To ask the school to send home no more blooming Biff and Chip books

(178 Posts)
gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 21:11:38

DS is now on Stage 9 of these bloody things and has gone on reading strike. I've asked to school to read them with him at school if they really must be read, as the darned things continue to be so tedious they are putting DS off reading. We will be reading other things at home with him from now on. He is perfectly capable of reading far more interesting and varied books than this drivel.

If you are a teacher, would you think IBU?

mrsstewpot Fri 08-Mar-13 21:56:52

YANBU and I'm a primary teacher. Soooooo dull! Read something of interest and encourage fellow parents to do the same!

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 21:57:20

I'm actually amazed no one has expressed surprised that children are being forced to plough through just one particular, very narrow, reading scheme. It really is no wonder that so many children today do not read for enjoyment.

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 21:57:57

Thank you mrsstewpot smile

"Ooo yes, with his jumpy dog. And that strange man who is sometimes the caretaker, but sometimes has other roles. I always wonder if he's like the ghost / hobo character on the Polar Express. Creepy but is there protecting everyone. "

Sosweet, that guy is the illustrator Alex Brychta. he sneaks himself into the books now and again smile

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=alex+brychta&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=VMR&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=4F46Ue2uNseL7AbH24G4BA&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAQ&biw=1024&bih=649

RIZZ0 Fri 08-Mar-13 21:59:05

My fave is the one where they all hang around the dump and build a den, and some big boys help them because there's like, NO jobs (fucking Thatcher), then some yuppie architect/ project manager woman brandishing plans tells them they're outta there becaue she's building a tower block or seven.

80's much?!

DeWe Fri 08-Mar-13 21:59:53

One of my uncles was always called "Biff" so it took me ages to realise that Biff was the girl.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Fri 08-Mar-13 22:00:02

YANBU, you go for it!

Morloth Fri 08-Mar-13 22:01:56

No but if doesn't do set homework it will start to effect his marks and that will have an effect when they start streaming and as he gets older it will become more and more of a problem for him.

Your stand won't hurt the teacher any, but if you continue it will eventually impact your son.

DS1 was reading way above the books he was having sent home. So he read his school book and wrote that he had done so andbthen went did sonething else. We also wrote the other books he was reading in the list. Now they have caught up.

Sometimes you have to do things you find boring, that's life.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Fri 08-Mar-13 22:06:10

I disagree Morloth, if a school can't modify it's scheme to accomodate the reasonable needs of a child, it's a poor school. Our policy is that parents should nt force children to do homework, as it is counter productive. Boring comes later in life, sure, but at 6 should be avoided in relation to reading etc.

rosy71 Fri 08-Mar-13 22:06:19

My boys (ages 8 and 5) love(d) Biff and Chip.

I once read that the authors chose Biff, Chip and Kipper as the children's names so that no child would be reading their own name constantly in the books.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Fri 08-Mar-13 22:07:50

Its/it's, computer chooses for me!

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 22:08:37

Oh come on. Set homework this term has included:
Writing accounts of various things - which he does, now that the thought of writing no longer reduces him to tears (since I didn't force the issue before).
Designing a poster - yawn - he produced something under duress.
Entering the Eistedfodd competitions - well that was a waste of time that wasn't even acknowledged.
Oh and the one piece of useful work - maths this week - five examples of counting on in tens. He'll do it of course, it will take all of 2 minutes (unlike some of the others that wasted most of the weekend) but for what purpose I really do wonder.

Homework at this age is almost always pretty pointless, serving only to impinge on already limited family time. The headteacher has pretty much admitted it is only set because some parents expect it. When there is an educational purpose to it, he will be made to understand that. But I don't do jumping through hoops for the sake of it.

Conversely reading is very important (as would maths be if they ever set proper work). Which is why it is so vital it isn't frittered away on drivel like ORT.

KindleMum Fri 08-Mar-13 22:08:44

I hate them. DS's teacher knows this and she agrees with me that he's learning nothing from them and reads well above them. But we spend about 120 seconds each morning before the school run (usually while DD puts her shoes on- we take a little of the tedium off by DS trying to finish the book before DD gets the shoes on!) speeding through whichever one has been sent home because I don't want to give DS the message that I'm against what the school is teaching for the sake of 2 minutes. I don't know anyone who likes them. We read what we want at home.

It cannot be a good idea to force a child to read books that they hate - reading is supposed to be fun as well as educational. And there are so many reading books available for children that it is perfectly possible to provide a variety of reading books for the class to choose from and still be advancing their reading skills perfectly well. I do not believe it is either necessary, or a good thing, to stick rigidly to one series of books.

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 22:14:08

KindleMum - if your son's teacher agrees he is getting nothing from them, why on earth are they being set? I do not understand this sheep mentality on the part of schools. Are they not allowed to be flexible any more? What happened to child-centred learning?

NomDeOrdinateur Fri 08-Mar-13 22:14:47

I totally sympathise but, as others say, the bloody things will haunt him until he's read them all and (more importantly) you'll be making a rod for your own back if you let him get away with going on homework "strike" because plenty of his future assignments will be pointless and tedious (as will many aspects of his job in adulthood).

FWIW, I read them all before the end of Y1 (including an extra series of non-fiction monstrosities that my teacher brought out as a "surprise" just when I thought it was all over) purely because I loathed the damn things. I got it changed as regularly as possible (which got easier as I got further and further ahead of the class, as there wasn't a supply issue then), and my parents let me choose a good book in exchange for every crappy Magic Key story I read. I think they got a box of Roald Dahl stories and then a bigger box of those little Puffin Classics (the little abridged things that were 60p each), and then I'd read all of the bloody books and the madness could finally stop. We also talked afterwards about what terrible fate I wished the writer had inflicted on Biff, Chip and Kipper after I finished each story, which was a good venting exercise grin. Maybe some of the above might help to make it go faster?

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 22:16:06

Because honestly, nobody can possibly say these books are educational. They are from the very limited stand point of learning to read. But once a child can read there is no educational value at all. Occasionally DS gets the ORT Fireflies books and those are much better, at least he is learning something and being challenged by new words. There is nothing at all educational about the Biff and Chip books. Nothing.

SoSweetAndSoCold Fri 08-Mar-13 22:18:06

Thanks HeadFirst grin

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 22:19:27

But my goodness Nom, no one should be having to bribe a child to read the crappy offerings sent home by the school. It's all so wrong, don't people see that? The schools have quite clearly forgotten what their purpose is.

Fakebook Fri 08-Mar-13 22:20:09

I loved biff and chip when I was in school. Dd is 5 and just finished Floppy phonics stage 1+ and has gone onto green Read Write Inc books ( if anyone knows them?)

The biff and chip books are better than the other ones. I used to love the magic key stories. They really captured my imagination as a 7 year old.

blackeyedsusan Fri 08-Mar-13 22:21:00

just don't ask. forget to send in the reading folder.... no more books come home. use the library instead.

NomDeOrdinateur Fri 08-Mar-13 22:22:56

(NB: Having read back over my post, I thought I should just clarify that I don't hate reading, or even compulsory reading. I was reading books of my own choosing throughout that time, and was overjoyed when I was declared a free reader. I do still resent the fact that children are forced to read those crappy books regardless of whether they are helping or hindering their progress, but I do think it was good preparation for being made to focus on understanding texts that seem/are tedious. I went on to get a first class module for every module of my English Literature degree, despite loathing Shakespeare, Chaucer, Pynchon etc, and I think that learning from a young age to accept that a lot of fiction isn't interesting or entertaining was a helpful form of preparation for my later studies.)

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 22:23:46

Well, it's too late I asked (although it hasn't been read yet, so I suppose I could scrub it out). I don't want the school to think he's stuck on Level 9 forever more though. There's no issue with reading other books. We use the library tons, and instead of "Superdog" this morning, I got DS to read some pages from "Little Wolf's Book of Badness" instead, which he had chosen for himself from the school library. It's the principle of the thing, god damn it! <bangs fist on table>

simpson Fri 08-Mar-13 22:24:38

DD hates hates hates the jolly phonics crap books she has to wade through.

We had one the other week on Henry Ford (I nearly died of boredom let alone DD).

Fiction wise her school are pretty good and she comes home with a variety of books but we just need to work on the non fiction.

However I do remember an ORT Biff etc book about gran going on a bouncy castle in her high heeled shoes which was quite amusing grin

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 22:25:28

Just realised if DS's teacher is on here, I've quite possibly outed myself. Oops. If so, sorry! (and please don't say anything, I'd be too embarrassed).

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