Children write by first scribbling, then drawing shapes and then tracing letters - dot to dot. You should start with basic straight lines, then get him to trace his name. This requires much repetition and demonstration. Reading starts with logo reading: McDonald's, KFC, etc and then use the worksheets that education.com has on its website. They are wonderful. The more you expose your child to writing with crayons and playing games such as "I spy something with my little eye beginning with T...C...D..." you will find that he will begin to recognize these sounds. Say a as in apple and c for cat etc. Read to him and let him retell you the story. Ask him to draw a picture of the story that you read. All these activities encourage the child to want to read and write. Alternatively there might be a problem with his vision and his upper limb functioning.
- If he doesn't know the sounds of his letters, get "Leap Frog Letter Factory". It's a DVD. You might have to get it used, but it is fantastic at teaching letter sounds and doing so quickly.
- Once he knows his letter sounds, then move on to "Hooked on Phonics: Kindergarten". It can come in a big bundle of books for him to read, workbooks, DVD's with games on them, flash cards, etc. It might seem expensive, but you are getting a ton of stuff, and to me, it's well worth the cost. Look on Amazon too. (I do not recommend getting their preschool version. It's too boring and a waste of money.)
Then once he's done with that, you can buy the next level of Hooked on Phonics.
- Once he has his letter sounds down pretty good, try some "Get Ready for the Code: Book A" and "Get Ready for the Code: Book B" and "Go for the Code: Book C". Those help reinforce things...and introduce writing.
With writing, give him time. Boys don't learn fine motor skills as easily as girls for the most part (I'm sure some boys do, but it's not how their brains are generally wired to work). Just let him play and spend time drawing circles and lines. Keep it fun and not too stressful. Keep ALL of it fun and not stressful. If he starts feeling pressure to learn faster than he's ready, it's going to make things backfire.
I'm sure many would disagree, but that is way too young to treat him as though he's behind. He's FIVE. Little boys are typically more concerned with learning fighting skills (like a Jedi) or running as fast a super hero. Taking time to learn to write is just a nuisance for them at this age. So, don't worry about your boy. He's TOTALLY NORMAL. That being said, the things I listed above have worked fantastically for us. But if he still doesn't seem ready, don't fret. Kids learn at difference paces. It has absolutely nothing to do with him being less intelligent or behind at all, he's probably just focused on different areas of learning.
You can have him read to you and you read to him every night. Ask the teacher to give him extra homework and truthfully it's ok that he can't read or write. He is only five. I am a teacher and I have plenty of five year olds that can't read or write and I am not even thinking about putting them in special needs class. Talk to the teacher or even the board, it seems like she just wants him out of the class.
We love Bob Books series. Start with set 1. It introduces just a few letter sounds in the first book, and builds on that by adding just a couple new sounds with each book. It encourages children because they are able to read a book independently very quickly. My kids have all read (sound words out) pretty well after going through just the first set, and have been able to move on to other first readers, though some may benefit from the second set also. The key is reading everything you see to him. Signs are great, point out sounds in words and signs that he is familiar with, and help him sound things out. My second son used to LOVE reading signs while we were driving. He wouldn't pick up a book at home on his own like his sister always has (better things to do like play with Transformers and Batman, you know), but he would read signs everywhere. Encourage reading in his environment. You could even label things around the house. Or write up labels on 3x5 cards for him to read (with a little help, if necessary) and label things around the house himself. And finally, try not to worry too much, some children take longer for it to 'click' than others. As long as you are working with him, reading with and to him, and converse openly about the things around him, he should catch on.
I am a second grade teacher, and reading/writing is just starting to click for some of them. Developmentally children shouldn't even begin reading/writing until they are about 7. Our schools are pushing them to start earlier all the time.
There are some books called We Read Together and the left side is for parents to read. The right side is much simpler and is for the child to read. Some of the same words on the left are included on the right.
Be sure when you are reading to your son to put your finger under the words or have him do it, if he is able to. This helps the child to understand that we read from left to right, and that words are letters put together with spaces in between words.