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Helping at home with reading, writing and spelling

(22 Posts)
bamba Tue 10-Dec-13 10:35:09

Can anyone recommend any good resources for helping and encouraging my 6 year old granddaughter with her reading, writing and spelling. She seems to be struggling a bit, especially with spelling. I am thinking maybe a picture dictionary or magnetic letters. Anyone found anything particularly useful that makes learning fun. All advice appreciated!

HildaW Tue 10-Dec-13 13:43:33

Only bit of advise I can give is to find out how her school is teaching her and perhaps use similar texts. I've been fascinated to learn from my daughter about the reading schemes used at my GS's school and how much fun he is having. All the parents were invited in to school to learn about the system so that they would know how to encourage and also how not to confuse the children by using methods the children might not recognise.

That being said, just sitting with you, whilst you read aloud from a well loved book can gently give the message that books are fun and comforting.

If she is really struggling after a few more months it would be a good idea for her parents to have a chat with her school just to make sure they have not missed any reading difficulties. I struggled at an early age and although I managed to mask most of my short comings I was obviously on the mild end of the dyslexic scale which was not recognised in those days. Nowadays schools can do a lot to nurture reading if they know there is a need.

Ceesnan Tue 10-Dec-13 13:45:52

When I thought my DGD was struggling with reading I signed her up for a 6 month course with a computer based system called Reading Eggs which was the best thing I could have done. It concentrates on phonics and spelling but makes it fun. She loved it and had caught up with her peers in no time at all. Now she has a reading age of more than two years older than her real age. You can have a twdo week free trial so that you can decide if it's going to work before you have to pay.

J52 Tue 10-Dec-13 14:08:51

Has she been screened for dyslexia? Many educationalists are reluctant to screen before the age of 7, as reading readiness could also be an issue. As has already been said, encouragement by reading to her. Some children also prefer factual based books rather than stories. It can help to find out her particular interests.
Sorry I have repeated the dyslexia idea! Xx

Aka Tue 10-Dec-13 14:19:29

Try not to worry too much. My GS could barely read and write at 6 but now twelve months on he is fluent.
Do you have her parents permission to intervene? If so I too would recommend some of the fun learning apps available for computers and tablets.

Mishap Tue 10-Dec-13 15:01:49

Just cuddle her up and read, read, read! Point out the odd word now and again and she will cotton on that reading is the key to this magical world that you are reading to her!

Steer clear of anything educational - that is what school is for. Just show her by example the joy of reading, and especially reading together.

HildaW Tue 10-Dec-13 15:04:56

Well said Mishap!

Nelliemoser Tue 10-Dec-13 16:08:49

I agree with Mishap Really get her just enjoying stories!

Do her parents read with her? I am sure that makes a difference.

Suggest her parents keep a non overanxious" contact with school about how they think she is doing though, there may be an issue of dyslexia.

Someone has already posted on that. Has she ever had her eyes tested?

I do wonder how many of the boys who end up being behind on reading have never had much experience of their parents and their Dad's in particular reading to them.

PRINTMISS Tue 10-Dec-13 16:10:04

Yes, I agree, cuddle up with a book they like, and quietly read to them, pointing out one or two words as you go along, it is a good way for get them to take an interest in what you are reading, and if it is a book or story they know by heart, let them read some with you.

JessM Tue 10-Dec-13 16:16:25

Lots of children have not "got" spelling at 6. But schools can be pushy. My GD (in australia was given the word pharaoh to learn spell at that age - had to think hard about it myself)
In some countries (scandinavia) they are shocked at the suggestion that you should start teaching reading before 7.
I agree that enjoying books and associating them with good times is the most important thing. Reading eggs good if and only if she enjoys.

TriciaF Tue 10-Dec-13 16:23:04

As most people have said , enjoying books and the experience of reading is the most important when helping at home.
At age 6, I wouldn't worry about spelling - the english language is notoriously unpredictable when it comes to spelling, she will master it in time.
I've kept written work by our children from their infant school days, and there are loads of spelling mistakes. 40+ years later they all write and spell well and earn a good living (TG.)
As well as that, the love of books is a pleasure which is sadly disappearing, what with computer work and Kindle.

GadaboutGran Tue 10-Dec-13 16:47:54

Though phonics is great for many children it doesn't suit all, especially if dyslexic or have other neuro-conditions. My GS in Germany won't begin formal school until he's 6 & there they believe that learning of the type they do in Forest Schools aid reading more than formal teaching for the very young. My London GS in Yr 1 was falling behind her peers. The stress was not from her parents but from the fact that she was aware the others were forging ahead & on different books. She is creative & the school reading books didn't interest her. Mum & dyslexic Dad knew the importance of attaching emotion & meaning to words so had the idea of putting the books she liked on the piano for her to make up tunes for the story & different words. She also makes up dances about them.

Mishap Tue 10-Dec-13 18:42:35

My DD2 did not even begin to read till she was 10 - she now has an MA - panic not!

Iam64 Tue 10-Dec-13 18:44:51

I'm with the don't panic gang here Bamba. 6 is very young, and as so many others have said, it's the enjoyment of books that counts. My grandson didn't read easily, but does now, and I'm sure that's because he understood the joy of reading from all the stories he was read.

penguinpaperback Tue 10-Dec-13 23:25:10

Usborne have a wide colourful range of books. My GS age 6 and his classmates have a spelling test every week. They are given ten (I think) words to learn at home and are tested on them the following week.

grannyactivist Tue 10-Dec-13 23:59:05

Please try not to worry. My youngest son was way behind his peers when it came to reading and spelling at that age - and then whoosh! He not only caught up, but even surpassed many of his peers. I favour Mishap's advice; cuddle and read, read, read. smile

Granny23 Wed 11-Dec-13 04:13:08

DGS aged 6.5 went into a P2/3 class in Augustwith some trepidation because 'they expect you to be able to read in P2'. He struggled all through P1 and claimed that he could not read at all although it was obvious to me and his parents that he could recognise words in his books and his computer games. His new teacher recognised this and taught him via 'look and say' method instead of 'phonics' which is standard in the county schools.

Result? DGS has come on by leaps and bounds can read all his books at home and so has joined the Library. Although he is technically in P2 he reads with the P3s. His spelling (10 words taken from the books he will read next) is near perfect and he is so delighted with his new found ability, that he has volunteered to read bed time stories to his wee sister.

Obviously, no such thing as a 'standard child' - what works for one just confuses another.

bamba Thu 09-Jan-14 16:31:47

Thanks to all of you for your useful advice. I agree that it is the joy of reading that is the most important thing and my granddaughter loves her books and is read to constantly by her parents/grandparents. We were all just worried by the 10 new spellings she has to learn every week and the teacher commenting that she is struggling with them more than she should be. As you say, every child learns at a different pace. First experience of a grandchild attending full time school!

Mishap Thu 09-Jan-14 18:47:29

The teacher is faced with data and targets - all the children in the school are supposed to progress by x points in the given scales for each subject or they risk the wrath of OfSted.

Your GC will progress at her own pace and it is far more important that she has fun reading than that she gets all her spellings right.

TriciaF Fri 10-Jan-14 13:54:54

I've just remembered a method called paired reading which we used to advocate and was very successful.
Let the child choose his/her own book (gently correct choice if it's obviously too advanced.) From the library.
Then as others said cuddle up on the sofa.
The child starts reading aloud, then when they get stuck the adult takes over for a few lines, then return to the child.
This method keeps the flow of the story, and encourages guessing at new words rather than stumbling painfully over phonics.
An idea for spelling - after learning a few new words, the child gets the adult to spell them (written) and makes deliberate mistakes. Child enjoys correcting adult smile

NanKate Tue 18-Mar-14 07:34:10

I see Bamba that you wrote this thread last year so I hope I am not too late in responding.

There are some excellent books published by Barrington Stoke which are for reluctant and dyslectic readers.

The actual teaching of reading is not my area but I know these books can be of help. Do look at the Barrington Stoke website.

dogsdinner Tue 18-Mar-14 11:17:42

Thank you Ceesnan, just signed up for free trial of Reading Eggs. GD seems to enjoy it. Any more suggestions for any good online pre school apps?