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When did you learn to read?

(195 Posts)
kircubbin2000 Sun 04-Apr-21 17:31:06

Apparently thousands of children are moving into secondary school unable to read properly. The government are blaming this on covid but surely children should have been taught to read before the end of P2.In nursery they are taught the basic sounds and can make letters so there is no excuse unless teachers have got something wrong.
What do you think? Is it parents fault?

Grandma70s Sun 04-Apr-21 17:42:33

What does P2 mean?

I could read before I started school. My mother said I taught myself. I was lucky always to have books around.

My elder boy could also read before school, but the younger one, who started school when he was four and one month, couldn’t. He soon caught up.

It’s probably a matter of background, and also perhaps it’s different these days with books only being one of several means of entertainment - though my grandchildren don’t seem to have a problem.

Kate54 Sun 04-Apr-21 17:44:39

No! Teaching phonics is a skill few parents will have (and why should they?). Some children are naturally keen to read and virtually teach themselves - I was told I could read at three and begged to join the library. They wouldn’t allow it until I was five.
I think the real problem for all children returning to school is that they’ve got out of the habit of formal learning and will take time to get back into the routine.

Judy54 Sun 04-Apr-21 17:51:29

Yes I could read before I went to school too. My parents read to me and encouraged my love of books and poetry. It is sad today with technology that some children are no longer interested in books. They have always fascinated me and I find it amazing that with just 26 letters in the alphabet great authors have given us so much pleasure over the years. I will always love reading.

welbeck Sun 04-Apr-21 17:53:21

i really only learnt to read when i went to junior school and it was the english hymnal that gave me the confidence and safe practice, with benefit of rhythm/rhyme and the sound of others singing around me. i tried to disguise my ignorance.
before that in the infant school we only had a very limited repetoire of hymns, mostly all things bright and beautiful, no hymn books.
i must have had some input of course, but the infant school was not good, and i opted out as much as possible. from negative experiences.
in the fourth year of a different junior school, i was left behind alone in a small room when the rest of the class went swimming. with nothing to do, told to get on with the english language book. which was quite boring, all comprehension exercises, and no answers. so i did that and gazed out the window at a sign on an arterial road, to the north. and i began to wonder, how did you know when you had got to the north.
so english lessons were even more boring as i had finished the book several months ahead of the class and had to creep along it again en masse.

Charleygirl5 Sun 04-Apr-21 17:55:07

I could read before I was 5. I wanted to learn and joined a private library paying a penny per book. I am assuming I was not old enough to join the ordinary library.

kircubbin2000 Sun 04-Apr-21 18:00:26

P2 is the second class in primary school. Age 5/6

harrigran Sun 04-Apr-21 18:00:49

I cannot remember a time when I could not read so must have been able to when I started school.
My DD could read at about three or four, she used to read her toddler comics to me.

welbeck Sun 04-Apr-21 18:06:48

the best year of school i ever had was that first year of junior school. i often think of it now. and am grateful.
then i was moved to another school that parent thought would be good. it was not.
i had not come across bullying before, including from the teacher, and snobbishness, including the teachers. and just a lack of care or interest or sense of community from the staff.
there was one good teacher, he was my form master, then i had to go to hospital, so i didn't finish the year. he had an accent that made him sound fierce, but i always preferred men teachers. more focussed on the subject in hand, less nasty, spiteful, personal as some of the females were in my exp.
the other two years i got stuck with the same form teacher. she mocked and berated me often. actually that's why i didn't go swimming. she laughed at the idea of seeing me in a swimming costume. that's it, i thought, you won't see me.
then as if by providence another teacher assumed i was not going swimming because i had been in hospital. and it ran.
they all assumed i had a medical reason not to go. deo gratias.

Peasblossom Sun 04-Apr-21 18:13:16

Personally I think it is the early over-emphasis on letters and sounds that is confusing and demotivating many children.

We should be concentrating first on developing confident speech. Then the child needs to understand that the spoken word can be translated into symbols. That the symbols are put together in different forms to convey meaning, like books, notices etc.

Until they understand what’s reading is all about, somebody waving a squiggle at them and going ‘b’ ‘d’ ‘e’ or whatever is totally meaningless. Very difficult to remember. And definitely not interesting.

What they experience is early failure. Then overcoming that is doubly hard.

Learning to read takes time and practice and adult support. It should be a major part of infant school. Instead the curriculum is so overstuffed that it can’t be given the time or resources it needs

welbeck Sun 04-Apr-21 18:13:55

sorry got off subject.
i think i got better at reading by doing it more, being alone.
and being inquisitive, reading signs, wondering what they meant. and much later i had a miss-spent youth reading the dictionary. or started to. i remember pounce, which was the powder put in the other receptacle on a desk, ink one side, to be dusted across writing to set it, before sized paper came in.
acted like blotting paper.
poor beethoven i think it was scribbling away in a creative frenzy one night, exhausted reached out for the pounce and instead threw ink all over his manuscript.
and hadn't made a back-up in the cloud.

grandmajet Sun 04-Apr-21 18:14:07

I don’t really remember, but I do remember reading round the class, one sentence each, from Janet and John, and Dick and Dora books. I was a bit bored with that as I could read quite well, so I must have learned at home. My mum took us to the local library from quite a young age and I remember loving to choose books there.
Three of my grandchildren seemed to learn quite easily, but one didn’t. He is nearly eleven now and can read, but not with enjoyment unfortunately. They are distracted with video games, YouTube, etc these days I’m afraid. I think boys more often read for information rather than fantasy, although this is rather a generalisation.

MerylStreep Sun 04-Apr-21 18:15:27

I could read before I went to school.
My grandchildren could read before they went to school, how,
Technology!! They would watch games, nursery rhymes which had the words running at the bottom of the screen.
Not all technology is bad.

Aveline Sun 04-Apr-21 18:21:34

I learned via Janet and John at nursery school. No big deal was made of it, it was just part of life. We took turn about with Mrs Griffiths and I could read when I was 3. I loved it then and still do.

Redhead56 Sun 04-Apr-21 18:24:12

I don’t remember learning to read or write I just know that I could at my first infants school. We moved house and I attended a new school. We were sent home with a reading book I would take it back the next day. The teacher who was horrid would shout at me saying I could not have read it. She would demand I told her what the story was about.
It was very embarrassing for me because I was shy but I always got it right. I loved reading but in our house there was a distinct lack of books unfortunately.

ayse Sun 04-Apr-21 18:30:38

Both my grandchildren aged 6 can read. One really likes reading and does quite difficult books. The other is able to read less complicated books. They both continued the schooling during lockdown. School did online lessons daily with help from adults. They were and are doing phonics but suddenly it clicks and they’re away.

My youngest grandson took a while to take off but he’s now reading well, aged 10.

I remember learning to read in Primary school and by senior school I was a bookworm.

I think that part of the problem today is that screens and games are widely available but they don’t help with reading. Some parents seem to be happy as long as there children are occupied but I think it’s always been this way.

adaunas Sun 04-Apr-21 18:31:25

I could read before I went to school, but ensuring children can read is not as easy as it sounds. Phonics has given many children a big boost in developing decoding skills, though it doesn’t work for all. More interesting reading primers encourage children to enjoy reading. Children practise with their teacher and with a TA. Many schools use parent helpers to allow extra reading practice in KS1 and still in KS2. They use challenges to encourage children to read more.
During lockdown we listened to children read via Zoom.
Most parents willingly listen to their children practising reading in KS1, but this often tails off on KS2, so some children who don’t find reading easy don’t read at home at all.
I don’t think it’s a case of blaming anybody. As others have posted, there are so many other activities that children find easier than reading.
Reading is like anything else. You enjoy it more when you’re good at it, and you only get better with practice.

SueDonim Sun 04-Apr-21 19:18:57

I don’t remember not being able to read but I’ve no idea whether I learnt at school or before starting school. I do recall learning to do ‘silent reading’ - I was thrilled with my newfound skill! He

As was often the case, I was in big classes of over 40 pupils at primary school but I think there were only two children who couldn’t read adequately by the time we went up to junior school (age 7). Both of those children would be regarded as having learning difficulties today and given extra help.

It’s baffling and concerning that so many children today seem to slip through the net and don’t get the help they need. sad

M0nica Sun 04-Apr-21 19:27:07

My DMiL was a reception teacher in a school in, what we would now call a deprived area and she would talk about children coming school with limited language and unable to recognise colours or shapes and who had never held a book or been read to.

She said it took her two terms just to get these children to a level where they could even begin to tackle reading

The key to getting children reading is children seeing their parents and other friends and family reading and their being books in the house.

DH and I were both early readers, as were our children and grandchildren , but that is because they have been born into a family of bookaholics. My parents and in-laws always had books around and used the library and could be seen reading daily whether books or newspapers.

Our children grew up in a house of books, as have our DGC. DGD told me proudly when she was about 4 that she had counted all her books and she had more than 100, not all new, secondhand and pass-ons featured a lot, but when the adults around her had so many books and clearly valued them and read them, she automatically wanted to do it as well.

sodapop Sun 04-Apr-21 19:40:34

I remember the 'silent reading ' as well SueDonim can't remember a time when I couldn't read, I was taken to the library from a very early age. I also remember being able to buy hard back books in Woolworths all the favourite books of the time. My children and grandchildren are all avid readers as well.
I had a colleague once who was quite proud of the fact that she didn't have any books or magazines cluttering up her house. Unbelievable.

Sago Sun 04-Apr-21 19:46:43

I also cannot remember life before reading, I think I was about 4, at school I I bypassed Janet and John and went straight to Billy Goats Gruff!
I’m so glad I had the joy of books as my home life was awful so I read voraciously.
The Bronte sisters were my idols.

Elusivebutterfly Sun 04-Apr-21 19:52:02

I learnt to read in the early part of Infant school and have loved reading ever since. I remember showing off to my friends reading road names and adverts on the way home from school as I was the first to learn to read!
There were also a lot of people in the 60s who left school at 15 with very poor literacy skills. I think young people now are better educated than some were then.

trisher Sun 04-Apr-21 19:58:11

I could read before I was 4. Our library had what were known as "Parents' Collection" books for children until they could join the library themselves I think aged 7. By 4 we had exhausted them so my mum asked to use the Children's Library, the librarian didn't believe I had read all the PC books so she made me read and then allowed us access to the library.
However I am very aware of children who come from homes where there is no reading matter. There have been initiatives to tackle this but it is very difficult. The problem is that children who are not well established, independant readers by Year 6 fall back very easily. This has been known for sometime and there have been programmes established to maintain support through the summer holidays and on into secondary schools. I would imagine the lock down will have destabilised many children. It would be wonderful if all children were confident readers by 10 years old, but they aren't.

PaperMonster Sun 04-Apr-21 20:07:23

I could read before I started school. My daughter could read some words before starting school, but once she started she could very soon read very well. She’s gone off reading sadly during this last lockdown but still very much enjoys audio books and being read to. So yes, by her second year in school (Year 1) she was a fluent reader. (She’s 9).

GrandmasueUK Sun 04-Apr-21 20:12:53

I remember going to the park with my nana and she used to read Red Star and Red Letter magazines aloud to me. One of them had a cartoon strip called Priscilla, which I used to read with her. This was twice a week, from me being 3 until I started school at 4 1/2.

We went to the library twice a week as well. We were always surrounded by books and reading.