Keeping an emerging reader busy on the computer - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 24 Old 02-11-2012, 05:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
Tigerle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Europe
Posts: 1,388
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)

DS is an emerging reader and ready for more. So far he has taught himself, with us just answering his questions, and I want to keep it that way for a variety of reasons. One of which is that having him enter 1st grade early in fall (by cut-off, he should be a kindergartner) is the only acceleration I can get him, there is no high ability or gifted programming until 5th grade, and he'll have to sit through reading instruction no matter what  So while I would love to accelerate the process, having him too far ahead of his classmates will just lead to frustration on his part and probably get me in trouble with his 1st grade teacher. (Our schools aren't big on differentiation).

 

So I let him play around on starfall, the free stuff of which is too easy for him and won't get him much further in reading or math but has the added benefit that it's English instruction, which is not his first language. (Come 3rd grade, he'll have to sit through English instruction in school too, but for some reason working ahead on foreign languages is acceptable, while instruction in reading and math would be "pushing" and "trying to create an unfair advantage". No I don't get it either, it's just the predominant culture where I live.)

DS has complained that the stuff I let him do is too easy, that it's "just games" and "not real learning" and that I won't give him reading lessons. I told him he'll have those in school come 1st grade anyway and until then he can practice by himself as much as he wants ("so you won't help me?" - "sure I'll help you, but there's no point in giving you lessons now if you get them in school anyway, right?". No idea what I'll do if early entry doesn't come through, we'll know in early April only and he'll have to wait until school starts in mid-September to start out with the letter A or whatever) . We're trying to keep him busy with violin and swim classes, and DH is giving him "drawing lessons" and I answer his detailed question on phonics and then tell him to go find words with that spelling in one his books to practice on by himself. Which I suppose is reading instruction only we can all pretend to his 1st grade teacher that it wasn't.

 

So my idea is to feed his hunger for learning on the computer with free online stuff that will divert him towards English aquisition as opposed to accelerate the reading process. Any ideas?

 

 

DH says that I am way overthinking this and by September he'll read fluently anyway, no matter what we do, and we'll just have to cross that bridge as we come to it. Looking at it like this, I should probably just pay for the starfall subscription for a year and let him go to town and to heck with what the 1st grade teacher will think.


MeDH DS1 10/06 DD 08/10 DS2 10/12with SB and
Tigerle is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 24 Old 02-11-2012, 10:17 AM
 
Tjej's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: a beautiful place
Posts: 1,563
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

poissonrouge.com is a fun site that has some activities that apply to reading.  There are lots of different lanugages on there.  And the majority of the games are fun and interesting, but aren't going to teach him how to read.  Maybe that would be fun for him.  It won't give him the instruction he wants, but it is a neat site.

 

Tjej

Tjej is offline  
#3 of 24 Old 02-13-2012, 10:16 PM
 
ellemenope's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 704
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerle View Post

 

DH says that I am way overthinking this and by September he'll read fluently anyway, no matter what we do, and we'll just have to cross that bridge as we come to it. Looking at it like this, I should probably just pay for the starfall subscription for a year and let him go to town and to heck with what the 1st grade teacher will think.


 

I kind of agree with your DH.  It sounds like your DS is already reading more than what is expected for first grade.   I think if he is ready, you should just pick up appropriate books and work through them together.  

 

Would it make sense to allow him to focus only on reading in English at home and leave the native language for school?  

 

I have little experience with online computer games, but I have heard of a few here and there.  I think Disney, PBS, and Nick have websites full of games.  I think even Lego.com has games.  At least they used to.  I remember playing them in college. I have also heard of Webkinz, ixl, and head sprout.  But, I cannot tell you what exactly these are, or how much they focus on reading.  Also, I remember playing a ton of really fun flash games at miniclip.com a few years back.  They don't really teach you anything but how to get better at flash games, but they are fun.  And, there is always chess.

 

ellemenope is offline  
#4 of 24 Old 02-13-2012, 11:08 PM
 
joensally's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,824
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)

I would get him a subscription to BrainPop Jr, and get him some CD-Roms like Magic School Bus, Zoombinis and the like.

 

I would not facilitate his learning to read via computer explicitely.  If he's ready, he's going to pick it up no matter what you do.  Other computer games will expand his knowledge base and satisfy his desire to be on the computer and learn.


Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

joensally is offline  
#5 of 24 Old 02-13-2012, 11:11 PM
 
domesticidyll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 221
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I think, if he is curious and asking persistently, he will be unchallenged during that part of school anyway. I would be concerned that working hard to put off his curiosity would just be frustrating and make him less excited about learning and he'd still be bored. I don't know that you have to lie, exactly, to the first grade teacher, but maybe planning more of a gentle, "Oh, he just picked it up, I don't know where," would be handy. Kind of like, IME, talking to people about extended nursing or cosleeping, I know there are times where I simply volunteer less information.

 

Also think it's a terrific idea to let him go deeper in other content areas like drawing, history, science, rather than math or reading basics. But if he's begging to know more phonics, he's accelerating anyway.

 

Heather

domesticidyll is offline  
#6 of 24 Old 02-14-2012, 07:48 PM
 
joensally's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,824
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)

Are you on facebook?  I get a lot of education-oriented things in my feed with all kinds of cool ideas and links.


Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

joensally is offline  
#7 of 24 Old 02-14-2012, 08:58 PM
 
Galaxymom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

.......

Galaxymom is offline  
#8 of 24 Old 02-14-2012, 09:03 PM
 
Galaxymom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

......

Galaxymom is offline  
#9 of 24 Old 02-14-2012, 11:19 PM
 
Cassidy68's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 167
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Galaxymom View Post

So aside from academics, in my opinion it is much better for a child to be among kids that are the same age, this might seem not such a great difference when you are talking about older grades but when you think of first years the difference between sending a 5 year old or 6 year old it is one sixt of the life.. it is like you would take 50 year old person and compare the experiences to 60 year old.. or even more.. as in early age one year is HUGE difference. Kids do better emotionally when they are with peers and they usually do better as older then younger.

 

 



I don't think this is always true, especially for gifted kids. My son (now 7 and home schooling) was not close to any of his same-age peers in kindy, but made friends with a couple of older boys through the school chess club. Now, as a home learner, his friends are nearly all older than him-- the three boys he sees most often are all 10 year olds. Socially, the fit is far better for him when he is with kids several years older. He is far happier, more confident, and appears more socially skilled than he was when he was kept segregated in a classroom with his age peers-- who didn't share his interests, didn't understand his vocabulary, and didn't get his sense of humour.

 


Writing, reading, unschooling. 

Cassidy68 is offline  
#10 of 24 Old 02-14-2012, 11:33 PM
 
moominmamma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: In the middle of nowhere, at the centre of everything.
Posts: 5,808
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 95 Post(s)

Galaxymom, your experience with KG bears absolutely no resemblance to what we experience here, nor is it reflective of wider norms. How could all kindy kids be reading at a 2nd grade level? The term 2nd grade level loses its meaning if it refers to the level kids are expected to reach in kindy -- it would be called kindergarten level, then! You may live in an area where children are required to enter kindergarten reading (really?!) and a substantial portion read chapter books, but that is certainly nowhere close to the norm.

 

Your description of KG kids "polishing the skills of working under pressure," having to "read all instructions," "writing all day" and sitting straight through 6.5 hours of academics is nothing like any kindergarten I've ever seen or read about. Heck, even my 10th-grader's education is nothing like that rigorous! I'm not arguing with your experience, just pointing out that your kids must have been in a very unusual kindergarten classroom.

 

Miranda

 


Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grown-ups
moominmamma is online now  
#11 of 24 Old 02-14-2012, 11:44 PM
 
Cassidy68's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 167
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I wondered about that too... but have so little experience with schools that I thought maybe our experience was the unusual one :)

 

My son's kindy class was very play-based, and only a couple of kids out of twenty were already reading. The kids didn't sit at desks at all-- they moved around different centres, sat on the carpet, sometimes worked together at tables. They start kindergarten here (I'm in Canada) in the calendar year in which they turn six... so they're still pretty little and I can't imagine anyone expecting them to sit and work for any length of time. It sure wouldn't have worked for my son (not that it worked for him anyway... but for other reasons.)


Writing, reading, unschooling. 

Cassidy68 is offline  
#12 of 24 Old 02-14-2012, 11:58 PM
 
moominmamma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: In the middle of nowhere, at the centre of everything.
Posts: 5,808
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 95 Post(s)

Cassidy, doesn't KG start in September of the calendar year in which they turn five? So if you had a child turning five in June or November 2012, they'd start in September 2012, right? The youngest third of the class is still four when they start school. I agree, that's way too young for sitting still the entire school day!

 

Miranda


Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grown-ups
moominmamma is online now  
#13 of 24 Old 02-15-2012, 03:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
Tigerle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Europe
Posts: 1,388
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)

Galaxymom, thank you for taking so much time to answer. I am feeling guilty now because I haven't more than hinted at what the first grade standards are in my area, because I have been qvetching quite a bit on here about anti-academic attitudes on the preschool level and the inflexibility of said first grade teachers, and I thought my post was rather long already!

So, to elaborate:

I live in Europe. First grade is the first year of formal schooling. Children are not expected to be able to read anything on coming in, and while there are always a few kids able to sound out words, truly fluent readers entering first grade are very rare. Pre-schools are traditionally play-based, often with a very anti-academic, almost Waldorfian attitude towards literacy, and the only letters they are expected to write are the letters of their names in caps in order to sign their artwork. Fine motor skills are developed by arts and crafts. Numeracy is developed by playing boardgames and dice games, and calendar activities. Parents may be explicitly discouraged from teaching their children how to read. (I lurk on a couple of local gifted boards - sadly I haven't found any so far I would feel comfortable posting on - and while gifted kids, even so, tend to pick reading on their own before first grade by way of their strong motivation and interest, it isn't unusual even for kids who test comfortably in the gifted range on real IQ tests to pick it up only in the first few weeks of first grade, because of how little emphasis on the skill they have experienced before.) First grade will start out with letter-of-the-week activities, and when I was recently at a first-graders house and somehow a word came up, the father said off-handedly "oh she couldn't read that, they haven't had that letter yet. (The child is 7, the parents both teachers, the academic year half way through). By end of the year, children are expected to read short texts, write phonetically and do addition and multiplication up to 20.

 

Kindergarten is traditionally a pullout program in preschool. DS is taking part (entered early on the recommendation of the preschool teachers, which has no legal bearing on school entry). It consists of a daily 10 minute phonemic awareness unit (rhyimng, clapping) and 12 fortnightly two-hour units. Sample topics: shapes (a story about Mr Square, Mrs Triangle and Miss Roundabout read to them, then they illustrated the story), health and nutrition (baking cookies), numeracy (find stuff to do with numbers in the other classrooms. Find three 5-digit numbers on a sheet with postcodes), emotions (craft a "mood clock"). An so on.

 

While DS loves doing stuff with the other "big ones", he is far from challenged. And he is noticing that although he is the youngest, he tends to be the fastest.

I'd say is is, basically untaught, at least comfortably at 1st grade standard now (ie two years early) and will be way beyond it come September. Sample math he's trying to wrap his head around:

"In my fantasy world, trains run faster than the speed of light! One train runs 10.000 times as fast as the speed of light. And the other 100.000 times as fast. That means one is 90.000 times as fast as the other, right?" I wonder what a irst grade teacher will say beyond "that's wrong" or "we don't do math beyond 20 in first grade", KWIM?

 

In case you are wondering when do kids ever learn, the pace picks up in 3rd and by tracking in 5th grade, in high ability track classrooms it picks up like a fire truck. So for gifted or even bright and advanced kids, it's all about treading water and surviving until then.


MeDH DS1 10/06 DD 08/10 DS2 10/12with SB and
Tigerle is online now  
#14 of 24 Old 02-15-2012, 08:31 AM
 
joensally's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,824
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

Galaxymom, your experience with KG bears absolutely no resemblance to what we experience here, nor is it reflective of wider norms. How could all kindy kids be reading at a 2nd grade level? The term 2nd grade level loses its meaning if it refers to the level kids are expected to reach in kindy -- it would be called kindergarten level, then! You may live in an area where children are required to enter kindergarten reading (really?!) and a substantial portion read chapter books, but that is certainly nowhere close to the norm.

 

Your description of KG kids "polishing the skills of working under pressure," having to "read all instructions," "writing all day" and sitting straight through 6.5 hours of academics is nothing like any kindergarten I've ever seen or read about. Heck, even my 10th-grader's education is nothing like that rigorous! I'm not arguing with your experience, just pointing out that your kids must have been in a very unusual kindergarten classroom.

 

Miranda

 


I agree.  I clicked on the Utah link re kindergarten standards and they're indicating pre- and beginning reading skills, not 2nd grade reading skills.

 

The classrooms described are not at all developmentally appropriate.

 


Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

joensally is offline  
#15 of 24 Old 02-15-2012, 10:47 AM
 
ellemenope's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 704
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I just visited the kindergarten at my DD's school a couple of days ago.  She is in the preschool (3-year-olds).  The teacher told me that a handful of students come in with some reading ability.  And, by the end of the year the kindergartners are taught 20 sight words and letter sounds.  They learn short vowel sounds.  She might get to teach long vowel sounds and some blending by the end of the year depending on the class.  They spend most of their time on the carpet during reading and math instruction.  They do maybe one worksheet a day.  It is more play-based which I like a lot.

 

I also spoke to a teacher friend in a more academic school district out of state.  This school deals with a lot of redshirting, the kids are heavily tracked at an early age, and there is a lot of parental competition.  She said that most of her kids come in reading a little and at least 50% are reading at what she called a beginning first grade level (she quoted guided reading level d, DRA 6) at the end of the year, which is considered advanced at that school.  But, I looked, and these are really easy books.  DRA 7-8 is Go Dog Go. The other half of the class is nearing end of kindergarten requirements which for them are guided reading level c, DRA 4.  Of course, there are always a few outliers.  Maybe a couple were reading at a second grade level.  She really did not elaborate. 

 

I would suppose that in a district with a lot of redshirting you would have more kindergartners (7 year olds?) reading pretty well in kindergarten.  

ellemenope is offline  
#16 of 24 Old 02-15-2012, 12:39 PM
 
pranava's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 944
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

Cassidy, doesn't KG start in September of the calendar year in which they turn five? So if you had a child turning five in June or November 2012, they'd start in September 2012, right? The youngest third of the class is still four when they start school. I agree, that's way too young for sitting still the entire school day!

 

Miranda



Kindergarten here (midwest) starts mid to late august and the child must be 5.  In fact, in most places the child must be 5 by the June or July before school starts in order to go to Kindergarten.

 


Life is strange and wonderful.  Me read.gif, DP lady.gif, DS (3/09) blahblah.gif , 3 dog2.gif  and 4 cat.gif

pranava is offline  
#17 of 24 Old 02-15-2012, 01:43 PM
 
Cassidy68's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 167
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Oops, you're quite right, Miranda.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

Cassidy, doesn't KG start in September of the calendar year in which they turn five? So if you had a child turning five in June or November 2012, they'd start in September 2012, right? The youngest third of the class is still four when they start school. I agree, that's way too young for sitting still the entire school day!

 

Miranda



 


Writing, reading, unschooling. 

Cassidy68 is offline  
#18 of 24 Old 02-15-2012, 02:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
Tigerle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Europe
Posts: 1,388
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjej View Post

poissonrouge.com is a fun site that has some activities that apply to reading.  There are lots of different lanugages on there.  And the majority of the games are fun and interesting, but aren't going to teach him how to read.  Maybe that would be fun for him.  It won't give him the instruction he wants, but it is a neat site.

 

Tjej


Thanks for the idea, the choir activity is really neat!
 

 


MeDH DS1 10/06 DD 08/10 DS2 10/12with SB and
Tigerle is online now  
#19 of 24 Old 02-15-2012, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
Tigerle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Europe
Posts: 1,388
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by ellemenope View Post


 

I kind of agree with your DH.  It sounds like your DS is already reading more than what is expected for first grade.   I think if he is ready, you should just pick up appropriate books and work through them together.  

 

Would it make sense to allow him to focus only on reading in English at home and leave the native language for school?  

I actually don't think he wants to sit down and read with me. His idea of instruction is probably closer to what i am doing anyway - answering his incessant questions on phonics, read for him when he asks me to etc, and he kiknd of works out stuff on his own then. I think a lot of his questions aren't really " I am asking because i don't know" questions, but are more like checking on whether what he's worked out for himself is correct, kwim?

Thank you for your site suggestions, I'll check those out.


MeDH DS1 10/06 DD 08/10 DS2 10/12with SB and
Tigerle is online now  
#20 of 24 Old 02-15-2012, 03:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
Tigerle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Europe
Posts: 1,388
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post

I would get him a subscription to BrainPop Jr, and get him some CD-Roms like Magic School Bus, Zoombinis and the like.

 

I would not facilitate his learning to read via computer explicitely.  If he's ready, he's going to pick it up no matter what you do.  Other computer games will expand his knowledge base and satisfy his desire to be on the computer and learn.


Yes, that is kinda what i am trying to do. I think I have heard of brainpop jr around here. Science and logic stuff (IIRC thats what it is about) should be right up his alley.


MeDH DS1 10/06 DD 08/10 DS2 10/12with SB and
Tigerle is online now  
#21 of 24 Old 02-15-2012, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
Tigerle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Europe
Posts: 1,388
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by domesticidyll View Post

I think, if he is curious and asking persistently, he will be unchallenged during that part of school anyway. I would be concerned that working hard to put off his curiosity would just be frustrating and make him less excited about learning and he'd still be bored. I don't know that you have to lie, exactly, to the first grade teacher, but maybe planning more of a gentle, "Oh, he just picked it up, I don't know where," would be handy. Kind of like, IME, talking to people about extended nursing or cosleeping, I know there are times where I simply volunteer less information.

 

Also think it's a terrific idea to let him go deeper in other content areas like drawing, history, science, rather than math or reading basics. But if he's begging to know more phonics, he's accelerating anyway.

 

Heather



that one is a big concern of mine.

He has a trial day at the Catholic elementary on Mar 1st. i shall have a better idea on what a first grade teacher might expect after  that (I hope!). Problem is, requesting early entry, particularly for a boy, is going to light up that "one of those moms" radar.


MeDH DS1 10/06 DD 08/10 DS2 10/12with SB and
Tigerle is online now  
#22 of 24 Old 02-15-2012, 03:57 PM
 
moominmamma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: In the middle of nowhere, at the centre of everything.
Posts: 5,808
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 95 Post(s)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pranava View Post

Kindergarten here (midwest) starts mid to late august and the child must be 5.  In fact, in most places the child must be 5 by the June or July before school starts in order to go to Kindergarten.

 

Yeah, I realize in the US kids are a few months older. Cassidy and I are in Canada, though.
 

Miranda

 


Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grown-ups
moominmamma is online now  
#23 of 24 Old 02-16-2012, 01:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
Tigerle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Europe
Posts: 1,388
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by joensallyView Post

 

The classrooms described are not at all developmentally appropriate.

 



They sound awful. I think keeping children back by purposefully withholding academics until they are 7 is doing them a disservice, but I am not advocating classrooms like those galaxymom describes! No matter what area this school is in, there is no way almost every kindergartner is able to work for 6.5 hours straight at a second-grade level.


MeDH DS1 10/06 DD 08/10 DS2 10/12with SB and
Tigerle is online now  
#24 of 24 Old 02-17-2012, 09:42 AM
 
Tjej's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: a beautiful place
Posts: 1,563
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I grew up in the midwest and it took me a while to wrap my brain around the age difference in Canada for school - the kids are essentially 6-9 months younger in each grade.

 

Tjej

Tjej is offline  
Reply

Tags
Gifted Child

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off