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If a child can read before they start reception what do the teachers do?

83 replies

camembertandcranberry · 04/03/2009 17:58

Ds has always been very interested in letters and words.

He is now able to read simple sentences of short easy words (I think they're called CVC words?) like 'the car is big and red' (and let me get my little proud mummy thing in here before I burst - he's only 3.8 ).


He starts reception in September and I'm curious, what will they do with the ones who can read already (I'm assuming this isn't that unusual as a few will be able to)?

I'm very, very happy for him to play and have fun but when they do the learning bits (albeit in a playful way as far as I am aware in reception) what do they do with the ones who already know the basics?

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SecretSlattern · 04/03/2009 18:16

One of our children can already read and the teacher I work with loves it! She has to differentiate guided reading times for him and send home higher level reading books but so far thats it. He started in Jan, so its still early days though.

christywhisty · 04/03/2009 18:20

My dd could read before she started school and was just given books appropriate to her level.
She bought home all her jolly phonics letters and she wasn't bored if that is what you worry about.

There is usually a big range in abilities in reception and the schools are used to children who are reading when they start.

fishnet · 04/03/2009 18:24

Glad you asked this. DS1 also starts reception in september and can read anything purely phonetic. So he can read "a fat man had a hot drink in a pink cup" but can't read "the". When we went to the school assessment there were other boys there who couldn't read anything and I've been a bit conerned that maybe we've done the wrong thing in helping him.

will watch the responses with interest

camembertandcranberry · 04/03/2009 18:25

I think a fair bit of going through stuff he can already do will be good for his confidence, but am worried that if they never do anything new he might indeed get a bit bored.

A balance really would be ideal.

That's quite reassuring that they usually take that kind of approach - they are doing the same of the others with some different work too.

Not sure how fluently he'll be reading by September when he starts - it's hard to tell. He's really only on cats and dogs type words so I don't think he'll be off the scale compared to others or anything (a good thing).

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OhYouBadBadKitten · 04/03/2009 18:27

it took school half a term to catch up to the fact that dd could read confidently. I would get comments in her reading diary saying dd could hold a book properly and could point to the word 'I' when in fact she was reading the 'magic faraway tree' at home.

Once they caught on she quickly became a free reader with her own books.

camembertandcranberry · 04/03/2009 18:27

But fishnet you can't not help if they ask - that's the problem isn't it.

Thanks for thanking me for starting the thread, I did don a hard hat as expected flack for even asking such a question!

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LIZS · 04/03/2009 18:28

Many of dd's class, including her, were already at that stage at the beginning of Reception. They revised all the JP sounds, with games and actions, in class and had high frequency words to recognise before starting to bring home books with words at half term. She really wasn't bored and there was plenty of time to do other activities (still contributing to the academic side) and settle in .

islandofsodor · 04/03/2009 18:30

Ds learnt to read in nursery and they identified this and used to send him and a couple of other children to the reception teacher once a week for extension activities.

He is now in reception and they just send appropriate books for him alongside working on more phonics rules like oo ea words ending in y etc etc.

lockets · 04/03/2009 18:30

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ShyTalk · 04/03/2009 18:31

I bet you're chuffed to bits that he is reading sentences like that at his age. Well done to both him and you.
What happens at school does seem to depend on the individual teacher. I had a DD who could read before starting school, but the teacher said that I had probably "taught her wrongly" ( I didn't teach her at all, she just worked it out for herself), and wanted to start all over again. DD was bored rigid. My youngest DD knew all her phonics before starting, but did not read. (Different school, thankfully). After establishing what she could do, the teacher moved her on to more challenging stuff, so the outcome has been much better.
Hope it all goes well - boredom kills enthusiasm quicker than anything.

fishnet · 04/03/2009 18:33

I agree. we haven't pushed it at all but he was interested. He says its a special secret code and that he likes to try to work out the puzzle. He's 4 in a couple of months and I have been a bit concerned that he'll be bored doing al the "a a a a ant" stuff.

popsycal · 04/03/2009 18:35

In theoy, the teacher will differntiate

lockets - i am interested in your perspective
ds2 is 4 on friday and has been asking to learn to read for about 6 months and i have put him off. he knows all his letters, can break down syllables and imo is read to read but am relucant
what made you take the plunge?

keevamum · 04/03/2009 18:37

I must say from my experience my DD could read and write phonetically before starting school and she WAS BORED RIGID. I don't think her reception teacher helped as she really didn't differentiate the work for her or the other bright children and by the end of the year she had hardly moved on at all. One example is the teacher wanted them all to write a sentence about their weekend by the end of the year and because she asked for a sentence that is what my DD did but at home she was writing stories and scrapbooks full of what she did...but never wrote more than a sentence at school! DD2 will not go to school reading or writing if I have my way although she is already writing her name and she's 2.8....but I will only really encourage her now under protest due to it negatively affecting my eldest DD's attitude to school as she really lost her enthusiasm for learning due to her bad start.

Miggsie · 04/03/2009 18:38

It does depend on the teacher...I had a bit of a doo-dah with the literacy co ordinator, who, when she had actually bothered to listen to my DD, realised she could read and also had amazing comprehension skills so DD was given reading books appropriate to her abilty and can choose any books she wants each week. Prior to this I was complaining and she kept saying the ORT had to be done in order from stage one up. DD was bored rigid with the early readers!

DD's form teacher is great and discusses all the Roald Dahl books with DD, as I have read those to her and she is just begininng on them herself.

There is generally a parent teacher thing early in the first term so really discuss it then.

sarah293 · 04/03/2009 18:38

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psychomum5 · 04/03/2009 18:40

my DD1 started school being able to read.

and the teachers were VERY miffed with me, and made out that I had taught her differently to them, and therefore WRONG.

she got so upset that she lost all enthusiasm (sp?) for reading and school, as did I for encouraging her siblings, and she still hasn;t got enthused for school, which is a great shame as she leaves next year.

I think it is fab when the show keeness for reading..............shame the school never did.

the school actually got closed down tho last year for being crap, so I do know that (LUCKILY), this is not a wide practise.

you keep encouraging your DS. he will thank you for it later.

oh, and if anyone says otherwise, keep a sense of pride for being a fab mum

lockets · 04/03/2009 18:40

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popsycal · 04/03/2009 18:44

you see this is my dilems lockets. DS1 went to school 2 weeks after his 4th birthday. he couldnt read but within weeks, he was brilliant. He is 6.5 and is streets ahead of his class in reading. I deliberately didnt teach him. However, ds2 has been writing for over a year and is genuinely more interested than ds1 was and will be 6 months further down the line when he starts school. He can read some cvc words (though I have tried not to get him to do it!). My non-teacher friends think I am mad for not teaching is such a dilemma isn't it!!!

Then we will have ds3 who is a September birthday so that will be a whole other kettle of fish

lockets · 04/03/2009 18:48

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lockets · 04/03/2009 18:50

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Reallytired · 04/03/2009 18:55

There is so much more to reception than just learning to read. Social skills and making friends is a huge part of the foundation curriculum.

My son started school able to read and his teacher spotted that he could read within about two days of starting school. My son loved reception and learn more in that year than any other.

Mummyfor3 · 04/03/2009 18:55

DS1 is in P1 in Scotland which uses the Oxford Reading Tree to teach reading. This involves books telling a story from pure picture books, to simple one word "sentences", short sentences, to more and more complex stories. They always involve the same characters and the children get a "new" book every week. This allows every child to progress at their own pace and not be bored or overwhelmed.
I find it a great system and DS1 loves it - he could read before he started school and now reads everything incl DH's computer manuals - obviously does not understand them, but does read them....

Donk · 04/03/2009 18:59

At DS's school, they are really pushing comprehension - the ability to extract meaning from the text.
They assess them using a 'running record' and then assign books/groups on that basis. The programme has the initials 'PM' and is from New Zealand (I think). The child can be re-assessed at any time - sometimes prompted by the child themselves asking to be assessed again.

amidaiwish · 04/03/2009 19:01

DD1 was a completely fluent reader starting reception.
They quickly (within days) realised this and called me in to discuss, then jumped her ahead in the reading scheme. She's now off the scheme but still brings a book home to read every day and still reads to the teacher/assistant each day. They focus much more on understanding, punctuation, expression, empathy etc when she is reading rather than sounding/blending the words..

I was worried when starting school that she would be bored but she isn't at all. Reading is only a tiny bit of the day.

LadyGlencoraPalliser · 04/03/2009 19:04

DD1 and DD3 could both read before starting school. DD1 was bored with the reading books - forced to plough through endless Biff Chip and sodding Kipper adventures because she had to read them all before moving on - but there was plenty of other stuff going on in class, so I wouldn't say she was bored per se. And of course she had lots of her own books at home.
The school the DDs attend now is very different and DD3 was allowed to proceed at her own pace rather than being held back. I think that is more the norm these days.

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