Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Helping with reading

(41 Posts)
Newquay Sun 13-Jun-21 20:38:35

Eldest DGD teaches Year 3. She’s asked if I’ll join her to walk her class to the nearby high school pool once a week-absolutely fine.
She’s asked if I would like to help listen to the readers-again am delighted and it’s fine (once I’ve been checked of course-nothing to see here!).
Apart from helping our own DC and DGC I’ve had no training-any tops?

Kim19 Sun 13-Jun-21 20:51:07

Terrific. Good luck.

MaizieD Sun 13-Jun-21 20:56:50

I would ask your DGD about how they've been taught to read (good phonics instruction I hope) and what the skill level will be of the children she'd like you to listen to.

If they have insecure reading skills I'd expect to be able to help with sounding out and blending unfamiliar words and checking vocabulary knowledge to help them to understand what they are reading. I know that you'd expect Y3s to be quite proficient, but I've worked with Y7s with very shaky skills.

I wouldn't expect to be asked to get less secure children to guess unfamiliar words from pictures or context as that is an absolutely pointless strategy.. Or to 'tell' them what an unfamiliar word 'says', they'll not remember it ..

But. as I say, pick your DGD' brains...

This was actually part of my job for several years. I loved it. I hope you do, too grin

Fennel Sun 13-Jun-21 21:00:26

Go ahead with it! When I was working as an EP about 30% of my referrals were for children who just needed someone to listen to them read one to one. plus abit of normal personal attention.
One primary school I went to started a project of inviting retirees to come into the school to talk about the old days. and to share books and reading with the children.
it gave pleasure and benefit to both oldies and children.

ValerieF Sun 13-Jun-21 21:13:15

My only concern at this is in every walk of life including hospitals and police. people are relying more and more on volunteers. People should rightly be paid for the jobs they do. Do we build up a contingency of unpaid volunteers to off set funds? Where does it end? That is my concern about lovely people giving up their time to help.

genie10 Sun 13-Jun-21 21:18:30

I used to do this and it's very enjoyable. You don't really need any special skill, just patience, as you are only listening and not actually teaching. The hardest thing was keeping them on task, as the little girls in particular wanted to spend the time telling me all their news.

grandmabear Sun 13-Jun-21 21:22:16

I loved going into school to listen to children read when my kids were at school. Can't wait to do the same when grandkids start. It's just like listening to your own kids read. The teacher, in this case your dgd, will tell you what the expectations are. Just having the opportunity to read out loud to someone helps enormously. I made sure I dished out lots of praise to build confidence and to ensure it was a good experience. I also took sheets of stickers(glittery ones, dinosaurs etc etc) in which you can get cheaply and then the children picked one for doing a good job when they'd finished reading. Anything to make it a fun experience with positive associations. I helped in school a lot as a volunteer so I knew the system they used to teach reading. But my job was to be an enthusiastic listener! Have fun ?

Fennel Sun 13-Jun-21 21:32:58

But that's part of the job,genie - to help them feel that reading, and school in general, is part of their life.
Many children come from homes and families who are too busy, or have other reasons, not to be able to be involved in or understand. what goes on in school.
Valerie your point maybe an ideal but un realistic.
Also being a volunteer gives much pleasure to many people

Callistemon Sun 13-Jun-21 21:39:47

My only concern at this is in every walk of life including hospitals and police. people are relying more and more on volunteers. People should rightly be paid for the jobs they do

I did this 40 years ago (was it really 40? shock)

Other mothers and I used to go into school on a voluntary basis; I went in once a week and listened to all the Y6s reading (my own DC were younger) and it was surprising to find the difference in reading skills.

I would check with your DGD what she is expecting you to do, what approach to take and which reading scheme they use.
Boosting a child's confidence in their reading proficiency is important.

I hope you enjoy it Newquay

Newquay Sun 13-Jun-21 22:48:18

Thanks all of you for your helpful advice-I shall definitely get some stickers! I shall enjoy it; I always say I have infinite patience with people but very little with machines so should be ok!

Kate1949 Mon 14-Jun-21 09:43:39

I used to do this helping 5 and 6 year olds. You don't need training. The child just brought their book to you and you listened to them read helping them work out the words. It was lovely. I also got asked to help out on school trips. I went to theatres, castles, museums etc with the children.

Kate1949 Mon 14-Jun-21 09:44:36

The school supplied stickers.

adaunas Mon 14-Jun-21 10:11:55


The school supplied stickers.

Great idea about using school stickers. There are some of our parents who will bounce in to ask why their child isn’t reading to the teacher if their child says, “I got a sticker for reading to X today.”
Before I supplied them to helpers, one little girl took hers off, ‘because Mummy will be cross’.
Apart from that, enjoy it Newquay. You’ll be a valuable asset and your DGD will mention anything you need to know.

Peasblossom Mon 14-Jun-21 10:19:59

Stickers are a contentious issue.

Don’t use them without checking with the school first.

In fact, check the rewards policy before you do anything. Schools differ a lot in their approach.

Peasblossom Mon 14-Jun-21 10:21:42

Stickers, especially cheap glittery ones could go against the schools green policy.

trisher Mon 14-Jun-21 10:24:10

Newquay please don't buy any stickers witout checking wth your DD first.
You will probably find the children have Reading Records and it is a good idea to look at the comments and ways of approval the school uses. If it's completely free style you could use your own, but they may have some.
Listen to the children read but also discuss the book or story with them asking them about what they enjoyed and what happened. It will depend on the age you are dealing with. If they are Year 3 some may be on the way to independent reading, they may have read a book or a few pages, then you have to discuss what happened, check they understand and remember, and ask about any difficult words.
Have fun and enjoy.

grandmabear Mon 14-Jun-21 22:58:48

I hadn't realised stickers had become so contentious in the space of a generation! I now know ?Of course ask the school first, we used to stick them in the reading record rather than the child put it on them. Just a bit of fun and you can get eco friendly ones too if that's an issue. Have fun, I loved listening to the littlies read and now some of them are 30 with children of their own?

Luckygirl Mon 14-Jun-21 23:18:00

I am a primary school governor and have done this.

However, I do not think it would be allowed at the moment as the children are in bubbles at school and not allowed to have indoor contact with visiting people. I am surprised it has been suggested just now.

Newquay Tue 15-Jun-21 09:10:06

Thanks for all your messages-I will, of course, be completely guided by DGD. Obviously helping her learn to read has paid off! ? As to my going in at the mo, again it’s all in the hands of the school. I can walk with them to swimming cos it’s out of doors but have to await DBS checks in any event as well. So looking forward to it.

JacquiG Wed 16-Jun-21 10:20:48

So rewarding. Lovely to see the light dawn in a child's eyes as they realise that they can read and understand.

Paperbackwriter Wed 16-Jun-21 10:23:51

Sounds like a great thing to do. You'll need a check first, obviously - what used to be called a DBS or something. But it does sound like a terrific experience for both you and the children.

BlackSheep46 Wed 16-Jun-21 10:47:32

I have helped with lsow readers in primary schools. Often we did hardly any reading but the head teacher always reassured me that it is the listening to the child, the givig
ng it your time - just for him (usually) or her - as these children often have no such input at home. Boost the child's self esteem and the rest will follow once they realise that they are valued.

Ladyleftfieldlover Wed 16-Jun-21 10:53:52

I used to help with slow readers in Year 6 and loved it. The other thing I loved was teaching small groups to cook, also in Year 6. We would go shopping for ingredients first at the village shop and then make whatever I had been told they had to make.

Nanatoone Wed 16-Jun-21 10:55:55

I did this thirty odd years ago at my children’s school. Mine were very able readers but I was so happy to be able to listen to children for whom it didn’t come naturally or didn’t get this attention at home. I’ve never forgotten one child who asked for some more reading time with me as he loved it. I was simply delighted as he was a lovely boy who said no one ever listened to him read at home.

Zennomore Wed 16-Jun-21 10:57:26

@Newquay - how exciting and what an honour to be asked. I’m sure you’ll enjoy spending time with the children ?