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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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lockets · 04/03/2009 19:10

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piscesmoon · 04/03/2009 19:15

As a teacher I would be thrilled! Even if they all start from scratch they will be in different places within the first few weeks. Just make sure you tell the teacher and ask her how she will differentiate. (a good teacher should be differentiating).

lockets · 04/03/2009 19:19

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Feenie · 04/03/2009 19:22

Me too! As a Literacy co-ordinator, I am completely baffled by one who claims a reading scheme has to be read from Stage 1 up. Why, ffs? How to kill any enthusiasm for reading stone dead!

procrastinatingparent · 04/03/2009 19:24

I agree it completely depends on the teacher.

DS1 was reading chapter books before starting school, and within 2 days the teacher wrote in the reading record to ask what he was reading at home so she could give him appropriate books. She also moved him to Year 1 for literacy lessons within the first half term. What he got out of reception was lots of good social skills and running around in the playground - and that was fine. If she had made him stick rigidly to what everyone else was doing I think he would have been very bored.

popsycal · 04/03/2009 19:25

bless ds2. I just put him to bed and asked did he still want to learn to read and he said yes so I said when he is 4 he could. Then he thought for a minute and said 'but that is only 2 more sleeps!!!! thank you so much mummy!!!'

I don't think I have much choice really

lockets · 04/03/2009 19:26

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notevenamousie · 04/03/2009 19:26

Am following with interest.
As a once-frustrated-child, I now have a dd at 2.3 recognising her letters reliably, and phonics sounds, tbh I think she just sits like a sponge with the 3-4 year olds at nursery, I am trying to be the un-pushiest mother possible. It's good to hear that many if not all schools and teachers can challenge these little ones.

ABetaDad · 04/03/2009 19:26

camembertandcranberry - if your child can already read when they join Reception in an independent Pre-Prep school the teacher would give them a new book every day out of the Oxford Reading Tree and send it home with a note and a comment book asking for you to get them to red it each night.

The teacher would drive them forward at that merciless pace until Year 3 when the child would be expected to have reached a target reading age at least 3 years ahead of their actual age. They woud be entered for scholarship exams and the teacher would take credit.

Other parents would be green with envy at the reading ability of your child and secretly trying to coach their child to catch up. You meanwhile will be secretly glowing with pride inside that your child is already way ahead in their life race.

Well thats my experience anyway .

popsycal · 04/03/2009 19:27
lockets · 04/03/2009 19:28

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lockets · 04/03/2009 19:29

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SnowlightMcKenzie · 04/03/2009 19:30

Well I could read fluently at 2.5 and I got no A-Levels

piscesmoon · 04/03/2009 19:33

I think there must be a lot to be said for the state system then ABetaDad! I should think your DC wanted to throw the Oxford Reading Scheme out of the window!

madhairday · 04/03/2009 19:38

Agree it's dependant on the teacher, though it shouldn't be that way.
my ds learned to read in nursery and by the time he started reception was reading pretty well, now half way through he is fluent. Luckily his teacher was delighted, pushes him on and gives him different work as he is ahead of the class, but doesn't make a big thing of it so he feels different iyswim. He's very relaxed and loves going, is getting all the play and socialising that's so important in reception and being stretched. But I think it's down to his excellent teacher. I worry about Y1 because the teacher is not as good, and my biggest worry is him getting bored and losing all his enthusiasm for reading. You can do lots at home to help keep them going though, books are all over the place here and we do loads of reading together, talking about characters and checking understanding as well as simply reading.

flowerybeanbag · 04/03/2009 19:39

I was reading at 3. We had mixed classes of two year groups so I was put up a year at school and did the same work as the year above me, which was fine.

Then I had to change schools due to family circumstances, and went back with children my own age. I remember distinctly complaining to my dad that all we did was play all the time. I also remember very clearly drawing a picture of a farmer, and the teacher nearly fainting with shock when I decided to write 'a farmer' underneath it. (What with my artistic talent being somewhat lacking, perhaps I felt she might need a clue...). I was confused by her reaction and wondered what on earth else she expected me to do, I remember it quite clearly.

DS is not yet 2 and already knows some of his letters. He kept point at capital As and claiming they were stars, so we felt we ought to correct that, and now he points out As everywhere and also knows some of the other letters of his name.

I fully intend to teach him to read as soon as he is interested as I did. I was reading above my level throughout school and I think it has done me the world of good.

I would hope a teacher would be able to cope with him if he is more advanced than the other children when he goes to school, but I'm happy to stretch him myself at home if not.

flowerybeanbag · 04/03/2009 19:40

I just re-read that and it sounds a bit boastful, sorry, didn't mean it to.

ABetaDad · 04/03/2009 19:44

piscesmoon - I hope/think you caught the ironic tone of what I wrote.

My kids could not read when they went to school because it never entered my head that they needed to be able to. How truely naieve I was. I was shocked at what went on when DS1 and DS2 started reading school. It was like an insane competition between parents.

I hated the whole thing and took them out of the school - even though they were doing very well.

DS2 did hate ORT and we had to start over again to get his enthusiasm back for reading and he is doing well now without any stress.

JiminyCricket · 04/03/2009 19:55

DD1 could read before starting reception (this school year), but it really helped her confidence and reading fluency to start from scratch, she hasn't been bored and her reading book is changed often, I feel really happy with how it is going.

camembertandcranberry · 04/03/2009 20:09

But Lockets and Piscesmoon how on earth am I going to tell them without them labelling me (incorrectly!) as a 'pushy parent'?

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camembertandcranberry · 04/03/2009 20:14

And LIZS, what kind of school does your dd go to where all the children could read on starting reception? I'd have thought even the most selective of selective pre-preps wouldn't manage that?

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helsbels4 · 04/03/2009 20:16

My ds could read fluently by the time he started school and could write his name clearly but the majority of the children in his class didn't have a clue. They were all started at the same level so he would come home with picture books where they would have to tell the story for themselves. Eventually he was given appropriate books but when they sat down as a class and were taught the phonic sounds such as ssssss etc, my ds was told he was pronouncing it wrong by saying s (ser). My argument was, that he didn't need to learn his phonics because he could already read, write and spell!!! My dd will be starting school in September and she can recognise all the letters of the alphabet but can only read the words - the, and and mummy - and I'm certainly not in any hurry to push her more right now, especially when her "hopefully" new school declared that all children will be started on picture books in September!!!

MollieO · 04/03/2009 20:17

Ds could read before he started in reception so I couldn't understand why the work he was getting was so basic. Comments in his reading diary elicited the reason - as far as his teacher was aware he knew only 4 letters (he has four letters in his name). Not sure why but he was pretending he didn't know how to read. It took a term to sort out and he is now back on track. Weirdly I did the same when I started school (ds doesn't know that!).

Another friend's ds started a different school reading well and was made to learn the alphabet along with all the other reception children. When this was queried with the head my friend was told that the teacher was complying with foundation stage requirements and didn't have to do anything more. She moved her ds to another school!

LIZS · 04/03/2009 20:50

It was private with the vast majority(although not dd) having already spent a year in the nursery class where , like many preschools, phonics etc were covered. I didn't actually say all could read, but that many were around the stage you describe. However, most were taking books home during that first term. tbh within a year or so it was already difficult to make out which children had already reached that stage on entry into Reception and which hadn't as it does tned to even out during the first few years of school.

islandofsodor · 04/03/2009 21:17

Abtea Dad, that isn;t my experience at all. Ther is a wide rangeof reading abilities at the dc's prep school.

I never actually started to tewach ds to read, what happened was that dd who is 2 years older was doing Jolly Phonics and ds loved the actions to the letter sounds, he thought it was great fun. Before I knew it he was decoding words in dd's JP books.

His teacher says they have had several girls in the past with the reading ability he has but no boys like him for 3 years.

I just thought it was great that he wanted to read, I bought him the very simple Jelly & Bean books as they contain just CVC words and the look of delight on his face when he realised he could read a proper book was something I'll always remember.

You can;t hold some children back but there is no use pushung them. Lets jsut try and develop a LOVE of reading in all children regardless of ability.

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