet. 3 new letters added each week - for those who do not yet know their alphabet.
They get a word box with a list of 10 words for them to learn to recognise and spell out (NOT from memory) a new list gets sent each week if they have learned the words, if not you get the list back again.
Then when they have got to word box 18 they are then given reading books with words in them.
Seems very gentle way of doing it IMO DS1 has a sounds book and word box because he has difficulties with his speech and the teacher is still getting to grips with what letters he does and doesn't know. I am astounded at the progress he has made so fast we are now on word box 3 he really enjoys it!

Piffle Fri 03-Oct-08 22:29:05

dd could read well prior to starting in reception (she is now yr1)
But I followed the view if she was happy I'd let her follow the class, she was Reading books well below her abilities but she was happy to do so. Therefore I left it - teacher and I discussed and agreed.
Now in yr1 and still on stage 3 ORT she is appearing bored. School now appear reluctant to up her level.
Tis a cauldron of fire this early learning business I tell you
But let your child guide you I guess

spiker Fri 03-Oct-08 23:08:38

those pictorial word-free ORT books are mind-numbingly tedious - ds1 groans when i get them out of his bag. dh only just manages to smother his own groans.

gah, what is the point, really?? why not just leave it until they have reached the stage where they can meaningfully read a few words?

MollieO Fri 03-Oct-08 23:36:28

I ordered some of the word-free ORT books from Amazon by accident. My ds thought they were incredibly funny "mummy where are the words?". He'd never seen a book without words before. Not interested in the slightest.

His reception teacher said that he will soon be bringing those books home for homework. I can't get him to do the homework they set now so no hope with those! He can read cvc and longer words easily at home but apparently not in school!

I have the same worry as you Piffle,that boredom will set in and it will be difficult to regain his interest.

Heifer Fri 03-Oct-08 23:38:29

DD also started in reception in September but has been given books to read.

She had 6 or so words to learn, once she learnt them she got a book with just those words in (you can imagine how thrilling that book was).. She had the book for 1 night, then had another sheet of words to learn then another book etc. She is now on her 4th lot of words.

I find it odd as she is also got another book which has the phonics in so they must be learning their letters at the same time, although DD went to the schools nursery 3 days a week so did learn a lot of her letters then.

I just find it odd that she is starting to read already but doesn't yet know all of her letter consistantly.. She is remember a lot of the words and she is sounding out the ones she can. She hasn't yet learnt the blending sounds, but is still expected (and in fact can)to learn words that she can't yet sounds out.. I dont understand how she is, but she is...

MollieO Fri 03-Oct-08 23:44:45

We do books at home because my ds isn't getting reading books. Don't really understand why but there are only so many comments you can make in their reading diaries. They are focusing on phonics which bores my ds beyond belief. The only way I get him to do his homework is by threats and bribes and it is horrible. He loves reading I just wish he'd show his teacher that he can.

I guess every teacher has an approach that works for them.

abbaone Sat 04-Oct-08 10:16:06

Hi my daughter is 4 ( august baby) so only goes 9am to 1145am until xmas. she is on stage 2 of the biff and chip stories and on the 2nd lot of keywords. my son who is now 6 also was at around the same stage after 6 weeks at school. i cant believe some children dont have books with words until feb!! i would have a serious word at your school if this 'picture only' scenario continues. my son is 6 years and 3 months and has a reading age of 9years and 3 months so dont think getting them to read too early is pushing them as he is a good example of what can be achieved

Jemimasmummy Sat 04-Oct-08 18:16:12

My daughter started school in September and she is one of the youngest in her class being an August child. I bought her some of the Oxford reading tree books without words when she was 2.5 and she really enjoyed making up stories to go with the pictures but she lost interest in them a while back now. She doesn't really enjoy reading or writing (although loves her bedtime stories)as I think she is finding it tough going but she is exceptional at maths or sums for her year at the moment. To help her with reading & writing we're doing extra sessions at home and we are using the Ladybird Phonics books but also the 1a & 1b Peter & Jane books as I really feel these help her to recognise and remember basic words, but as a general rule we stick to Phonics method so she isn't confused. Her school aren't sending home reading books until end of Oct but she is coming home with library books for us to read together but er this week it was 'pop up nativity' a leaflet with a paragraph about the birth of Jesus which was interesting!! I'm not a pushy mum or anything but there seems so much difference between the older and younger children in the same class I just want to do all I can as a mum to help her keep up and not struggle.

Niecie Sat 04-Oct-08 18:30:52

DS2 has just started Yr R too and had the no-words books for the first week I think but in now moving through the next level at a book a day. He doesn't really read them but it really is about repetition at this stage and he is beginning to pick up a couple of words.

They all get a 2 sets of key words to play with as well so you can do things like play snap or pairs with them. Anything to get them looking at the words.

They are working on the phonics at the moment so we can't do much sounding out. We just work through the books and hope that the repetition does the job at this stage. The target for the year is only 45 words at the foundation level so that isn't too onerous (although DS1 didn't manage it) and although DS2 hasn't picked up many yet I think that once they get more confident with the phonics they will start to pick up the words more quickly.

I would be asking for more than one book a week. There isn't anything to be gained from going over the same story night after night. In the end they just ignore the books and retell the story parrot fashion. It helps to keep things fresh.

rachelp73 Sat 04-Oct-08 21:16:27

My DS1 has just started Reception, too, and I have been a bit shock that they haven't brought any reading scheme type of books home yet. He had learned the alphabet by the time he'd left nursery and was reading 3 letter words. To be honest, if the school sent home a picture book now, I think I would have to say something. Even my 2 year old would be bored of a picture book. Surely they're only useful to babies? And surely the whole point of having words alongside the pictures is to demonstrate to children that words are meaningful and correspond to what is happening in the picture?

The only thing he is bringing home at the moment is school library books. It's kind of finewith me at the moment as I am showing him various words such as "and" when they appear on the page and he is picking stuff up that way. I do think he'd manage a reading scheme type of book, but it sounds like the teacher is just going through the alphabet wtih the class first (presumably for thekids who have not done any reading at nursery). Fair enough, but I'll be asking the teacher next week at the first "parents' evening" all about how they progress from there.

I agree with MollieO, at this age they are like a sponge and learn things so quickly. My 2 year old already knows most of his alphabet, and I can't see him being content with looking at picture books by the time he starts in reception. I think you are in danger of putting them off school completely if they are going to be bored from the outset of Reception. Luckily my son doesn't mind re-doing phonics in Reception as he is now learning the "actions" that goes with it, something which they never bothered with at his nursery and he picked up the letters fine without the actions. So to him, the actions are just something new to learn, which hopefully will keep him amused at least! He doesn't seem bothered by having to learn actions to letters he knew already, it just makes him laugh when he tells me the actions he's learned each day.

rachelp73 Sat 04-Oct-08 21:19:50

GeorgeandTimmy: The picture-only books home serve three purposes afaik - to familiarise children with the concept of books telling a story; to get parents to spend time with a child over books; and to appease parents who think that books should come home right from the start.

Am very sad at the first 2 reasons. Are there really children out there whose parents don't sit and read to them, and who, on starting Reception, do not know the concept of a book telling a story??????

infin Sat 04-Oct-08 21:29:57

Just to put a spanner in the works....picture books (including those without words) are used up to Year 6 in many schools. It takes great deal of skill and a lot of practice to tell a coherent, well structured story including descriptive language and complex sentences using a text-free book. Picture books should, IMHO be used far, far more with young children alongside books with text. Books in the ORT scheme have lots of twists/detail within the pictures to encourage creative story-telling. Have fun with them and enjoy them!

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