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Ds to have extra help with reading. Is there anything I can do ? I feel so useless

(24 Posts)
IllegallyBrunette Wed 08-Oct-08 19:23:44

He is nearly 6 and just started year 1.

A problem with reading was identified at the end of reception by myself and his teacher, who told me she would inform his new teacher and we could see how things went.

He finnished reception on stage 1/1+ ORT.

At the start of Yr 1 he was placed on stage 2 ORT and he has found this hard going. He really struggles to change the word sounds into the actual word iyswim ? He can sound a word out, but if it is any longer than three letters then he can rarely read the word.
He also sometimes replaces the first letter with the last letter, misses letters out or just says completely the wrong word, it, when the word is they for example.

At parents evening tonight, i raised my concerns again and his new teacher agreed and said he is behind and struggling and so from next term he will be taken out for extra reading help. She also suggested getting him to read as much as possible, and to read anything.
Trouble is, Ds already associates reading with feeling frustrated and so hates it.
He does love for me to read to him though and so I have made a deal with him, that I will read to him still, but that I will pick two words from each page for him to read.

The teacher also said that this year they are trying a new phonics scheme where they have to learn a sound a day. I can't help but think that this is going to hinder Ds's progress as 1 day spent on a sound just isn't long enough for him.

Is there anything I can do to help him ? I feel so useless and like I must do something.

avenadrinkofblood Wed 08-Oct-08 19:28:49

I taught ds to read before he started school (don't ask), I taught him the phonetic letters, then encouraged him to say them one after another, then squeeze them together and say them without the gaps to make a word. Then I gave him some Mr Men books to read and then some joke books to make it fun. He piked it up really quickly. I don't think the way your child has been taught to read is the best way for him. Every child is different, they all learn differently. Research suggests they can catch up once they have 'got it'.

IllegallyBrunette Wed 08-Oct-08 19:41:27

Yes, that is the problem, he just doesn't seem to 'get it'.

We have lots of Mr Men books as he loves those, so I will definatly be using those to help him.

I worry that if I try a different way of teaching him then he will get confused.

maverick Wed 08-Oct-08 19:54:17

The ORT books are causing the problem. They are whole-language and very damaging for some children's reading abilities. What your son needs is well taught synthetic phonics and decodable books.

You may be interested in the following:

10 reasons why beginning readers should only use DECODABLE books:

1. Decodable books are consistent with the synthetic phonics reading method; they go from simple to complex, use only explicitly taught code and illustrations are not overly dominant to avoid acting as clues to text. Taught code is used throughout words, rather than first letter emphasis, to ensure that transitivity is well understood. Sounding out is the only strategy required to read the words.
2. Whole-language/Banded books give child a misleading idea of what reading entails i.e. that it is a memorising and (psycholinguistic) guessing game.
3. In order to become expert readers, children need to know the complete Alphabet Code and the skills of blending and segmenting to automaticity. To ensure this, they need to be taught the code and the skills explicitly, intensively and systematically. Decodable books give them the necessary practice in recently taught code and skills.
4. There is no way of knowing which particular children in a class have poor visual memories or low phonological awareness ability. These children are likely to become struggling 'dyslexic' readers if whole-language books are used at first. Children with good visual memories plus a supportive home background may appear to do well, initially, with whole-language books BUT -see 5.
5. Decodable books avoid children developing the bad habit of sight word guessing. This can be difficult to change when they get older and the brain less 'plastic'. Those with good visual memories will develop this habit quickly and easily through the use of predictable, repetitive text. Eventually their memory for sight words will reach its limit and if they haven't, in the meantime, been taught or deduced the complete alphabet code for themselves they will struggle to read advanced texts with novel words.
6. Repetitive texts are boring to read; predictable texts, that a child can only struggle through by misreading and guessing resulting in lost comprehension, are discouraging. Both types of books can put a child off reading. 'Attitudes to reading in England are poor compared to those of children in many other countries' and 'Children in England read for pleasure less frequently than their peers in many other countries' (Pirls 2006) These findings are from the time when mixed methods and whole-language books were used in nearly all schools.
7. The use of decodable books is only necessary for a short period in the foundation stage. When well taught, most children learn the code quickly, begin to self-teach and can then move on to real books rather than being stuck for several years on reading schemes with the restricted word count necessary to ensure adequate memorisation of the high frequency words.
8. Good spelling is aided by the use of decodables -see Spelling
9. Ease of decoding from the earliest days by simply sounding out and blending gives children quick success, ensuring enthusiasm for reading.
10. Parents easily understand the logic of decodable books and are more able and willing to help their children practise reading at home.

bozza Wed 08-Oct-08 20:00:29

It is good that it is being picked up now while he is still in Y1 and not in juniors. Reading to him is brilliant and also your idea of two words per page is good, breaks up his effort into manageable amounts. Just be really religious with reading to him everyday but maybe also do some work on the school books.

MingMingtheWonderPet Wed 08-Oct-08 20:08:22

Any examples of good de-codeable books then?

maverick Wed 08-Oct-08 21:13:19

Whole page of them here, MingMing: smile

MingMingtheWonderPet Wed 08-Oct-08 21:29:08

Thankyou maverick, had a quick look and will study more closely later.

coneflower Thu 09-Oct-08 10:32:37

I have the Jelly and Bean books for sale that are on the above link if you are interested. I have been using them for sometime with my little boy and they are very good. They start off very simply, from memory the first book uses words like cat, hat, mat etc. They progress gradually and used animals in the stories, often they are funny too. I have also just bought the Ruth Miskin? ones from one of the book clubs, I think it was red house, a bargain at £10 for a complete set. These are harder and are not so suitable for a beginner.
Good Luck, my little boy has really progressed, and it is helping him in year 1 because he finds the work they are doing relatively easy.
Also I used Jolly Phonics, you can get the work book/dvd from ELC.

savoycabbage Thu 09-Oct-08 10:42:05

The Oxford Reading Tree is a pile of pants! Agree that this may be the problem.

The Ruth Miskin scheme is the latest and greatest scheme at the moment. here

I can hardly believe that they are still using ORT. It's soooo ten years ago! grin

savoycabbage Thu 09-Oct-08 10:47:07

Also, you might need to re-learn your letter sounds yourself. When I was at school and when I did my teacher training we said 'tu' for 't'' but it is all synthetic phonics now. There is a programme on cbeebies called Fun With Phonics that does the new fangled sounds.

I have got that Jolly Phonics DVD and I didn't think that the sounds were very good on there. You can learn the sounds from the Jolly Phonics manual or the Read, Write Inc one though.

EachPeachPearMum Thu 09-Oct-08 10:58:36

IB - you can comfort yourself with the knowledge that children in extremely prestigious independent schools in your city also use the ORT wink

I think your idea of reading to him, and getting him to read some words is great- he is spending quality time with you, enjoying books, and boosting his skills. Word games are also great- enlarging his vocabulary is good, even if he can't read the words he's using yet, it's excellent if he understands their meaning.

Some children just take longer than others to learn- DH couldn't free-read until he was 8 or so, but he turned out to be dyslexic (picked up when he was 20ish). Don't be disheartened.
It is more important that he enjoys books, and reading activities rather than get turned off them because he feels discouraged.
The libraries have lots of books at all levels-so make use of them, as there things are free.

Don't worry about confusing him with different methods- there are 30 children in a class- the teacher/school only uses one method, but in reality there will be many learning styles amongst those children. A different method may just help it click for him!

Madsometimes Thu 09-Oct-08 11:03:22

My dd1 did extra classes in year one, and she is an excellent reader now, so do not panic. It is good that the school is addressing your ds's needs. do Ruth Miskin phonics readers for £9.99 for a set of 13 books. Your school does not have to be signed upto schoollink to use this website. Phonic reading schemes are so much more rewarding than traditional reading schemes. I bought my dd2 some "ORT Songbirds" phonic readers and now she is reading beyond these. The reception teacher was extremely delighted when I donated them to the school. grin

I am sure that your school will be pleased too if you donate any phonics books when your ds is finished with them.

maverick Thu 09-Oct-08 13:16:23

I'm sorry to disagree with you, EPPM.
Learning styles have no place in the teaching of reading, in fact learning styles have no place in education -there's no good evidence to support their use:

Certainly, many private schools are still using ORT reading books -that doesn't mean that they are any good -I get lots of children from very well-off families coming to me for remedial reading tuition and, without exception, their school uses whole-language reading books.

IllegallyBrunette Thu 09-Oct-08 13:27:15

Thank you for all of the messages and links. I'm going to have a look at them all now and see which might suit Ds.

christywhisty Thu 09-Oct-08 13:45:48

DH was taught Look and Say which is whole language system and couldn't read until he was 10 until he was taught phonics and is most likely be classed as dylexic, he does have a number of symptoms.
DS was taught synthetic phonics and reads well but still has dyslexic problems mainly with writing. The also used ORT books but not strictly, they did have a lots of different books and schemes to choose from. DS really didn't click with reading until he was YR2 when he caught up a passed many who were fluent readers in reception.

savoycabbage Thu 09-Oct-08 14:35:07

Yes indeed many private schools are using ORT. What does that have to do with anything at all?

I worked in an extremely prestigious private school. I have just checked their fees and they are £7000 for year two as an example.

They didn't have ORT. Nothing so up to date as that! They had these ladybird books from the 70s and other ancient scheme books that they probably got out of a skip outside a state primary school.

EachPeachPearMum Thu 09-Oct-08 16:10:04

maverick it is my wording that is at fault smile- I didn't mean 'learning styles' as in kinaesthetic, visual learner crap...I certainly don't believe in that. I meant more like methods- ie phonics or whole-word approach.
I was reading at 2, taught by whole word approach by my mother, a primary school teacher. That personally worked for me. (savoyc she used ladybird reading scheme!)
I have friends the same age who used ITA in their schools, and they cannot spell for toffee.

paddingtonbear1 Thu 09-Oct-08 16:29:12

I did ITA. omg what a disaster that was!
I can spell OK thanks to my mum who was a teacher and taught me to read and write herself.
dd started off on the ORT, but it didn't suit her - she came out of reception knowing her phonics but not really being able to read much at all. Now her yr 1 teacher has changed her onto another scheme, Heinmann Sunshine Spirals which has been much better - more repetition and words you can spell out. dd has been much better recently.

maverick Thu 09-Oct-08 17:21:50

Synthetic phonics is nothing like ITA.
You might like to learn more about synthetic phonics here:

Subjective experience is really not a good guide to how to teach the population of beginning readers. Remember that the plural of anecdote is not data.

I, too, learnt to read pre-school and my mum was a teacher wink

izyboy Thu 09-Oct-08 17:34:08

Apologies if I am gate crashing your thread (please ignore if not appropriate). DS is learning to read through the medium of Welsh in school - it is a very phonetic language but it is a slightly different alphabet to English.
He will not learn to read or write English until he is 7 in school. We are non Welsh Speakers but would like to begin to gently teach him to read in English at home. Do you think the Jelly and Bean books will be ok for us to use with him? I worry a bit that his knowledge of English grammar will be a bit 'lacking'.

izyboy Thu 09-Oct-08 17:34:42

He is in reception

EachPeachPearMum Thu 09-Oct-08 17:54:43

hmm I am not a teacher, but I do know synthetic phonics is nothing like ITA, and I didn't claim it was.
I was trying to support Nutty, sorry, mn is built on anecdotes you know smile

HappyMummyOfOne Thu 09-Oct-08 20:38:18

We have lots of the jolly phonic range inc the teaching handbook. The finger phonics books are great for teaching the sounds.

We also used some phonics games which may be good for you rather than a book.

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