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.

pointsmakeprizes Sun 24-Nov-13 09:43:07

lljkk - we are book lovers in the family, my DS prob has over 200 books at home and also regularly gets books out of the library so there is no shortage of reading material for him. I just really wanted to see why there seemed to be such a gap in what he is doing at home and what he is doing at school. I now know that it's the writing, I don't agree with it but it's something I will help him with so I'm glad I questioned it. A love of books is probably down to the parent to foster, great when the parent also loves books and has the time to really take an active interest in the child's learning. Not so great if you are a busy parent who has to leave that responsibility to the teacher. As DS spends the majority of his waking hours at school, I would like to think that he is being suitably challenged in all areas.

lljkk Sat 23-Nov-13 18:18:02

My gut feeling about complicated OP is that if I didn't like my y1 child's reading books I would
a) go to public library for reading books
b) find fun things to read in other types of books
c) we can easily choose what books we like for DC (go in & change books ourselves). I guess this isn't possible for OP?

simpson Fri 22-Nov-13 00:02:58

Oh dear.

I have had the same thing said about DD (yr1) although her writing is v good it's not as strong as her reading.

Her teacher basically says that a child needs to be able to do a reading SATS test independently in order to get a certain level (NC wise). Therefore her writing is bringing her reading down too.

I would question comprehension from a stage 7 book too (since this is what DD reads in guided reading).

I guess all you can do is take positives out of it (parents eve) the teacher has acknowledged he reads higher, he is now working on yr2 skills comprehension wise. It might be worth asking how they are going to bridge the gap between reading/writing. I know DD's writing is being pushed massively to do this.

Snowbility Thu 21-Nov-13 22:49:11

I think it's clear that book changing is very time consuming activity and a bit dull and questioning your dc's level suggests the teacher has failed to pay attention to your dc's progress - teachers don't like to lose face to parents, so you are going to get a bullshit response, the teacher has to defend their professional judgement, they will have a long list of excuses for parents who question their child's lack of progress in the reading scheme while reading advanced books at home. Just have faith in your dc, don't be tempted to stretch with reading, if it gets too hard it stops being a pleasure and you want it to be a pleasure....which usually means you need to forget school reading books.

columngollum Thu 21-Nov-13 22:39:00

Well, if any and all literature prizes were as open to all as book shops are, maybe you would win a prize of some sort. (The book game is rather incestuous.)

choccyp1g Thu 21-Nov-13 19:53:42

Not many adults can write as well as they can read. Otherwise I'd be winning the Booker prize instead of buying the books.

pointsmakeprizes Thu 21-Nov-13 13:58:02

Just - good to get a perspective from independent end. We had our parents evening and it was acknowledged ds is reading at a higher standard at home. He still has to work on comprehension though he is ahead of the rest of the class on this so will be doing Y2 comprehension work now. So I am not sure what level of comprehension is needed to get out of ort stage 7? The main reason he is not going to be moved up is because his writing has to catch up with his reading which I find bizarre as I don't think even many adults can write as well as they read. Also they don't do any 1 to 1 reading at all just guided reading, which would be around 3 - 4 pages of a book per week. Another reason for not giving him harder books is that we are doing that at home anyway so there is no point. All in all most unsatisfactory but I knew this would be the case as whatever I say the response will be I have 29 other children in my class.

Justatiredmum Thu 21-Nov-13 11:26:24

Points, my daughter is in a similar situation: the books she reads at home are of a much higher level than what she gets at school. I spoke to her teacher about it (independent school) and she explained that in the first term they keep the children at a level where they are comfortable with the mechanics of reading so that they can focus on comprehension. It's a lot easier to talk about how a character feels or why he acts a certain why if you are not having to worry about decoding a new word.
This sort of made sense to me so I simply make her read the school book (seen as it's easy for her she flies through it) then read whatever else she wants.

mrz Mon 11-Nov-13 17:03:30

TES is for anyone

mrz Mon 11-Nov-13 17:02:51

"Rubbish scheme books and pathetic school assessment tasks don't (in the main) do any harm."

I think for some children rubbish scheme books can do lots of harm.

pointsmakeprizes Mon 11-Nov-13 15:36:21

Elf, same here, I was a very able child both in reading and maths, to the point that my parents were told that I was gifted. Unfortunately I went to a number of very poor primary schools where I spent a lot of time unchallenged and bored. I did ok at secondary but nowhere near what my early potential suggested, it may have worked out this way even with an excellent primary education, I don't know. We just want to make sure our children fulfil their potential unlike ourselves. Perhaps if our parents had been better advocates for us we may have looked back on our primary years more fondly.

There is a site called TES which has some useful resources, I think it's for teachers only but may help make sense of it all.

columngollum Mon 11-Nov-13 14:12:46

Elf, maybe better to start a new thread on your question, but in general I think you can find out but you need to scoot here and there and read this and that. You can read curricula and sites which make this claim or that claim. But each school is different and each child is different. Subject deserves its own thread.

ElfontheShelfIsWATCHINGYOUTOO Mon 11-Nov-13 12:47:59

It has been very cathartic for me to hear your thoughts on this Points as they mirror my own.

Snow is right that this is an area where we can do our own thing with the reading.

Our teachers evening is at the end of the month.

However I do get lost when they talk, or on here there is talk of this scheme and that scheme and this and that Sats. So I will try my best to hang in there and see what is being said.

I am worried about how to broach the issue though.

column speaking from personal experience, I think for me at a primary that was beyond shite, I was confused and lost by my school. I think my DD's school is far far better than the one I went too.

I was a fantastic reader at an early age, but that never went anywhere. I was appalling at Maths and I was ignored. I became lost and school became about literally doodling every single day on a book. confused

Is there a website anywhere that we can check what they are supposed to be learning at each stage to make sure they are?

columngollum Mon 11-Nov-13 12:26:30

Rubbish scheme books and pathetic school assessment tasks don't (in the main) do any harm. They just don't do any good. But, short of taking the matter in hand oneself, there are no guarantees that moving the child, berating the teacher, or the entire education system, for that matter would get the child better books and better tests. He could have another teacher and another school and still have rotten books or good books and rotten maths instruction.

The only real downsides to rubbish scheme books I've found is children playing football with them because they weren't taken seriously as reading books or crying because they'd asked for better books and been refused them. Those two are genuine problems. But without those the real solution is to chuck the stupid book back in the book bag and fetch a Roald Dahl,

job done.

pointsmakeprizes Mon 11-Nov-13 12:19:31

I will report back on the parents evening anyway and if anyone else could do the same, it would be interesting to compare.

pointsmakeprizes Mon 11-Nov-13 12:15:26

Thanks Past, I do agree with you and what snow are saying. This is the way it is and the only way I can probably change is to move my son to a different school which is not an option for us. It is frustrating that there are other schools that are more flexible and willing to adapt to the child's interest and pace but my school is not one of them. I will continue to write the extra books in the home work diary and hope that at some stage one teacher will acknowledge the discrepancy. I do want to get to the bottom of what comprehension means, I know from talking to my son and reading our own books that his level of comprehension is way above what his teacher seems to think it is so he can't be getting the most out of his time at school.

I don't want to tell my ds that we don't have to bother with the reading scheme because he is the type of boy who will do everything the school tells him to and it would actually upset him if he thought that I did not support his teacher 100%. I will just have to be content with coming on here and having a moan with like minded parents.

PastSellByDate Mon 11-Nov-13 10:55:45

Hi pointsmakeprizes

Haven't read all posts but absolutely agree with snowbility on stepping away with guided reading.

I know its important to you but the reality is your DC is in top group anyway - and if the entire group has been given this book then s/he isn't being singled out in any particular way.

One thing that does occur is every now and then the entire class is given the same book and this can result in a radical drop in difficulty level for higher achieving children. Our school often failed to signal that this was happening, which resulted in lots of questions in the reading log about why such an easy book suddenly?

We also had the 'working on comprehension' thing at this point - I suspect that in some LEA's this is what happens at this stage. Again, snowbility is right - just do more at home. If you're bored with the reading - say so. Put it into the reading log (if you have one) - we used to write DD1 or DD2 is getting a bit bored with X so we read Y instead. In all cases the teachers responded positively - because in essence they just want reading to be happening.

I know it's hard but accept that the school is going with this reading scheme and is going to work their way through it in the order they chose (in reality HT or English Lead Teacher sets), so there's really no point going to battle on this.

HTH

thegamesafoot Mon 11-Nov-13 08:32:24

Points - thank you for being so understanding about the inevitable venting occurring on your thread and you are right about people taking the chance to let off some steam on MN, it is after all a perennial issue!

My DD was lucky at both her current and previous school, as they both allowed her to progress up through the scheme at her own rate (comprehension was checked via PM benchmark in reception). On most occasions (though not all), I told the school each time I was aware that she needed to move up a level. If you pay attention it's obvious when a child needs to move up and I was never wrong (they would benchmark and she would successfully pass the criteria used in PM benchmark for the next level, or occasionally two).

If they had not done this, however, I would have bought scheme books and not bothered with the school books. To be fair though, DD loves scheme books. She was reading Biff, Chip etc. while 4 in reception and the stories suited her just fine, by the time she'd just turned 5 she was onto more varied stories (they had banana books in gold band, so finally a change from ORT) and now, at nearly 5 1/2 her current school has at least 3 schemes to choose from (in lime) - although there are 6 more levels after this (hence my other post to try and discover what those levels are all about).

I also like reading scheme books - funnily enough because of the variety and perhaps because our local library is very limited. For example DD recently bought home a book all about making buildings, with lots of info on scaffolding in particular. I was thinking hmm but she gave it 9 out of 10! At our library books like that tend to be large and dense and this puts her off (certainly she's never shown much interest in scaffolding before grin).

The point is that when reading for pleasure it's Rainbow Fairies all the way, so to me the reading scheme books serve a purpose, they're quite short and can extend reading in unexpected directions. Of course that's can, not that they necessarily will, depending on which schemes a school buys and whether or not they make children read every book in each stage (which smacks of engineering an easy life for teachers to me - although any teachers that do make children read every book are welcome to put me right!!).

volestair Mon 11-Nov-13 00:50:20

My god, they still make kids read the Biff and Kipper and Chips books? I remember ignoring avoiding despising reading those at school over twenty years ago. As far as I remember from the POV of a four or five year old, my school went "Oh, this one can already read. No need for the reading scheme then. Let's pop to the junior school library and get you some nice reading books." Won't giving children incredibly boring books to read just risk putting them off?

Snowbility Sun 10-Nov-13 23:44:06

At our old school it wasn't consistent throughout infants - painfully slow in reception, excessively fast in year one - skipping entire levels overnight - before they were properly ready and finally in year two just plod your way through the rest of the book scheme reading every single bloody boring book till it drained any sense of enjoyment from reading....it's why I say go you own way, encourage you child to read books that interest them - everything else will fall into place, once they have fallen in love with reading.

pointsmakeprizes Sun 10-Nov-13 22:38:16

Mrz, I really wish my DS attended your school and had you as a teacher. I think this thread is more for parents to let off some steam about reading levels, we know there are excellent state schools out there, in fact overall I do believe that my DS's school is good in many ways, but we are allowed to be unhappy and question whether our children are having their educational needs met at the schools they are attending. We can only go by what we know. I don't feel comfortable discussing this in real life as it may come across as a stealth boast which it certainly is not, perhaps on here we can give each other ideas on how to best approach our teachers to see if there is any merit in how we feel.

I am wondering if the children are kept at the levels they are and the progress artificially slow because the year groups only have access to those levels. Maybe there just aren't enough spare copies of higher level books to go around because they are all needed for the year above.

freetrait Sun 10-Nov-13 22:36:01

Hmmmm, I am inclined to see it a bit as a money earning exercise by publishers. Books are books. We never had books tailored to us did we when we were young. We didn't get disturbed by reading things we shouldn't.....

I tend to think that the youngies won't engage in the unsuitable books so won't read too much of them, although parents should keep a watch out just like with the TV and computer grin. Then they will become old enough for it not to worry them. DS, now 7 is reading lots of stuff that is probably aimed at 10-12 year olds. I have chatted to him about how it is aimed at older children and to chat if anything worries him. Mostly it's Science and History stuff.

thegamesafoot Sun 10-Nov-13 21:16:16

Mrz - you mention publishers, as in more than one, however I am only aware of the ORT All Stars, yet I think that series only go to lime. Are there any other publishers that have produced books for able young readers at or beyond lime level?

ElfontheShelfIsWATCHINGYOUTOO Sun 10-Nov-13 20:25:47

His parents are extremely capable and intelligent people and they and the school are very well up on all the angles and issues that may arise from his reading.

ClayDavis Sun 10-Nov-13 20:14:14

That can definitely be an issue in commercial schemes that go right up to age 11. Certain levels are aimed at certain year groups and if you follow the scheme blindly you can end up with inappropriate books. If you drop off it a bit earlier and use 'real' books you can tailor it a bit more to the needs of the child or develop a selection of books that have higher reading level but more appropriate content.

It works the other way to with lower ability readers in KS2 still reading low level ORT. Publishers seem to have been a quicker off the mark with low reading level high interest level books though.

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