Going back down on reading levels

(79 Posts)
pointsmakeprizes Tue 05-Nov-13 13:13:21

DS is in Y1, just started stage 7 books, he finds these very easy and is able to read stage 8 and 9 books from the oxford owl website fluently and when asked questions seems to understand what is going on. I did mention this to the teacher who was adamant that he would not be moved up so that he could work on his comprehension. I was ok with this though I feel he is capable of more but trust the teacher on this. He is in the top set for reading, they all read the same book at school which is then sent home and then one unseen book every week for reading at home. This week he was sent home a stage 4 fireflies book and for the next three weeks will be getting only stage 4/5 fireflies book (the books are already listed in his reading diary). It is the same for all of the top group, one of children was already a free reader when starting reception yet is still only been given these books. Should I say something again or leave it, even though he is in the top set for reading, from his descriptions of what the abilities are, the children seem to vary considerably with some struggling to read some of the words and others reading them with ease. There are about 5/6 in this set. I am not happy with this set up as I don't think it is an accurate reflection of the abilities and I do feel annoyed that he is now going backwards. I have always felt from reception that his reading books have been too easy but I have let it go because I want to trust the teacher but I don't understand how he could be moved back 3 levels when I think the level he is on is already far too easy for him.

Periwinkle007 Tue 05-Nov-13 13:42:10

are these the books for the guided reading sessions? Does he get another reading book too?

my daughter is reading chapter books confidently but is only doing level 3 in guided reading along with the rest of the group...

Jinty64 Tue 05-Nov-13 14:27:37

Ds3 has just finished stage 9 books and his group have just had a stage 8 poetry book and now a fireflies. I don't think it really matters too much what he is reading at school. Ds is reading the Biff, Chip and Kipper time chronicles at home at the moment, I'm quite enjoying them. He reads and understands them without any problem. I know he is a better reader than some of his group (top) at school but he's happy enough and we have plenty books at home or can go to the library to encourage his reading. I think you will only annoy the teacher if you keep going on about it.

I think it would be worth at least asking about the apparent discrepancy though, just from the point of view that you can help at home.

I think I am just about ready to give up on worrying about levels to be honest.

simpson Tue 05-Nov-13 15:51:45

I would not be happy with this but I would not do anything as you have already spoken to the teacher and they have said that the situation is not going to change.

What would happen if you simply didn't read the school books?

My DD is in yr1 and gets stage 11 from school (stage 12 on bug club) but does guided reading at stage 7 which she is getting bored of as she did stage 7 (guided reading) for the majority of reception. But she hates school reading scheme books and sometimes refuses to read her home one, the teacher is fine with it and just asks me to record what she has read instead.

pointsmakeprizes Tue 05-Nov-13 16:47:08

They do guided reading in their groups, so were doing stage 7 before half term, this week they did a stage 4 fireflies instead, this book will be sent home next week as well along with another stage 4 book. We do reading at home where he can read chapter books eg the simple horrid Henry books, easy roald Dahl books. I write everything we read at home in the homework diary as well which seems to go largely ignored. The pace just seems incredibly slow, only two books sent home per week, one of them is one they have read in their group with the teacher, the other unseen.

thegamesafoot Tue 05-Nov-13 17:29:37

I've been meaning to post about this for a while now and never got around to it - matching ORT book stages to book bands is somewhat more complicated than most parents realise (and schools - even reading chest just matches the stage to the book band colour).

ORT created a PDF (in 2011 according to the copy I have on my computer) which matched their individual titles to book bands. Typically they've taken it down, however I've managed to link to a cached version, which although not a pretty, still contains the relevant info.

This shows that stage 4 Fireflies actually go from blue to purple and stage 5 from green to gold. Of course your DS's teacher may or may not realise this (DDs previous school didn't, current school seems to have their scheme following the information contained in the link below). As Fireflies are nonfiction could she have chosen the books due to the topics they cover matching with topics in other lessons (imagine a hopeful emoticon)?

Newer versions of these books will have the book band colour as well as the stage, but I don't think the older versions do - certainly there seems to be some confusion as people usually equate, for example stage 9 with gold, stage 10 with white and stage 11 with lime, which is roughly how it goes, however some stage 10 books are gold, stage 11 runs from gold to lime, 12 white to lime and only at stage 13 are all the KS1 books lime and this variation is more marked in the middle stages of the scheme.

If I were you I'd be inclined to ask her firstly whether he has ever failed to answer any of her comprehension questions correctly and if so what sort of questions were they - if you are not comfortable with this line of questioning then get some detail about exactly what it is she wants him to be able to do to demonstrate this improved comprehension she is seeking from him. The result, hopefully, will be the same, either she'll provide you with the detail because there are areas he needs to work on, or she'll struggle because it's more about holding him back while the others catch up .... or possibly some other reason I haven't thought of yet grin

Here's the link.

PS sorry for epic post length!

simpson Tue 05-Nov-13 17:57:44

Also are the fire flies ones non fiction?

DD tends to get non fiction books lower than her fiction books sometimes.

soorploom Tue 05-Nov-13 20:12:20

my ds is similar- reading books at home way beyond what he does in class. at parent evening teacher explained that they are doing simple comprehension questions on their stories and have to write down answers. so although his reading and comprehension is fine, the simpler stories are giving him a chance to practice reading, understanding and answering questions with spellings that are still mainly phonetic. spellings start after next break. I have stopped worrying about reading levels as long as ds is enjoying reading

Periwinkle007 Tue 05-Nov-13 20:12:20

the gamesafoot - it is still there on their website somewhere - the link I mean, and they emailed it to me last year. I found it quite interesting - especially as our school just have stuff by the stages not by the actual level listed here.

yes Simpson - fireflies are the non fiction ones.

sadly I am still none the wiser why my Yr1 DD who is above Book Band 11 is still on Book Band 3 guided reading (am assuming top group given who is in it) which is what her younger sister is reading... I can't even be bothered to mention it now to the teacher - we have other, bigger issues to deal with before getting to that one.

soorploom Tue 05-Nov-13 20:12:30

my ds is similar- reading books at home way beyond what he does in class. at parent evening teacher explained that they are doing simple comprehension questions on their stories and have to write down answers. so although his reading and comprehension is fine, the simpler stories are giving him a chance to practice reading, understanding and answering questions with spellings that are still mainly phonetic. spellings start after next break. I have stopped worrying about reading levels as long as ds is enjoying reading

simpson Tue 05-Nov-13 21:58:51

According to DD's teacher, in order to assess her reading correctly, her writing needs to catch up a bit so possibly the same thing is happening here.

Reading easier books to work on more detail (maybe to write comprehension answers down) for the longer goal iyswim. However I understand the frustration DD is totally fed up with guided reading (it's the only thing she moans about in an otherwise fab yr1 so far).

pointsmakeprizes Wed 06-Nov-13 08:13:07

Thanks for all your suggestions, that PDF link is very useful, I see that some of the books he will get over the next couple of weeks are book band 6 even though they are fireflies stage 4 so the discrepancy is not as much as I thought. We have parents evening coming up soon so I will wait until then to mention it again. They are working on writing sentences and started spelling tests this week so it would make sense if they have gone down levels to allow their writing to catch up with their reading. However it does have a knock on effect on my son because it knocks his confidence as his immediate reaction normally when we read books from the library is that they are too difficult for him, until he starts reading and he finds he actually enjoys them!

Romily Thu 07-Nov-13 17:41:07

What is also important to remember is that a teacher will be looking to see how a child engages with a text, how well they can understand what is going on within a text and their ability to answer different styles of questions. Often a child can read to a high level orally however they need a more simplistic text to engage with successfully. Just keep him reading challenging texts at home for fun until the discussion with the teacher takes place.

terribleteethinitsterriblejaws Thu 07-Nov-13 17:50:10

Guided reading books should be one level higher than the reading books sent home. Guided reading is a focussed, planned reading session where a teacher teaches a new skill and has an assessment focus to observe. I would be concerned if my child was reading at a lower level in a guided reading session.

Periwinkle007 Thu 07-Nov-13 20:36:28

could it be that if they are just starting guided reading then they are starting easier to introduce formally the more basic skills and then the better readers will move on with their group to harder text? I am hoping this is the case.

terribleteethinitsterriblejaws Fri 08-Nov-13 15:33:58

I think it is best to talk with her teacher to see what her reasons are, but i know that in my class when i start guided reading (spring term) the children straight away start on the level one higher than their individual reading books. I know the children and have on going assessment to judge the level that they are reading at, i would not need to move them down a level if i read with them regularly and know that they are confidently working within a level. The assessment focusses being taught in a guided reading session would be from the level your child is at and their reading targets. Have you seen your dd's reading targets?

ElfontheShelfIsWATCHINGYOUTOO Fri 08-Nov-13 19:28:56

Yes same here.

DC reading much more complicated books at home, George Marvellous Medicine, The Witches, and is on Book stage 3?!

She also has a very good understanding of the stories, however I can see the writing side would not have caught up, so perhaps that is why my DC is also being held back?!

columngollum Fri 08-Nov-13 19:36:44

If the school doesn't mind how much or how little attention the family pays to its reading scheme books then having books massively at odds with the child's ability (in either direction) isn't a major problem. But if the school insists on a ritual being carried out nightly with marks in the home reading diary then the parent has a right to insist that the reading book bears a reasonable link to the child's ability otherwise the whole thing is a waste of everybody's time and effort. (Sometimes that time and effort comes at a cost.)

Periwinkle007 Fri 08-Nov-13 19:56:56

reading targets? erm no - we don't get to see any targets. I have no idea what NC level her reading is - just that her individual reading is chapter books and beyond book band 11.

interesting Elf - glad we aren't alone.

My daughter's writing is very strong - I was told that at the end of last year and at parents evening in October (along with her maths and reading also being very strong but no more info than that).

pointsmakeprizes Fri 08-Nov-13 23:35:56

They have been doing guided reading since reception, DS states that they do not do 1-2-1 reading at all only in the groups. DS has good writing skills, would easily be able to write a story of 5+ interesting sentences though he would need help with spellings. The other day he wrote 2 sides of A4 a story out of his own interest. In terms of reading, I don't see how he is learning anything new at school, he would have been reading the stage 7 type books months ago with me. Again his maths is way ahead of what they are doing at school, he would be able to add and subtract triple digit numbers. I was told that he had an IEP in reception, yet they are still working on number bonds up to ten and I don't see any evidence of him doing anything different.

We haven't been made aware of any targets. He has a reading diary and we have to mark down what he reads every night and how long it takes him. The way the homework is set at the beginning of the week, it seems that he should be reading a bit of the 2 books every night, however he finds them so easy that he will read them all on the first night.

The more I'm thinking about it, the more annoyed I'm getting again! I know its good that DS goes to school and is happy because he finds everything so easy, but he also loves to learn and it just seems that he's waiting for others to catch up with him.

freetrait Fri 08-Nov-13 23:49:56

Just think of guided reading as a community activity grin. And reading is reading. And understanding and enjoying. DS is Year 2 and I can't be bothered to be bothered anymore if that makes sense. He can read and understand and will get better at both as he loves books, he reads and we read. And his spelling ain't bad either smile.

Snowbility Sat 09-Nov-13 00:14:35

I think you are approaching this from the wrong angle. Reading is a pleasurable activity is it not? Stop focusing on levels and the teachers opinion - start focusing on your child's interest in reading - take him to the library and help him choose books, they are often more interesting than the rubbish at school, they can read the school books too but your ds's teacher has 30 other kids...draw your own conclusions on her knowledge of your child's ability on a day to day basis.

Focus on your ds's love of reading, seriously forget about levels - the child who finished the reading scheme first in my dc's class really hated reading by the time he was done with the scheme - not much depth to that achievement! Hopefully by now he has rekindled his love, just be careful what you wish for!

pointsmakeprizes Sat 09-Nov-13 00:40:23

I do take my child to the library to pick books, hence I know what he is capable of reading. I would like to see him progress at school too and I find it sad that it's down to the parent in a class of 30. Though it's true I have become far more obsessed with levels then is healthy. It's difficult not to when your child is constantly assessed by the government and what level they are at defines their school days.

Snowbility Sat 09-Nov-13 08:48:33

There comes a time when you have to step away, allow the school to do their thing and you do yours - pick your battles, this one is in your gift, you can give your child a love of reading - help him choose interesting and exciting books. Our school just wanted the kids to read every single book in every single level - the books were awful, the battle with the school was futile - they had their approach and no matter how crap it was they were going to stick to it.
I was determined for my dcs to be happy confident readers, you'd think that sooner or later the teacher had to catch on but it wasn't till they moved classes that the next teacher expressed surprise at ds's reading skill.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now