Children who are slow to catch on in Reception

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Re: Children who are slow to catch on in Reception

Post by Goodenough » Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:15 pm

I came a bit late to this thread but have found it really interesting.
I teach in a very small school so I have children for a few years and do not have many reception age children at one time. My experience is therefore a bit limited.
In the last few years I have found that every child has learned to blend in reception. Previously however I have taught children who only learned to blend in Year 1. One misfortunate child was in the equivalent of year 3 before he was reading with any fluency.
Most years there are children who do not become in any way fluent while in reception. I never push fluency but some children do become frustrated with what they (and possibly whoever hears reading at home!) see as their slow progress compared to others and then there is a tendency for them to start guessing.
At present I have a child who is basically a free reader, a few who seem to know quite a few words but sound out several as well and one little lad who sounds every single word no matter how many times he's read it on the page already. He sounds them out quite successfully and his comprehension seems fine but it is tedious going.
I wonder if I should encourage more re reading and try to build fluency earlier?

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Re: Children who are slow to catch on in Reception

Post by Hammered » Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:32 am

maizie wrote:
Hammered wrote: Models of reading comprehension would also suggest so much mental energy is needed for decoding, that these children would also struggle to be competent comprehenders.
But are these models correct? Is the concept of a limited capacity resource available for decoding/comprehension, in which too much attention to one takes capacity from the other, actually a valid one? I have very slow decoders who comprehend instantly and perfectly.
My personal experience has tended to find this is the case, although I'm sure there are exceptions and it may depend on the level of reading of the child. I would suggest perhaps as the difficulty of the text increased it may become more valid?
As part of my Masters I did some research with Y6 children on comprehension differences between reading comprehension and listening comprehension. Those with slower decoding skills (they could still read the text) did signifiantly better in the listening comprehension task than the good readers who did marginally better. This was in line with previous research which highlighted the contribution of fluency in comprehension.

It would be interesting to see if this was still the case if the task was easier and the children were at a lower level - does fluency become more important for comprehension as a child becomes a better reader?

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Re: Children who are slow to catch on in Reception

Post by Elizabeth » Thu Jun 02, 2011 10:13 am

I have taught several children who learn to decode with me, but still read extremely slowly. My experience is like Maggie's. If I question them about a text they have read slowly, I find they can answer all the literal questions, unless there are words that are not in their spoken vocabulary.

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Re: Children who are slow to catch on in Reception

Post by JIM CURRAN » Thu Jun 02, 2011 10:44 am

This is a difficult one and I think the jury is still out. One of the reasons that some children get extra time in exam conditions is that it takes more than one reading of a piece of text for them to comprehend.

If the text is reasonably straightforward then fluency may not be a real issue. I remember Jenny saying once that Enid Blyton was an ideal author for building confidence in young readers as the narrative was so straightforward that comprehension was not an issue.

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Re: Children who are slow to catch on in Reception

Post by maizie » Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:18 am

There seem to me to be two possibilities.

1) As comprehension is a language skill it is possible that children who read slowly don't always have the requisite language skills for 'higher order' comprehension skills, such as reasoning and inference.

2) As reading is the best way of extending vocabulary and children who are not fluent don't read so much, it could be that comprehension skills are impaired by poor vocabulary.

Either of these 'feel' more reasonable than a 'limited capacity' model.

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Re: Children who are slow to catch on in Reception

Post by chew8 » Wed Jul 13, 2011 7:45 am

Latest update on the Year 1 children with whom I work voluntarily and who were slow to catch on to sounding out and blending in Reception:

Two of the three (both girls) have now got the bit between their teeth and clearly enjoy knowing they can 'do it', even though they still have to to stop and sound out many words. On my most recent visit to the school I witnessed one of them helping two other children with sounding out and blending - she obviously now sees herself as a bit of an expert! The other is always keen to tell me about the reading she is doing at home - no doubt from books which go beyond her decoding abilty, but she now decodes well enough for this not to be a problem.

The third child (a boy) is now also competent at decoding but hasn't got the bit between his teeth in the way that the two girls have - he does what is required of him but no more, as far as I can see. It will be interesting to see where they've all got to when they come back after the holidays - I suspect that the two girls will have made further progress because they will have chosen to do some reading, but that the boy will not have done this and may even have slipped back a bit. We shall see!

Jenny C.

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