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The Danger Of Starting Reading Too Soon!


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I am really in need of some advice.

I am taking over a reception unit that has been in the same hands for years.

Previous practice was that all children got a reading book even if they couldn't hear their phonemes yet and they are heard read individually once a week. Some of them are on these pre starter reading books for 1 year before they start Oxford reading tree becuase they are simply not ready.

Others start the scheme too early and then plateau later on. Along with the reading books they are given all 26 alphabet phonemes to learn by rote!

The problem is that the parents have got so used to this that they now judge their child's progress on what reading book they are on.

I want to stop this practice, giving only sharing books the first half term and then introducing reading books to only those who are ready - which honestly is only a handful.

I know that I will be lynched if I put this into practice, and here is where I need your help?

Do you have anything about stages of reading, games to help your child acquire the skills for reading, tried and tested practice, that i can introduce to the parents. To get them off my back!

Please, please, please Oh fountain of EYFS support? :o

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I am really in need of some advice.

I am taking over a reception unit that has been in the same hands for years.

Previous practice was that all children got a reading book even if they couldn't hear their phonemes yet and they are heard read individually once a week. Some of them are on these pre starter reading books for 1 year before they start Oxford reading tree becuase they are simply not ready.

Others start the scheme too early and then plateau later on. Along with the reading books they are given all 26 alphabet phonemes to learn by rote!

The problem is that the parents have got so used to this that they now judge their child's progress on what reading book they are on.

I want to stop this practice, giving only sharing books the first half term and then introducing reading books to only those who are ready - which honestly is only a handful.

I know that I will be lynched if I put this into practice, and here is where I need your help?

Do you have anything about stages of reading, games to help your child acquire the skills for reading, tried and tested practice, that i can introduce to the parents. To get them off my back!

Please, please, please Oh fountain of EYFS support? :o

 

 

Hi

 

Reading can be a tricky subject with parents as many of them will compare to see what reading band their child is on. I would encourage you to stick to your guns about what you want to do. We did a presentation for parents and based it around the new letters and sounds. We followed this last year and found that the majority of the class moved into year knowing all their letter sounds and being able to apply this knowledge when reading words. During the presentation we made a story up using an assortment of symbols so the parents were unable to decipher the words. This emphasised to them that when a four year old looks at a word unless they know the letter sound it is all gobble de gook to them. We also created a leaflet for the parents showing them some simple games to play - Ispy, using post it around the house, pairs ect...

 

I will say you have to stick to what you believe is best for the children in your class and know that you will move those children on who are ready to read and support those who still need to acquire the pre skills. At the end of the day the Foundation Stage should be more about learning through play and developing the social skills required for the rest of the school time.

 

hope this helps!

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Good Luck!!

I'm a childminder and share books regularly with all "my" children, from babies onwards. Most parents are happy with this - until they get to reception and then they expect "proper" reading.

The schools I cover invite all new intake parents and carers in to explain their approach to learning to read and most parents seem happy with this.

Every year there is a handful who expect their child to progress quicker (- they're the ones asking what reading book everyone else on the playground has! xD )

Every year the reception class teacher stands her ground and puts up with the requests for a chat at the end of the day - probably not the best part of her job! but it does all seem to settle in time.

Hope an expert comes along soon to advise you. I shall watch with interest - I'm sure they'll say go for it (& wear a flak jacket! :o )

Nona

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It shouldn't just be you on your own as the reception teacher - where's the HT/Litco in all this?/ They should be part of the process of changing practice - after all one is responsible for literacy progress (and Ofsted WILL ask them about it) and the other responsible for ensuring the EYFS is managed properly in their school.

 

Think about this in the longer term: what is right for your children - the adults can already read!!

Linking it clearly to letters and sounds or your phonics scheme in the light of introducing EYFS is not a bad idea but will need input for your parents so they can see the benefits i.e "a more systematic approach to the teaching of reading as recommended by the Rose report"

You can give parents a clear overview of what/how you will be teaching and what sort of books/ activities they can expect at different stages along the way to support their child at home. You can reinforce that this "change" is part of the approach expected by Ofsted through EYFS and that every LA is expected to be re-appraising their teaching of early reading and how it is developed from 0-5 etc etc Share ideas from phase 1 and 2 with them to show them how you will be teaching ("in a multi sensory kinaesthetic way" etc etc) and how they can support.

 

If you started phase 2 teaching now then by around half term many children should have a set of phonemes they can blend/segment. Maybe then you could intro whatever first band books you use (I'm not up to speed with ORT banding but don't they start with no words anyway??? Just pictures of bloomin' biff and the rest???) You can then start to strand out your groups anyway depending on their rate of progress with the phonics teaching.

If you have regular small group shared reading sessions you can also support the scheme "in house" but in a time efficient way. See the Early Reading cpd dvd for some useful guidance on this if you haven't already.

 

There may be some who moan - but if their child is making good progress then frequent updates on the amazing progress being made can help calm anxieties down - but not by yourself!!!!

 

Cx

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Do you have a 'Reading Policy' at your school? I know the school I am a Gov. for has, but this doesn't cover reception. I think it is written into the EY policy how book loaning/reading books work.

 

We at preschool loan books to share in a book bag, one year I had a parent come to me and say that there child couldn't read the book they were sent home with (the tiger who came to tea), and could they have something a bit easier!! :o After that we sent a leaflet home about the importance of sharing books/reading together and not expecting 'reading' to happen at such a young age!!

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Do you have a 'Reading Policy' at your school? I know the school I am a Gov. for has, but this doesn't cover reception. I think it is written into the EY policy how book loaning/reading books work.

 

We at preschool loan books to share in a book bag, one year I had a parent come to me and say that there child couldn't read the book they were sent home with (the tiger who came to tea), and could they have something a bit easier!! :o After that we sent a leaflet home about the importance of sharing books/reading together and not expecting 'reading' to happen at such a young age!!

 

Our reading policy states that chidlren will be heard read individually as opposed to guided reading groups. It is however, the pressure from parents and I have to say other staff that puts the pressure on.

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I agree with Newsty that a parental presentation is a really a good way to go. We had all the Infant parents in and presented with the HT and KS1 staff. I now do an annual presentation to new parents each autumn. You have to really explain why you are doing what you are doing and know your stuff to explain why children shouldn't have books they can't read. I tell parents it means they are failing before they start - like being given a piece of music to play without being taught to read notation.

 

We also have a list of reading activities for parents for when they are sharing books (I would share but photocopy is at work) and describe the expectation that children will know their sounds and be blending CVC words before they get a reading book.

 

It can be really hard to break long standing routines but when parents start coming in saying they can see the benefits it starts to filter to other parents.

 

Good luck.

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(I'm not up to speed with ORT banding but don't they start with no words anyway??? Just pictures of bloomin' biff and the rest???)

Is my intuition on overdrive or am I correct in guessing you're not a fan of the Oxford Reading Tree, catma? :o

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Ha ha!! I had to use it years ago and I did get really fed up with the characters!! I was more a book band person as CLPE was in my LA so we generally used a really wide range of books rather than one particular scheme.

 

Cx

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I agree with Newsty that a parental presentation is a really a good way to go. We had all the Infant parents in and presented with the HT and KS1 staff. I now do an annual presentation to new parents each autumn. You have to really explain why you are doing what you are doing and know your stuff to explain why children shouldn't have books they can't read. I tell parents it means they are failing before they start - like being given a piece of music to play without being taught to read notation.

 

We also have a list of reading activities for parents for when they are sharing books (I would share but photocopy is at work) and describe the expectation that children will know their sounds and be blending CVC words before they get a reading book.

 

It can be really hard to break long standing routines but when parents start coming in saying they can see the benefits it starts to filter to other parents.

 

Good luck.

 

Hi Phil

I would love to see a copy of that when you are back at work and able to access it?

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I am really in need of some advice.

I am taking over a reception unit that has been in the same hands for years.

Previous practice was that all children got a reading book even if they couldn't hear their phonemes yet and they are heard read individually once a week. Some of them are on these pre starter reading books for 1 year before they start Oxford reading tree becuase they are simply not ready.

Others start the scheme too early and then plateau later on. Along with the reading books they are given all 26 alphabet phonemes to learn by rote!

The problem is that the parents have got so used to this that they now judge their child's progress on what reading book they are on.

I want to stop this practice, giving only sharing books the first half term and then introducing reading books to only those who are ready - which honestly is only a handful.

I know that I will be lynched if I put this into practice, and here is where I need your help?

Do you have anything about stages of reading, games to help your child acquire the skills for reading, tried and tested practice, that i can introduce to the parents. To get them off my back!

Please, please, please Oh fountain of EYFS support? :o

 

Hi Rufus,

 

I'm a Reception teacher, a literacy co-ordinator and a reading recover teacher, and I've just read this interesting thread tonight!

 

As far as giving reading books to children is concerned, I would say look at each individual child and give them a book when you judge them to be ready. Some children may be 'ready' for a reading book soon after entry - why wait until after half term for them? I don't necessarily agree that children have to be able to hear their phonemes before they get a book - some children learn to read their early books by recognising sight words. My own son didn't really 'click' with phonemes until Christmas of his Reception year, and yet, due to an amazing memory, could read all 45 YR HFW's by sight by Autumn half term - and hence was reading confidently at Book Band 2/3! After Christmas his understanding of phonemes all fell into place and his reading went from strength to strength. I'm a strong supporter of synthetic phonics, yet I've learnt from experience that not all children learn to read by phonics alone.

 

I agree with all the comments about informing parents. In my experience parents are incredibly supportive if you explain the rationale behind any new changes.

 

I've got some sheets that I've written for parents outlining each book band level. It tells them what their child is learning at each level, how they can support each level and also gives a list of real books that they can borrow/buy to support their child at that particular level. Let me know if you'd like a copy.

 

Ticki Tembo

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Hi Rufus,

 

I'm a Reception teacher, a literacy co-ordinator and a reading recover teacher, and I've just read this interesting thread tonight!

 

As far as giving reading books to children is concerned, I would say look at each individual child and give them a book when you judge them to be ready. Some children may be 'ready' for a reading book soon after entry - why wait until after half term for them? I don't necessarily agree that children have to be able to hear their phonemes before they get a book - some children learn to read their early books by recognising sight words. My own son didn't really 'click' with phonemes until Christmas of his Reception year, and yet, due to an amazing memory, could read all 45 YR HFW's by sight by Autumn half term - and hence was reading confidently at Book Band 2/3! After Christmas his understanding of phonemes all fell into place and his reading went from strength to strength. I'm a strong supporter of synthetic phonics, yet I've learnt from experience that not all children learn to read by phonics alone.

 

I agree with all the comments about informing parents. In my experience parents are incredibly supportive if you explain the rationale behind any new changes.

 

I've got some sheets that I've written for parents outlining each book band level. It tells them what their child is learning at each level, how they can support each level and also gives a list of real books that they can borrow/buy to support their child at that particular level. Let me know if you'd like a copy.

 

Ticki Tembo

 

Yes please Ticki Tembo

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If you look at the criteria for the levels on the book bands this may serve as ammunition for you when a child is ready along with the information you get about their phonic skills progress . I do agree with advice from others about your coordinator support and acting as the professional and that change can be explained as part of the national expectations of the new framework. I spend time with my parents explaining how all children benefit the most from having stories read to them and that many skills are being taught through this, so their reading journey HAS already begun. I also give advice on activities that can be done with these shared books.I explain that some children may actually start to read this way without any formal reader.I also explain that the best way to help children is for them to see the adults at home reading for their own pleasure and finding information and the same for writing.I emphasise the danger of putting children off reading and that if all these early skills and a love of books have been engendered then progress is usually startling and increases self confidence.

the literacy trust website has some excellent resources for guidance for parentshttp.This website ://www.early-education.org.uk/pdf/reading_lflt.pdf has a learning together series you can download and has one on early reading which is excellent. In my opinion the more fuss we make of reading the more anxious we can make the parents. I do stress its importance but I have a short paper in the front of reading diary that gives general tipps with the note that further advice will be given when appropriate.I also say if there are any concerns to come and speak and emphasise how we need to work together. On the whole it seems to work, but you will ALWAYS have some parents that you cannot satisfy

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